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Developing new military technologies, such as artificial intelligence and machine learning, will be necessary to prevent a war with China or other adversaries, Sen. Mark Kelly (D-Ariz.) said at an Axios event Friday.

Why it matters: With the war on terror ramping down and competition with China increasing, Kelly said it's time for the U.S. to adapt its military technology to address threats in the western Pacific, specifically China.

  • The senator stressed, however, that the goal is to prevent a conflict, not cause one.
  • "One of the best way we can avoid a conflict with China is to make sure that China as an adversary — or any other adversary — they realize that they're not going to come out on top of any engagement if they decide to engage with us at a military level," he said.

What they're saying: Kelly said he believes that AI will play a major role in future conflicts, but its position poses multiple difficult moral and ethical questions.

  • "Do we want machines?" he asked. "Do we want AI making decisions to, you know, take out airplanes and ships and people on the battlefield?"
  • "I think in general, we want to keep the person in the loop to try to avoid, the mistakes. And when we're making life and death situations, I don't think we want to turn that over to artificial intelligence."

The big picture: Kelly said that the U.S. is "playing catch up" to China with specific military technologies, such as hypersonic missiles, AI and machine learning.

  • The U.S. is also lagging in terms of semiconductor manufacturing,
  • "We used to make 40% of the world's semiconductors here in the United States. We don't do that anymore. We're down to about 12%. We've got to get that back," he said.
  • "These chips go in everything from the most advanced fighter jets to your vacuum cleaner and your phone. And it puts our national security at risk when we need semiconductor chips from places like Taiwan as an example."

Go deeper ... NATO chief: "We don't regard China as an adversary or an enemy"

Watch the full event here.

Go deeper

JPMorgan CEO walks back joke about Chinese Communist Party

JPMorgan CEO Jamie Dimon in Paris in June 2021. Photo: Michel Euler/Pool/AFP via Getty Images

JPMorgan CEO Jamie Dimon walked back a recent critique of the Chinese Communist Party on Wednesday, saying he regrets joking that the bank will outlast the party in China.

Driving the news: Speaking at the Boston College Chief Executives Club Tuesday, Dimon noted that JPMorgan's Chinese operations and the CCP were both celebrating their 100th year anniversary in 2021 and said he would bet that the bank would outlive the party, according to Bloomberg.

Mar 18, 2020 - World

Timeline: The early days of China's coronavirus outbreak and cover-up

Photo Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios Photos: Stringer/Getty Images, Feature China/Barcroft Media via Getty Images, Peng/Xinhua via Getty via Getty Images

Axios has compiled a timeline of the earliest weeks of the coronavirus outbreak in China, highlighting when the cover-up started and ended — and showing how, during that time, the virus already started spreading around the world, including to the United States.

Why it matters: A study published in March indicated that if Chinese authorities had acted three weeks earlier than they did, the number of coronavirus cases could have been reduced by 95% and its geographic spread limited.

Updated 2 hours ago - Health

The next big bottleneck in the global vaccination effort

Illustration: Rae Cook/Axios

The world still needs more coronavirus vaccines, but an additional bottleneck has emerged in many low-income countries: They need help getting shots in arms.

Why it matters: Increasing vaccination rates across the world is both a humanitarian necessity and the best way to prevent dangerous new variants from emerging, but it increasingly requires complex problem-solving.