China Space station: The tech that sets it apart


By Liu Wei

15:38, 04-May-2021

Visitors check out the interior of the core module of China’s space station at an exhibition in China Science and Technology Museum in Beijing, China, March 21, 2021. /CFP

As a new member to the club of space stations, China is enlisting a great deal of cutting-edge technologies, ranging from new materials to artificial intelligence, for its latest space station project.

China’s manned space station project kicked off only a little more than 10 years ago, decades behind those of the Western countries. But the late start has enabled the Chinese scientists to make use of some of their latest achievements in the project.

With rapid growth in areas such as telecom and AI, the installation of China’s young space station has become much easier with the use of new technologies, according to Wang Wei, research director at design department of China Aerospace Science and Technology Corporation. “Because the space station is reasonable in size and has a sleek design, it’s easier to expand it by adding new modules.”

Different designs of cargo ships have been developed to accommodate larger scientific equipment, said Zhou Jianping, chief designer of China’s manned space engineering project. “The cargo ships can be used to transport large-sized science equipment to space.”

The latest Chinese space station also features a new energy system that can turn 30 percent of the solar power collected by its photovoltaic panel wings into electricity. Higher efficiency would provide more power to the space station for maneuvering and scientific research.

An abundant and steady power supply is specifically critical for the space station as it adopts a propulsion technology powered by electricity. The electric propulsion system is about five times more powerful than regular propellants, according to Zhou. “It means you can have more propulsion power at less expense. That’s a unique feature and advantage of the Chinese space station,” Zhou said.

With an aim to have crews stationed at the space station, a complex water recycling and oxygen-generating system has also been installed, Zhou added. The system is able to catch moisture inside the station, purify some into drinkable water and use the rest to re-produce oxygen, he said.

Source: CGTN “China Space station: The tech that sets it apart”

Note: This is CGTN’s report I post here for readers’ information. It does not mean whether I agree or disagree with the report’ views.


American Submarines Are in the Crosshairs of China


China will deploy a force of aerial drones to stalk American submarines in the Western Pacific.

by Lyle J. Goldstein

November 17, 2019

China has been steadily improving its anti-submarine warfare (ASW) capabilities to cope with a perceived, major asymmetry in undersea warfare capabilities. Additionally, when Beijing began filling out its navy with major surface combatants, including aircraft carriers, cruisers and now large amphibious attack ships, there has been a rather visible and understandable uptick in Chinese attempts to protect these new investments from submarine attack.

Some of these developments in Chinese ASW over the last decade have included building a formidable force of light frigates that are equipped with towed sonar arrays, fielding a vertically launched “rocket torpedo” as a standard weapon in its fleet, deploying a new maritime patrol aircraft (MPA) that is optimized for ASW and developing ocean bottom sensor networks in and around its key naval bases. Some coming attractions in this area will include a new generation of Chinese ASW helicopters (both Z-18 and Z-20), as well as a system of unmanned undersea vehicles (UUVs) that will perform various missions, including especially surveillance and laying sea-mines, at least at the outset.

Now, a new threat to the dominance of the U.S. submarine force in the Western Pacific lies over the horizon. A series of recent articles published in China implies that the PLA Navy is hard at work on developing unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) that will take up the ASW mission. That could eventually pose a major problem for the undersea forces of the United States and also for the forces of its allies.

One article, published in the Chinese journal Fire Control & Command [火力与指挥控制] in mid-July, is a collaborative research project between the Naval Command College in Nanjing and the Naval Aeronautical University in Yantai. The research focuses on the potential for UAVs to support an MPA in the “cooperative use of sono-buoys for the purposes of conducting a submarine search.” The article explains that sono-buoys are one of the main tools for hunting submarines, especially over a large sea area. These authors project that “Given the wide array of possibilities to employ UAVs, it’s quite possible that they will play a large role in the future of anti-submarine warfare [随着无人机的广泛运用在未来反潜作战中很可能发挥重要角色].”

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This analysis begins by discussing various advantages and disadvantages of manned MPAs for ASW, such as the U.S. Navy’s vaunted P-8 Poseidon. Not only can that aircraft carry 120 sono-buoys, but it is capable of monitoring 60 of these buoys simultaneously, according to this Chinese rendering. Such aircraft are capable of “independent” missions against submarines, as they can conduct search, track, and attack functions. However, there is a fly in the ointment, of course, and this analysis emphasizes that such lumbering aircraft themselves have minimal self-defense capability and thus “may very easily become targets of attack [很容易被作为攻击目标]” by enemy interceptors. Another problem is that the length of the missions can be exceedingly taxing for the crews, so that the overall submarine search efficiency of the aircraft may decrease.

The argument is made in this Chinese analysis that unmanned aircraft can be of considerable assistance in such circumstances. It is said that UAVs frequently fly for more than forty hours but are capable of flights that last over days or even weeks. While generally not fast moving, they are still considerably faster than surface ships that are also employed for the ASW mission. It is projected, moreover, that they may sometimes be able to fly over air defenses. But the biggest selling point for UAVs in this role is that they are so much cheaper than both submarine-hunting large MPAs, and quite obviously also their quarry, the submarines. In other words, such economical approaches to the undersea rivalry in the Western Pacific could put Beijing on the right end of a “cost-imposition” strategy. This Chinese analysis, moreover, implies that unmanned aircraft need not accomplish all aspects of the ASW mission. They could play the reasonably simple role of information relay platforms. They could also help to reduce the complexity of the daunting tasks that currently confront MPA crews. Of course, they could also take greater risks by entering “situations of contested airspace [敌空中威胁情况].” Lower costs, naturally enough, also mean that many airframes, coordinating together, could be deployed for any given search operation. Mathematical modeling of ASW operations in this piece yields the conclusion that UAVs do significantly increase the efficiency of submarine hunting.

A second article, from a late 2018 edition of Chinese Journal of Ship Research [中国舰船研究], endeavors to explore the “search/attack submarine integration [搜攻潜一体化]” functions of a fixed-wing UAV for ASW by studying the issue of optimizing payloads. This author, from the Jiangsu Automation Research Institute, asserts that “all navies are reforming ASW models.” He contends that there is an “urgent need for greater range, larger search areas, longer search periods, as well as cheaper methods of sensing, detection, tracking, and prosecuting submarines.” The paper discusses some foreign designs, including the U.S military’s MQ-9 UAV.

Owing mostly to the cost issue, this analysis also holds that UAVs for ASW have “obvious advantages” over manned aircraft. Interestingly, this Chinese study asserts that “weaponization is the basic trend for fixed-wing unmanned ASW aircraft [武器化是固定翼反潜无人机的基本特点].” But the most remarkable part of this particular discussion is the recognition that these UAVs might well operate from Chinese aircraft carriers. That is a rather bold call given that China has yet to demonstrate success in operating UAVs from aircraft carriers, but it does neatly illustrate Beijing’s priority on protecting its new capital ships, as noted in this paper’s introduction. Reviewing sample flight profiles, this analysis sees an ASW UAV that is capable of a patrol radius of six hundred kilometers for its land-based variant and perhaps three hundred kilometers for its carrier-based variant.

The above articles offer a glimpse of yet more coming attractions from the Chinese Navy. Indeed, the naval air arm of the PLA Navy is now starting to make rapid progress in line with its subsurface and surface forces. This news is quite disturbing as it fits a developing pattern of Beijing employing its new prowess in artificial intelligence to solve difficult battlefield dilemmas. What’s still more troubling is that if Chinese missiles and aircraft succeed in destroying U.S. and allied airbases in the Western Pacific during the initial phase of any military contingency, whether over Taiwan or the South China Sea, that might well leave myriad Chinese drone aircraft the freedom to roam and aggressively stalk previously nearly invulnerable American submarines.

Source: National Interest “American Submarines Are in the Crosshairs of China”

Note: This is National Interest’s article I post here for readers’ information. It does not mean that I agree or disagree with the article’s views.


China Rapidly Increasing Nuclear, Naval, and Next-Gen Tech, Pentagon Warns


The PLA is preparing for modern, networked warfare with more artificial intelligence, warships, and even a space station.

PATRICK TUCKER | SEPTEMBER 1, 2020

China is set to double its nuclear stockpile over the next decade, operates the world’s largest Navy, is surging its space capabilities, and embedding artificial intelligence across everything that it does, according to the Pentagon’s latest annual assessment on Beijing’s military power.

In several key aspects, the Chinese and U.S. militaries are pursuing similar trends, such as expanding naval power, the movement toward a more integrated joint force, and an embrace of emerging information technologies like AI.

The Defense Department’s 2020 China Military Power report, released Tuesday, assesses that China will “at least double” its nuclear stockpile to about 400 warheads and is strengthening its nuclear deterrence. “New developments in 2019 further suggest that China intends to increase the peacetime readiness of its nuclear forces by moving to a launch-on-warning (LOW) posture with an expanded silo-based force.” China is also pursuing its own version of a nuclear triad, with air-launched ballistic missiles, in addition to ICBMs. Pentagon officials assess China will have 200 intercontinental missiles in the next five years.

Combined with a near-complete lack of transparency regarding their strategic intent and the perceived need for a much larger, more diverse nuclear force, these developments pose a significant concern for the United States,” said Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense Chad Sbragia, briefing reporters on the report at the Pentagon on Tuesday.

The United States had been looking to include China in discussions about an enhanced New START treaty, which governs the number of deployed strategic nuclear weapons and launch platforms that the United States and Russia can keep in their inventories. China has so far said that it isn’t interested in participating in a trilateral discussion on nuclear arms control.

The United States is willing to make progress with Russia while waiting on China to recognize its interests in behaving like a great power and a responsible nuclear weapons state by pursuing negotiations in good faith,” Sbragia said.

China has also built up its Navy to become the world’s largest with 350 ships and submarines (and 130 surface combatants.) That’s a change from last year’s report, which describes China as having the largest “regional” Navy. “In comparison, the U.S. Navy’s battle force is approximately 293 ships as of early 2020,” notes this year’s report.

Speaking to the conservative American Enterprise Institute later Tuesday, Sbragia added “the caution is always [that] numbers are one element, not the entirety… There’s tonnage, capacity, sophistication.” For instance, China commissioned its first aircraft carrier last year, with its second scheduled for 2023, compared to the fleet of 11 U.S. nuclear-powered aircraft carriers.

For years, Pentagon leaders have boasted that despite China’s buildup of new technologies and weapons, the People’s Liberation Army, or PLA, lacked the American training and fighting experience in joint combat scenarios that synchronize land, air, and sea power, giving the United States tremendous advantage in any potential head-to-head conflict. According to this year’s report, the PLA is working hard to change that.

More striking than the PLA’s staggering amounts of new military hardware are the recent sweeping efforts taken by [Chinese Communist Party, or CCP] leaders that include completely restructuring the PLA into a force better suited for joint operations, improving the PLA’s overall combat readiness, encouraging the PLA to embrace new operational concepts, and expanding the [People’s Republic of China, or PRC’s] overseas military footprint.”

Additionally, China’s space activities are maturing “rapidly,” the report says, noting that China wants to have its own permanent space station by 2022. “Beijing has devoted significant economic and political resources to growing all aspects of its space program, from military space applications to civil applications such as profit-generating launches, scientific endeavors, and space exploration.”

Beijing is also putting emerging technology, particularly artificial intelligence, at the center of its efforts to modernize its military. “The PRC is pursuing a whole-of-society effort to become a global leader in AI, which includes designating select private AI companies in China as ‘AI champions’ to emphasize R&D in specific dual-use technologies,” the report states. It’s part of China’s five-year plan to become the world’s dominant player in the technology by 2030.

In 2019, the private PRC-based company Ziyan UAV exhibited armed swarming drones that it claimed use AI to perform autonomous guidance, target acquisition, and attack execution. During the past five years, China has made achievements in AI-enabled unmanned surface vessels, which China plans to use to patrol and bolster its territorial claims in the South China Sea. China has also tested unmanned tanks as part of research efforts to integrate AI into ground forces’ equipment,” it says.

Just as the United States says artificial intelligence is helping to increase the speed of warfare, China is also operating under that assumption. “The PLA argues that the implementation of ‘intelligentized’ capabilities will increase the speed of future combat, necessitating more rapid processing and fusing of information to support quick and efficient command decision making.”

Sbragia described the underlying strategy informing how China develops and fields weapons, and undertakes military operations, as one of “active defense.” China, he said, sees itself as constrained by the “requirement to safeguard national interests and not do so in a matter that would be catastrophic to long term aspirations… Use of force, bound by those two conditions… always in those terms.”

Source: Defense One “China Rapidly Increasing Nuclear, Naval, and Next-Gen Tech, Pentagon Warns”

Note: This is Defense One’s article I post here for readers’ information. It does not mean that I agree or disagree with the article’s views.


Huawei’s Radical New Device Is Definitely Not What You Expected


Zak Doffman. Contributor Aug 29, 2020,05:30am EDT

So, you can file this under stories I didn’t expect to be writing this week. Just as Huawei prepares for the launch of its latest flagship device—the Mate 40, while fighting the newly lit and devastating fire of Trump’s latest supply chain sanctions, reports have emerged that the latest device from the Shenzhen tech giant is so smart it can’t be lost. In fact, if you call out it will actually come and find you.

Yes, Huawei it seems is now playing in the robotic dog business. You’ll remember all the palaver a few months ago, when Boston Dynamics’ Spot the Dog was seen on coronavirus patrol in a public park in Singapore, reminding people to socially distance. Well, now Huawei has its own version of Spot, and it seems to have its own set of nifty, robotic tricks.

The dog was “spotted” in a physical Huawei store in China and reported by a blogger. I’m told it was actually put together by one of Huawei’s “ecosystem partners,” rather than the company itself, but it’s full of Huawei wizardry. This isn’t part of the company’s Consumer Business Group, but has been co-developed with one of Huawei’s labs, one with enterprise applications in mind.

According to the reports, the dog is the latest machine to “make use of Huawei’s AI technology, which includes leading-edge AI technology exploration, mature AI technology application, and full-scenario AI technology solutions.” It’s unclear what AI chipset the dog is carrying around, though, and whether that’s impacted by the new U.S. ban.

The dog is full of tricks, “designed in such a way that it is very flexible and can even perform forward somersaults.” There is no word yet from Shenzhen as to why an enterprise robotic dog would need to perform somersaults, but I’ll update the story if I find out.

Boston Dynamics’ Spot is designed as a security and enterprise device, “a nimble robot that climbs stairs and traverses rough terrain with unprecedented ease, yet is small enough to use indoors. Built to be a rugged and customizable platform, Spot has an industry track record in remote operation and autonomous sensing.”

In short, Spot is designed to travel independently over varying types of terrain, with a payload of multiple types of sensors—going where it might be difficult or unsafe for humans to reach, able to report back. One can assume the Huawei concept dog has the same applications in mind, and we won’t be welcoming one into our homes anytime soon, as entertaining as that might be.

Three serious takeaways from this story. First, it demonstrates the breadth of technologies under the hood at Huawei. It’s easy to forget with all the chatter about smartphones and 5G, that Huawei has a powerful enterprise business group, a full suite of cloud and AI solutions and a wide array of smart city deployments around the world. In short, a readymade market for this type of application.

The second takeaway is all about Huawei’s vast investments into AI and an ecosystem to support real-world deployments of those technologies. The company is playing in the automotive world, albeit it says it has no actual car building ambitions, but its “seamless AI life” strategy gives you a good indication of where it sees its future. You don’t need me to tell you that AI is perhaps China’s number one tech investment priority right now, and the AI-driven tech Cold War is right at the heart of Beijing’s standoff with Washington.

Finally, though, we have to return to those sanctions. When Huawei releases its Mate 40, as trailed here by my colleague David Phelan, it will be the swan song for the company’s brilliant Kirin chipsets, designed to be the delivery mechanism for all that AI R&D. We still don’t know what Huawei plans to do to mitigate the latest restrictions, or whether China can step in to help the company survive in its current form. Until then, the future for robotic dogs as well as smartphones, tablets, PCs and other gadgets remains up in the air…

Rather like that somersaulting dog.

Source: Forbes “Huawei’s Radical New Device Is Definitely Not What You Expected”

Note: This is Forbes’ report I post here for readers’ information. It does not mean that I agree or disagree with the report’ views.


Has China Already Won? You Bet


Enrique Dans, Senior Contributor

Aug 27, 2020,02:57pm EDT

On Tuesday, former Google CEO Eric Schmidt spoke at the Bipartisan Policy Center about artificial intelligence and global leadership, concluding that China will pretty much be running things from now on.

This is a position I have been defending for quite some time: Beijing’s approach, which we in the West consider unacceptable, has positioned China as a world leader in the technologies that will dictate the future of humanity, while the rest of the world sat back and watched or, in the case of the United States during the Trump administration, took steps backwards.

China is on its way to surpass us in many, many ways, and they’re cleverly run in a way that’s different from the way we would ever want to run. We need to take them seriously… they’re going to end up with a bigger economy, more R&D investments, better quality research, wider applications of technology, and a stronger computing infrastructure.”

The Chinese government has long asserted, repeated at Communist Party congresses, that its model is not only different, but superior, and that the time has come for China to take center stage and make a bigger contribution to humanity. From a purely strategic point of view, China’s form of government and the reinvention of state capitalism carried out by Xi Jinping has produced any number of large, decisive and top-down initiatives, which implies a much higher degree of efficiency. In Schmidt’s words:

The Chinese model is a vision of high-tech authoritarianism which is incompatible with the way America works. I’m not saluting it, I’m not endorsing it in any way, but I’m telling you to take it seriously (…) It has benefits from the standpoint of the strategic execution.”

Schmidt believes a world where China controls artificial intelligence and trade would not be a nice place for many of us, and highlights the need for a long-term, well-funded plan to counter Beijing’s hegemony by doubling R&D spending over the next five years. He adds that the way to fight China is not through a trade war, sanctions or executive orders, which is the approach taken by the Trump administration, but instead by moving faster and leaving China behind. Right now, the problem is not only that China is able to develop technology faster, more efficiently and with less resistance, but also that it is enjoying success in attracting and retaining talent.

These are issues that I’ve been discussing for a long time now, and they have a lot to do with the comments made a few days ago by Tim Wu in his article in The New York Times: China has behaved unilaterally unfairly, giving it a huge advantage in terms of leadership over the rest of the world, along with access to global markets while keeping its own out of reach.

Schmidt’s views are gaining wider traction, but the problem is that China has already won: the macroeconomic data has yet to prove it, but it has become the world’s leader in generating data to feed its algorithms, has more artificial intelligence patents, and is streets ahead in implementing cutting-edge developments. A surveillance society where resistance to planned and centralized management is impossible, a social contract accepted by much of the population in return for improved economic welfare.

As democrats, we might not like to live under such an authoritarian regime, but we might as well start accepting that to all intents and purposes, China has already won.

Source: Forbes “Has China Already Won? You Bet”

Note: This is Forbes’ article I post here for readers’ information. It does not mean that I agree or disagree with the article’s views.


Next gen fighter jet forthcoming in great power competition: J-20 chief designer


By Liu Xuanzun Source: Global Times Published: 2020/7/27 19:33:07

A J-20 fighter performs at the 12th China International Aviation and Aerospace Exhibition (Airshow China) in Zhuhai, south China’s Guangdong Province, Nov. 11, 2018. The air show closed on Sunday. (Xinhua)

A revolutionary, cognition-subverting next generation fighter jet, characterized by long-range, high capabilities in penetration, awareness, firepower and fast decision-making, is about to come into being amid great power competition, according to a recent paper by the chief designer of China’s J-20 stealth fighter jet.

Artificial intelligence is a key field to help pilots process vast information and make decisions in complicated battlefield environments, it said.

Amid great power competition and the commissioning of more and more fourth generation fighter jets (or fifth generation under US classification, which includes China’s J-20, US’ F-22 and F-35), there have been extensive discussions on the changes in types of warfare, and the development of post-fourth generation fighter jets, said Yang Wei of Aviation Industry Corporation of China (AVIC), in a paper published in Acta Aeronautica et Astronautica Sinica, a Chinese monthly journal on aeronautics, last month.

Yang is the chief designer of China’s first fourth generation fighter jet, the J-20.

In the paper, Yang said that in older generations of fighter jets, maneuverability used to be the deciding factor, but this concept is becoming outdated with the development of advanced medium-range air-to-air missiles with their beyond-visual-range attack capabilities.

Information has now become the deciding factor, as modern fighter jets focus on gaining more information with the help of AESA radars and data chains, while also reducing opponents’ ability to gain information, including using stealth technology and electronic countermeasures.

When aircraft can get more information with these advanced devices, pilots must have extensive knowledge, sharp analysis and sound decision-making to put them to use.

Yang said artificial intelligence will help pilots process the information, and help them become mission objective-oriented.

Each step in the original observe-orient-decide-act (OODA) loop in the air combat decision-making process will feature artificial intelligence’s assistance, the paper said. “Intelligence becoming the deciding factor” will be the essence of what Yang calls an OODA 3.0.

Citing foreign projects, Yang said that a future fighter jet will generally require a longer combat range, longer endurance, stronger stealth capability, a larger load of air-to-air and air-to-surface weapons, and the functionality to provide its pilot with easy-to-understand battlefield situation images and predictions. In an integrated system, the aircraft should be able to form a network, draw real-time integrated situational images, create multiple attack routes, and transmit target information across mission areas in real time.

Yang’s vision could indicate what China’s future fighter jet might be like, a Chinese military expert told the Global Times on Monday under the condition of anonymity.

Usually the Chinese military simultaneously equips a current generation of weapons, develops a next generation, and conducts pre-study on a further generation at the same time. So as J-20s are being commissioned into the Chinese Air Force, the next generation fighter jet must have already started development, the expert said.

China is eyeing to develop a next generation fighter jet by 2035 or earlier, which could feature laser, adaptive engines and the ability to command drones, reports in early 2019 quoted Wang Haifeng, another senior designer at AVIC who participated in the development of the J-20 and J-10 fighter jets, as saying.

Source: Global Times “Next gen fighter jet forthcoming in great power competition: J-20 chief designer”

Note: This is Global Times’ article I post here for readers’ information. It does not mean that I agree or disagree with the article’s views.


Millions Of Huawei Users Will Now Get This Radical New Android Alternative


Zak Doffman, Contributor

May 9, 2020,06:20am EDT

Slowly, slowly, Huawei is piecing together its alternatives to Google’s software and services, bedding down for a world where there can be no post-blacklist return to business as usual. And while the mood music from Shenzhen still suggests that the company would like nothing more than restoring Google on its new phones, the truth is much more complicated. The strategy in Shenzhen goes beyond phones, leveraging China’s huge investments in 5G and AI, looking at areas in which it can establish its brand beyond 5G network kit and consumer devices.

At around the time of the Mate 30 launch last fall, Huawei also started talking up its new connected car platform—HiCar. And while this may have come across as an Android Auto (or Apple CarPlay) lookalike, compensating for the company’s loss of Google, that isn’t the plan. This is much more radical, a fundamentally different approach to the one taken by Google and Apple. Pitched at automakers as well as the drivers of their cars, this is API-level integration to car functions, linkages to cameras, fatigue and safety checks, even cloud-based services. All that atop the usual infotainment and navigation options.

Now the rubber is about to hit the road on HiCar, quite literally, as Huawei looks to shepherd the tech onto countless cars from dozens of manufacturers. This is the year that HiCar becomes a reality and we will find out whether it is a viable option in itself, and how it battles Google (and Apple) apps in the auto space. If Huawei gets the strategy right, it will help fill some of the international smartphone-shaped gap in its revenues, while millions of its users will stand to benefit.

In the aftermath of the launch of the P40, its latest non-Google flagship, Huawei has been lauding the features of HiCar and its coming to market this year. The company has reportedly ensured that HiCar will reach its users en masse in 2020, shipping on as many as 120 different car models from 30 manufacturers.

In the six months since the HiCar chatter began, we’ve seen Chinese automaker (and GM joint venture) Baojun become the first to launch a vehicle with the tech onboard. The company says all future vehicles will get the update. The expectation is that many other manufacturers will follow this year—not just in China but overseas as well; according to Nikkei Asian Review and ChinaPEV, German giant Audi is among them. Audi has been approached for any comments on this.

As I reported yesterday, May 8, Huawei is quietly using its balance sheet to fund investments in connected automotive technologies. Bringing together consumer OS expertise with advancements in silicon and cloud services, the Chinese giant has set itself the goal of becoming the “leading Chinese platform provider” in the space.

Huawei’s newest business unit is Intelligent Automotive Solution (IAS), and it could become one of its most important. Automotive is at the very intersection of huge investments in AI, 5G, cloud and IoT. That’s why Huawei’s competition in the space includes Apple, Google’s stablemate Waymo and Tesla. China is the world’s largest car market and will likely lead the world for next-gen autonomous vehicles as well. Huawei is well placed—right place, right time.

Huawei doesn’t want to make cars—it wants to bolt an intelligent computing and communications platform to the auto-motive platforms built by others—it sees this as a full 70% of the value. That’s for the future—for millions of users today, though, the company has ambitious plans that also centre on your driving experience.

We’ve seen how critical navigation is to the modern-day smartphone experience. One of the critical factors in blacklisted Huawei’s loss of Google was the need to replace Google Maps. This isn’t just the app, it’s the navigation services stitched into the operating system, able to drive great swathes of the user experience.

Huawei countered this by securing Here mapping technologies for its phones—both surprising and clever, this is a genuinely competitive offering to Google. And this isn’t all—the company has also secured a partnership with MapmyIndia for the huge Indian market. It’s all part of the same theme—box out full-fat Android.

And so to HiCar, which needs to be viewed as part of Huawei’s broader auto strategy and not as an Android Auto fill-in. The tech is more a play to automakers than users, providing smartphone integration beyond infotainment—think aircon and even winding down the windows initially, but also pre-emptive maintenance and diagnostics, fleet management, even safety applications.

Huawei

Huawei’s vision is to provide a cloud platform alongside “Internet of Vehicles” solutions to automakers and their customers. Using its scale and OS, the company can then enable those auto makers to digitize a wide range of services without having to take on the burden themselves. Clearly, this aligns with its strategy to be the ICT bolt-on for next-gen cars and not the car itself—unlike Apple (reportedly), Waymo and the likes of Tesla, as well as today’s mainstream automakers.

For traditional automakers and next-gen OEMs, Huawei is offering a clever pitch: No disintermediation threat as it has no ambition to build cars; no data ownership debate as there is with Google and Apple. Perhaps an automaker can have the tech savvy of a leading phone player without losing control—the core platform doesn’t even need the driver to be a Huawei user. “OK Google, whose customer am I now?”

Meanwhile, for millions of Huawei users, this fits the “Seamless AI Life” strategy to enable moving cross-platform, enabled by Huawei’s new OS and Mobile Services. That said, a week short of the first anniversary of Huawei’s U.S. blacklist, this becomes yet one more complexity in unpicking global supply chains.

Source: Forbes “Millions Of Huawei Users Will Now Get This Radical New Android Alternative”

Note: This is Forbes’ article I post here for readers’ information. It does not mean that I agree or disagree with the article’s views.


Pentagon points to China, Russia competition in new AI strategy


By Alex Diaz | Fox News February 20

Experts fear US is falling behind China in race for AI dominance

China steps up plans for using artificial intelligence to strengthen its military; Bill Hemmer reports.

The President and the Pentagon are signaling that artificial intelligence (AI) is now a major priority for U.S. national security, and competition from China and Russia may be a key motivator.

President Trump issued an executive order on Feb. 11 titled “Maintaining American Leadership in Artificial Intelligence.” It’s a directive that he says “will affect the missions of nearly all executive departments and agencies,” and he didn’t mince words on the significance of this quest.

“Continued American leadership in AI is of paramount importance to maintaining the economic and national security of the United States,” the executive order reads.

PENTAGON MAKES MASSIVE NEW AI PUSH FOR TANKS, SHIPS, WEAPONS, DRONES AND NETWORKS

A few days later, the Pentagon followed-up with its own AI manifesto focused on “Harnessing AI to Advance Our Security and Prosperity.” That strategy document offered a similarly urgent assessment of the state of play when it comes to AI, pointing specifically to the fact that other nations are already heavily invested.

“Other nations, particularly China and Russia, are making significant investments in AI for military purposes… These investments threaten to erode our technological and operational advantages and destabilize the free and open international order.”
— Department of Defense Artificial Intelligence Strategy Summary

The DoD strategy argues that the advancement of AI technology will “change the character of the future battlefield and the pace of threats we must face,” and that “[o]ther nations, particularly China and Russia, are making significant investments in AI for military purposes.” Those investments, they say, “threaten to erode our technological and operational advantages and destabilize the free and open international order.”

Both directives call for increased research and development, and the rapid cultivation of AI workforces, but at this point, there are no mentions of any new funding to support these efforts. That will come in the form of FY 2020 budget request at both the agency and executive levels, which of course will be subject to congressional approval. And with the DoD and outside experts acknowledging that countries like China and Russia have already been pouring resources into their own AI systems, there is some disagreement as to whether these new directives are doing any good.

‘BIG BROTHER’: AI PIONEER FEARS CHINA’S USE OF TECHNOLOGY FOR SURVEILLANCE AND CONTROL

Brett Velicovich, a special operations veteran, acknowledged in a recent Fox News op-ed that “[u]nfortunately for America, China’s enormous investment in AI is paying dividends, allowing Beijing to modernize its military capabilities at a dangerously rapid pace.” President Trump’s new directive, he argues, “serves as a direct response to China’s initiative,” and proves “America is now taking the vital quest to develop sophisticated AI capabilities more seriously than ever before.”

For some, the impact of this new focus still remains to be seen. “The EO is fine as far as it goes in signaling the importance of AI research and applications to American interests,” according to Benjamin Boudreaux, a former State Department cyber policy officer who now focuses on issues at the intersection of national security and AI at the RAND Corporation. In an exchange with Fox News, Boudreaux said that while he read the announcements from the Pentagon and the President with great interest, “without any new funding underlying the order, it’s not clear it will itself make much of a difference.”

This isn’t to say that the President’s directive doesn’t come without any tangible benefits. Gregory C. Allen, who specializes in AI and diplomatic issues at the Center for a New American Security, tells Fox “there are important actions that will take effect immediately, such as directing federal agencies to determine what government datasets might be useful to American AI researchers and to begin a process for sharing such data.”

AI WILL DISPLACE 40 PERCENT OF WORLD’S WORKERS AS SOON AS 2035, LEADING EXPERT WARNS

However, Allen has also been able to peer behind the curtain of China’s AI efforts, and it seems clear that their approach to AI is already a few steps ahead.

“China’s diplomats are saying that China fears an AI arms race even as China’s military and defense companies seek to use AI to build a military more advanced than any other in the world.”
— Gregory C. Allen, Center for a New American Security

Allen traveled to China on four separate occasions in 2018 to attend a variety of AI conferences for diplomatic, military and private-sector types and summarized his experience in a report published earlier this month.

“In my interactions with Chinese government officials, they demonstrated remarkably keen understanding of the issues surrounding AI and international security,” Allen said. And in addition to keeping a close watch on AI policy discussions as they unfold in the U.S., Allen says “[i]t is clear that China’s government views AI as a high strategic priority and is devoting the required resources to cultivate AI expertise and strategic thinking among its national security community.”

CREEPY AI GENERATES ENDLESS FAKE FACES

One of the ways China has publicly displayed its AI ambitions is by designating a few major companies as the country’s “AI Champions.” In a conversation with Allen, a representative for one of those “AI Champions” argued that the support they are seeing from the Chinese government came in stark contrast to the race between state-owned and private companies to develop nuclear and rocket technology.

Allen believes that the comparison of AI to nuclear and rocket technologies by a “Champion” of the Chinese government is proof of the “critical role of AI to the future of national security.” And that’s not the only sign of how serious this issue is being treated overseas.

Jack Ma, co-founder and chairman of e-commerce giant Alibaba, warned ominously at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland in January that every world war has begun with a “technology revolution.” Alibaba is also among the Chinese government’s official “AI Champions.”

“China’s diplomats are saying that China fears an AI arms race even as China’s military and defense companies seek to use AI to build a military more advanced than any other in the world,” Allen tells Fox.

Boudreaux agrees that America “faces real strategic competition from China and Russia, but… AI should not be viewed as a zero-sum technology but one where there are possibilities for mutual gain.”

“Even if one takes an AI arms race perspective, it is important that the US work with its allies to ensure AI is used safely and responsibly.”
— Benjamin Boudreaux, RAND Corporation

“Even if one takes an AI arms race perspective, it is important that the U.S. work with its allies to ensure AI is used safely and responsibly,” Boudreaux added.

Allen agrees that “China is deeply woven into the global economy,” and that our relationship with them is very different than the Cold War dynamic from our nuclear arms race with Russia. That doesn’t change the reality of what he says is unfolding overseas, he says.

“Despite expressing concern on AI arms races,” Allen argues, “most of China’s leadership sees increased military usage of AI as inevitable and is aggressively pursuing it.”

Source: Fox News “Pentagon points to China, Russia competition in new AI strategy”

Note: This is Fox News’ report I post here for readers’ information. It does not mean that I agree or disagree with the report’ views.


China’s AI Industry Gets the Most Funding to Catch up the US.


SCMP says in its report “China’s AI industry gets the most funding, but lags the US in key talent, says Tsinghua”, “China’s artificial intelligence industry has attracted the most funding, accounting for 60 per cent of all global investment from 2013 to the first quarter of 2018, but still lags behind the US in terms of AI talent, according to a new study.”

According to the report, in 2017 China’s AI talent pool accounted for 8.9% of world’s total talent significantly less than America’s 13.9%

Such great funding will enable China to catch up the US soon especially, China’s Thousand Talent plan may attract lots of Chinese AI talent trained in the US back and even US talent. That is why the US is scared by Made in China 2025 and has started a trade war to hurt Chinese economy so that there will not be such great funding.

However, the tariff hikes adopted by the US in the trade war may hurt US economy too. Why does the US not compete with China by the provision of even greater funding? It is a pity that being hard up the US is unable to compete with China who has abundant funds. As a result, trade war is America’s only choice.

It is a pity that the US is now desperate.

Comment by Chan Kai Yee on SCMP’s report, full text of which can be viewed at https://www.scmp.com/tech/china-tech/article/2155600/chinas-ai-industry-gets-most-funding-lags-us-key-talent-says.


These Chinese military innovations threaten U.S. superiority, experts say


The J-20 is China’s first homemade stealth jet. CCP/ColorChinaPhoto / AP file

China’s first domestically-built aircraft carrier, the Type 001A, takes water at Dalian Port in northeast China’s Liaoning province in April 2017. Bei piao / AP

by Eric Baculinao Feb 17 2018, 4:55 am ET

BEIJING — The Chinese New Year began with the traditional lighting of firecrackers on Friday, but the country’s military has been working on incendiaries on an entirely different scale.

Over the past year, the nation that invented gunpowder has been rolling out an array of high-tech weapons that some experts say could threaten the global superiority of the United States.

“The U.S. no longer possesses clear military-technical dominance, and China is rapidly emerging as a would-be superpower in science and technology,” said Elsa B. Kania, an adjunct fellow at the Center for a New American Security, a Washington think tank.

The Chinese People’s Liberation Army “might even cut ahead of the U.S. in new frontiers of military power,” she added.

Despite the recent sharp rhetoric from President Donald Trump, analysts say an open conflict between Beijing and Washing is unlikely. Others dismiss the idea that China might soon outpace the U.S. in military power.

“There is serious self-congratulation and boastfulness about China’s real military ability,” according to Wu Ge, a military analyst and columnist for China’s liberal-leaning Southern Weekly newspaper.

Still, it is clear that significant milestones have been reached by a country that, alongside Russia, is categorized in Trump’s national security strategy as a “revisionist power” — a nation seeking to redefine the world along values contrary to America’s.

Here are five of China’s most eye-grabbing innovations:

1. An electromagnetic railgun

Earlier this month, pictures emerged showing what some experts believed was an electromagnetic railgun mounted on a ship. A Chinese military analyst, Cheng Shuoren, was quoted by the state media as saying it was an engineering feat of “epoch-making significance.”

Instead of explosives, railguns use powerful electromagnets to fire projectiles as far as 100 nautical miles (115 miles) at seven times the speed of sound. This dwarfs the range and speed of conventional guns, whose ammunition can travel only 10 to 20 nautical miles.

That allows a railgun to attack ships, aircraft and land targets with the range and accuracy normally expected from missiles.

The U.S. has tested similar technology but never at sea. If confirmed, the Chinese variant would be the first time such a weapon had been deployed on water.

2. High-tech warships

A potential flashpoint between China and the U.S. lies in the South China Sea. A web of overlapping territorial claims in the energy-rich region has not stopped Beijing from building military facilities on small islands and reefs.

This has coincided with China making serious upgrades to its naval ability. Last summer, it launched its most modern military vessel, the Type 055.

The 12,000-ton stealth guided-missile destroyer, given the code name “Renhai” by NATO, is expected to go into full service this year. It has been built for anti-aircraft, anti-missile, anti-ship and anti-submarine warfare and is expected to play an instrumental role in China’s future aircraft-carrier battle formations.

China launches first domestically built aircraft carrier

China’s first domestically-built aircraft carrier, the Type 001A, takes water at Dalian Port in northeast China’s Liaoning province in April 2017. Bei piao / AP

It follows the launch last year of China’s second aircraft carrier, Type 001A. This 65,000-ton vessel is a domestically produced variant of its first carrier, the Liaoning, a retrofitted Soviet model built in 1985. The Type 001A can host 35 aircraft compared to only 24 on the Liaoning, and could enter service by the end of the year according to some analysts.

China is now working on a third carrier, an 80,000-ton vessel dubbed Type 002, that will be able to host more than 40 aircraft and is expected to feature an advanced catapult that can launch heavier jets more quickly.

Some local experts predict China’s strategy of regional strength means it will eventually need four to five carrier battle groups, smaller than the U.S. global strategy that requires 10 to 11 groups.

“China’s naval modernization covers all areas of the fleet, and the speed and scale of it is impressive,” the International Institute for Strategic Studies, a London-based think tank, noted in July.

3. Familiar fighter jets

China last week announced that the Chengdu J-20, its first homemade stealth jet dubbed Black Eagle, had entered combat service, breaking the stealth fighter monopoly of the U.S. and its allies in the Asia-Pacific region.

An answer to America’s F-22 and F-35, the J-20 is a fifth-generation fighter that can engage targets 120 miles away and deliver precision strikes.

But the similarities between the Chinese aircraft and its American counterparts may not be coincidental. U.S. officials have accused the Chinese military of hacking into their computer systems and stealing information relating to their cutting-edge equipment.

Some experts say that the striking similarities are clear evidence that this stolen know-how has allowed Beijing to play catch-up.

Undeterred, China is now developing its second stealth fighter, the Shenyang J-31 Falcon, which experts say could eventually be deployed on China’s aircraft carriers and compete in the global export market.

Boosting the Chinese Air Force further was the recent successful flight of the world’s largest amphibious aircraft, the AG600 Kunlong, which was designed for maritime rescue but, with a range of 2,800 miles, can play a potentially important role in the South China Sea.

China is also improving its Y-20, the world’s largest military transporter currently in production, by replacing its Russian engines with ones produced at home. With a cargo capacity of 70 tons, it could serve as a carrier of China’s air-launched rocket system.

4. A hypersonic glide vehicle

China carried out the first tests in November of a “hypersonic glide vehicle” named the DF-17, according to The Diplomat, an online magazine covering the Asia-Pacific region.

This medium-range weapon differs from a regular ballistic missile by gliding back to Earth on a slower, flatter trajectory that evades the gaze of radar-enabled U.S. missile defenses.

Neither the U.S. nor Russia are believed to have test-flown this type of technology but both are developing it.

Once deployed, the DF-17 could supplement the DF-21D, a medium-range ballistic missile known as China’s “carrier killer.”

Last year, China also brought into service its latest generation of intercontinental ballistic missile, the DF-41, which can carry 10 maneuverable warheads and has a range of 7,500 to 9,300 miles. That capability puts the entire U.S. within range.

5. Artificial Intelligence

Chinese researchers have revealed plans to upgrade the country’s nuclear submarines with artificial intelligence, signaling efforts to tap into military uses for AI.

China unveiled an ambitious plan in July to “lead the world” in this field, with a goal of creating a $150-billion AI industry by 2030.

In the same month, swarm intelligence — the coordinated deployment of autonomous machines — was demonstrated when a state-owned company successfully launched 119 drones that performed formations in the sky.

For the Chinese People’s Liberation Army, said Kania of the Center for a New American Security, effective military applications of artificial intelligence will include cyber and electronic warfare as well as “swarms of drones that might be used to target high-value U.S. weapons platforms, such as aircraft carriers.”

She added that China’s armed forces could also use AI to help them make better decisions on the battlefield.

Source: NBC “These Chinese military innovations threaten U.S. superiority, experts say”

Note: This is NBC’S report I post here for readers’ information. It does not mean that I agree or disagree with the report’ views.