China matches Pentagon AI spending
Both the US military and the Chinese People’s Liberation Army are looking for artificial intelligence capabilities that could give them a head start in future conflicts. The PLA’s investment in AI is now on par with that of the Pentagon, experts say.
The United States sees China as its main military and economic competitor.
“Supported by a burgeoning AI defense industry, the Chinese military has made extraordinary progress in acquiring AI systems for combat and support functions,” according to a recent report from Georgetown University Center for Security and Emerging Technology.
People’s Liberation Army mainly focuses on acquiring AI for intelligence analysis, predictive maintenance, information warfare, navigation and target recognition in autonomous vehicles, study finds “Harnessed Lightning: How the Chinese Military is Adopting Artificial Intelligence,” performed by analysts Ryan. Fedasiuk, Jennifer Melot and Ben Murphy.
Additionally, laboratories affiliated with the Chinese military are actively pursuing research into AI-based target recognition and fire control, which can be used in lethal autonomous weapon systems, according to the authors.
“If government contracts reflect how PLA prioritizes different emerging technologies, then PLA is likely to spend more than $ 1.6 billion annually on AI-enabled systems,” says the study.
“However, because it is still an emerging technology, PLA’s actual AI spending likely exceeds that number, as more funds are invested in research and development rather than buying it. standard technologies, and the most resource-intensive AI projects are probably ranked, ”he added.
Analysts estimate that China’s annual military spending on AI is in the “low billions” of US dollars, a level of funding “comparable” to Pentagon investments.
Various analyzes of DoD’s budgets for procurement and research indicate that it spent between $ 800 billion and $ 1.3 billion on AI in 2020, with an additional $ 1.7 billion to $ 3.5 billion for unmanned and autonomous systems, ”the report says.
For fiscal year 2022, the Department of Defense requested $ 874 million for artificial intelligence projects, reflecting “the growing importance of AI in all facets of the department’s operations,” according to budget documents. This money would help fund more than 600 AI-related efforts.
“It remains to be seen how exactly AI might alter the balance of military power in the Indo-Pacific,” the CSET report said. Further Pentagon research into “counter-autonomy” capabilities, as well as efforts by the United States and its allies to regulate access to semiconductor devices, could hamper the usefulness and availability of semiconductor systems. artificial intelligence for PLA, the authors noted.
The subjects: Robotics and autonomous systems