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US has already lost to China in AI fight, says ex-Pentagon software chief

Hindustan Times logo Hindustan Times 10-10-2021 hindustantimes.com | Written by Poulomi Ghosh
Beijing is heading for global dominance because of its advances in artificial intelligence, machine learning and cyber capabilities, Nicolas Chaillan said. (REUTERS) © Provided by Hindustan Times Beijing is heading for global dominance because of its advances in artificial intelligence, machine learning and cyber capabilities, Nicolas Chaillan said. (REUTERS)

Pentagon's former chief software officer Nicolas Chaillan who announced his resignation on Linkedin last month has told Financial Times that his resignation was a protest at the slow pace of technological transformation in the US military. China has already overtaken theUS in the AI fight, he said, adding that he could not stand to watch China overtake America.

“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,” the 37-year-old first chief software office for the US Air Force said.

Beijing is heading for global dominance because of its advances in artificial intelligence, machine learning and cyber capabilities, he said. Compared to China's advancement, US cyber defences in some government departments were at the kindergarten level.

Chaillan blamed the reluctance of Goggle to work with the US defence department on AI. Chinese companies, on the other hand, are obliged to work with Beijing, and were making “massive investment” into AI without regard to ethics, he said to Financial Times.

Though the US spends at least three times more than China on defence, this is not being translated into any result as theUS is spending in the wrong areas and "bureaucracy and overregulation" stand in the way of change that the Pentagon needs.

In his resignation announcement, too, he did not reveal his disappointment with the way Pentagon functions. "Please stop putting a Major or Lt Col. (despite their devotion, exceptional attitude, and culture) in charge of ICAM, Zero Trust or Cloud for 1 to 4 million users when they have no previous experience in that field – we are setting up critical infrastructure to fail. We would not put a pilot in the cockpit without extensive flight training; why would we expect someone with no IT experience to be close to successful? They do not know what to execute on or what to prioritize which leads to endless risk reduction efforts and diluted focus," he had written.

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