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Opinion | America’s Risky Approach to Artificial Intelligence
October 7, 2019 | The New York Times | By Tim Wu
Mr. Wu is the author of “The Master Switch: The Rise and Fall of Information Empires.”

The brilliant 2014 science fiction novel “The Three-Body Problem,” by the Chinese writer Liu Cixin, depicts the fate of civilizations as almost entirely dependent on winning grand races to scientific milestones. Someone in China’s leadership must have read that book, for Beijing has made winning the race to artificial intelligence a national obsession, devoting billions of dollars to the cause and setting 2030 as the target year for world dominance. Not to be outdone, President Vladimir Putin of Russia recently declared that whoever masters A.I. “will become the ruler of the world.”..... if there is even a slim chance that the race to build stronger A.I. will determine the future of the world — and that does appear to be at least a possibility — the United States and the rest of the West are taking a surprisingly lackadaisical and alarmingly risky approach to the technology........The plan seems to be for the American tech industry, which makes most of its money in advertising and selling personal gadgets, to serve as champions of the West. Those businesses, it is hoped, will research, develop and disseminate the most important basic technologies of the future. Companies like Google, Apple and Microsoft are formidable entities, with great talent and resources that approximate those of small countries. But they don’t have the resources of large countries, nor do they have incentives that fully align with the public interest (JCK: that is, "business interests" vs. "public interest"]..... The history of computing research is a story not just of big corporate laboratories but also of collaboration and competition among civilian government, the military, academia and private players both big (IBM, AT&T) and small (Apple, Sun)......Some advocates of more A.I. research have called for a “Manhattan project” for A.I. — but that’s not the right model. The atomic bomb and the moon rocket were giant but discrete projects. In contrast, A.I. is a broad and vague set of scientific technologies that encompass not just recent trends in machine learning but also anything else designed to replicate or augment human cognition.....the United States government should broadly fund basic research and insist on broad dissemination..... the United States needs to support immigration laws that attract the world’s top A.I. talent. The history of breakthroughs made by start-ups also suggests the need for policies, like the enforcement of antitrust laws and the defense of net neutrality, that give small players a chance.... the computer scientist and entrepreneur Kai-Fu Lee, in his book “AI Superpowers: China, Silicon Valley, and the New World Order,” describes a race between China and Silicon Valley, as if the latter were the sum total of Western science in this area. In the future, when we look back at this period, we may come to regret the loss of a healthy balance between privately and publicly funded A.I. research in the West, and the drift of too much scientific and engineering talent into the private sector.
antitrust  ARPA  artificial_intelligence  Beijing  Bell_Labs  Big_Tech  business_interests  China  China_Rising  FAANG  high-risk  immigration  industrial_policies  Kai-Fu_Lee  Manhattan_project  publicly_funded  R&D  risks  science_fiction  Silicon_Valley  talent  Tim_Wu  Vladimir_Putin  Xerox 
october 2019 by jerryking
Opinion: Ottawa seems to be out of ideas on devising a new kind of China policy
JUNE 19, 2019 | The Globe and Mail | by DAVID MULRONEY. SPECIAL TO THE GLOBE AND
David Mulroney was Canada’s ambassador to China from 2009 to 2012.

A new approach is needed to managing Canada’s relationship with China – one that’s alive to Canadian vulnerabilities as well as our national interests.....There are many smart reasons for engaging China, but flattering the leadership in Beijing isn’t one of them. Good ideas emerge from hard thinking about long-term Canadian interests. Even summoning the vision and courage to think strategically would mark a significant improvement over our current China policy, which appears to be conjured up from equal measures of wishful thinking and parliamentary politics.....Thinking strategically requires asking why China is being so assertive, (e.g. building a blue-water navy, militarizing rocks and shoals in the South China Sea)....These are part of a patient and persistent Chinese effort to push the U.S. out of Asia and achieve regional dominance – and that is clearly not in Canada’s interest. The U.S.’s commitment to Asia enabled regional balance and, with it, peace and rising prosperity. More to the point, a China-dominated Asia would hardly be friendly to Canadian values and ideas.
(1) Abandon our current policy of “comprehensive engagement” – the notion that we should say yes to just about anything related to China. Cancel the commitment of $256-million over five years to the Beijing-based Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank.
(2) reassessment of our relationship with Taiwan.
(3) move from talking about human rights in China to actually doing something about them. We normally count on the United Nations to address major human-rights abuses, but the UN, anxious to avoid offending Beijing, has been silent in the face of the government’s mass detention of Uyghurs and its brutal assault on their religion, language and culture.
(4) do the same for China’s beleaguered Tibetans. Canada’s commitment would be a welcome signal to both communities that they haven’t been forgotten.
(5) investment at home, too. Put more money into domestic security, combatting Chinese interference more effectively. And we shouldn’t be afraid to name and shame perpetrators when we discover examples of meddling; Beijing won’t like it, but it will also probably tone down its more egregious activities.
(6) invest in China competence in Ottawa, where the commodity is alarmingly scarce. Future leaders in key departments, in the security agencies and in the Canadian Forces need to be far more aware of how China works and how it thinks. This isn’t about agreeing with China, but about understanding it – something that we’re having a hard time doing at present. To do so, Ottawa should create a special “China School” that not only offers language training but also exposes top people across government to the best thinking on China’s politics, economics and security issues.
AIIB  Beijing  bootcamps  Canada  Canada-China_relations  Canadian_Forces  China  China_rising  David_Mulroney  DND  human_rights  ideas  idea_generation  maritime  national_interests  op-ed  policymaking  policymakers  political_staffers  reinvention  security_&_intelligence  South_China_Sea  strategic_thinking  Taiwan  Tibet  Uyghurs  values  wishful_thinking 
june 2019 by jerryking
China Squeezes Foreigners for Share of Global Riches - WSJ.com
DECEMBER 29, 2010 | WSJ | By SHAI OSTER, NORIHIKO SHIROUZU
And PAUL GLADER. China's big government-backed companies now have
enormous financial resources and growing political clout, making them
attractive partners outside China. In addition, the Chinese market has
become so important to the success of multinational companies that
Beijing has the ability to drive harder bargains.

But such deals also carry risk. Several earlier joint ventures inside
China have soured over concerns that Chinese partners, after gaining
access to Western technology and know-how, have gone on to become potent
new rivals to their partners.
Beijing  China  deception  economic_clout  GE  joint_ventures  multinationals  political_clout  predatory_practices  rivalries  SOEs 
december 2010 by jerryking
China debates its brashness
Aug. 19, 2010 | Globe & Mail | Frank Ching. "In another
sign of Chinese assertiveness, Song Xiaojun, a Chinese military
commentator with China Central TV, said Beijing is ready to take over as
the “world’s policeman” if Washington is no longer able to discharge
this role. Despite this outpouring of nationalistic sentiment, there
are moderate voices arguing that China should continue to keep a low
profile and not become arrogant."..."Ye Hailin, a researcher with the
Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, warned against arrogance in an
online article in the People’s Daily headlined “Narcissism poisons the
people.” The Chinese, he said, “are no longer modest. They talk about
Seoul and Tokyo with contempt, and even boast Beijing and Shanghai, the
two biggest Chinese cities, could soon match NYC and Paris.” The
problem, as Mr. Ye saw it, was that some Chinese can’t stand criticism.
He and other scholars raise a question: Is the world misunderstanding
China, or is China itself to blame?"
Frank_Chin  China  China_rising  PLA  Beijing  scholars  hubris  narcissism  assertiveness  misunderstandings  readiness 
august 2010 by jerryking
Imagining What China Looks Like - International
Aug 16 2010 | - The Atlantic | James Fallows. My standard
"learning to live with China" pitch includes exhortations for foreigners
actually to go and spend serious time there -- and as much time as
possible away from Shanghai and Beijing and other cities with
superficially "familiar"-seeming areas. The reason is that the place is
so huge, so varied, and so contradictory that, unless you have much more
robust imaginative powers than I do, it's hard really to sense how it
can be simultaneously so rich and so poor, so strong and so fragile, so
advanced and so undeveloped, so controlled and so chaotic, without
seeing for yourself.
Beijing  China  James_Fallows  Shanghai 
august 2010 by jerryking
China Flexes Its Muscles - WSJ.com
JANUARY 2, 2008 |Wall Street Journal | by GORDON G. CHANG.
Deng Xiaoping believed that the country should "bide time" and keep a
low profile in international affairs. Deng's successor, Jiang Zemin,
followed this general approach. Current President Hu Jintao has shifted
China in a new direction, restructuring the international system to be
more to Beijing's liking. The belief is that Beijing has embarked on a
path of high-profile force projection, possibly in areas "way beyond the
Taiwan Strait."
China  China_rising  U.S._Navy  Beijing  PLA  foreign_policy  international_system 
march 2010 by jerryking
In the Land Of Bok Choy, Spam Hits the Spot - WSJ.com
FEBRUARY 8, 2005 | Wall Street Journal | By ANDREW BROWNE,
Staff Reporter of THE WALL STREET JOURNAL. Entrepreneur in China Builds
Business Catering To Expatriate Appetites
China  expatriates  entrepreneur  food  Beijing 
march 2010 by jerryking

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