An AI arms race is a situation where multiple parties are trying to be the first to develop machine intelligence technology.
See also: AI Governance, Intelligence explosion, Existential Risk, Artificial General Intelligence
Humanity has some historical experience with arms races involving nuclear weapons technology. However, Arms races and intelligence explosions names a few important differences between nuclear weapons and AI technology, which may create dynamics in AI arms races that we have not seen elsewhere.
If the benefits of an intelligence explosion accrue to the group that created it, and the risks affect the entire world, this creates an incentive to sacrifice safety for speed. In addition to the risk of accidental unfriendly AI, there is the risk that the winner of an arms race turns into a badly-behaved human singleton.