Many American circles are increasingly concerned about China’s technological advances, and a new report released by Harvard University indicates that China’s technological advances in several vital areas have surpassed the traditional American leadership.
Two months ago, Bill Burns, the director of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), announced that the agency would create two major new “important centers”, one focused on China and the other on advanced technology.
These actions reflect Washington’s belief that China “is the most important geopolitical threat facing the United States in the 21st century,” and that “it will be the main arena for competition and competition between their advanced technologies.”
The question Americans need to ask is: Can China win the technology race? Hence the new report on “Great Technological Competitiveness” issued by the Belfer Center at Harvard University to try to answer this question.
The report concluded that China has made such extraordinary progress that it is now a full-fledged competitor to the United States in each of the key fundamental technologies of the 21st century, such as artificial intelligence, semiconductors, wireless and quantum information science, biotechnology and green energy.
Indeed, China has made progress in some of these areas and has overtaken the United States as it continues its quest for leadership in the rest of the areas in which the United States continues to lead.
China’s determination to excel
Chinese President Xi Jinping has on several occasions reiterated that “technological innovation has become the major battlefield in the global arena, and the competition for technological dominance will intensify.”
To this end, the Chinese president called for “the development of the capabilities of the Chinese, the reduction of dependence on foreign technologies and the promotion of domestic emerging technologies.”
To this end, the Chinese government’s latest five-year plan sets key performance indicators in the technology sector, deadlines for achieving some results, and holds provincial and local governments accountable for achieving the results, according to the Harvard University report.
The Chinese Communist Party made no secret of its ambitions. China aims to become the world leader in the technologies that will shape the coming decades.
The party’s economic reform plan for 2018 highlighted technological innovation as a way to prevent it from falling into default as a middle-income country. The party’s initiative known as “Made in China 2025” aims to dominate the technological production of 10 emerging technologies, including 5G networks, artificial intelligence and electric motors.
Eric Schmidt, the former head of Google, notes that “many Americans still have an old vision of China,” saying that “the United States is now facing a Chinese economic and military rival aggressively trying to close any technology gap. in our favor. “
Let American attention
The US strategic evaluations did not pay attention to the end of the second millennium and the beginning of the third millennium for the Chinese rise. In 2000, the U.S. National Academics of Science, Engineering, and Medicine presented future estimates for the coming decades in which they largely predicted all the progress and development the world has seen.
Those estimates indicated that “the uniquely strong American system drives the creation of new knowledge, and that this system was the main driving force of development in the 20th century, and likewise will be the greatest factor in the developments of the 21st century.” U.S. reviews did not address the seriousness and strength of China’s rise in technology under a strict communist regime.
Then, after the emergence of the characteristics of the Chinese uprising, Washington looked at an attempt to integrate Beijing into the existing world order it leads. At a time when doubts about China’s intentions were growing, there was a rare two-party consensus in Washington that America’s global supremacy was in jeopardy.
The most important areas of competition
Over the past few years, China has been able to advance in several key technological areas at such a rapid pace that U.S. observers have been surprised. China has become a serious competitor in the 21st century fundamental technologies such as artificial intelligence, 5G technology, quantum information science (QIS), semiconductors, biotechnology and green energy.
Last year, China produced 50% of the world’s computers and cell phones, while the United States produced only 6%. China sells 4 times the number of electric cars sold in the US, and has 9 times the number of base stations for 5G networks, with network speeds 5 times the speed of the US equivalent.
And in the advanced technology that is likely to have the biggest impact on the economy and security in the next decade – artificial intelligence – China is ahead of the United States in critical areas.
A report released by the National Security Committee in the spring of 2021 warned that China was ready to overtake the United States as the number one spot in artificial intelligence by 2030.
The Harvard University report adds that China is now clearly ahead of the United States in practical applications of artificial intelligence, including face recognition, voice recognition and financial technology.
While the United States still enjoys a dominant position in the semiconductor industry, which it has held for almost half a century, China may soon catch up with two important tracks: semiconductor manufacturing and chip design.
China’s semiconductor production exceeded that of the United States, as its share of world production now rose to 15%, from less than 1% in 1990, while the United States’ share decreased from 37% in 1990 to 12% today. .
Americans began to pay attention to the reality of the seriousness of Chinese technological competition. Last June, the Senate approved the Innovation and Competition Act with two-party support, authorizing $ 250 billion in investment in science and technology over the next five years.
Recent spending proposals by Congress, such as the $ 1.2 billion infrastructure bill and $ 1.7 billion social spending package, have included investments in research and development in areas such as green technology and energy storage.
While these investments are in high demand, more attention and investment in strategic technology is needed to compete with China.
Unless the United States, the report says, can orchestrate a national response similar to the mobilization created by the technologies that won World War II, China may soon dominate the technologies of the future and the opportunities it will create.