China is leading in “high-impact research” in 19 out of 23 technologies, with a “commanding lead” in hypersonics, electronic warfare, and underwater capabilities, which is terrible news for the US-led West.
This was made known in the Australian Strategic Policy Institute’s Critical Technology Tracker report.
“China has a commanding lead in hypersonics, electronic warfare, and critical undersea capabilities, and it is the leader in high-impact research in 19 of these 23 technologies. The aggregate might of the AUKUS countries, however, changes this and propels them to the forefront of the world in other crucial technologies, like autonomous systems operation technology, advanced robotics, adversarial AI-reverse engineering, and protective cyber, according to the report.
The survey noted an unbridgeable gap between China and other nations in some crucial technology fields, which is a concerning trend.
The relevance of the accelerating effect of increasing collaboration amongst like-minded partners is highlighted by the fact that China’s lead in a number of technology domains is so vast that no aggregate of countries exceeds its share.
“For some technologies, at least nine of the top ten research institutions worldwide are based in China (for autonomous underwater vehicles, it’s ten out of ten), and they collectively produce eight times as much high-impact research as the second-ranked nation, which is always the US.”
“In these 23 technologies, ASPI’s talent tracker dataset reveals that 14.2% of high-impact authors working in China received postgraduate training in an AUKUS nation (US = 8.5%), while 4.3% received training in the EU, 1.9% in Canada, 1.62% in Singapore, and 1.12% in Japan. The import of knowledge is greatest in the defence sectors of hypersonic detection (AUKUS 19.5%) and electronic warfare (AUKUS 17.6%),” ASPI continued.
What does ‘Critical Technology Tracker’ mean?
Beyond statistics demonstrating research effectiveness, ASPI claims that their “Critical Technology Tracker” “provides unique insights into strategy, intent, and potential future capabilities.”
Additionally, it offers insightful information about the distribution and concentrations of international expertise in a number of crucial fields. Sometimes nations take the lead because they have a significant technological advantage across the board (research, commercialization, manufacturing, supply: take China’s amazing lead in electric batteries, for instance).
In other instances, a nation may be at the forefront of high impact research output because it (and its institutions, including its universities, national labs, and businesses), are making major investments to catch up, often with government money and policy directives acting as incentives.