National technology investment strategies are hard to define let alone pass through complicated legislative bodies, like the US Congress, even when there’s a declared war that threatens a country’s financial and economic competitiveness. The war for global leadership in artificial intelligence and machine learning is well underway, and the US is poised to lose perhaps the most important technology war in its history.
Is the AI war well-understood? Not even close, at least not by the “leaders” who develop national strategies or by the citizens of the United States – who all need to spend some time on https://willrobotstakemyjob.com. While I searched and searched, I could not find a single political candidate in the recent US mid-term elections who discussed AI, the AI war, or how the US will likely lose the war unless a massive strategic pivot occurs immediately. Since they’re mostly unaware of the war, US leaders have no strategies to prevent an historic loss: imagine the implications of electing politicians who have no idea a deadly war is underway.
So what’s going on?
AI/machine learning/deep learning (let’s call it all “AI”) are the new digital weapons – which, by the way, the US Department of Defense discovered decades ago. While we could certainly examine the importance of AI in global military and economic warfare, no one can argue that AI is unimportant. In fact, it’s at least a 9 or any imaginable 10-point scale. I give it an easy 10. So do lots of others who research technology trends and technology adoption, especially those who track indicators of national success.
The Chinese have a very public, very-deep, extremely well-funded commitment to AI. Air Force General VeraLinn Jamieson says it plainly: “We estimate the total spending on artificial intelligence systems in China in 2017 was $12 billion. We also estimate that it will grow to at least $70 billion by 2020.” According to the Obama White House Report in 2016, China publishes more journal articles on deep learning than the US and has increased its number of AI patents by 200%. China is determined to be the world leader in AI by 2030.