“If the West finds itself falling behind in AI, it won’t be due to a lack of technological prowess or resources. It won’t be because we weren’t smart enough or didn’t move fast enough. It will be because of something many of our Eastern counterparts don’t share with us: fear of AI.

The root of the West's fear of AI can no doubt be traced back to decades of Hollywood movies and books that have consistently depicted AI as a threat to humanity. From the iconic "Terminator" franchise to the more recent "Ex Machina," we have been conditioned to view AI as an adversary, a force that will ultimately turn against us.

In contrast, Eastern cultures have a WAY different attitude towards AI. As UN AI Advisor Neil Sahota points out, "In Eastern culture, movies, and books, they've always seen AI and robots as helpers and assistants, as a tool to be used to further the benefit of humans."

This positive outlook on AI has allowed countries like Japan, South Korea, and China to forge ahead with AI development, including in areas like healthcare, where AI is being used to improve the quality of services.

The West's fear of AI is not only shaping public opinion but also influencing policy decisions and regulatory frameworks. The European Union, for example, recently introduced AI legislation prioritizing heavy-handed protection over supporting innovation.

While such measures might be well-intentioned, they risk stifling AI development and innovation, making it harder for Western companies and researchers to compete.

Among the nations leading common-sense AI regulation, one stands out for now: Singapore.” – Chris C

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