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    US Tries to Restrict China's Silicon Valley Investments '20 Years Too Late'

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    The US is trying to limit Chinese investment in high tech enterprises in a doomed effort to stop China from catching up to its level of development, experts told Sputnik China.

    US officials are considering restrictions on Chinese investment in Silicon Valley because of concerns that Beijing could use technology developed in the US to get the edge in the military and intelligence fields.

    According to an unreleased Pentagon report, China's interest in areas such as artificial intelligence and machine learning, which have increasingly attracted Chinese capital in recent years, are of particular concern in Washington.

    The US government's Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS) has been circumvented by China, via transactions such as joint ventures, minority stakes and early-stage investments in start-ups, the report says.

    Intelligence expert Andrei Masalovich told Sputnik China that China's increased cyber capabilities have been decades in the making, and the US is doing too little, too late to stem this development.

    "The Americans have woken up, albeit too late. They needed to recognize 20 years ago that China was aiming for world domination," Masalovich said.

    Key areas of advancement in IT include artificial neural networks, which carry out information processing in ways akin to a living brain, and computer algorithms capable of machine learning.

    "These solutions work well in the military sphere. First of all, this allows the automatic determination of targets, automatic targeting. If that is done well, there is only more step to take before the sniper's rifle can pull the trigger itself. A human only needs to give the order."

    "Today there are already rifles which are using a Linux operating system. The rifle chooses the target itself and asks a human whether to pull the trigger."

    "The Americans understand that the winner today is the person who takes the final half-step towards almost fully automated weapons. This applies not only to tactical weapons but to weapons of mass destruction and any type of combat management or situation control. China is now completing a whole range of tasks in this area and is probably going to claim the title of new leader, not just one of several world players," Masalovich said.

    Chen Fengying of the Chinese Institute of Modern International Relations told Sputnik China that US officials' stated concerns about national security conceals real anxiety about competition from China in the IT sphere, particularly with respect to artificial intelligence.

    "I believe that the US's biggest concern is that it may fall behind China in the new round of global competition in IT, especially in the field of artificial intelligence. The so-called problem of US national security is just a kind of pretext. Today, there is very strong global competition in the information technology sphere, the new industrial revolution has already started."

    "The US fears that China is going to overtake them so they are using the problem of national security as a pretext to limit Chinese investments in Silicon Valley. In reality, China's cooperation with Silicon Valley companies is already developing comprehensively and American partners are also aggressively entering the Chinese market. Of course, American players have a very significant motivation – a state with a nascent market in the field of intellectual property, technology. A lot of effort is being made in other spheres of high science and technology to catch up with those who are ahead. This situation puts the US, as a developed country, under intense pressure."

    Alexander Lomanov of the Russian Academy of Sciences' Far Eastern Institute told Sputnik that there is another explanation for the US attempt to stem China's advances in the IT sphere.

    "There is another explanation – this [the US restrictions] is the pretense of great activity in a situation where it is practically impossible to take real counter-measures."

    "China, of course, is interested in foreign technology and US technology is also interesting for them. But China is also investing a lot of resources in its own technology; it is paying serious attention to the development of an innovation economy. In any case, I think that in 10-15 years the development gap won't be an issue for China, it will have the basic technology and the ability to develop it independently."  

    "Of course, the Americans don't want the Chinese to be developed technologically. But today there is a global society and apart from America there are a lot of centers of technological development. In particular, cutting-edge technology is also being developed in Israel; China could also enter into some kind of partnership there," Lomanov said.


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    advanced technology, technological revolution, tech companies, investment, Silicon Valley, China, United States
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