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
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
Iran among five pioneers of nanotechnology
Prioritizing nanotechnology in Iran has led to this country’s steady placement among the five pioneers of the nanotechnology field in recent years, and approximately 20 percent of all articles provided by Iranian researchers in 2020 are relative to this area of technology.
Iran has been introduced as the 4th leading country in the world in the field of nanotechnology, publishing 11,546 scientific articles in 2020.
The country held a 6 percent share of the world’s total nanotechnology articles, according to StatNano’s monthly evaluation accomplished in WoS databases.
There are 227 companies in Iran registered in the WoS databases, manufacturing 419 products, mainly in the fields of construction, textile, medicine, home appliances, automotive, and food.
According to the data, 31 Iranian universities and research centers published more than 50 nano-articles in the last year.
In line with China’s trend in the past few years, this country is placed in the first stage with 78,000 nano-articles (more than 40 percent of all nano-articles in 2020), and the U.S. is at the next stage with 24,425 papers. These countries have published nearly half of the whole world’s nano-articles.
In the following, India with 9 percent, Iran with 6 percent, and South Korea and Germany with 5 percent are the other head publishers, respectively.
Almost 9 percent of the whole scientific publications of 2020, indexed in the Web of Science database, have been relevant to nanotechnology.
There have been 191,304 nano-articles indexed in WoS that had to have a 9 percent growth compared to last year. The mentioned articles are 8.8 percent of the whole produced papers in 2020.
Iran ranked 43rd among the 100 most vibrant clusters of science and technology (S&T) worldwide for the third consecutive year, according to the Global Innovation Index (GII) 2020 report.
The country experienced a three-level improvement compared to 2019.
Iran’s share of the world’s top scientific articles is 3 percent, Gholam Hossein Rahimi She’erbaf, the deputy science minister, has announced.
The country’s share in the whole publications worldwide is 2 percent, he noted, highlighting, for the first three consecutive years, Iran has been ranked first in terms of quantity and quality of articles among Islamic countries.
Sourena Sattari, vice president for science and technology has said that Iran is playing the leading role in the region in the fields of fintech, ICT, stem cell, aerospace, and is unrivaled in artificial intelligence.
From our partner Tehran Times
Free And Equal Internet Access As A Human Right
Having internet access in a free and equal way is very important in contemporary world. Today, there are more than 4 billion people who are using internet all around the world. Internet has become a very important medium by which the right to freedom of speech and the right to reach information can be exercised. Internet has a central tool in commerce, education and culture.
Providing solutions to develop effective policies for both internet safety and equal Internet access must be the first priority of governments. The Internet offers individuals power to seek and impart information thus states and organizations like UN have important roles in promoting and protecting Internet safety. States and international organizations play a key role to ensure free and equal Internet access.
The concept of “network neutrality” is significant while analyzing equal access to Internet and state policies regulating it. Network Neutrality (NN) can be defined as the rule meaning all electronic communications and platforms should be exercised in a non-discriminatory way regardless of their type, content or origin. The importance of NN has been evident in COVID-19 pandemic when millions of students in underdeveloped regions got victimized due to the lack of access to online education.
Article 19/2 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights notes the following:
“Everyone shall have the right to freedom of expression; this right shall include freedom to seek, receive and impart information and ideas of all kinds, regardless of frontiers either orally, in writing or in print, in the form of art, or through any other media of his choice.”
Internet access and network neutrality directly affect human rights. The lack of NN undermines human rights and causes basic human right violations like violating freedom of speech and freedom to reach information. There must be effective policies to pursue NN. Both nation-states and international organizations have important roles in making Internet free, safe and equally reachable for the people worldwide. States should take steps for promoting equal opportunities, including gender equality, in the design and implementation of information and technology. The governments should create and maintain, in law and in practice, a safe and enabling online environment in accordance with human rights.
It is known that, the whole world has a reliance on internet that makes it easy to fullﬁll basic civil tasks but this is also threatened by increasing personal and societal cyber security threats. In this regard, states must fulfill their commitment to develop effective policies to attain universal access to the Internet in a safe way.
As final remarks, it can be said that, Internet access should be free and equal for everyone. Creating effective tools to attain universal access to the Internet cannot be done only by states themselves. Actors like UN and EU have a major role in this process as well.
Future Energy Systems Need Clear AI Boundaries
Today, almost 60% of people worldwide have access to the Internet via an ever-increasing number of electronic devices. And as Internet usage grows, so does data generation.
Data keeps growing at unprecedented rates, increasingly exceeding the abilities of any human being to analyse it and discover its underlying structures.
Yet data is knowledge. This is where artificial intelligence (AI) comes in. Today’s high-speed computing systems can “learn” from experience and, thus, effectively replicate human decision-making.
Besides holding its own among global chess champions, AI aids in converting unstructured data into actionable knowledge. At the same time, it enables the creation of even more insightful AI – a win-win for all. However, this doesn’t happen without challenges along the way.
Commercial uses of AI have expanded steadily in recent years across finance, healthcare, education and other sectors. Now, with COVID-19 lockdowns and travel restrictions, many countries have turned to innovative technologies to halt the spread of the virus.
The pandemic, therefore, has further accelerated the global AI expansion trend.
Energy systems need AI, too.
Rapidly evolving smart technology is helping to make power generation and distribution more efficient and sustainable. AI and the Big Data that drives it have become an absolute necessity. Beyond just facilitating and optimising, these are now the basic tools for fast, smart decision making.
With the accelerating shift to renewable power sources, AI can help to reduce operating costs and boost efficiency. Crucially, AI-driven “smart grids” can manage variable supply, helping to maximise the use of solar and wind power.
Read more in IRENA’s Innovation Toolbox.
Risks must be managed to maximise the benefits.
AI usage in the energy sector faces expertise-related and financial constraints.
Decision makers, lacking specialised knowledge, struggle to appreciate the wide-ranging benefits of smart system management. In this respect, energy leaders have proven more conservative than those in other sectors, such as healthcare.
Meanwhile, installing powerful AI tools without prior experience brings considerable risks. Data loss, poor customisation, system failures, unauthorised access – all these errors can bring enormous costs.
Yet like it or not, interconnected devices are on the rise.
What does this all mean for the average consumer?
Smart phones, smart meters and smart plugs, connected thermostats, boilers and smart charging stations have become familiar, everyday items. Together, such devices can form the modern “smart home”, ideally powered by rooftop solar panels.
AI can help all of us, the world’s energy consumers, become prosumers, producing and storing our own energy and interacting actively with the wider market. Our data-driven devices, in turn, will spawn more data, which helps to scale up renewables and maximise system efficiency.
But home data collection raises privacy concerns. Consumers must be clearly informed about how their data is used, and by whom. Data security must be guaranteed. Consumer privacy regulations must be defined and followed, with cybersecurity protocols in place to prevent data theft.
Is the future of AI applications in energy bright?
Indeed, the outlook is glowing, but only if policy makers and societies strike the right balance between innovation and risk to ensure a healthy, smart and sustainable future.
Much about AI remains to be learned. As its use inevitably expands in the energy sector, it cannot be allowed to work for the benefit of only a few. Clear strategies need to be put in place to manage the AI use for the good of all.
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