‘The Battle Over Data Is Also the Battle Over the Future’: Dr. Arthur Herman on US–China Data War

Tiffany Meier
By Tiffany Meier
August 14, 2021China in Focusshare

In this special episode, we sat down with Dr. Arthur Herman, senior fellow at the Hudson Institute and director of the Quantum Alliance Initiative. He sheds light on the U.S.–China data war and the global race for quantum computing, and what that means for the future.

Herman said, “The risks are that it’s not just about who gets access to your data, but what they’re going to do with it when they got it. And one of the ways in which we can prevent this kind of flow of data to the strategic advantage of another country, particularly an antagonist, which, in the case of China, with the United States, we have to look upon this as part of the ongoing geopolitical struggle between our two countries. Now, that’s going to shape the rest of the 21st century, that we have to think about the access to data not just as a privacy issue, which is I think the way most of us think about, you know, ‘I don’t want you to know what my kid’s, you know, phone number is, or know about what time I’m picking it up.’ That’s a big issue, the privacy issue. But even more important, in the larger picture, is who has access to that data that they can then use as a way not just to target you—you may not even be factored into their calculations or into their broader strategic picture at all.”

And all that data can be used in the global race for quantum computing.

Herman explained, “Underlying all of this, including their interest in the most advanced computing systems that we can conceive of, namely, quantum computers, that what they see in the union of artificial intelligence, and quantum computing, is the ability to develop a really, if you like, a system of systems, a massive artificial intelligence machine, that will be able to generate results and transform the way in which we live, the way in which the planet functions through the power, the power of high tech and artificial intelligence. I believe what the Chinese have done with their total surveillance state, their facial recognition systems, social credit, and so on are all building blocks to a much larger, and I think we have to say, much more sinister plan, which is the way in which Chinese world domination will be fueled by and sustained by high tech in all of its aspects, but particularly the union of artificial intelligence, machine learning, plus quantum computers in the future. And that’s why the battle over data is also the battle over the future.”

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