The trade war between the US and China has morphed into a tech war. The Trump administration has blacklisted Chinese companies, like Huawei, restricting these firms from buying high-tech semiconductor chips from American suppliers. There was even a report this week that White House officials considered banning Huawei from its financial system. But why has the trade war transformed into a tech war?
The simple reason is that China could overtake the US as a major economic power by 2030. The US has been unconsciously fueling China's ascension as a rising superpower by supplying high-tech semiconductor chips to Chinese companies. But recent actions by the Trump administration have limited the flow of chips to China, to slow their development in artificial intelligence (AI) and global domination.
A new report from the Global AI Index, first reported by South China Morning Post, indicates that China could overtake the US in AI by 2025 to 2030.
The index specifies that based on talent, infrastructure, operating environment, research, development, government strategy, and commercial ventures, China will likely dominate the US in the AI space in the next decade.
The tech war between both countries, to get more specific, has also blossomed into a global AI race, the report said.
By 2030, Washington is forecasted to have earmarked $35 billion for AI development, with the Chinese government allocating at least $22 billion over the same period.
China's leadership, including President Xi Jinping, has specified that AI will be essential for its global military force and economic power competition against the US.
China's State Council issued the New Generation Artificial Intelligence Development Plan (AIDP) back in 2017, stating that China's AI strategy will allow it to become a global superpower.
In a recent speech, Xi said that China must "ensure that our country marches in the front ranks where it comes to theoretical research in this important area of AI, and occupies the high ground in critical and AI core technologies."
Xi added, "China must "pay firm attention to the structure of our shortcomings, ensure that critical and core AI technologies are firmly grasped in our own hands."
The US, irritated with China's ascension, has launched a trade war, that has morphed into a tech war, along with an AI race, as it fights for its survival with a rising power.
Great power competitions have the risk of leading to a shooting war though there's no evidence that this could happen in the intermediate timeframe.