NY Times takes a look at how the United States may be losing its edge in military technology as today's new technologies increasingly originate from consumer electronics firms. One of the hottest research areas of today is artificial intelligence and the newspaper highlights China is building up a lead in this area, as companies like Internet giant Baidu and government labs are making major investments in AI.
The advance of the Chinese was underscored last month when Qi Lu, a veteran Microsoft artificial intelligence specialist, left the company to become chief operating officer at Baidu, where he will oversee the company’s ambitious plan to become a global leader in A.I.
And last year, Tencent, developer of the mobile app WeChat, a Facebook competitor, created an artificial intelligence research laboratory and began investing in United States-based A.I. companies.
Rapid Chinese progress has touched off a debate in the United States between military strategists and technologists over whether the Chinese are merely imitating advances or are engaged in independent innovation that will soon overtake the United States in the field.
By adopting artificial intelligence, armies can create more advanced weapons that are remote-controlled or require no human actions at all. One early example of such a weapon is the L.R.A.S.M. (Long Range Anti-Ship Missile) from Lockheed Martin, a semiautonomous missile that uses AI to avoid defenses and make final targeting decisions. Similarly, state-owned Chinese media reported last summer that China is working on a cruise missile system with a high degree of artificial intelligence.
You can read the full piece over here.