China has gathered 120 researchers for its top research institute as part of a push to develop military applications for artificial intelligence and quantum technology.

More than 95 percent of the new recruits enlisted into the academy hold PhD degrees and are highly specialised in certain fields, particularly AI  and quantum technology.

Analysts claim the recruitment strategy is intended to enhance China’s research institutes in a mission to become a military tech superpower. President Xi Jinping has also launched an overhaul and modernisation of the country’s military and he said in a speech given to the military science academy last July that China should aim at building world-class military technology institutes.

Quantum Research Facility

The news comes after the summer announcement that China plans to build the world’s biggest quantum research facility.

The National Laboratory for Quantum Information Science will be located on a 37-hectare site next to a small lake in Hefei, Anhui province. Some time this month developers will be invited to bid for a contract to construct the site, according to an article in Hefei Evening News, a daily newspaper run by the city government on Thursday.

This centre could boost the military’s code-breaking ability and navigation of stealth submarines.

China Invests $10 Billion to build a national quantum technology research center

Military Tech Superpower

Collin Koh, a military expert at the maritime security programme at the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies in Singapore, said: “PLA quests in these tech fields are motivated by the US or the West in general. “China has a long-term desire to be on a par with these leaders in military tech, both for national defence purposes and to position itself also as a global arms supplier.”

“China’s quest into these military tech fields is also in line with its military strategy and posture, which looks at nullifying via asymmetrical means the general US military superiority in envisaged regional flash points such as the Taiwan Strait,” he claimed.

University of Science and Technology of China

A group led Pan Jianwei at the University of Science and Technology of China is one of the teams heading China’s research into quantum technology. The research can involve developing applications that take advantage of scientists’ increasing understanding of how the world works at a subatomic level, through particles smaller than atoms and electrons.

“Quantum technology could be game changing and the successful integration of quantum technology with China’s regular military forces could profoundly change the regional security balance, which is already moving towards Beijing’s favour,” said Ho. “While the full promise of quantum technology has yet to be realised, China is doing it right to explore assiduously the potential of this technology.”

Reference: South China Morning Post