June 14, 2018

New Frontiers of Chinese Defense Innovation: Artificial Intelligence and Quantum Technologies

By Elsa B. Kania

Will the Chinese military succeed in advancing new frontiers of defense innovation? China has already emerged as a powerhouse in artificial intelligence and quantum technologies. The continued advances in these dual-use technologies may be leveraged for military applications pursuant to a national strategy of military-civil fusion. At this point, the trajectory of technological developments is uncertain, and considerable challenges remain to the actualization of deeper fusion of China’s defense and commercial sectors. However, if successful, China’s ambitions to lead in these strategic technologies could enable it to pioneer new paradigms of military power.

US–China strategic competition is intensifying at a time when a range of emerging technologies are poised to change the character of future conflict, perhaps even disrupting the current military balance. The recent trajectory of Chinese military modernization has enabled the Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) to achieve rapid advances and become a near-peer competitor to the United States. Increasingly, the PLA is not only seeking to catch up, but instead also competing in new frontiers of military power, even looking to leap ahead of the United States in future military competition. Xi Jinping has called for the advancement of military innovation, declaring that the PLA will emerge as a, perhaps even the, “world-class” (世界一流) military by mid-century. Chinese leaders recognize that the pursuit of innovation in strategic technologies, particularly artificial intelligence (AI), is critical to achieve future competitive advantage.


Read the Full Article at the Institute for Global Conflict and Cooperation

  • Commentary
    • May 11, 2022
    Sharper: The Authoritarianism Challenge

    Autocratic leadership is on the rise globally. Even in democratic nations, leaders are eroding checks on their power and weakening institutions. The use of illiberal technolog...

    By Anna Pederson

  • Podcast
    • May 9, 2022
    The role of drones in Russia’s Ukraine invasion

    Russia’s invasion of Ukraine is very visibly sending thousands of missiles and rounds of artillery at buildings, malls and homes across the democratic country. But not so visi...

    By Samuel Bendett

  • Commentary
    • Foreign Affairs
    • May 9, 2022
    Can Ukraine’s Military Keep Winning?

    Ukraine’s military has undergone a radical transformation over the past eight years, thanks to intensive reorganization and reform efforts and billions of dollars in Western s...

    By Margarita "Rita" Konaev & Polina Beliakova

  • Podcast
    • May 8, 2022
    Twilight Struggle: Cold War Lessons for US-China Today

    On the latest episode of Jordan Schneider's ChinaTalks, Hal Brands, professor at the Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies and the author of The Tw...

    By Emily Jin & Jordan Schneider

View All Reports View All Articles & Multimedia