Connect with us

Science & Technology

The Technological Revolution in China and the USA: What About Europe and Eurasia?

Published

on

Two articles from the South China Morning Post were really interesting this week:

“US needs a hi-tech revolution to combat China,” says General Mark Milley.

  • Military must adapt to ‘fundamental change’ under way in the character of war
  • Joint Chiefs of Staff head wants smaller, more capable forces which fully embrace robotics and artificial intelligence

The US military will need to fully embrace robotics and artificial intelligence if it is to maintain superiority over China, according to the Pentagon’s top general.

Joint Chiefs Chairman General Mark Milley also said smaller, more capable forces armed with long-range missiles would need to be posted more widely around Asia to hem in the top US adversary.

“We are in the middle of a fundamental change in the character of war,” he told the Defence Forum Washington online symposium at the US Naval Institute on Thursday.

And while the USA is still talking about a technological revolution, China reports another success in quantum computing and AI:

“China claims quantum computing lead with Jiuzhang photon test, creating machine ‘one trillion times faster’ than next best supercomputer”

  • Researchers said their prototype took a little over three minutes to complete a task that would take the world’s fastest conventional machine 600 million years.
  • Results put the country firmly at the forefront of the field, lead scientist says

Chinese physicists say they have built a quantum computer one trillion times faster than the most powerful supercomputer, with potential for some real-life applications.

The times are over to claim that China could only copy technology from the West and would get all its successes from economic espionage. Graham Allison once said that China is not doing Research and Development (R&D),, but RDT (Research &Development &Theft). While this is correct, one should not forget that not only China harmed intellectual property rights, copied technologies and had economic espionage—the West and the USA are also doing this as became last known in the NSA scandal. And scholars and knowledgeable people of economic history know that these are not new symptoms of the last decade. Just a look at the history of the atomic bomb, the Manhattan Project, how Russia and China got their nuclear technology shows this as the most obvious and best-known example. It should also not be forgotten that globalization pushed by the West also made it possible for China to hire engineers, scientists, experts, as advisers and even managers for Chinese companies. As Trump said: I don’t blame the Chinese that they took advantage, but the Western politicians and Davos elites who were giving the Chinese the advantages. In this sense Trump was correct.

But we don’t want to engage in a moral discussion. More important is how the CCP and the West see technological progress. While the Germans and Europeans are complaining that the USA and China would steal their technology, it should be clear that most technologies “stolen” from then become more and more outdated and that Europe and Germany really has a problem if it is about new technologies. The technological gap – civil and militarily- between the Europeans and the USA and China is too obvious. There is not too much to “steal” anymore, just the opposite. Germany and Europe might come in the situation that they have to copy or steal from China or the USA just to get access to the new technologies. And without a military-industrial complex, joint venture capital, a Silicon Valley, or EU hi-tech fonds, nothing will change.

The EU has now at least decided on a new Green deal, but it is questionable whether the EU budget and the ECB-funded grants and loans have a uniform thrust in the direction of new technologies and analog and digital infrastructure construction and not to fill any financial holes in the state budgets. Long story short message.: A European hi-tech investment fund or some sort of industrial policy would be needed that promotes new high-tech technologies and brings them to a breakthrough so that the technological gap between Europe and the United States and China can be closed.

A European investment fund that promotes new industries and start-ups, as well as existing national champions nationally and European, but as a new EU Los Alamos and Apollo project. A kind of Apollo project from cloud computing, quantum computing, AI, blockchain technology, robotics to nano and biotechnology and also such new developments in Silicon Valley as artificial meat. New ecological technologies would have to be also addressed, which can already be part of the current New Green Deal of the EU. ..Trillions of savings are in the bank accounts with zero interest rate policy and are not invested in productive new technologies, but are continuously decreasing. Bringing this dead, unproductive capital to a productive utilization is the idea of Walter Kohl in his book “Which future do we want?”(Welche Zukunft wollen wir?)”.

A European Silk Road Marco Polo 2.0 would be needed, a project that in addition to the systematic development of a high-tech industry in research. Development and production also remove the investment backlog in the analog and digital infrastructure in Europe, which are also prerequisites for the use of these new technologies, leaving the young generation with a well-functioning infrastructure for the future as the legacy of our generation, a common interest project that unites today’s Europe, a vision and concrete material advantages, as well as jobs and economic growth then generated in a multiplier effect. On the one hand as a counterpoint to China’s New Silk Road, a European infrastructure project that renews Europe’s promise of prosperity, makes it concrete and creates optimism again. Especially since every European also wonders: Why are the Chinese building a train route from Budapest to Belgrade and not the Europeans? It is also about getting the Chinese backyard in the form of the 16 plus 1 group back by connecting European non-EU members. The first serious supporters have already appeared. On the one hand, the FAZ already headlined: “Why not a European Silk Road?” The idea is now gaining further supporters from three research institutes, albeit in the still rudimentary form of a high-speed long-distance train network for Europe – here from the Freitag newspaper:

“A recent proposal from the Düsseldorf Institute for Macroeconomics, the Austrian Economic Institute and the French Institute OFCE has shown that there is another way. In view of the EU negotiations on a reconstruction fund to deal with the Corona crisis, they are calling for Europe to build a network of four super-fast train lines that connect east and west, north and south. A route should run from Lisbon via Paris, Berlin, Copenhagen to Helsinki. At an average train speed of 250 to 350 kilometres per hour, the travel time from Berlin to Paris would be reduced to four hours. Those who travel the distance by plane today take longer. The researchers calculated that simply switching passengers from planes to trains would reduce CO2 emissions by four to five percent. Freight traffic would also be shifted to the new rail. The 18,250-kilometer network would cost 1.1 trillion euros – an amount roughly double the 500 billion earmarked for the EU’s reconstruction fund. But it would be worth it. What would a movement from below do to effectively to counter global warming? It would network across Europe to promote such a project. It is so exemplary. The politicians are waving away? This may show that our free elections are not as free as they seem. The movement from below would combine their struggle for an ecologically effective large-scale project with the struggle for an electoral system that does not, of all things, spare the economy – that is, leaves it to capital, on which everything else depends. The chances of getting a lot of approval would be great, also because the institutes propose even more. They consider the superfast train network to be the core of a “European silk road”, which would also include new ports. The continent’s borders, the Balkans, the Caucasus, would be better connected to the industrial regions in the west. The researchers expect 3.5 percent economic growth and two million new jobs.”

Furthermore, in addition to the civil infrastructure, military use for NATO should also be considered, which, like ecological aspects and more, should include the ecological promotion of regional public transport networks to overcome the urban-rural divide in the analog and digital infrastructure, in order to create a holistic concept for the greatest possible benefit. The whole thing should also be thought of with future orientation in matters of Eurasia and the USA. It is also interesting to see that in a joint guest article in the FAZ, the chairman of the Atlantik-Brücke and former Vice-Chancellor Sigmar Gabriel and John B. Emerson. Former American Ambassador to Germany and Chairman of the American Council on Germany propose a future transatlantic agenda, among this some kind of European or even Eurasian Silkroad: as mentioned as “Conception of a transatlantic infrastructure initiative with Africa and the Eurasian area as a democratic, fair and transparent alternative to China’s “New Silk Road.” Would there be any space and connection in a transatlantic Eurasian Silkroad for Russia?

From our partner RIAC

Political Scientist (diploma) , Open Source Analyst, Chinese-German translator, based in Munich, Germany

Continue Reading
Comments

Science & Technology

To Protect Democracies, Digital Resiliency Efforts Are Needed Now

Published

on

Across the globe, more than three billion people have no internet access. But with the increased availability of smart phones and other projects such as SpaceX’s Starlink satellite internet system, that soon will change. To be sure, this unprecedented level of connectivity has the power to be a boon for democratic advancement and economic development. However, without pre-emptive action, it will likely result in the ills we’ve seen with rapid connectivity elsewhere that threaten democratic norms, institutions, and governance. Authoritarians have an answer to these problems: more control. Democracies need an answer too: building pre-emptive digital resilience and preparedness.

Democracies have been consistently caught off guard by rapid digitization. The disruption of information ecosystems has amplified political and economic inequity, leading to various information disorders such as disinformation, declining trust in journalism, increasing social toxicity and dissatisfaction with government, etc. In Myanmar, for example, internet connectivity empowered individuals, but rampant hate speech also facilitated the military’s campaign against the Rohingya. In the Philippines and Brazil, authoritarian populists have used social media to exploit their publics, foment hate, and win elections.

In attempting to manage the consequences of rapid digitization, governments are increasingly eliciting from the authoritarian playbook – implementing haphazard social media and cyber laws, surveillance, and censorship to the detriment of political freedoms. Freedom House’s Freedom on the Net 2020 report outlined a “dismal year for internet freedom” and showed countries like Brazil, Nigeria, Turkey, and Kyrgyzstan following China’s model of blocking internet services and conducting pervasive monitoring on their people’s virtual activities.

Democracies have not provided clear answers to rapid digitization, despite the fact that successes in countries like Finland and Taiwan demonstrate that the internet can – if combined with a thoughtful, pre-emptive, whole of society approach – actively strengthen social cohesion and democratic governance. The introduction of digital infrastructure must be accompanied by digital literacy campaigns. Governments need to be trained in cybersecurity, online communication, and on key policy issues such as open data and privacy. Civil society, especially those working with local communities and marginalized populations, need to be involved early in national digital coordination plans in order to reach more people and to ensure digital inclusion is a core consideration of these plans. These plans should include mobilization of digital safety campaigns, education initiatives, and digital skills trainings. 

To be sure, taking a pro-active, coordinated approach will require resources and time. Embracing the transparency that comes with digitization and the sheer amount of data available might also seem daunting at the beginning. However, countries and communities soon to come online are in advantageous positions to learn from other countries’ mistakes and better understand the opportunities, risks, and threats that digitization brings. There is no reason for them to experience the same negative effects of rapid digitization that we’ve been observing for years. It is better to invest upfront than be left dealing with the democratic backsliding gripping Myanmar, the Philippines, Ethiopia, and many other countries today.

Continue Reading

Science & Technology

Internet of Behavior (IoB) and its Influence on Human Behavioral Psychology

Published

on

Internet of behavior is a connection between technology and human psychology which gives it the power to generate patterns and influence human behavior.

It is still in initial phase, but was able to grab a lot of attention from technology experts with its mention in ”Gartner’s Top Strategic Technology Trends for 2021”. Gartner predicted that “By the end of 2025, over half of the world’s population will be subject to at least one IoB program, whether it be commercial or governmental”

Source: BMC blog on “What Is the Internet of Behaviors? IoB Explained”

Gartner acknowledges IoB as, behavioral science which can be considered under four key aspects: augmentations, decisions, emotions and companionship

From a human psychology perspective, IoB not only understands the data properly but also applies its understanding to innovate, create and promote new products/services

Currently most of the companies understand buying behavior from the information provided by consumers via interaction between them and application linked to the company. Information collected from interaction via smart devices such as smart phones and its interconnection with other smart devices such as cameras and voice assistance has the power to understand consumer’s likes/dislikes, spending, and so on.

It is aiding organizations to optimize their data from sources such as social media, geolocation, facial recognition, and government agencies citizen data. This data is eventually added and utilized to influence consumer buying behavior.

IoB is using data processing to another level, by connecting collected data from human behavior to analytics and behavioral science. This behavioral data will play a fundamental role in planning and developing strategies for organizations particularly in sales and marketing.

It has the ability to analyse data collected from consumers (such as consumers food choices, how they shop, their preferred travel destination, people with whom and how they interact) and use it to advertise products more effectively and improvise a product’s or service’s overall user experience, thus fulfilling their ultimate goal of selling product. With such capabilities, it aims to generate a substantial enhancement in the development of the sales industry. 

For Instance, a health app that can track sleeping patterns, heart rate or blood sugar levels, can alert users before adverse health situations and suggest them with behavior changes for the positive result. Such information could prove significantly important to companies by providing them with deeper insight into how they should be channelizing their marketing efforts.  

As per Gartner, “The same wearables that health insurance companies use to track physical activities to reduce premiums could also be used to monitor grocery purchases; too many unhealthy items could increase premiums.”

GBKSOFT, a software company has helped golfers to improve their playing skills by correcting their existing ball striking technique and learning new techniques with its app and wearable device. The golfers can connect their handheld device and connect it with their mobile phone, every time the golfer hits the ball the app records and analyses its impact. Thus golfer can not only improvise by analyzing their mistake but also track for any trajectory or stroke force.

Tech giants such as Facebook, Google, and Amazon are continuously tracking and working on algorithms to configure and anticipate consumer desires and behaviors

Covid has brought a wider acceptance of IoB for human behavioral surveillance. IoB can prove to be an extremely effective method to avoid spread of virus. For instance, computer vision or facial recognition can be used to determine if employees are complying with mask protocols or not. While, electronic devices such as RFID tags and sensors on employee or in the environment can be used to check if they are washing or sanitizing their hands regularly or not. Speakers can be used to warn people violating such protocols.

Test and Trace app on smart devices can be used by government agencies to monitor and curtail people’s location and activities to ensure their chances of contacting virus, while effectively enhancing overall public welfare.

While IoB has a great potential to improve our lives it has some negative aspects as well, cyber security being the prime concern. It can give access to cyber criminals with not just behavioral data such as consumer buying patterns or their likes/dislikes but also give access to their banking code, by which they can create advance scams, and take phishing to another level.

Moreover, data generated from social media platform such as Facebook and Instagram is changing the dynamics of value chain, and companies are using this opportunity to modify human behaviors. This goes well with the saying “If you are not paying for it, you are no longer the customer, you are the product being sold”

Some people might find surveillance of behavior as an Invasion of their privacy. “China’s Social Credit System” a Chinese government based surveillance programme is one such example, which includes all characteristics of judging citizens’ behaviour and trustworthiness. With this system the government is supporting good human behaviour and discouraging bad behavior. This is not going well with people who value their civil rights.

Moreover, laws regarding IoT vary widely, and considering IoB has much more sensitive data, both government and private organizations need to establish robust privacy laws to bring legal consistency.

As per Gartner, “Much of the scope and execution of an IoB will depend on local privacy laws, which may affect how data can be used and in what way”.

Regardless of the apprehensions expressed above, IoB has the ability to make our lives effortless, be it improving business, encouraging us to live a healthy life or ensure our safety during pandemic situations. Any government of private organization who implement IoB needs to make sure of strong cyber security and data protection laws.

Continue Reading

Science & Technology

160 million degrees Celsius reached in China: The artificial Sun

Published

on

Experimental Advanced Superconducting Tokamak (EAST) /VCG Photo

Another important step has been taken by Chinese researchers in developing the ultimate energy source for nuclear fusion.

On May 28, the Experimental Advanced Superconducting Tokamak (EAST), known as the “artificial sun”, operating at the Institute of Materials Science in Hefei (Chinese Academy of Sciences), achieved the new limit of the planet reaching the highest temperature ever recorded.

It reached one hundred and twenty million degrees Celsius, for one minute and 51 seconds. EAST also managed to maintain a temperature of 160 million degrees Celsius for 20 seconds. This is a higher peak than that of the sun’s core, which can reach a limit of 15 million degrees Celsius.

A tokamak (Russian: toroidal’naja kamera s magnitnymi katushkami: Russian acronym for “toroidal chamber with magnetic coils”) is a device which uses a powerful magnetic field to confine plasma in the shape of a torus. Torus is a ring-shaped device in which a hot, rarefied gas (usually hydrogen, in the plasma state) is kept cohesive and away from inner walls by a magnetic field created by electromagnets outside the chamber. It was originally conceptualized and invented in the 1950s by Soviet professor Sadyk Azimovič Azimov (1914-88) and others at the Kurčatov Institute in Moscow.

China’s experimental nuclear fusion device was created in 1998 and was called HT-7U at the time. With a view to making it easier to pronounce and remember, as well as having a precise scientific meaning for national and foreign experts, HT-7U was officially renamed EAST in October 2003.

In 2006, the EAST project was completed in a definitive and higher quality manner. In September-October 2006 and in January-February 2007, the EAST device performed two discharge debugs and successfully achieved stable, repetitive and controllable high-temperature plasmas with various magnetic configurations.

EAST has a nuclear fusion reaction mechanism similar to that of the sun. Its operating principle is to add a small amount of the hydrogen isotope deuterium or tritium to the device’s vacuum chamber and generate plasma through a transformer-like principle, then increase its density and temperature to cause a fusion reaction – a process that generates enormous energy.

Over the ten years since its construction, EAST has continually made progress in the search for controllable nuclear fusion.

In 2009, the first round of EAST tests was successful, thus putting China at the forefront of nuclear fusion research. In February 2016, EAST’s physics tests made another major breakthrough, achieving the longest temperature duration reaching 50 million degrees. In 2018, EAST reached a number of important milestones including 100 million degrees.

This means that mankind has made another major advance in its efforts to turn nuclear fusion into new, clean and inexhaustible energy.

Energy is the fundamental driving force behind the functioning of every aspect of life. The energy used today has many shortcomings and cannot fully meet human needs, while nuclear fusion energy is considered the ideal energy par excellence.

According to calculations, the deuterium contained in one litre of seawater can produce the equivalent of the energy of 300 litres of petrol, released after the nuclear fusion reaction, besides the fact that the product is not harmful. Although it is not a “perpetual motion machine”, nuclear fusion can provide energy for a long time. Not only can Marvel’s hero Iron Man rely on the small reactor in his chest, but also raw materials can be obtained from seawater at an extremely low cost.

The first condition for nuclear fusion is to keep fuel in the fourth state of matter, after solid, liquid and gas – i.e. the plasma state.

When the plasma temperature reaches tens of millions of degrees Celsius or even hundreds of millions of degrees, the atomic nucleus can overcome the repulsive force to carry out the polymerisation reaction. Coupled with sufficient density and a sufficiently long thermal energy confinement time, the nuclear fusion reaction is able to continue steadily.

Nevertheless, it is particularly difficult to achieve both the temperature of hundreds of millions of degrees Celsius and the long-term confinement control of plasma stability.

While recognising that nuclear fusion is the ultimate goal for solving the problem of mankind’s future energy, there is both cooperation and competition in international research.

A sign of cooperation is that on July 28, 2020, a ceremony was held in France to launch the major project to install the International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor (ITER). The ITER project is jointly implemented by China, the Republic of Korea (South Korea), Japan, India, Russia, the European Union and the United States.

On December 28, 2020, Seoul’s Korea Superconducting Tokamak Advanced Research (KSTAR) set a new world limit at the  time and its ionomer maintained a temperature of over 100 million degrees for 20 seconds.

In early 2018, the Plasma Science and Fusion Center at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology had begun designing and building a Soonest/Smallest Private-Funded Affordable Robust Compact fusion reactor more advanced than ITER, with a volume tens of times smaller and significantly reduced in cost. But it remains to be seen whether this goal can be achieved.

Chinese researchers have now achieved significant progress in this field and taken another important step towards obtaining energy from nuclear fusion.

In the future, if the production capacity and energy supply of the “artificial sun” is achieved, it will be another technological revolution that can promote social progress even more than the industrial revolution which, in fact, meant the beginning of pollution for the planet and exploitation by capital.

Although there is still a long way to go before the construction of the naval port on Jupiter described by the Chinese writer, Liu Cixin, in his novel The Three-Body Problem (San Ti), mankind is indeed advancing on the road to controllable nuclear fusion.

Nuclear fusion energy has exceptional advantages in producing rich resources, as well as no carbon emissions, so it is clean and safe. It is one of the ideal energy sources for mankind in the future, and can contribute significantly to achieve the goal of eliminating said carbon.

The two greatest difficulties in generating energy from nuclear fusion lie in regularly reaching hundreds of millions of degrees, and in stable ignition and control of long-term confinement.

For the time being, multiple extreme conditions are highly integrated and organically combined at the same time, but this is very difficult and challenging.

In hitting the record, it is the first time that the EAST device has adopted key technologies such as the first water-cooled all-metal active wall, as well as the high-performance tungsten deflector and high-power wave heating states.

At present, there are over 200 core technologies and nearly 2,000 patents on EAST, bringing together cutting-edge technologies such as ‘ultra-high temperature’, ‘ultra-low temperature’, ‘ultra-high vacuum’, ‘ultra-strong magnetic field’ and ‘ultra-high current’.

The total power is 34 megawatts, which is equivalent to about 68,000 domestic microwave ovens heating up together. For 100 million degrees Celsius and -269 °C to coexist, it is necessary to use “ultra-high vacuum” with an intensity of about one hundredth of a billionth of the surface atmospheric pressure suitable for insulation. With a view to supporting this complex extreme system, almost a million parts and components work together on EAST.

The new EAST record further demonstrates the feasibility of nuclear fusion energy and also lays the physical and engineering foundations for marketing.

Energy on earth, stored in the form of fossil fuels, wind, water or animals and plants, originally comes from the sun. For example, fossil fuels evolved from animals and plants millions of years ago, and their energy ultimately comes from solar energy stored by the photosynthesis of plants at the base of the food chain. Therefore, regardless of the type of energy used by humans, they ultimately use the sun energy that comes from nuclear fusion.

If mankind could master the method for releasing the nuclear fusion energy in an orderly manner, it would be equivalent to controlling the sun energy source. Therefore, this is the reason why the controllable nuclear fusion reactor is called the “artificial sun”.

Continue Reading

Publications

Latest

Trending