US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin has previously admitted that China was the main challenger to the ability of the US to develop artificial intelligence (AI); but, one former US defense official is now saying that Beijing has already bested Washington in the development of AI.
A former software chief who worked with the US Department of Defense (DoD) says that China has outdone the US when it comes to artificial intelligence, underscoring that a lack of support from the government agency is playing a huge part in the setback.
Nicolas Chaillan served as a US Air Force Chief Software Officer, stepping up to the post-May 2019. His time with the agency came to an end in early September, when he also happened to write up a fiery post on LinkedIn that detailed the reasoning for his resignation.
One of Chaillan’s main sticking points was his assertion that senior leadership within the agency failed to act when needed and that there was a lack of funding in projects that severely hindered projects.
Touching on China’s ability to outpace the US, Chaillan recently relayed to the Financial Times that the US is moving toward having “no competing fighting chance against China.”
“We have no competing fighting chance against China in 15 to 20 years,” he told the outlet. “Right now, it’s already a done deal; it is already over in my opinion.”
Describing some US cyber defense systems as at “kindergarten level”, he further suggested that what he referred to as stagnant behaviour exhibited by tech giants such as Google has contributed to the problem.
Challian’s remarks largely recalled points he made in his September LinkedIn post that detailed his belief that senior officials at the Pentagon were hindering the work of the agency by appointing individuals to oversee software programs who are not knowledgable in the field.
“The DoD should stop pretending they want industry folks to come and help if they are not going to let them do the work. While we wasted time in bureaucracy, our adversaries moved further ahead,” Chaillan said at the time.
US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin admitted in July that China is the US “pacing challenge” in terms of AI development, but added that Washington would be “competing to win” in the “right way.” He went on to suggest that the US would not “cut corners on safety, security, or ethics.”