For decades, Poland has been Europe’s bridge, connecting Western Europe with Eastern Europe. Everything from energy to labor to knowledge moved through Poland to reach either side of the continent – writes Abishur PRAKASH
While Poland has been the gateway for the two sides of Europe, it has never been seen as a hub or entry point for the world. Could Poland create a silk road of its own? How?
AI-labs are a new phenomenon. On the surface, an AI-Lab is center for development and innovation for artificial intelligence (AI). That’s why several companies are opening up AI-labs around the world. Google has created a lab in China. Samsung has opened up a lab in Canada. Amazon will start a lab in Germany.
So far, AI-Labs are driven by three trends. First, only companies, mainly technology firms, are opening the labs. Second, they are doing so as a long-term strategy to win support from foreign governments. Third, AI-Labs are unexpectedly becoming the next cultural centers.
But why are companies the only ones creating AI-Labs? Poland has a unique opportunity here. Poland could be the first country to open AI-Labs, at home and abroad. Poland could reimagine the role these labs play. The labs could become a core part of Poland’s geopolitical and economic power.
AI-Labs could become Poland’s “silk roads” in the 21st century and offer the world a new alternative to trade, with and through Poland.
.Instead of creating software development centers, Poland’s AI-Labs will be the new generation trade embassies. Humans will be policy makers. AI will be the decision maker.
The AI-driven trade embassies may be located in countries that currently trade with Poland and also in cities that Poland want to influence, economically and geopolitically.
For example, in the future, farmers in Florida, the United States, may want to sell more oranges or orange juice to Poland. This proposal will be analyzed by a Polish AI-Lab opened in New York City or Washington DC. AI in these labs would then decide whether to allow more oranges/orange juice into Poland, and what it effect it may have on Poland’s local agriculture industry. AI may also decide whether to apply taxes or tariffs and more. Trade deals will go from being a months or year-long process, to being a quick transaction, through AI.
As Poland’s existing and future trade partners are told to work with Polish AI-Labs when it comes to trade issues, it will send shockwaves through global economy. Poland will no longer be trading based on history, politics or geopolitical balancing. Poland will be trading based on data, analytics and intelligence.
Once AI-Labs are established, they do not have to deal only with trade of goods. The scope could include services also.
If Tokyo wants to sell services under “Society 5.0,” Japan (or Japanese firms) will need to go to the nearest Polish AI-Lab. AI will decide what kinds of smart city services Poland needs, for what city and when. AI will know what Polish companies at home can deliver and what they can’t. AI will also enable Polish and Japanese firms to partner up.
In other words, AI-Labs will not just be deciding who to trade with or what to trade in. Poland’s AI-Labs will also be designing the future of the country and global economy.
.Before other countries launch AI-Labs of their own and many “digital silk roads” are created, Poland could use its AI-Labs to grow its geopolitical edge around the world.
There are several ways Poland can apply AI-Labs geopolitically.
First, because AI-Labs will be analyzing huge quantities of data and proposing policy, Poland may have unique and powerful policy ideas and strategies. It could “license” its trade policies to other countries for free, or a fee.
Second, Poland can offer its AI-Labs to other countries to handle trade. Once again, Poland can do this for free or charge a “trading commission.”
But, it is not just about creating new sources of ‘trade revenue’.
By offering AI-Labs to other nations, Poland will be changing the dynamics of trade.
Consider this as a future possibility.
In the future, Poland and Hungary sign a deal to have Hungary route its trade through Poland’s AI-Labs. Shortly after this, Germany approaches Hungary to increase the export of cars. However, this decisions now goes through Poland. In other words, Germany must work with Poland to trade with Hungary. This doesn’t just grow Poland’s influence it also allows smaller economies to negotiate stronger.
Add more nations to Poland’s AI-Labs and new possibilities emerge.
If China wants to export consumer robots to Poland, Hungary and Czech Republic, it will not be easy for China to play hardball. AI could increase tariffs on exports of all Chinese electronics to the three countries.
Third, Poland can use AI-Labs by deliberately not opening them up in certain countries to meet a geopolitical objective.
For example, Warsaw may decide to ignore Pakistan in order to grow its relations with India. If Pakistan wishes to trade with Poland, Warsaw may tell Islamabad to go through the lab in India. Now, Poland is not only reshaping its relationships with other countries but is also redefining relationships other nations have with one another.
As a result, in order have access to Poland’s new silk roads, countries may deliberately seek better relations with Poland, or satisfy Poland’s desires in certain areas like defense treaties.
If Poland were to establish AI-Labs, no other country would have this kind of influence on trade, geopolitics and economic future of nations.
Polish Soft Power
.From Copernicus to Pope John Paul II, Poland has brought innovation to the world throughout history. Yet, Poland’s soft power has remained mostly invisible. AI-Labs can change that.
First, the fact that nations will ‘routing trade’ through Poland’s AI-Labs will put Polish people at the front and center of the global economy.
Second, instead of sending trade delegations or trade missions, Poland could create ‘AI-based Trade Assistants’ (cognitive bots) for different countries that could be accessed 24x7x365 and will always offer the most up-to-date information.
Third, through AI-Labs, Poland will become an ‘advisor’ or ‘consultant’ to many nations. The world will learn about the Polish society and culture.
.Artificial intelligence is unlike any other geopolitical variable in history. Unlike oil, natural gas, precious metals or other, which nations may or may not have in the ground, AI is not dependent on anything.
AI can be created and deployed, independent of the resources a nation has, the size of the economy, its population or anything else.
This is what makes AI so powerful for Poland. And, so powerful for geopolitics.
AI-Labs can change Poland’s place in the world. Countries from Europe, Asia, Africa, the Middle East and the Americas will begin to look up to Poland and use what Poland is doing to create a blueprint for themselves.
The question in front of Poland’s business and political leaders isn’t whether they should use AI and other new technologies to grow Poland’s geopolitical power.
The question is, as they begin doing this, how far do they want to go?