The Takshashila PLA Insight: Issue No 7: Artificial Intelligence and PLA, Chinese military superiority over US, Type 055 Destroyer, China-Philippines tension, Indo-Pacific Strategy and India

The Big Story: Artificial intelligence and PLA

In 2017, China announced its plans to become the world leader in Artificial Intelligence (AI) by 2030. As US and China compete to innovate in this domain, the relative trajectories of their advances will have an impact on future military balance. Currently, US is the a world leader in AI. But, a study shows that China has already surpassed the US in publishing AI papers. However, researchers across the world have expressed serious concerns regarding the quality of papers produced in China.

The People’s Liberation Army (PLA) is benefiting in a big way due to scientific advances in China. The military dimension of China’s rise in AI has remained opaque. The PLA intends to take full advantage of this technological upsurge. This is through China’s national strategy of military-civil integration (or military-civil “fusion,” 军民融合).

Elsa Kania, an analyst on the PLA, argues that Chinese technological companies have achieved rapid advances in multiple areas like machine learning, natural language processing, vision system, vision recognition, etc. The PLA is benefiting tremendously from these advances.

According to Kania,

“The PLA seeks to undertake a path to shared construction, shared enjoyment, and shared use of advances in this emerging technology through military-civil integration.”

The PLA has till date successfully introduced advanced technology in its various platforms. By doing this, the PLA is heading towards seamless integration in command, control communication, computer intelligence, surveillance, etc. If the PLA succeeds in realizing the military potential of AI and automation, these technologies could become a critical force multiplier for China’s future military capabilities.

However, Kesley D Atherton raises questions on PLA’s abilities to punch much above its weight. He argues that the US might marshal a semi-integrated industrial policy to maintain its lead on AI.

Chinese military superiority over US? …

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