Experts have warned that America is falling behind China in key technologies

A meeting of current and former US officials and private sector officials in Washington on Friday raised concerns that the United States is lagging behind China in the development of several key technologies and that it faces a future that other countries may oppose. Historical dominance in the development of modern communication and computer technology.

The meeting was called by a special competition research project, an effort led by former Google CEO Eric Schmidt, with the goal of “getting America organized and able to win the techno-economic race between now and 2030. A window to shape the future.”

Among those in attendance, there were expressions of concern over whether the crowd could win the tournament.

Bad predictions

A few days before the conference, S.S.P.S. A report predicts what would happen if China became the world’s technology leader.

“Understanding the problem requires imagining a world in which an authoritarian state controls the digital infrastructure, dominates the world’s technology platforms, controls the production methods for critical technologies, and uses general-purpose technologies such as biotech and new energy technologies to transform society, the economy, and the military,” the report says. .

FILE – Chinese President Xi Jinping speaks at the World Internet Conference in Wuzhen, Zhejiang province, China, Nov. 23, 2020.

The report suggests that China, not the US, will hold the trillions of dollars in new technological advances and use the potential to promote democracy, not democracy.

In the report’s grim view, China is promoting a “sovereign” concept of the Internet, in which each country restricts the flow of information to its own people and China develops and controls key technology that supports the critical infrastructure of countries around the world.

Finally, the report warns that in such a situation, the US military will lose its technological leadership over China and other competitors, and China may cut off the supply of “microelectronics and other critical technological resources.”

‘Nothing is inevitable’

White House National Security Adviser Jack Sullivan, speaking at the conference, seemed to agree that the country faces a major challenge with China in the development of new technologies.

“We know that nothing is inevitable to maintain America’s core strength and competitiveness in the world,” Sullivan said. “And we know it needs to be renewed, renewed and stewarded, and that’s especially true when it comes to America’s technology leadership.”

In China, he said, “we are facing a competitor that is determined to overtake US technological leadership and is willing to devote unlimited resources to do so.”

FILE - Biden's White House national security adviser Jack Sullivan speaks during the White House's daily briefing in Washington, Oct. 26, 2021.

FILE – Biden’s White House national security adviser Jack Sullivan speaks during the White House’s daily briefing in Washington, Oct. 26, 2021.

But Sullivan said President Joe Biden’s administration is aware of the threat and is working to address it. In particular, Sullivan mentioned the recent passage of the CHIPS Act, which directs more than $50 billion to establish advanced microchip manufacturing facilities in the US.

“We’re making unprecedented investments that will put us back on track to lead the industry of the future,” Sullivan said. “We’re doubling down on our efforts to become the world’s top tech talent magnet. We’ve adapted our technology portfolio to new geopolitical realities. And most importantly, we’ve done it in an inclusive, empowering way. Multiply and align with our values.”

“Not fast enough.”

Retired Army General H.R. McMaster, who served as national security adviser during the Trump administration, was also present at the conference. He said that he should speed up the process.

“It’s not going fast, because we’re so far behind, because there have been so many years of intolerance based on misguided assumptions about the nature of the post-Cold War world,” McMaster said.

He called for more active efforts to curb China’s technological progress, saying, “We need export controls now so that China doesn’t get an exclusive advantage.” [while] Maintaining our competitive advantage”.

Asked about US export controls this week, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Mao Ning has repeatedly criticized China’s efforts to hinder US technology development.

“America is only doing ‘cytech-technology,'” she said. “It wants to use its technological prowess as an advantage to hinder and stifle the development of emerging markets and developing countries. With a level playing field and a so-called ‘rules-based system,’ the US is only concerned about ‘America first.'” And he believes it will be right. America probably hopes that China and the rest of the developing world will remain at the bottom end of the industrial chain. This is not constructive. “

5G as a warning

A recurring theme at the event was the development of 5G wireless Internet technology, in which Western countries, including the United States, are far behind China. With favorable treatment from Beijing, Chinese companies, especially Huawei, have developed a dominant global position in the supply of 5G network equipment.

FILE - The 5G logo is seen on a screen outside a display room at the Huawei campus in Shenzhen city, China's Guangdong province.

FILE – The 5G logo is seen on a screen outside a display room at the Huawei campus in Shenzhen city, China’s Guangdong province.

Concerned that Chinese-made equipment serving as the backbone of sensitive communications technology could pose a spying or security risk, the US and some of its allies have launched a global campaign to block Huawei’s equipment from being installed, even as this has caused significant delays in the rollout of 5G wireless services.

“The key message here is that we need to make sure that what happened with 5G doesn’t happen again,” Schmidt said. “I can’t say this more clearly. You don’t want to work on platform technologies that you use every day in systems that aren’t democratic and open.”

Schmidt predicts that it will be difficult to outpace China in technology, predicting that Beijing will “double down to compete in areas we think about,” including artificial intelligence, quantum computing, biotechnology and more.

Maintaining relationships

John Huntsman, former US ambassador to China, says Americans generally don’t know how far ahead of the US China is in some technologies. According to Huntsman, now the vice chairman of Ford Motor Company, in the development of electric vehicles, for example, China is at least five years ahead of the United States.

The US must walk a fine line to contain China in some areas and maintain its advantage in others, he said. He especially emphasized the need to maintain people-to-people trade and other relations with the Chinese people.

“It is not good to destroy our people,” he said. If we do that, we will bring China where we are with China. He added, “Alliances create diversity, discord and instability at the international level through silence.”

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