Eric Schmidt, Executive Chairman, Alphabet Inc. (Google) and Chair, Defense Innovation Board, stated he believed that:
“These Chinese people are good… It’s pretty simple. By 2020, they will have caught up; by 2025, they will be better than us; and by 2030, they will dominate the industries of AI.” (Eric Schmidt, Artificial Intelligence and Global Security Summit, CNAS, 1 Nov 2017)
Meanwhile, he praised the capacity of China to develop a national strategy with corresponding public funding to reach this aim, whilst contrasting the inability of the U.S. to have such a national and collective purpose.
Considering the growing emphasis on artificial intelligence globally, its exponential integration within all devices across sectors, from civilian including finance to military domains, a Chinese leadership in AI then dominance would most probably further consecrate the decline of the U.S. to the status of a major power among others.
Early signals of this American loss of power in terms of science, innovation and technology have been apparent since at least December 2014 (see 11 December 2014 Weekly Scan, “The U.S. under Threat”).
Will the U.S. be able to stem this declining tide? Which strategies will the various actors concerned deploy? What will be the political and geopolitical impacts not only of this increasingly obvious American decline but also of Chinese highly possible dominance in terms of AI, among other technological developments? How threatening will the leadership of China in terms of AI be perceived? What would mean escalating tensions between China and the U.S. involving AI and how would they play out?These are critical uncertainties that must be part of our agenda.
Eric Schmidt, the top dog at Google’s parent company Alphabet, warned that China was on track to surpass the US in artificial intelligence by 2025 and to ‘dominate the industry’ by 2030 – unless American minds change their approach. The comments came in response to Beijing outlining their artificial intelligence strategy.