Chinese military relies on American computer chips to advance AI technology: Georgetown University report

The People’s Liberation Army (PLA) relies heavily on computer chips designed by US companies for advances in artificial intelligence (AI) technology. report According to researchers at Georgetown University.

Published in June, the authors of the study analyzed 24 public contracts awarded by PLA units and state-owned defense companies in 2020, screened thousands of purchase records, and Chinese troops obtained AI chips. I found out exactly how to do it.

They ordered AI chips designed by US companies and manufactured in Taiwan and South Korea, despite the efforts of both the Trump and Biden administrations to limit technology exports to the Chinese military. I found that I was there.

These AI chips have the potential to effectively enhance the efforts of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) to become the world leader in AI.

According to the report, of the 97 individual AI chips identified in the public PLA purchase record, almost all are Nvidia (currently dominating the AI ​​chip market), Xilinx (now AMD), Intel, or Microsemi. Designed by

“By comparison, we couldn’t find any official records of PLA units or state-owned defense companies that ordered high-end AI chips designed by Chinese companies such as HiSilicon (Huawei), Sugon, Sunway, Hygon, and Phytium.” rice field.

This report was released as China continues to make great strides in advanced machine learning systems with AI chips and plans to become a global leader in AI by 2030.

Competitive advantage

Such technology could give the CCP a stronger competitive advantage over the United States, especially with respect to its military, which could be one of the most capable in the world.

according to 2017 plan China, announced by Beijing under the title of “New Generation Artificial Intelligence Development Plan,” has set ambitious goals for AI development, including achieving “major advances in the basic theory of AI” by 2025.

According to the document, these breakthroughs are so important that “some technologies and applications have reached world-leading levels, and AI will be a major driver of China’s industrial upgrades and economic transformation. increase”.

China also wants the AI ​​industry to “enter the global high-end value chain” by 2050.

“This new generation of AI is widely used in fields such as intelligent manufacturing, intelligent medical care, intelligent cities, intelligent agriculture, and defense construction, and the size of AI’s core industry is RMB 400 billion ($ 59.8 billion). The size of the related industry will exceed RMB 5 trillion (more than $ 747 billion). “

“The rapid development of artificial intelligence (AI) will significantly change human society and life, and change the world,” the 2017 plan said. “Seize key strategic opportunities for AI development, build China’s pioneer advantage in AI development, and build innovative national and global power in science and technology according to CCP requirements. Accelerating Central Committee and State Council, this plan has been formulated. “

Tightening restrictions

While Chinese military progress in artificial intelligence relies heavily on the ability to obtain AI chips, the Trump and Biden administrations are trying to reduce technology exports to China’s military end users through various restrictions and policies. is.

President Donald Trump was in office during his tenure as a Chinese-specific “Military end userApplies to basic semiconductors, semiconductor manufacturing equipment, and other items, restricting the export of those items to China, and because of national security concerns, Americans have multiple Chinese technologies. We have established a rule that prohibits trading with companies.

Meanwhile, President Joe Biden has increased significantly. limit About US investment in a range of Chinese companies, especially those related to the defense or surveillance technology sector.

However, the authors of a study at Georgetown University state that current policies implemented by the US government are inadequate to limit Chinese military access to AI chips.

Instead, they are proposing that the Biden administration adopt new export control measures to keep powerful AI chips out of the hands of PLA.

“Ultimately, to effectively limit China’s military progress in AI and other cutting-edge technologies, the U.S. government is new beyond its current focus on visible end-use and end-users. We need to adopt a form of export control, “the author writes. .. “At the same time, the Government of the United States should strive to improve its situational awareness by making better use of open source information and sharing relevant export information with its allies and partners.”

Catabella Roberts


Katabella Roberts is a reporter currently based in Turkey. She focuses primarily on the United States and covers the news and business of The Epoch Times.