Tuesday, October 12, 2021

The AI Wars

This story will make some of you unhappy. It will make some of you positively dyspeptic. And yet, there it is. 

A man by name of Nicolas Chaillan, the Pentagon’s chief technology officer, has resigned. As far as he is concerned, America has fallen so far behind China in Artificial Intelligence that we can no longer compete.

Some people believe that AI is the future. Some people believe that it is the next industrial revolution. If we are barely in the game, we are in big trouble, team. 

It is good and well to assume that China has been ripping off our technology-- it is probably true-- but if they are that far ahead of us in AI, they could not have done it by stealing technology. Duh?

Every time I report some information suggesting that our good old USA is not doing very well in its international competition with China, some people insist that it’s not true, that it cannot be true, and that anyone who thinks otherwise is a stooge-- or worse.

One sympathizes with their sympathies, but it is a truth, universally acknowledged-- to coin a phrase-- that good competitors do not overestimate themselves and do not underestimate their competition. It is not a sign of patriotism; it is a sign of not having one’s head in the sands.

We seem to believe that since God is evidently on our side, we can do what we want-- it’s going to come out well in the end. 

After all, we have leaders like Joe Biden and Kamala Harris and AOC-- what can go wrong?

So, The Daily Mail reports the story, from the Financial Times:

The Pentagon's first ever chief software officer resigned last month in protest of the slow pace of technological transformation in the U.S. military, claiming the failure to respond to China winning the Artificial Intelligence battle is putting the U.S. at risk.

Nicolas Chaillan, 37, told the Financial Times after resigning: 'We have no competing fighting chance against China in 15 to 20 years.'

'Right now, it's already a done deal – it is already over in my opinion,' he added. 'Whether it takes a war or not is kind of anecdotal.'

It is not just about AI:

China, the world's second largest economy, is likely to dominate many of the key emerging technologies, particularly artificial intelligence, synthetic biology and genetics within a decade or so, according to Western intelligence assessments.

The report continues:

The communist nation is set to dominate the future of the world, controlling everything from media narratives to geopolitics, Chaillan said.

He blamed sluggish innovation, the reluctance of U.S. companies such as Google to work with the government on AI and extensive ethical debates over the technology.

Google was not immediately available for comment outside business hours when Reuters reached out.

Remember when Google decided that it could not collaborate with the Pentagon on a technology project. And yet, Google is happily working in China. Huh?

What did Chaillan say:

He said U.S. cyber defenses in some government departments were at 'kindergarten level'.

Chaillan announced his resignation at the beginning of September, saying military officials were repeatedly put in charge of cyber initiatives for which they lacked experience.

A spokesperson for the Department of the Air Force said Frank Kendall, secretary of the U.S. Air Force, had discussed with Chaillan his recommendations for the department's future software development following his resignation and thanked him for his contributions, the FT said. 

Would you believe that the Pentagon has gotten into the habit of promoting people who lacked experience in cyber technology? Could it be that it promotes people in order to fill diversity quotas, regardless of whether or not they can do the job?

At least this provides one consolation. We may be falling behind in STEM research, especially in AI, but we have more diversity, equity and inclusion? Does that make you feel better?

1 comment:

Sam L. said...

The STUPID is STRONG in these ones. Or is it that our enemies have taken us over???