The Pentagon’s former software chief resigned and said that China is headed toward global dominance in artificial intelligence due to the relatively slow pace of innovation in the United States.
“We have no competing fighting chance against China in 15 to 20 years. Right now, it’s already a done deal; it is already over in my opinion,” the Pentagon’s former software chief, Nick Chaillan, told the Financial Times, adding that some of the U.S.’s cyber defense systems were at “kindergarten level.”
Chaillan announced his resignation last month as an act of protest against the United States’ slow pace of tech development. Chaillan said America’s failure to aggressively pursue AI capacity was putting the nation at risk, according to Reuters.
In the next decade, Western intelligence reports predict China will dominate with many emerging technologies like AI, synthetic biology and genetics, Reuters reported.
Chaillan also attributed the sluggish pace to company’s like Google hesitating to work with the government on AI and ongoing debates about AI ethics in the U.S., while China pushes forward without consideration for the potential ethical consequences.
“If the US can’t match the booming, hardworking population in China, then we have to win by being smarter, more efficient, and forward-leaning through agility, rapid prototyping and innovation. We have to be ahead and lead. We can’t afford to be behind,” Chaillan said in a LinkedIn post announcing his departure on Sept. 2.
Chaillan was also critical of the Department of Defense and its decisions to put people with limited IT experience in leadership roles over software programs.
“The DoD should stop pretending they want industry folks to come and help if they are not going to let them do the work. While we wasted time in bureaucracy, our adversaries moved further ahead,” Chaillan said.
“I will always feel some guilt or regret in leaving. I have this sinking feeling that I am letting our warfighters, the teams, and my children down by not continuing to fight for a better outcome 20 years from now,” Chaillan added of his departure.
The Hill has reached out to Google and to the Pentagon for comment.