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Battle for tech dominance: China has appropriated the US economic playbook. Can the US reclaim it?

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By Ramesh Jagannathan and Pablo Hernandez-Lagos

A full-blown trade war is on between the US and China, and we shouldn’t be surprised. The US has used tariffs before to protect its industries, with mixed results. Will the US be better off after imposing this latest round of tariffs? The Trump administration’s fixation on escalating these conventional trade war tactics misses the big picture: if the US government doesn’t start heavily investing in technology, with private firms following suit, tariffs aren’t going to matter. The US will have handed over global economic leadership to China, and it won’t be easy to get it back.

As global societies are propelled into the Second Machine Age, the battle for economic supremacy is fought at the digital frontlines for global leadership in artificial intelligence and machine learning methods. The US government itself acknowledged in its National Artificial Intelligence Research and Development Strategic Plan that China leads the US in terms of scientific publications in AI research. The Chinese government has taken an “all hands on deck” strategy in unveiling its 2030 plan to become the global AI superpower by officially declaring AI as a new engine of economic development. It has laid out a finely curated “three steps” game plan to create a $150 billion AI industry by 2030.

The harsh reality for the US is this: AI will add $16 trillion........

© The Times of India