We Do Not Have Time to Worry About China
By Ron Munden — 3/15/2021
Last week a wrote an article titled, “United States on the Verge of Losing Its Technological Superiority”
The article focused exclusively on Eric Schmidt, former CEO of Google, interview by Fareed Zakaria. Mr. Schmidt is the chairman of the National Security Commission on Artificial Intelligence. This blue ribbon committee, composed of 15 people, was tasked to do an assessment of the role of AI in the future and the United States position in the field.
As I aways do I posted a lead to the article on facebook along with the link. As expected very few people clicked on the link. Based on 15 years of experience, I was not surprised. “Tits” alway out sell “science” – particularly in Texas.
What was surprising is none of the posts linked to the article were related to science. Hell – they weren’t even related to tits. Every one of the posts was a political statement; none addressed anything discussed in the article.
When I wrote the article I was careful to focus exclusively on science and engineering.
This really valids a concern that I believe Mr. Schmidt has. He stressed the urgent need to move now if the US has any hope of winning this race with China — politics will ensure that the US comes out on the losing end.
Unfortunately, there is other evidence that politics will lose the technology competition with China. Look at how the US handled COVID-19.
The United States has had more deaths from C-19 and more cases of C-19 than any other country in the world. I believe the major reason for this is that we made addressing C-19 a political issue not a science issue. 15 years ago who would have thought wearing a mask would be considered a political statement. Government entities lined up against each other based on their political leaning.
We could have done much better fighting C-19 if we had been driven by science and politics had stayed on the sidelines.
Sure over 500,000 people in this country are dead from C-19 but that is small potatoes compared to what is at stake in the AI competition with China. In my opinion this competition is even more important than addressing climate change.I say this because based on all I read the results AI competition will be determined in the 10 to 20 year timeframe. The critical dipping point of addressing climate change is in the 40 to 50 year range. After that point we will be on a downhill slope that can’t be reversed.
If the US loses the race to remain the technology superpower in the world and China replaces us, they will be the dominant economic powerhouse within 30 years and able to dictate how nations like the US address climate change. So China policy, not US policy, will dictate the approach for addressing climate change in the critical stage.
This country is in a high stakes game and we are not in a position to win the war. A country in the middle of a civil war is not positioned well to win a foreign war at the same time. So I believe the winner of the AI competition has already been decided.