The BBC has released a fascinating article on the investment that China is putting into AI, and the effect that this has on the so-called US-China trade war.

Quoting Abishur Prakas, the article notes how "China is betting on AI and investing in AI and deploying AI on a scale no other country is doing". Certainly, the country is investing heavily in tech start-ups, and focusing on coaxing talented expats into the country.

The importance of this on geopolitics primarily lies in China’s investment into military AI. Quoting Mr Prakas again, the article leaves us with a powerful thought: ‘the US knows that its geopolitical power will be redefined and reconfigured by this era’.

America knows that China’s current path of development will redefine the US as a lesser global power, as opposed to its long standing status as the world’s powerhouse. We can see this easily when we consider a quote by the US Department of Defense, who famously said:

"That China will grow to be an economy as large as ours may be inevitable; that we aid their mercantilist strategy through free trade and open investment in our technology sector is a choice." 

Clearly, anxiety is implicit behind these words, and it is an anxiety that is expressed in America’s actions as well. Its free-market policy seems to be increasingly selective when it comes to China; investments are being reduced, colleges are becoming pressured to distance themselves from Chinese universities, and so on. Likewise, Chinese companies are scaling back on their own investments into, and trade with, the US. 

The BBC’s article quotes some fascinating statistics related to such: Chinese investment in the US has dropped to $4.8bn, and US investment in China has dropped to $13bn.

This whole situation is defining cross-border collaboration as something to be constantly scrutinised, and more importantly, demonstrating that free trade is only acceptable providing other countries do not benefit too much from it, and as long as it isn’t too free. 

It also demonstrates how willing the US is to fall back on the old ‘Red Scare’ fear that still lingers in America when concealing their own anxiety of inferiority. A US official recently argued that their actions are because China’s companies, which are ‘de facto tools’ of the communist government, demonstrate  “increasingly assertive strategic ambitions globally”.