"This Is What It Feels Like To Be Offset": China To Achieve "First Strike" Capabilities Using AI, US Officials Warn

In comments made at a recent defense technology forum hosted by the hawkish Center for a New American Security, the vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff as well as a former deputy secretary of defense warned that the United States will lose its military technological superiority to China in two years if it doesn't immediately move deeper into fields such as artificial intelligence (A.I.), robotics, hypersonics, and big data.

Former Deputy Secretary of Defense Robert Work painted a dire picture while calling for the US to put its $700 billion defense budget into "areas that really matter" in order to keep up with China, which he said is quickly becoming the world's leader in A.I., robotics, and machine learning — all of which the Chinese will harness toward "first strike" capabilities against US military networks. 

“As I watch the ongoing military technical competition in the Western Pacific, in between our two great power rivals – especially China – I find myself saying: This is what it feels like to be offset,” Work said. “And I got to tell you – it doesn’t feel very good.

Work said the West should be alarmed as Chinese President Xi Jinping has as his stated military goal that his armed forces should be able to invade Taiwan by 2020, with the next major goal of becoming the uncontested world leader in artificial intelligence by 2030.

“We should be prepared to be surprised” in any future conflict with China as it's drastically modernized its forces in a short time while investing heavily in next-generation military technology, Work explained, especially as China “wants to be a first mover” in A.I. and weaponized robotics, and “that will be how they will get ahead of the United States.”

"They have a goal to try to be a world leader in AI by 2030," Work said of Chinese ambitions, and explained further while hypothetically speaking from Beijing's perspective: "Now they say AI will allow us to bound over the Americans. Artificial Intelligence is going to lead to a new military technical revolution... we want to be the aggressive first mover [in A.I.] and leave the United States in the dust."

"The whole theory of Chinese victory is what they call system destruction warfare - they say look I'm not really worried about sinking 30 ships or shooting down 500 airplanes. If I can break apart the US battle network, then I will win" he said.

And this is why, according to Work, A.I. has become their chief priority: "They think about taking down our network everyday - that is their theory of victory, and I just don't think we take that threat seriously enough." 

Last March, China announced that it is boosting defense spending for 2018 for "war preparedness" - as Reuters reported at the time

China unveiled its largest rise in defense spending in three years, setting a target of 8.1 percent growth over last year.

The 2018 defense budget will be 1.11 trillion yuan ($175 billion), according to a report issued at the opening of China's annual meeting of parliament.

The defense spending figure is closely watched around the world for clues to China's strategic intentions as it develops new military capabilities, including stealth fighters, aircraft carriers and anti-satellite missiles.

However, China's investment in A.I. is still catching up when compared to previous years' American spending on A.I. research:

Figures compiled in 2017. Source: via South China Morning Post

According to Work a significant chunk of Chinese defense spending will continue to focus on how to "duel" American battle networks with the aim to “cripple an enemy’s operational systems [and the] internal links” that could launch a concerted, concentrated attack or response.

Perhaps most interestingly, Work advised his audience to watch an HBO-Vice documentary series which investigates China's use of facial recognition technology and A.I. for 'social credit scoring' and population control, as an example how advanced Chinese systems are becoming. 

Speaking alongside Work, Air Force General Paul Selva, vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, added that the Chinese “haven’t mass deployed hypersonics or long-range [tactical] ballistic missiles” yet, but in terms of current technological capability they are able “to deploy those capabilities at a large scale.” 

Selva said the Chinese have long employed a strategy of “learning, buying and stealing” from American and foreign companies, which saves on research costs in order to divert the money elsewhere. The desired end-goal “is outright technological superiority” across the board, said Selva.

Both national security officials acknowledged that Russia is also heavily investing in non-conventional technologies aimed at disrupting US networks. “This race is one we have to win,” Work said of US competition with both China and Russia.

However, for most average citizens in either America or China, news that there is in fact a "race" on to build SkyNet probably doesn't sound like such a good idea, no matter fears that the other side might be gaining an edge. 


cheka NVTRIC Wed, 06/27/2018 - 23:41 Permalink

the gaystream media lol

from the nyc.people that brought you pancake theory, incubator babies, and they hate us for our freedoms



....and brain drain


and clawbacks 


stfu already


why is china MOST FAOVRED?  why did china banks get bailed out in the too big to fail bailout orgy?

partners, not adversaries (of nyc.dc). 


enemies of americans

In reply to by NVTRIC

Carla Houston Shemp 4 Victory Thu, 06/28/2018 - 00:06 Permalink


Google is paying 97$ per hour,with weekly payouts.You can also avail this.On tuesday I got a brand new Land Rover Range Rover from having earned $11752 this last four weeks..with-out any doubt it's the most-comfortable job I have ever done .. It Sounds unbelievable but you wont forgive yourself if you don’t check it


In reply to by Shemp 4 Victory

are we there yet Adolfsteinbergovitch Thu, 06/28/2018 - 02:31 Permalink

I am a physicist inventor and have a knack for strange but successful approaches to what appear to be complex problems. I am only mildly interested in subsystems like facial recognition, voice recognition, spacial perception,etc. What I do find interesting is an approach I have on paper to modeling how all of a brains sub-systems have shifting attention focus and sub attention focus with another layer of positive and negative past and present feedback kept separately to control focus and goals. Self awareness modeling fascinates me. So the question. Other than DARPA where would I get funding for basic research in higher level AI? This site is perhaps the wrong place to ask this question, but you never know if an insightful person reads these posts.

In reply to by Adolfsteinbergovitch

metachron indygo55 Thu, 06/28/2018 - 10:30 Permalink

First of all the assessment was largely "West vs. China" and they -the list was posted by South China Post - probably have no comparable data on Russia. Or maybe Japan. Pay attention to the parallel narratives - Russia and China are rarely dealt with together, and yet they are both leaders in the SCO and together could defeat the Western debt-based monetary system. Perhaps they don't really want us to consider them as partners but as two separate threats.

My theory is the media - separates the "Russia threat" from the "Chinese threat." While these two nations and the US are major partners in many endeavors, the military and security game goes on. It gives all their hawks something to spend the people's largesse on. 

And yes, Russian university students win the ACM global programming competitions nearly every year, outright. Moscow won this year, St. Petersburg has won many of the prior years. And yet our Russian-obsessed media cannot bring themselves to admit one civilized fact about this our "sworn enemy." We were better friends with them at the height of "communism."

It is farcical and insulting to demean a dedicated culture that is rebuilding its own civilization from the ruins of neoliberal pillage in the 1990's and is defending against all the broken NATO promises from Clinton to Bush to Obama. A country that has never attacked the US. If we refuse the Russians their right to honour, its our own honour we lose. This is certainly a foolhardy political and spiritual  direction for our once-Christian civilization.

In reply to by indygo55

Return_of_Byzantium CynicClinic Thu, 06/28/2018 - 01:43 Permalink

More than likely. The idea the U.S. isn’t invested in “big data” is absurd. No government sucks up and processes more data than the U.S. As the article mentions, most of the AI developments are from the U.S., and the military gets this tech long before the civilians ever know about it. When a civilian invents something of military significance, they “classify” the research and take it for themselves. AI, big data, etc., are broad categories of technology that have been around forever. Their motives for coming out with this announcement are clearly about something else. Nothing good no doubt.

In reply to by CynicClinic

CynicClinic Return_of_Byzantium Thu, 06/28/2018 - 01:58 Permalink

100% dead on. Arming your enemy to use against them later is a common tactic. God knows the classified skunk works type of tech that is hidden. All the consumers electronics we see today were most likely used in Military apps decades ago and slowly introduced into the civilian sector; for example semi conductors. Trump now wants a space fleet. Rule of thumb is whatever they want to "introduce" now has already been done.

People don't know Gary Mc kinnon a semi autistic hacker in England broke into DOD databases in the early 2000's and found a Naval Space Fleet (the Navy is the supreme force) with names of officers, enlisted and ships. Uncle Sam tried to extradite him and lock him up for life but failed to do so due to public outrage. Trump's announcement is just formalizing what already exists. Oldest trick in the book. When you think about it, it makes no rational sense on face value otherwise. Cheers.

In reply to by Return_of_Byzantium

kaboomnomic I am Groot Thu, 06/28/2018 - 02:48 Permalink

1.6 Billions mind? AGAINST 300 millions OPIOID INFECTED brains?? Geez... which one would prevailed, eh??

Let's see...

See the 2 CHINA companies top patent filler?? Which companies they are??

This news coming from an AMERICANS Science Publications,

Again? A race of 1.6 Billions Brains? Against a 300 millions (OPIOID INFECTED) Brains. Wanna bet which would be the winner??

Too fucking stupid to understand this???

In reply to by I am Groot

halcyon khnum Wed, 06/27/2018 - 23:55 Permalink

The only valid comment in this thread.

This is ALL about Pentsgon-DoD-defense funding.

Cry wolf and you get more sheckels. Or Israelis, who provide much of USA's hugh tech military innovations, get more dollars.

China is just a useful scapegoat, because using Russia in this case would not fool even a moron.


In reply to by khnum

Taras Bulba Wed, 06/27/2018 - 23:41 Permalink

Um, let's see, we now gots abooot $1 Tril in the defense  basket.  We "needs" to do A.I., robotics, and machine learning and we cannot lose!  That should get us to another $400 to $500 bil, prob more with a few cost overruns, heh,heh.  What the hell, we are all in.

BTW, work, I see what you did there.

PowerBall Jack… Wed, 06/27/2018 - 23:47 Permalink

In school they tell us that the US won because the Soviets just couldn't afford the Cold War anymore.

If any of those weapons still work, then a first strike is retarded and the Chinese would know that.

PowerBall Jack… cheka Thu, 06/28/2018 - 00:12 Permalink

I'm too drunk to think too much about it, but I think you're confusing the centrifugal force they use for artificial gravity in movies in space with the planet also orbiting a star while spinning.

On a philosophical level, I do kind of think we're in some kind of simulation or something like the allegory of the cave but in the context of the illusion there are certain physical things like gravity that do make sense.

In reply to by cheka

Bricker Wed, 06/27/2018 - 23:53 Permalink

Me no worry (Chinese utterance) They cant even keep their elevators running without killing people who use them. Even their buildings fall down without warning

teslaberry Wed, 06/27/2018 - 23:59 Permalink

like everyone i'm a big believer in the long run potential of machine learning tech to transform human society. 


if you read about the new ultralow power sensors, internet of things surveillance , open cryptographic protcols, voice and image sensors,  automated cars,  ---machine intelligence will pull information together from all of these to transform civilizations. 

but while china is moving at lightspeed and most americans underestimate the chinese ingenuity, something also tells me they suffer at least as much in their military from group think as we do. 

while the u.s. is obviously underappreciating the obsolescence of aircraft carriers in the wake of missile warfare, the chinese maybe overestimating the utility of AI in classic style full scale wars which most certainly will involve nukes. i think the chinese do understand that they don't want a full scale war, they will win over time economically and they know it. so all they have to do is play good defense against each u.s. proxy cycle .


their strategies are probably far more advanced on the long term warfare scale then their 'AI' is going to win world war 3.  caus it won't. nukes, LOTS OF FUCKING NUKES WILL. 

and the idea that first strike is important is bullshit. there is no nerve center. whichever country has far more nukes ready to target far more targets will likely win , AI or not. frankly, after round 1. the chinese will be busy cannibilizing one another , as will the indians. there are simply too many people for a population that size not to implode during wartime. like all wars, more peasants people will die from disease and starvation than soliders or civilians from outright violence by the enemy. 

then again, those people who were once irrelevant starving peasants will be inhabiting chinese CITIES next time a major war happens and so yes, starving peasants in cities means potential disruption to industrial production should they riot . I imagine a future war where AI is made most useful in making slaves of the local rebellious peasants, making it cheaper to keep them in work camps supporting wartime industries while and until  they do starve to death. 

i don't envy the conditions that will arise in china during the next big set of wars. maybe nothing has changed this time around, but i'm reluctant to think so. demographics have changed. future suffering will be magnified through a lense of demographic explosion and skewed age groups. 


oh yea, and....... robots!

metachron teslaberry Thu, 06/28/2018 - 10:40 Permalink

You're a believer that Google has good humane intentions in using machine learning to "transform society?" A globalist's wet dream. Not one most of us in this club would believe in.

You may also not realize that Bob Work's term "Offset" is technical. AI and autonomous systems are the "Third Offset" or strategic deterrent. When you mention nuclear weapons, you have to frame that era in terms of MAD, an era which had reached parity with numerous countries developing nuclear capacity, and then the US destroys the ABM treaty to spoil the party.

Precision strike was the second offset - as with nuclear, it was a deterrent to Russia and non-NATO alliances, until Russia (apparently) outgunned the US precision strike on a tenth the budget. The third - and last - offset will be AI/autonomy. Its the last because if it works, we're either all dead or we would not know it worked. If it doesn't work, we're all dead as well. The option is a new regime for diplomacy. Perhaps if we got all our ML computers together and let them sort out international relations. God knows we are terrible at it. Although I will say Trump's pseudo-naïve wrecking ball diplomacy does have its charms and counter-intuitive outcomes.

In reply to by teslaberry