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Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning: Examining US and Chinese Policy Mechanisms for Strategic Advantage in Emerging Technology


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In his book The Second Machine Age, Eric Brynjolfsson, Director of the MIT Initiative on the Digital Economy, describes the challenges we have in understanding Moores law of exponential growth. He recounts an old tale on the origins of chess, where the emperor of the Gupta empire was so impressed by this new game that he offered the inventor anything he wanted. The inventor suggested the emperor place a grain of rice on the first square of the chessboard and double each subsequent square. It was only in the second half of the board that the emperor realized his error. After 32 squares, the emperor had given 4 billion grains of rice, the equivalent of one large field. However, had the emperor been able to fulfill the request through all 64 squares on the chessboard, he would have owed 18 quintillion (264-1) grains of ricemore rice than has ever been produced in the history of the world and if piled together would be pile higher than Mount Everest. It was the second half of the board that created unfathomable increases. We stand, from a technology perspective, on the 32nd square. Brynjolfsson describes the technology age over the last decade as the start of second half technology, where exponential growth will result in staggering advances. It is the exponential acceleration of the components of AI, chip technology, storage capability, breakthroughs in neural networks that are poised, within their own Moores law exponential growth, to provide unheard of advances in the fields of Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning (AI/ML). This capability to add intelligence to any system is already revealing broad applications in the commercial world, and there are significant impacts to be felt in the National Security enterprise.



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