A silent war is being raged and the front lines are the desktops of young geniuses fighting in the Artificial Intelligence arms race. Recently, a research arm of the US intelligence community finished a competition to find the best facial recognition technology.
The competition finalist was a Chinese start-up company called Yitu Tech winning first place and receiving a $25,000 grand prize. The second and third place winners also received a cash prize. The challenge the competition was based on was to identify as many passengers as possible who were boarding an aircraft ramp.
This is just one example out of many highlighted in a new report by a US-based think tank about how China's rapidly advancing artificial intelligence technology may be leveraged to their military's benefit by modernizing soldiers or any other edge the technology may lend against the United States.
The report written by Elsa Kania at the Center for a New American Security (CNAS) is due to be released Tuesday and in it, she draws attention to an important fact. "China is no longer in a position of technological inferiority relative to the United States but rather has become a true peer (competitor) that may have the capability to overtake the United States in AI," Kania said.
The report goes on to say future advances in AI could "could alter future economic and military balances of power." An Executive Chairman at Alphabet Inc named Eric Schmidt agrees and recently issued a similar warning about China's potential at a meeting in Washington.
"I’m assuming that our lead will continue over the next five years, and that China will catch up extremely quickly. So, in five years we’ll kind of be at the same level, possibly," Schmidt said. China isn't ignorant of this fact either and the China's People's Liberation Army is investing heavily in a range of AI-related projects and research.
A report from the PLA research institutes who are partnering with the Chinese defense industry said, "The PLA anticipates that the advent of AI could fundamentally change the character of warfare." They are very aware of the potential that AI advancements can offer and almost certainly, much like the internet, one day we will be faced with an AI that is smarter than the smartest person and the applications are limitless.
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