The Center’s annual lecture this year was given by Dr. Barry Naughton, the So Kwanlok Professor at the School of Global Policy and Strategy, University of California, San Diego. His topic, “China’s Great Gamble: Can the Chinese Government Create a Technological Superpower?” drew over 80 attendees. Dr. Naughton posed the possibility that whether or not China could successfully become a forefront innovator was the most important global question of the 21st century.
Summary: In its effort to maintain high-speed growth, China has stepped up government steerage and investment in high-tech industry. Increasingly, this has meant gambling on a new wave of untested technologies: artificial intelligence, 5G broadband communication, autonomous vehicles and smart robotics. This expensive and risky strategy has aggravated conflict with the United States, and given China an enormous opportunity to fail. However, if it succeeds, China will emerge as a new kind of power, showing off its new model as an alternative to American capitalism.