China has made no secret of its ambitions to lead the world in artificial intelligence, nor of the military and geopolitical advantage it hopes to gain from this rapidly advancing technology. A closer look at Beijing’s whole-of-nation AI strategy shows the challenge to the United States — and suggests what America must do lest it be eclipsed in this latest round of great-power competition.
China’s vision came into focus over the summer with the release of the New Generation AI Development Plan, which articulatesan ambitious agenda to “lead the world” in the field. Chinese leaders, no longer content to copy Western technologies, are aiming to become the world’s “premier AI innovation center,” advancing an “innovation-driven” strategy for civilian and military development.
The implementation of this agenda will be a whole-of-government endeavor involving 15 central agencies and a growing number of local governments. Their efforts will foster the growth of a robust AI industry and ecosystem and pour billions into longer-term research and development of next-generation technologies. The plan will tap the dynamism of national tech champions, such as Baidu, Alibaba, Tencent, and iFlytek, that have been leading China’s AI revolution.
Read the full commentary in Defense One.
More from CNAS
CommentaryArtificial Intel: Time Is Not On America’s Side
The United States reached a crucial milestone on its road to crafting a true national strategy for artificial intelligence (AI) this week. On Monday, the National Security Com...
By Martijn Rasser
CommentaryIn Search of Ideas: The National Security Commission on Artificial Intelligence Wants You
Americans don’t want to grow old wondering what happened to their country’s place in the world. U.S. global leadership has fostered international institutions, strengthened hu...
By Robert O. Work & Eric Schmidt
PodcastWhat Could Possibly Go Wrong?
War has been a driver of breakthrough technology for a long time. The first waves of artificial intelligence and even the internet came out of DARPA, a defense agency whose or...
By Paul Scharre, Richard Danzig, Arati Prabhakar & Jonathan Wilson
Video2019 Drell Lecture: Autonomous Weapons and the Future of War
On April 30, 2019, CNAS Technology and National Security Program Director Paul Scharre delivered the 2019 Drell Lecture on the campus of Stanford University. Scharre's remarks...
By Paul Scharre