In recent years, as progress in artificial intelligence (AI) has accelerated, nearly every major power has pledged to develop advanced AI capabilities and effectively integrate AI into their armed forces. Yet none have pursued those efforts as purposefully as China. Not only has Beijing issued an ambitious plan to make China the world’s leading AI power by 2030, but the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) has unveiled an aggressive innovation-driven strategy for the Chinese military, the People’s Liberation Army (PLA). Likewise, Xi Jinping, the General Secretary of the CCP, has consistently emphasized China’s commitment to AI development and “intelligent warfare”– most recently in his landmark report this fall to the 20th Party Congress.
If China’s strategic ambitions for AI are clear, how it intends to integrate AI into the PLA remains opaque. The CCP’s goals for militarized AI are still shrouded in mystery, even as the PLA clearly views AI as a technology that will be vital for driving next-generation warfare.
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