December 08, 2017

China Is On a Whole-of-Nation Push for AI. The US Must Match It

By Elsa B. Kania

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.

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