US has already lost in AI warfare: Ex-Pentagon software chief

Posted on October 11, 2021, 5:12 am
3 mins

WASHINGTON: Pentagon’s former chief software officer Nicolas Chaillan who announced his resignation last month said that his resignation was a protest at the slow pace of technological transformation in the US military and because he could not stand to watch China surpass the United States.

Nicolas Chaillan told the Financial Times in an interview published that China is heading for global dominance because of its advances in artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning, and cyber capabilities and that Washington has already lost the AI fight to Beijing.

Chaillan, who spent three years on a Pentagon-wide effort to boost cyber security, told the British newspaper that the United States as failed to respond to what he called Chinese cyber and other threats.

 “We have no competing fighting chance against China in 15 to 20 years. Right now, it’s already a done deal; it is already over in my opinion,” he said, adding there was “good reason to be angry”.

The 37-year-old said argued artificial intelligence, machine learning and cyber capabilities were far more critical to the future of the US than hardware such as big-budget fifth-generation fighter jets such as the F-35.

“Whether it takes a war or not is kind of anecdotal,” he said.

The expert claimed that China was set to dominate the future of the world, and would control everything from media narratives to geopolitics.

He pointed out that US cyber defences in some government departments were at “kindergarten level”.

A US national security commission warned earlier this year that China could overtake the US as the world’s AI superpower within the next decade, according to the Financial Times. 

The rivalry between the US and China has intensified in recent years, with Beijing’s growing international clout and rapid economic progress emerging as a viable counter-weight to the US.

The United States has accused the Chinese government of widespread destabilizing activities in cyberspace, including through a massive breach of Microsoft email systems used by many of the world’s big companies.

Microsoft had previously claimed that hackers linked to the Chinese Ministry of State Security had infiltrated the software company’s email systems in March. But the statement from the White House marked the first time that the US formally accused China of paying hackers to carry out ransomware attacks to extort companies for millions of dollars.

However, according to a Chinese political analyst and researcher, the United States is a cybersecurity threat to China the same way Washington currently considers Beijing as its No.1 cybersecurity threat.

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