The Pentagon’s former chief software officer stated that he quit because he believed the U.S. would not compete with China in artificial intelligence. Due to the United States delayed technical innovation, he noted that China dominates in this space, particularly in developing superior artificial intelligence.
In August 2018, Nicolas Chaillan became the U.S. Air Force’s first chief software officer. He tried to ensure that Pentagon was outfitted with the most secure and modern software possible. However, he resigned on September 2. In his final LinkedIn post, he cited the Pentagon’s unwillingness to prioritize cybersecurity and A.I. as the cause for his resignation. In addition, he believes that the U.S. is getting outmaneuvered by foreign powers.
In comparison to China, Chaillan has compared the country’s readiness for online warfare to a “kindergarten.” According to him, there is a lack of coordination between the U.S. military and its tech industry, and he claims to have squandered his time “fixing basic cloud things and laptops.”
“We have no competing fighting chance against China in 15 to 20 years,” Chaillan has said after his resignation. “Right now, it’s already a done deal; it is already over, in my opinion.”
Above all, he is outraged by China’s progress in artificial intelligence, machine learning, and cyberattack capabilities. He made a particularly scathing remark, claiming that U.S. businesses like Google are hesitant to engage in highly sensitive A.I. research, whereas Beijing is unaffected by such minor ethical concerns.
Chaillan suggested that emerging technological advancements and breakthroughs are far more vital to security than widely assumed military hardware such as fighter jets. Although the United States still spends more than three times as much on the military than China, he believes that much of that funding is wasted and that bureaucracy also plays a role.
China is also poised to dominate in synthetic biology and genetics, according to U.S. intelligence assessments. This detail likely reflects fear of another world superpower beginning to modify agriculture, the natural environment, and perhaps humans.
“Whether it takes a war or not is kind of anecdotal,” he said.