American tech firms and Chinese technology are embroiled in a race to control the world’s most advanced technologies like artificial intelligence, quantum computing, and advanced energy and manufacturing. In this case as in so many others, money is the key to everything.
Is America Falling Behind in New Tech Spending?
Although Americans like SpaceX’s Elon Musk and Amazon’s Jeff Bezos have made massive contributions to the furthering of technology in their particular areas, the U.S. government has done very little in this arena.
That means that any emerging tech that comes out of SpaceX or Tesla, for example, are immediately owned and controlled by Elon Musk and his board of directors. If the American government wants to widely distribute this technology, they will have to work for it.
Even then, they might not be green-lit.
In China, the situation is reversed. Because pretty much everything is government-controlled, if the government wants to see strides in artificial intelligence, for example, the government spends for it and the work starts. In the end, the technology is owned by the state, potentially available to anyone who needs it.
The problem with this scenario is that America is setting itself up for a future where it’s essentially owned and controlled by big tech firms. Maybe they’ll remain benevolent, but maybe they’ll find it too hard to continue to fund the dreams of everyone in the IT department and start charging exorbitant prices for necessary things like medication. A private blok like this can’t be regulated in any effective way.
Leading the World Means Shifting Priorities
China has a plan with steps that it’s already working in order to achieve world dominance in advanced manufacturing and artificial intelligence by 2025.
So far, the Chinese have managed to lead the world’s solar industry, as well as high-speed rail. It’s headed in the direction it wants to go.
In America, industries are stalling. Instead of responding to the imminent rise of China in the eyes of the world with a heavy investment in science and technology, America has responded with threats of heavy tariffs. In 1957, in response to the Soviet-launched Sputnik I, the government poured money into the aerospace sector, eventually sending a manned mission to the moon.
The country is investing in the past, in industries that aren’t viable anymore. The spend on coal alone should be embarrassing, especially when considering how far ahead China is in the solar power arena because it diverted funds to the future of the country.
The future is coming. Who will lead the world there is still up for grabs. Will it be American Internet giants? The American government? The Chinese government? Today’s choices will certainly carry on down the timeline.