‘Pentagon has already lost in AI warfare’ ex-software chief says

The former Pentagon chief of software told the Financial Times that China has won the artificial intelligence battle with the United States and is heading for global dominance due to its technological advancement, Reuters reported on Monday.

China, the world’s second largest economy, is likely to dominate many of the key emerging technologies, particularly artificial intelligence, synthetic biology and genetics within a decade or so, according to Western intelligence assessments.

Nicolas Chaillan, the Pentagon’s first chief software officer who resigned in protest against the slow pace of technological transformation in the U.S. military, said the failure to respond was putting the United States at risk.

“We have no competing fighting chance against China in 15 to 20 years. Right now, it’s already a done deal; it is already over in my opinion,” he told the newspaper. “Whether it takes a war or not is kind of anecdotal.”

He said China is bent on dominating the future of the world, controlling everything from media narratives to geopolitics.

Chaillan blamed slow innovation, the reluctance of US companies like Google to work with the state on artificial intelligence and intense ethical debates about the technology.

Reuters noted that Google was not immediately available for comment outside of business hours.

“Chinese companies are obligated to work with their government and make (huge investments) in artificial intelligence without regard to morality,” Chaillan said, adding that US cyber defenses in some government departments were at the (kindergarten) level.

Chaillan announced his resignation at the beginning of last September, saying that military officials had been repeatedly tasked with cyber initiatives for which they lacked experience.

An Air Force Department spokesman said Frank Kendall, the secretary of the US Air Force, discussed with Chaillan his recommendations for developing the department’s future programs after his resignation and thanked him for his contributions, the Financial Times reported.


Hugh Tomlinson wrote in a report in “The Times”, “The US National Security Committee warned this year (2021) that China could overtake the United States as the dominant superpower in the field of artificial intelligence within a decade. And he admitted Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin said last July that the United States urgently needed to develop responsible AI as a priority, with an additional $1.5 billion allocated to AI in the coming years.

The Times report quoted Chaillan as saying that he spent most of his three years at the Pentagon “fixing cloud core stuff and laptops” rather than driving innovation. He added that there was “good reason to be angry” at the slow pace of US artificial intelligence and electronic development.