The American-Chinese technological arms race. It is no longer a two-country race.



The race for global leadership in artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning (ML), blockchain, cryptocurrency and digital infrastructure – among many other technologies – is well advanced. But now, instead of the proverbial races in two countries we know so well, the race has widened. It is now the race of any country. How could it be when the US and China are spending so much money? The metrics have changed. Today it is about patents and adoption.

There are a lot of technologies that catch the eye. The world is obsessed with AI / ML, blockchain, cryptocurrency, IOT, big data analytics, cybersecurity, 3D printing, and drones. He is enthusiastic about virtual reality, augmented reality and mixed reality. Everyone loves to talk about driverless cars, ships and airplanes. While we are increasingly worried about social media and privacy (as we should), we are still addicted to our ever more powerful smartphones. And then there is The metaverse.

Artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning

AI / ML is a large family of technologies with enormous professional levels. Lest everyone think that the United States and China are the only countries investing in AI / ML, many countries have unveiled important strategies for research and development (R&D) in AI / ML, notably the United Kingdom, Russia, Israel, Japan and France. Singapore, South Korea, Sweden, Taiwan, United Arab Emirates, and Mexico also strategically focus on AI / ML. The world is well aware of the application potential of AI / ML. In fact, the world field is crowded.

Block chain

While blockchain allows cryptocurrency transactions, it is by no means limited to currency trading: blockchain is transaction agnostic. When we look at blockchain adoption, more and more local, regional and national governments are adopting blockchain or approving blockchain investments. Blockchain is already widely adopted in China and Asia in several verticals, like insurance and agriculture. australia “CSIRO61 data has formed a consortium with law firm Herbert Smith Freehills and IBM to create Australia’s first large-scale cross-industry digital platform to enable Australian businesses to collaborate using blockchain-based smart legal contracts . The European Union (EU) has made blockchain a priority. Other countries make similar blockchain commitments, including Dubai, Estonia and Gibraltar, among other government offices and agencies.


Right now, governments can’t control cryptocurrency – although they can – and will – regulate and tax it. More and more companies are accepting it; many have no choice since the competitors accept it. Crypto also offers a safer and cheaper way to transact. The holders of the payment system ultimately champion of cryptocurrency. Some countries are “open” to the use of stable cryptocurrencies. The United States is “open” (with requirements yet to be precisely defined) to the possibilities of cryptocurrency, as are Canada, Australia, the European Union (EU), Finland, Belgium, Switzerland, Malta, Cyprus, Bulgaria, United Kingdom and Germany. Some countries, like China, Russia, Vietnam, Bolivia, Ecuador, and Colombia, have essentially banned Bitcoin and cryptocurrency, although several of these countries have a lot of blockchain startup activity and of cryptocurrency. In short, crypto is almost everywhere. The real race here is on acceptance.

Preparing the digital infrastructure

In addition to AI / ML, blockchain, and cryptocurrency, there is a country’s ability to participate in the technological arms race through the readiness of its digital infrastructure. Digital readiness describes the state of a country’s overall digital infrastructure and its ability to adopt AI / ML, blockchain, cryptocurrency, and other emerging digital technologies. Countries with well-developed digital infrastructures, such as Sweden and Norway, can take advantage of technologies provided, of course, that they are inclined to do so. For countries to take advantage of the technology, they need to have basic and constantly improving digital infrastructure capabilities (broadband, cloud, big data, cybersecurity, etc.) as adoption and scalability require infrastructure. modern digital. Mature countries here include Estonia, Finland, Norway, Denmark, New Zealand, Israel, Canada, Sweden, South Korea, the Netherlands, and Singapore. Surprised by the list? (The comparison of this list with the list of military powers is fascinating and clearly differentiates military and technological arms races.)

Someone’s race?

Well, not quite. Money is still the engine of progress, but the nature of technological progress and the adoption of technology is different from the forces that drive, for example, military arms races, where the parameters – tanks, nuclear warheads, carries -planes, etc. -known. While the technological arms race is well underway, “progress” is not defined only around money. Technological discoveries can come from anywhere, which is why so many countries have entered a race that they can, perhaps, win.

The United States and China are therefore no longer alone. In response to all this competition, the United States should – again – take the following measures to remain competitive in the global arms race:

  • US states should launch their own technology investment strategies. They must appoint committees and Chief Digital Technology Officers. States should aggressively fund emerging technologies and partner with the federal government where digital intersects with issues facing all states, such as infrastructure, healthcare, and education.
  • Private and public universities should be funded by federal and state governments to develop educational programs beyond STEM funding and to conduct basic and applied research on AI / ML and other technologies. Block grants to universities are expected to begin immediately.
  • Increase tax incentives and R&D credits to companies that invest specifically in emerging technologies.
  • The United States’ response to China (and other countries investing heavily in AI / ML and other technologies) should include the expansion of the Office of Science and Technology Policy and the creation of major new programs. defense and non-defense in AI, machine learning, blockchain. , AR, VR, IOT – you name it.
  • A national tech czar should be appointed with broad funding and programmatic authority. The Tsar is expected to be a Cabinet-level official who oversees a national research and development program and serve as a senior advisor to the President of the United States and Congress on all aspects of digital technology, as part of an Office dramatically expanded White House science. and technology policy.
  • Immigration policy regarding H-1B visas for tech professionals should be broadened and relaxed.

I continue to write about this because the technological arms race continues to expand and accelerate. Most of the recommendations here – along with two I posted previously for the Biden administration – are now more important than ever. Technology is no longer a race between two countries. Smart people everywhere are focusing on the power of emerging digital technology. It is time to rethink our investment strategy, our partnerships and even our acquisitions, not of countries, but of companies, because “M&A” takes on a whole new meaning in this race.



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