@HPCpodcast: Who’s Winning the High-Stakes U.S-China AI Race?

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If you’re concerned about the advanced chip competition between the U.S. and China – and who isn’t? – then this week’s @HPCpodcast guest offers much food for thought. Dr. Handel Jones, founder and CEO of the International Business Strategies consulting firm, is the author of a new book, WHEN AI RULES THE WORLD: China, The U.S., And The Race To Control A Smart Planet. He contends that China is winning the AI race in part because the leadership of the PRC regime is more competent and technically astute than some in the West may think.

Jones’ analysis is based on extensive travel and contacts in China going back decades. He paints a picture of an asymmetrical AI struggle between the U.S. and China. In the U.S., private sector companies (established tech vendors and startups) are pursuing a decentralized, entrepreneurial approach to AI development without extensive government support, whereas in China, the government is providing major funding for private sector AI R&D. Further, he says the U.S. is falling behind on infrastructure technologies, such as 5G, that enable advanced AI at scale.

By the same token, Jones believes the restrictions on advanced chip technology exports recently imposed on China by the U.S. will significantly impede China’s progress in AI and likely bring on retaliation, possibly in form of restrictions on exports of rare earth minerals essential for chip manufacturing.

All of this is within a larger, long-term context of AI bringing on major changes to nearly every economic sector, along with national security strategies. And then there’s the high-stakes threat of an invasion of Taiwan by the PRC, with consequences for the jewel in the crown of advanced semiconductor manufacturing, TSMC. In all, it’s an unsettling picture.

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We welcome your ideas for special topics and guest commentators. Feel free to contact Doug Black or Shahin Khan with your suggestions.