USAF Intel Officer: China, Russia Leading in Artificial Intelligence

Lt. Gen. VeraLinn Jamieson speaks at an AFA Mitchell Institute event on Capitol Hill Jan. 4, 2018. Staff photo by Amy McCullough.

The Air Force’s deputy chief of staff for intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance Thursday painted a threatening picture of technology and artificial intelligence research efforts by US adversaries Russia and China.

Lt. Gen. VeraLinn “Dash” Jamieson made the comments during an Air Force Association breakfast in Washington, in which she described China and Russia respectively as “one that’s got a lot of purse strings and one that has a lot of desire.”

China has become a technological leader, she said, having the world’s two fastest supercomputers and building “several digital, artificial intelligence cities in a military-civilian partnership.”

In addition, she said, China has published “an action plan for promoting development of a new generation of artificial intelligence and technology industry,” and has announced it wants to be the global leader in technology by 2030, with a domestic industry “boasting [$]150 billion in cash.”

“Just to put this number into perspective,” she said, “we estimate the total spending for artificial intelligence systems in China in 2017 was [$]12 billion. We also estimate it will grow to at least [$]70 billion by 2020.”

“This makes China’s vision for artificial intelligence a true moonshot,” she said.

China, she said wants “the world’s biggest assets, plus algorithms, plus super computing, plus artificial intelligence technology centers, plus global talent to equal global domination.”

On Russia, she pointed to Russian President Vladimir Putin’s statement that the nation leading in artificial intelligence will rule the world.

“Even more hard-hitting,” she said, “the Russian state news reported artificial intelligence was the key to Russia beating the United States in defense.”

She said that Russian ministries and the Russian Academy of Sciences has released a 10-point plan on organizing and developing artificial intelligence, involving a national artificial intelligence center bridging academia and industry to implement artificial intelligence technologies.

“It is fashioned after, and they actually stated, it is fashioned after the recently announced United States Joint Artificial Intelligence Center,” she said

Moscow wants to form big data and artificial intelligence consortia across their ministries and are holding “artificial intelligence war games to determine the impact of artificial intelligence on the changing nature of military operations,” she said.