Ex-Google CEO Warns Chinese Tech Threatens to Overtake the US

By Jonathan Walker | January 29, 2021
Jonathan loves talking politics, economics and philosophy. He carries unique perspectives on everything making him a rather odd mix of liberal-conservative with a streak of independent Austrian thought.
A group co-chaired by former Google CEO Eric Schmidt has published a report warning that communist China is “surging to overtake the United States” in critical tech areas.

A group co-chaired by former Google CEO Eric Schmidt has published a report warning that communist China is “surging to overtake the United States” in critical tech areas. The report is prepared by the China Strategy Group that was formed last year with the aim of helping the United States deal with Chinese competition in the field of technology. The other co-chair of the group, Jared Cohen, has served as the CEO of Jigsaw that was formerly known as Google Ideas.

“America’s technological leadership is fundamental to its security, prosperity, and democratic way of life. But this vital advantage is now at risk, with China surging to overtake the United States in a number of critical areas. Left unattended, the US position will further erode as Beijing garners power and influence over the rights and well-being of people around the world, including in the United States. This challenge calls for urgent policy solutions to renew American competitiveness, arrest these trends, and sustain critical US technological advantages,” the report states.

The group warns that the US has to maximize its competitive advantage in some key strategic technologies. It must overcome Chinese advantages like large-scale markets and speedy product integration loops. The report states that America should work towards collaborating with other nations to develop digital platform ecosystems. Solely focusing on the US market at the expense of global coalitions will be a “losing battle,” experts warn. Communist China’s domestic market is bigger than that of the United States. Consequently, Beijing has a huge advantage when developing next-gen digital architecture. The report highlights three key functional capabilities America must focus on:

  • Intelligence: The US should immediately upgrade its forecasting capabilities. Without the necessary intelligence systems that can make accurate forecasts of where technology is headed, America cannot remain competitive with communist China. 
  • Brain drain: Talented people are the foundation of innovation. The United States needs to implement policies that will develop, attract, and retain such talented people. The country should also ensure that an environment that encourages experimentation and inquiry is promoted.
  • Supply chain: America should develop supply chains that can help in reducing its dependence on China. This can only be achieved by making significant investments in domestic infrastructure, promoting automation, and solidifying close allies for manufacturing. 

The report stresses the importance of the US cooperating with like-minded nations to develop collective norms on the use of emerging technology. Some of the countries recommended by the report include Japan, Britain, South Korea, India, Germany, and Israel.

The U.S. should cooperate with allied nations in manufacturing. (Image: pixabay / CC01.0)

The group also stated that America’s current internal government structures are not optimized to deal with the challenges that will be posed by emerging technologies. Executive branch reforms at the White House are recommended. Communist China’s increased focus on making itself the dominant tech power in the world means that it will seek to remove the US influence in global technology. 

To achieve this aim, China will have to first become an independent tech power. A recent article by communist China’s newly promoted head of the Central Policy Research Office, Jiang Jinquan, said that China becoming technologically independent is an “inevitable choice.” 

“In the semiconductor industry, China’s production capacity accounted for only 7 percent of the global total but China’s demand accounted for 33 percent of the global total. As a result, China has to rely on imports to meet over 80 percent of domestic demand for semiconductor products… At present, the United States is imposing a technology blockade over our country to significantly disrupt our external technology exchanges and cooperation, and it’s an inevitable choice [for China] to seek a self-dependent and self-empowerment strategy in the technology sector,” Jiang says in the article.

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