Has China Already Won?

CommentaryThe United States and China are engaged in a technological arms race. The country with the best artificial intelligence, quantum computing technologies, and cyber weapons will be best positioned to win the wars of tomorrow. Which begs the question: Who looks likely to win these tech-infused wars? According to Richard Silberglitt, a senior physical scientist at the RAND Corporation, although the United States remains the global technological leader, “China and the United States are now approaching parity, or in some cases, the United States is falling behind, in areas of close competition.” In other words, the United States is in the lead, but China is catching up. If we look closer, it appears China has overtaken the United States in many key sectors. In an effort to combat the threat from the Chinese regime, the U.S. National Intelligence and Security Center (NCSC) has prioritized the following five key sectors: AI, quantum computing, biotechnology, semiconductors, and autonomous systems. According to the most recent NCSC report, these five sectors “produce technologies that may determine whether America remains the world’s leading superpower or is eclipsed by strategic competitors in the next few years.” As the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) continues to employ various legal and illegal methods to overtake the United States, I ask this: Has the report arrived about five years too late? In all five sectors, as I demonstrate below, China is already ahead. Let’s start with AI. As the NCSC researchers noted, China already possesses “the might, talent, and ambition” to win the AI arms race. Visitors look at an AI smart city system by iFLY at the 2018 International Intelligent Transportation Industry Expo in Hangzhou in China’s eastern Zhejiang Province on December 2018. (STR/AFP/Getty Images) Nicolas Chaillan, who left his role as the U.S. Air Force’s first chief software officer in October last year, certainly agrees. Frustrated by the U.S. military’s lack of digital progress, he believes China has already won the AI race, blaming “stale” technology and bureaucratic red tape for the lack of innovation in the United States. In an interview with Verdict, Michael Orme, senior analyst at GlobalData and a China specialist, echoed Chaillan’s concerns. Orme suggested that Beijing has already “leveraged its wealth of data and the surveillance state to gain AI supremacy.” The two men appear to be correct. In 2021, China overtook the United States in AI journal citations. And for those who say citations aren’t everything, I agree. However, citations shouldn’t be overlooked. Then, there’s quantum development, an area China is set to dominate. If China does achieve quantum supremacy, which looks increasingly likely, then the CCP will have the power to inflict further damage on U.S. national security. In July last year, a Chinese research team built the world’s most powerful quantum computer. In this game of high-tech chess, their creation, which surpassed Google’s 2019 creation, gives China the “quantum advantage.” More worryingly, with such advances, China looks set to create the world’s first unhackable internet communications network. Furthermore, according to a report published by Booz Allen, a global leader in cyber solutions, China’s quantum developments will “eventually undermine all popular current public-key encryption methods, and plausibly boost the speed and power of artificial intelligence.” The researchers warn that by the end of the decade, “Chinese threat groups will likely collect data that enables quantum simulators to discover new economically valuable materials, pharmaceuticals, and chemicals.” The Booz Allen researchers added, “most of quantum computing’s potential lies more than a decade in the future—but risk management must start now.” The United States, the CCP’s number one enemy, should take note. Technicians work at a genetic testing laboratory of BGI in Kunming, Yunnan Province, China, on Dec. 26, 2018. (Stringer/Reuters) The third key sector is biotechnology. As a report published by Insider warned, Chinese biotech companies are among the most powerful in the world. The Chinese biotech industry has a global footprint, stretching from Uganda to the United States. In August of last year, the Chinese company BeiGene announced plans to build a 42-acre research and development center in New Jersey. Rather alarmingly, according to a New York Times report, the Chinese regime is currently “collecting medical, health and genetic data around the world,” using “the intersection of technology and genetic and biological research as an area of competition and espionage.” China has repeatedly emphasized the importance of biology in future warfare. According to He Fuchu, a military medical scientist, the Chinese are busy working on “new brain-control weapons and equipment that interfere with and control human consciousness,” all in the hope of making “unmanned warfare possible.

Has China Already Won?

Commentary

The United States and China are engaged in a technological arms race. The country with the best artificial intelligence, quantum computing technologies, and cyber weapons will be best positioned to win the wars of tomorrow.

Which begs the question: Who looks likely to win these tech-infused wars?

According to Richard Silberglitt, a senior physical scientist at the RAND Corporation, although the United States remains the global technological leader, “China and the United States are now approaching parity, or in some cases, the United States is falling behind, in areas of close competition.”

In other words, the United States is in the lead, but China is catching up. If we look closer, it appears China has overtaken the United States in many key sectors.

In an effort to combat the threat from the Chinese regime, the U.S. National Intelligence and Security Center (NCSC) has prioritized the following five key sectors: AI, quantum computing, biotechnology, semiconductors, and autonomous systems.

According to the most recent NCSC report, these five sectors “produce technologies that may determine whether America remains the world’s leading superpower or is eclipsed by strategic competitors in the next few years.”

As the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) continues to employ various legal and illegal methods to overtake the United States, I ask this: Has the report arrived about five years too late?

In all five sectors, as I demonstrate below, China is already ahead.

Let’s start with AI. As the NCSC researchers noted, China already possesses “the might, talent, and ambition” to win the AI arms race.

Epoch Times Photo
Visitors look at an AI smart city system by iFLY at the 2018 International Intelligent Transportation Industry Expo in Hangzhou in China’s eastern Zhejiang Province on December 2018. (STR/AFP/Getty Images)

Nicolas Chaillan, who left his role as the U.S. Air Force’s first chief software officer in October last year, certainly agrees. Frustrated by the U.S. military’s lack of digital progress, he believes China has already won the AI race, blaming “stale” technology and bureaucratic red tape for the lack of innovation in the United States.

In an interview with Verdict, Michael Orme, senior analyst at GlobalData and a China specialist, echoed Chaillan’s concerns. Orme suggested that Beijing has already “leveraged its wealth of data and the surveillance state to gain AI supremacy.”

The two men appear to be correct. In 2021, China overtook the United States in AI journal citations. And for those who say citations aren’t everything, I agree. However, citations shouldn’t be overlooked.

Then, there’s quantum development, an area China is set to dominate. If China does achieve quantum supremacy, which looks increasingly likely, then the CCP will have the power to inflict further damage on U.S. national security. In July last year, a Chinese research team built the world’s most powerful quantum computer. In this game of high-tech chess, their creation, which surpassed Google’s 2019 creation, gives China the “quantum advantage.” More worryingly, with such advances, China looks set to create the world’s first unhackable internet communications network.

Furthermore, according to a report published by Booz Allen, a global leader in cyber solutions, China’s quantum developments will “eventually undermine all popular current public-key encryption methods, and plausibly boost the speed and power of artificial intelligence.”

The researchers warn that by the end of the decade, “Chinese threat groups will likely collect data that enables quantum simulators to discover new economically valuable materials, pharmaceuticals, and chemicals.”

The Booz Allen researchers added, “most of quantum computing’s potential lies more than a decade in the future—but risk management must start now.” The United States, the CCP’s number one enemy, should take note.

Epoch Times Photo
Technicians work at a genetic testing laboratory of BGI in Kunming, Yunnan Province, China, on Dec. 26, 2018. (Stringer/Reuters)

The third key sector is biotechnology. As a report published by Insider warned, Chinese biotech companies are among the most powerful in the world. The Chinese biotech industry has a global footprint, stretching from Uganda to the United States. In August of last year, the Chinese company BeiGene announced plans to build a 42-acre research and development center in New Jersey.

Rather alarmingly, according to a New York Times report, the Chinese regime is currently “collecting medical, health and genetic data around the world,” using “the intersection of technology and genetic and biological research as an area of competition and espionage.”

China has repeatedly emphasized the importance of biology in future warfare. According to He Fuchu, a military medical scientist, the Chinese are busy working on “new brain-control weapons and equipment that interfere with and control human consciousness,” all in the hope of making “unmanned warfare possible.”

The fourth key sector involves semiconductors. For the uninitiated, without semiconductors, using smartphones, laptops, washing machines, and refrigerators simply wouldn’t be possible. Essentially, semiconductors are the brains of electronic devices. Until recently, the United States fully controlled the supply of these “brains.”

Today, however, China is on the ascendancy. Last year alone, the number of Chinese semiconductor firms tripled. The metaverse, the next step in the evolution of the internet, will rely heavily on semiconductors, hence China’s desire to become a dominant force.

The final sector involves autonomous systems, such as self-driving cars and surveillance drones. Baidu, China’s equivalent to Google, is leading the self-driving race. Last year, the Chinese company launched the first ever paid driverless taxi service.

In the United States, meanwhile, self-driving vehicles are decades away from becoming a reality. China also leads the way in the manufacturing and sales of surveillance drones; the United States is one of its biggest customers. If this isn’t worrying enough, China recently created an autonomous weapon that, according to reports, “uses explosives to destroy enemy satellites.” As tensions heat up between China and the United States, one shouldn’t be surprised if American satellites become a primary target.

All, of course, is not lost. The United States is still a supreme force. However, its position as a world leader is being tested by the Chinese regime. As we move forward, expect the testing to increase in both frequency and force.

Views expressed in this article are the opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Epoch Times.


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John Mac Ghlionn is a researcher and essayist. His work has been published by the New York Post, The Sydney Morning Herald, Newsweek, National Review, and The Spectator US, among others. He covers psychology and social relations, and has a keen interest in social dysfunction and media manipulation.