Heavily subsidized by the Chinese government, the program is focused on generating major investments in Industry 4.0 technologies. Last summer, China upped the ante yet again, announcing plans to become the world’s dominant power in all aspects of AI—military and otherwise—by 2030. Looking at the pace of progress, it seems China is a serious contender:

Robot density. China’s strategy has already produced stunning results. In 2017, China claimed 30% of the global demand for industrial robots. According to the International Federation of Robotics (IFR), the average of global robot density rose to 74 robots for every 10,000 employees in 2016. While it has not attained leadership yet, IFR stated that China’s growth was “the most dynamic in the world” with significant growth in robot installations between 2013 and 2016. In that span, China more than doubled robot density—from 25 units in 2013 to 68 units in 2016.

Robotic Warships

Even more, China has set an aggressive target of 150 units per 10,000 employees by 2020.
Robotic warships. China recently announced plans to open the Wanshan Marine Test Site—the world’s largest facility for unmanned ship research.

Spanning 225 square nautical miles of water and islands, the site will be equipped with satellite navigation, electro-optical sites, sonar, and data links.

Cloud-based AI

Alibaba is one of China’s most successful e-commerce companies. Its primary ambition: to become a global leader in providing cloud-based AI. The company’s top competitors include Tencent and Baidu, both of which are also investing heavily in AI research. These and other companies in China’s fast-growing AI industry are focused on dominating AI research and products by 2030.

China is committed to quickly working toward its goal of becoming an ‘automation nation,’ and many suspect that the Broadcom bid represented one more piece in a complex strategy to win the race for global AI dominance.

If the impact of the Middle East’s control over global oil supply taught us anything, it’s the importance of gaining and maintaining access to our vital resources. In the 20th century, oil was industry’s primary fuel. The governments that controlled that precious resource benefited greatly. In the 21st century, whoever controls Big Data will wield even greater power.

Related: Why AI Needs a Broader More Realistic Approach

Tech Driven World

As a US tech leader, Qualcomm plays a key role in not only enabling the “electronic skin” that fuels today’s tech-driven world, but also in ensuring the US retains control over of the massive amounts of data flowing through its 5G network.

Regarding the Broadcom bid, Senator Tom Cotton, Republican of Arkansas, said, “Qualcomm’s work is too important to our national security to let it fall into the hands of a foreign company — and in a hostile takeover, no less.” In a letter that called for a review of the potential deal, a Treasury official wrote, “Having a well-known and trusted company hold the dominant role that Qualcomm does in the telecommunications infrastructure provides significant confidence in the integrity of such infrastructure as it relates to national security.”

One foreign company that was at the top of the government’s list of potential benefactors from the deal is Chinese telecom-equipment giant Huawei. The company has already made significant investments on its own 5G network and reportedly owns 10 percent of the essential patents.

Ultimately, whoever has control of 5G has control of our lives. If the US wants to remain a superpower, maintaining that control is mandatory. If ever there was a time for protectionism, this is surely it.

This article has been republished with permission from ROBO Global.