China racing for AI supremacy, senior Pentagon official warns

Artificial intelligence (AI) will transform warfighting, economic competitiveness, and national influence. Unless the US tops its AI game, China might become a dominant world power by 2030.

Director of the Pentagon's Joint Artificial Intelligence Center, Lieutenant General Michael S. Groen, thinks that AI is already transforming warfare.

"I don't think the Russians today are wishing that they had bought more tanks. They are wishing they would have bought something else," he said during the Atlantic Council event.

Ukraine reportedly has used AI to help it in the battle by intercepting communications and using facial recognition to vet the personnel, identify Russian soldiers killed in the battle, and track down their families, among other things.

It is estimated that AI will become a $16 trillion market by 2030, and leading AI countries will have a significant advantage.

"It will raise GDP significantly for both China and the US, and, to a lesser degree, our European partners. It's a massive opportunity that has [...] real ramifications for warfighting, warfighting competitiveness, our economic competitiveness, national strength, and our national influence," Groen said.

Buried in the mundane, we might not foresee the supremacy that AI brings.

"I think about it through the lens of strangely enough lancers. Men on horseback with wooden sticks with iron spikes on end riding into machine guns in 1914. Lancers with sticks against guns that were machines. Although they were citizens of the industrial age, they did not recognize the ramifications of the industrial age on warfare. We could find ourselves in a very similar situation today," he noted.

Quoting Abraham Lincoln, Groen noted that we need to think about the things that cause us to fail to see the bigger picture and take advantage of AI.

While bureaucracy, acquisition processes, and organizational culture inhibit the military's ability to speed up the AI integration process, China has clearly articulated its goals – it wants to be a dominant power in AI by 2030. It aims to fully modernize the People's Liberation Army by 2027.