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Some complacent people still think the 21st century is going to be yet another "American Century." But if it is it's going to be a damn close-run thing because the Chinese are already far ahead of the USA in a number of key areas. In fact, it could even lose the all-important battle for tech dominance, due to selfish Big Tech corporations and blinkered government departments.

This is according to Nicolas Chaillan, the Pentagon’s first chief software officer, who recently rage-quit his position in protest at the snail-like pace of technological development in the US military.

The French-born tech wizard spilled his guts to Britain's Financial Times in a recent interview:

“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 said, adding there was “good reason to be angry”.

Chaillan, 37, said that Beijing is heading for global dominance because of its advances in specific areas like artificial intelligence, machine learning, and cyber capabilities that will be vital in future conflicts.

He also disparaged America’s military hardware such as big-budget fifth-generation fighter jets like the F-35.

“Whether it takes a war or not is kind of anecdotal,” he said, adding that US cyber defences in some government departments were at “kindergarten level”.

One problem is that Big Tech firms in the US, like Google, refuse to work with the US defence department on AI. Another is that ethical debates prevent anything getting done. This is the complete opposite of China, where Chinese companies are obliged to work with the state, and have little regard for ethics. For example, US secretary of defence Lloyd Austin added a new $1.5bn investment to accelerate the Pentagon’s adoption of AI over the next five years but emphasised that his department would not “cut corners on safety, security, or ethics”.

Yes, it looks like most of the money will be blown on making sure America's AI effort is as "woke" as the rest of the government. 

Chaillan said he plans to testify to Congress about the Chinese cyber threat to US supremacy over the coming weeks. Good luck with that.

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