The FBI’s director said that the U.S.’s biggest threat is China’s “Whole-of-society Approach” to stealing American innovation. Speaking at the Council of Foreign Relations on Friday, April 26, Christopher Wray said, “Put plainly, China seems determined to steal its way up the economic ladder, at our expense.”
Chief information officers from across the federal government are addressing the challenges of a demanding data-driven world by ramping up efforts to improve innovation. One of the greatest challenges is instilling a culture of change in the workplace, according to leaders from the U.S. Army, Department of Homeland Security and Office of the Director of National Intelligence at Tuesday's GDIT Emerge event in Washington, D.C.
Threats facing the United States are both known and unknown, dynamic and significant. China and Russia, competitors for global military and technological dominance, no longer trail the United States in developing and acquiring military capabilities. They are beginning to take the lead in strategic domains such as hypersonics, space and cyber warfare.
If technology is advancing crazy fast, why aren’t those advances showing up in the broader productivity and economic growth numbers? Or as economists Erik Brynjolfsson, Daniel Rock, and Chad Syverson describe this mystery in their 2017 paper “Artificial Intelligence and the Modern Productivity Paradox: A Clash of Expectations and Statistics:”
The trepidation surrounding artificial intelligence and machine learning hasn’t subsided. Many educators wonder how possible is it that machine learning could replace the tasks and jobs we’ve trained for, leaving many without employment? What happens when artificial intelligence takes over? The answer is that we will become more creative. As humans, we have characteristics that no machine will develop: empathy and innovation.
In the ’50s and ’60s, the US and the Soviet Union were locked in a race to send astronauts into space. The decade ended with a US victory, as it landed the first man on the moon in 1969. But now some want the space race to make a return. This time, the US is confronting another nation it sees as a rival: China, whose huge investment in technological innovation could potentially lead it to surpass the United States.
Why is it so important that the U.S. lead in AI? It’s a simple question, with a straightforward answer: AI promises major economic and societal benefits that the U.S. would be foolish to forfeit. PWC estimates that AI technologies could increase global GDP by $15.7 trillion by 2030, a 20 percent increase overall. The estimated increase for North America alone is an eye-popping $3.7 trillion; a 14.5 percent increase in GDP.
If China were only a copier, then the competitive threat to advanced economies would be limited. But there is no reason to believe China won’t follow the path of “Asian tigers” that rapidly evolved from copiers to innovators, which poses a serious threat.
Dubbed the “New Manhattan Project for Clean Energy Independence,” Alexander’s vision would see a doubling of clean energy research funding across DOE’s Office of Science over the next five years. The plan specifically calls for addressing 10 “Grand Challenges”: advanced nuclear, natural gas, carbon capture, electric vehicles, green buildings, batteries, solar power, fusion, advanced computing and energy research funding.
If you're a government -- say, the Chinese government -- looking to spur more innovation in your country, how do you do that? You can think of innovation as a ladder of sorts. It might start with imitation and then progress to adaptation, like tweaking a foreign idea to develop it for a local market. Finally, hopefully, you reach invention, perhaps even big, industry-changing ones.