Our Expert Voices conversation on artificial intelligence.

The U.S. has the best universities, the most innovative private sector, and the biggest lead on the most important technologies at the moment. And while China may soon be the world's largest economy, truly groundbreaking AI is likely to come from combining the insights from many disparate fields and making them work together — something Beijing will struggle with.

It also matters a great deal who will ultimately control that AI technology. If it's private companies — as I expect it will be — it's far from clear that any government would be able to effectively regulate it. And the more advanced the technology, the bigger the gap with effective regulation. All you have to do is look at the impact social media (and specifically Facebook and Twitter) have had on U.S. politics to begin to understand the scope of the challenge.

As for the also-rans, context matters: You'll want to be economically aligned with whichever country experiences the first true breakthrough. There's big downside for those left out of the economic benefits that come along with strong AI. Of course, this all assumes that things like "states" exist at that point.

Bottom line: Technically, the U.S. wins, and other countries will want to align with Americans so as not to end up on the wrong side of AI. But that won't necessarily be a geopolitical win, especially if technology continues to tear at U.S. governability.

Other voices in the conversation:

Go deeper

Updated 2 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 3 a.m. ET: 19,648,084 — Total deaths: 727,024 — Total recoveries — 11,941,723Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 3 a.m. ET: 4,998,105 — Total deaths: 162,425 — Total recoveries: 1,643,118 — Total tests: 61,080,587Map.
  3. Politics: Trump signs 4 executive actions on coronavirus aid — Democrats, and some Republicans, criticize the move
  4. Public health: Fauci says chances are "not great" that COVID-19 vaccine will be 98% effective — 1 in 3 Americans would decline COVID-19 vaccine.
  5. Science: Indoor air is the next coronavirus frontline.
  6. Schools: How back-to-school is playing out in the South as coronavirus rages on — Princeton, Johns Hopkins, Howard to hold fall classes online.
Updated 3 hours ago - World

Brazil coronavirus death toll tops 100,000 and case numbers surpass 3 million

Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro posted a photo of himself to Facebook congratulating his soccer team, Palmeiras, for winning the state title Saturday, moments after the health ministry confirmed the national COVID-19 death toll had surpassed 100,000.

Why it matters: Brazil is only the second country to confirm more than 100,000 deaths from the coronavirus. On Sunday morning, it became the second country to surpass 3 million cases, per Johns Hopkins. Only the U.S. has reported more. Bolsonaro has yet to address the milestones. He has previously tested positive for COVID-19 three times, but he's downplayed the impact of the virus, which has crippled Brazil's economy.

Editor's note: This article has been updated with the latest coronavirus case numbers and more context.

Updated 5 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Republicans and Democrats react to Trump's coronavirus aid action

President Trump speaks to workers at a manufacturing facility in Clyde, Ohio, on Thursday. Photo: Scott Olson/Getty Images

Some Republicans joined Democrats in criticizing President Trump Saturday night for taking executive action on coronavirus aid, with Democratic leaders demanding the GOP return to negotiations after stimulus package talks broke down a day earlier.

Why it matters: Trump could face legal challenges on his ability to act without congressional approval, where the constitutional power lies on federal spending. Sen. Ben Sasse (R-Neb.) was the most vocal Republican critic, saying in a statement: "The pen-and-phone theory of executive lawmaking is unconstitutional slop."