Monday, August 26, 2019

US vs China - Tech War : The Battle for High Tech Supremacy

The real war between America and China is not the trade war or the military war , it is the tech war , the mother of all wars , and which will eventually determine the outcome of all other wars . The Huawei case clearly shows that global economic networks have entered the realm of geo-strategy. today not only China leads the US in AI and 5G, it also leads in quantum computing. America is losing its technological supremacy. China is poised to lead on AI, 5G and quantum computing, while its firms are increasingly dominant in consumer-facing platforms, from e-commerce and online payments to social media and gaming. American and Chinese technologies necessarily embody different value systems; understanding both will be essential to navigating the social and geopolitical consequences of technological progress. The battle for high-tech supremacy between the US and China ranges from ,lasers, hypersonic weaponry, and advanced unmanned systems for the military, to artificial intelligence, robotics, quantum computers and even driverless cars in the civilian sector. One is transparently clear: whoever wins this struggle will become the dominant superpower in the 21st century; and one of the most decisive contests will be over 5G wireless. China has already won the critical engagement in the conflict between Washington and Beijing China has triggered a global network effect that begins with the domination of ultra-fast wireless broadband and extends to e-commerce, finance, logistics and transportation – the means to commercialize the labor of billions of people in the Global South. China’s lead in 5G also gives it a head start in a vast array of industrial and consumer applications. Of these applications, the one that most unnerves the American security establishment is quantum cryptography, a technology pioneered by China that is theoretically unhackable. America’s trade deficit with China is a minor issue next to the tech war the United States is losing. China’s biggest exports to the United States are consumer electronics, products that the United States lacks the skills and supply chain to make, and doesn’t want to make, because the labor is paid below American standards. The US has lost the first decisive engagement of the economic war with China. To my knowledge, Washington has no plans to revive American production of key technologies, nor any plans to put the resources into R&D that would enable the US to counter China’s advantage in some key technologies. China has invested billions of dollars in recent years to develop the civilian and military applications of emerging technologies such as 5G, semiconductors, microchips, artificial intelligence (AI), quantum computing and others to transform the country from an assembly line of low tech manufactured goods into the preeminent economic and technological power manufacturing high tech goods. China will be the world leader in these technologies in a few years . China has made an early start in setting up the 5G infrastructure and decided to roll out this technology from 2020, the second country after South Korea. In AI, China has progressed in facial and image recognition, manufacturing drones and robots; on the military side, China is researching air, land, sea and undersea autonomous and semi-autonomous vehicles which can assist in reconnaissance and attacks on enemy aircraft and vessels. China’s army is trying to use advances in quantum radar and sensing to gain advantages in stealth technology. Its navy is trying to develop a quantum compass for its submarines which would not require satellite based navigation. China’s advantages in blockchain applications is highlighted by major start-up innovation in digital currency, as two-thirds of bitcoin’s global infrastructure has been set up on the mainland. The People’s Bank of China, the country’s central bank, has also reportedly completed its trials for a national digital currency. Meanwhile, as Beijing began to build up speed, the United States government was slowing to a walk. After President Trump took office, the Obama-era reports on AI were relegated to an archived website. In March 2017, Treasury secretary Steven Mnuchin said that the idea of humans losing jobs because of AI “is not even on our radar screen.” It might be a threat, he added, in “50 to 100 more years.” That same year, China committed itself to building a $150 billion AI industry by 2030. Only slowly, pushed mainly by the Pentagon, has the Trump administration begun to talk about, and fund, national AI initiatives. In May, secretary of defense James Mattis read an article in The Atlantic by Henry Kissinger, who warned that AI was moving so quickly it could soon subvert human intelligence and creativity. The result, he warned, could be the end of the Enlightenment; he called for a government commission to study the issue. But if the Trump White House was relatively slow to grasp the significance and potential of AI, it was quick to rivalry. By midsummer, talk of a “new cold war arms race” over artificial intelligence was pervasive in the US media. At the dawn of a new stage in the digital revolution, the world’s two most powerful nations are rapidly retreating into positions of competitive isolation, like players across a Go board. And what’s at stake is not just the technological dominance of the United States. The tech sanctions the US has imposed on China — restrictions on US exports to more than 140 Chinese companies on Washington’s “entity list” — were framed as punishment for wrongdoing. Beijing sees them as aggression born of fear that China will become the world’s technological leader.  “Technological innovation is the root of life for businesses,” Xi said on May 22 during a visit to Jiangxi province, state-run news agency Xinhua reported. “Only if we own our own intellectual property and core technologies, can we then make products with core competitiveness and [we] won’t be beaten in intensifying competition.” Many have concluded that the real source of tension between the US and China is not just a trade imbalance, but rather the issue of whether China has the right to develop its own, home-grown hi-tech industry. The Claims that Chinese can't invent and all they do is stealing our technology are US propaganda. China is actually leading in patent filing. Boy, America is in for one big surprise.

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