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This Chinese Lab Is Aiming for Big AI Breakthroughs

WIRED

In a low-rise building overlooking a busy intersection in Beijing, Ji Rong Wen, a middle-aged scientist with thin-rimmed glasses and a mop of black hair, excitedly describes a project that could advance one of the hottest areas of artificial intelligence. Wen leads a team at the Beijing Academy of Artificial Intelligence (BAAI), a government-sponsored research lab that's testing a powerful new language algorithm--something similar to GPT-3, a program revealed in June by researchers at OpenAI that digests large amounts of text and can generate remarkably coherent, free-flowing language. "This is a big project," Wen says with a big grin. "It takes a lot of computing infrastructure and money." Wen, a professor at Renmin University in Beijing recruited to work part-time at BAAI, hopes to create an algorithm that is even cleverer than GPT-3. He plans to combine machine learning with databases of facts, and to feed the algorithm images and video as well as text, in hope of creating a richer understanding of the physical world--that the words cat and fur don't just often appear in the same sentence, but are associated with one another visually.


U.S. blacklists dozens of Chinese firms, including SMIC, DJI

The Japan Times

Washington – The United States added dozens of Chinese companies, including the country's top chipmaker SMIC and Chinese drone manufacturer SZ DJI Technology Co. Ltd., to a trade blacklist on Friday as U.S. President Donald Trump's administration ratchets up tensions with China in his final weeks in office. Reuters first reported the addition of SMIC and other companies earlier on Friday. The move is seen as the latest in Republican Trump's efforts to burnish his tough-on-China image as part of lengthy fight between Washington and Beijing over trade and numerous economic issues. The U.S. Commerce Department said the action against SMIC stems from Beijing's efforts to harness civilian technologies for military purposes and evidence of activities between SMIC and Chinese military industrial companies of concern. The Commerce Department will "not allow advanced U.S. technology to help build the military of an increasingly belligerent adversary," Secretary Wilbur Ross said in a statement.


'Better off thanks to China': German companies double down on resurgent giant

The Japan Times

BERLIN – German industrial robot-maker Hahn Automation plans to invest millions of euros in new factories in China over the next three years, keen to capitalize on an economy that's rebounding more rapidly than others from the COVID-19 crisis. "If we want to grow with the Chinese market, we have to manufacture on the ground," Chief Executive Frank Konrad said of the investment drive, intended to skirt Chinese export hurdles in what Beijing views as a strategic sector. "Our goal is to make up to 25% of our sales in China by 2025," he said, up from roughly 10% now. But while the Chinese recovery may be good news for companies like Hahn, it is complicating efforts by Chancellor Angela Merkel's government to diversify trade relations and become less dependent on Asia's rising superpower. Despite Berlin's concerns, German industry is deepening ties with China, which battled the pandemic with stricter measures than other countries, moved out of a first lockdown earlier and saw demand rebound more quickly. Olaf Kiesewetter, CEO of car sensor supplier UST in Thuringia in eastern Germany, shares the same ambition of making 25% of sales in China.


Is Beijing Looking to Use AI as a Weapon in Cyberspace and Space? - ClearanceJobs

#artificialintelligence

The Chinese government has continued to enhance its military capabilities and in recent years, it has steadily invested to transform the People's Liberation Army (PLA) into a true world-class fighting force. Earlier this year, the People's Liberation Army Navy (PLAN) became the largest naval force in the world, and China has steadily been working to develop cutting edge aircraft, missiles and even small arms. Another area where Beijing has focused is in cyber warfare, and last month, the National Security Agency (NSA) issued a cybersecurity advisory that warned of Chinese state-sponsored activities targeting American companies, including those that work closely with the U.S. government. The PLA had even operated a special unit, known as PLA Unit 61398, which was believed to have conducted a series of cyber attacks against western companies at the behest of Beijing. In May 2014, the U.S. Department of Justice (DoJ) announced that a Federal grand jury returned an indictment of five 61398 officers for the theft of confidential business information and intellectual property from U.S. commercial firms.


Chinese military eying AI to gain cyber, space dominance: Japan

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The Chinese military is aiming to utilize cutting-edge technologies like private sector-developed artificial intelligence to enhance its offensive capability in domains such as cyberspace and outer space, a Japanese Defense Ministry think tank warned Friday. Beijing aspires to match the United States' overall military capacity by transforming its People's Liberation Army into a world-class fighting force with the help of advanced technologies, the National Institute for Defense Studies said in its annual report on China's security strategy. The report said that until the Chinese catch up with the American military, "the PLA will build up its interference and strike capabilities to prevent the United States' military use of both the cyber and space domains." The China Security Report 2021 was released as the rivalry between Washington and Beijing has been intensifying, as has competition for technological hegemony. The United States has restricted exports of semiconductors to Huawei Technologies Co., the Chinese telecom giant that is aiming to expand its dominance of next-generation 5G technology.


Chinese military eying AI to gain cyber, space dominance: think tank

The Japan Times

The Chinese military is aiming to utilize cutting-edge technologies like private sector-developed artificial intelligence to enhance its offensive capability in domains such as cyberspace and outer space, a Japanese Defense Ministry think tank warned Friday. Beijing aspires to match the United States' overall military capacity by transforming its People's Liberation Army into a world-class fighting force with the help of advanced technologies, the National Institute for Defense Studies said in its annual report on China's security strategy. The report said that until the Chinese catch up with the American military, "the PLA will build up its interference and strike capabilities to prevent the United States' military use of both the cyber and space domains." The China Security Report 2021 was released as the rivalry between Washington and Beijing has been intensifying, as has competition for technological hegemony. The United States has restricted exports of semiconductors to Huawei Technologies Co., the Chinese telecom giant that is aiming to expand its dominance of next-generation 5G technology.


In latest arms deal, U.S. approves sale of MQ-9 Reaper drones to Taiwan

The Japan Times

Washington – The U.S. State Department cleared the potential sale of four sophisticated U.S.-made aerial drones to Taiwan in a formal notification sent to Congress, the Pentagon said on Tuesday, the last step before finalizing a weapons sale that will further anger China. The $600 million deal would be the first such sale since U.S. policy on the export of sophisticated and closely guarded drone technology was loosened by the Trump administration. Reuters reported in recent weeks on the administration moving ahead with four other sales of sophisticated military equipment to Taiwan, with a total value of around $5 billion, as it ramps up pressure on China and concerns rise about Beijing's intentions toward the island. The U.S. State Department's formal notification gives Congress 30 days to object to any sales, which is unlikely given broad bipartisan support for the defense of Taiwan. The four MQ-9 SeaGuardian drones, made by General Atomic Aeronautical System, Inc. of San Diego, California, would come with associated ground stations, spares and training.


China Threatens U.S. Primacy in Artificial Intelligence

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It is a statement that has been broadcasted and heard around the world: China intends to be the global leader of artificial intelligence by 2030. The country is putting its money where its mouth is, officials and analysts say, and making investments in AI that could threaten the United States and erode Washington's advantages in the technology. "The Chinese Communist Party recognizes the transformational power of AI," Defense Secretary Mark Esper recently said during remarks at the Defense Department's AI Symposium and Exposition. Beijing views the technology as a critical component to its future military and industrial power, said the Pentagon's recently released "Military and Security Developments Involving the People's Republic of China 2020" annual report to Congress. The country's "Next Generation AI Development Plan" details Beijing's strategy to employ commercial and military organizations to achieve major breakthroughs by 2025 and become the world leader by 2030, the report said.


Japanese government set to shut China out of drone supply chain

The Japan Times

Japan may effectively shut off China from supplying drones to its government to protect sensitive information, according to six people in government and the ruling party familiar with the matter, as part of a broad effort to bolster national security. The primary concerns, those people said, centered on information technology, supply chains, cybersecurity and intellectual property -- worries that have been rising outside Japan as well. But Japan must balance such fears -- particularly Beijing's growing push to export sensitive technologies such as commercial drones and security cameras -- against deep economic dependence on China. It must also navigate increasingly choppy waters between China and Japan's closest ally, the United States, which is at odds with Beijing over many things, including technology. "China is a big market and it is important for Japan," one of the senior government officials said. "On the other hand, there are worries that advanced technologies and information could leak to China and could be diverted for military use."


Artificial Intelligence Cold War on the horizon

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While the U.S. has lacked central organizing of its AI, it has an advantage in its flexible tech industry, said Nand Mulchandani, the acting director of the U.S. Department of Defense Joint Artificial Intelligence Center. Mulchandani is skeptical of China's efforts at "civil-military fusion," saying that governments are rarely able to direct early stage technology development. Tensions over how to accelerate AI are driven by the prospect of a tech cold war between the U.S. and China, amid improving Chinese innovation and access to both capital and top foreign researchers. "They've learned by studying our playbook," said Elsa B. Kania of the Center for a New American Security. "Many commentators in Washington and Beijing have accepted the fact that we are in a new type of Cold War," said Ulrik Vestergaard Knudsen, deputy secretary general of Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), which is leading efforts to develop global AI cooperation.