China believe that information dominance is key to global power and are pouring billions into developing artificial intelligence and quantum computing. Three experts told a House Armed Services Committee at the beginning of January that China’s big technology strategy involves leading in the global race for quantum computing.

The news supports revelations made at the end of last year. In October 2017, one of the world’s largest technology conglomerates, Alibaba Group, announced its new DAMO Academy for fundamental and disruptive technology research at Alibaba Cloud’s Computing Conference 2017 in Hangzhou. The company is invest US$15 billion into the project, featuring a dozen top-notch international scientists working in quantum computing, machine learning, computer vision, natural language processing, cybersecurity, human-computer interaction, fintech, IoT, hardware, and more.

‘China Leading Quantum Race’

“In quantum, China may already be ahead,” William Carter, deputy director of the Technology Policy Program at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, claimed. “We find ourselves in a new era of competition with China” where Beijing is challenging the United States economically, militarily and politically. It is positioning itself as an innovator in technology, organization and doctrine.

Beijing is dictating developments from the top down in several areas selected by leadership. In the past, most technological advances were viewed as steps forward in only one area. The renewed focus is allowing China to forge ahead in the largely unexplored area of quantum computing, critical to future cryptography and communications. Beijing also is still “looking for gaps in our approach”, Carter claimed, with the idea to “disrupt and degrade our military capabilities.” Carter mentioned their advances in anti-satellite technology, electronic warfare and offensive and defensive cyber as examples of this.

National Quantum Strategies

“This whole of society approach,” tying private companies and the government together “to achieve dominance is not the only way to succeed” said Dean Cheng, of the Heritage Foundation’s Asia Studies Center. He cited the approach President Dwight Eisenhower adopted of letting innovation also rise up from a dynamic private sector that would, “push across new technologies driven by the profit motive” for use by the government.

Members of the Emerging Threats and Capabilities returned often to questions about quantum computing during the hearing. “Quantum goes beyond cyber” because it can be affect space capabilities, super-computing, virtual reality, directed energy, artificial intelligence and genomic understanding in human enhancement. That was a theme all agreed on.

All three also pointed out China as innovator as well as a borrower — legally and illegally — and buyer of advanced technologies. China’s “government is willing to develop and follow-through on long-term investment plans,” something the United States’ government and many American private companies do not, Paul Scharre, director of the National Security Program at the Center for New America Security said. He specifically mentioned genomics and biotechnology as areas where China is making these investments.

Cheng: “Beijing plans to spend $150 billion on AI research and development in the next decade”

This money attracts post-doctoral researchers in these fields with grants to come to China to work. It is also using its universities to attract these young men and women early.

As Beijing does this, “we do have a lot of barriers” to foreign students coming to the United States, remaining to do research in graduate school and pursue that as a career later here,” Cheng said.

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Reference: USNI News