May 03, 2022

How AI Would - and Wouldn't - Factor Into a U.S.-Chinese War

This article was originally published by War on the Rocks.

In March, a largely overlooked, 90-page Government Accountability Office study revealed something interesting: This summer, the Pentagon is getting a new AI Strategy.

Between shaping ethical norms for AI and establishing a new Chief Data and AI Officer, it’s clear top brass have big plans for the technology, though the report is light on the details. Released in 2018, the last AI Strategy laid the scaffolding for the U.S. military’s high-tech competition with China. But over the past four years one thing has become apparent: The United States needs a balanced approach to AI investment — one that doesn’t simply guard against threats, but also imposes costs on a Chinese force that sees AI as the key to victory.

The United States must be prepared to degrade and counter the People’s Liberation Army’s evolving suite of AI systems.

Undoubtedly, a military conflict between the United States and China would be catastrophic, and every effort must be taken to avoid such an outcome through diplomatic means. Still, “thinking about the unthinkable” is necessary for U.S. defense planners to prioritize investments and identify potential deficiencies in U.S. force posture and readiness. It’s worthwhile, then, to consider a worst-case situation where, within the decade, the U.S. and Chinese militaries become embroiled in large-scale combat in or around the Indo-Pacific.

Read the full article from War on the Rocks.

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