In this episode of the National Security Podcast, Katherine Mansted learns about the People’s Liberation Army’s (PLA) military modernisation and China’s drive to lead the world in AI, as well as the blind spots and limitations of the PLA’s focus on innovation.

Is artificial intelligence (AI) the game-changer many think it will be? Will advances in AI change the nature of competition and conflict between states, or lift the fog of war? Do the American and Chinese militaries even have what it takes to fully operationalise AI, and what are the weaknesses and risks of each country’s approach?

Katherine also seeks to understand the key enablers of AI — from data and cloud computing to 5G — as well as the bureaucratic and doctrinal impediments to effective AI applications, and how countries can manage the safety and escalation risks of the AI ‘race’.

Elsa B Kania is an adjunct senior fellow with the Technology and National Security Program at the Center for a New American Security, a non-resident fellow with the Australian Strategic Policy Institute, and a research fellow with the Center for Security and Emerging Technology at Georgetown’s Walsh School of Foreign Service.

Katherine Mansted is a senior adviser at the National Security College and non-resident fellow at the Harvard Kennedy School’s Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs. Previously, she was a commercial solicitor with King & Wood Mallesons, a ministerial adviser to the federal government, and served as an Associate in the High Court of Australia.

Show notes | The following were referred to in this episode:

Battlefield Singularity:  Artificial Intelligence, Military Revolution, and China’s Future Military Power (2017)

Chinese Military Innovation in Artificial Intelligence:  Hearing of the US-China Economic and Security Review Commission (June, 2019)

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