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Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios
The West is hobbled by blind spots when it comes to China’s ambitions to dominate next-generation technologies like AI, robotics and quantum computing. This leads to bad assumptions — for example, that U.S. military superiority will carry over into the coming era of autonomous warfare.
But experts say its history makes the U.S. uniquely ill suited to navigate this seismic shift.
Kaveh writes: China all but missed out on the West's 20th century technological explosion. But its very lagging position may become a boon as it attempts to leapfrog over the West, experts say.
"I would underscore the power and strength of muscle memory in the Defense Department," says Mara Karlin, a professor at the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies and former deputy assistant secretary of defense for strategy and force development. She goes on:
"It can be very easy to keep doing what we’re doing, especially when it has borne at least some fruits, and profoundly difficult to shift away from our institutionalized, regimented processes."
China has a record of such leapfrogging.
But, but, but: When it comes to the military jump, there's plenty standing in China's way, says William Carter, a tech policy expert at the Center for Strategic and International Studies.
A fundamental problem is that the U.S. seems to be sitting on its hands while China speeds forward, critics say.
Go deeper: The West has a China blind spot
Photo: Alex Wong/Getty
Amid a new public temperament favoring trust-busting, Europe is moving to show that it will resist market concentration across industries.
"Europe is on the ball here," Tim Wu, a Columbia University law professor and author of "The Curse of Bigness," tells Axios. "Europe is good at starting things — but I hope they finish as well."
What's happening: Big companies say they need their size to compete, especially against China, and that consumers are not suffering. But an increasing number of economists are blaming a concentration of monopoly power across industries for decades of flat wages and productivity in the U.S. and Europe.
"Robust antitrust policing within the EU is, indeed, all the more important in an era when regulators elsewhere are seen to be falling down on the job. An era of supercharged corporate profits, especially in the U.S., is strengthening impressions among many citizens that global capitalism has become rigged in favor of powerful owners and investors, fueling distrust of the system."
At Grand Central. Photo: Alfred Eisenstaedt/LIFE/Getty
Did you spend the week late to everything? Not to worry — here's what you may have missed in Future.
Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios
The real reason America is scared of Huawei (Will Knight — MIT Tech Review)
Silicon Valley, get ready for your closeup (David McCabe and Kia Kokalitcheva — Axios)
Some tips to Amazon drivers go toward base pay (Johana Bhuiyan — LA Times)
Remembering Rep. John Dingell (David Graham — The Atlantic)
AI finds unknown human ancestors (Jordana Cepelewicz — Quanta)
Screenshot: Jan van Ijken/Aeon/YouTube
A wondrous time-lapse video of a hatching newt starts with a single cell, shot at incredible resolution. In six minutes, you see three weeks' of growth, as the cell divides and divides and divides until it's a tadpole.
Kaveh writes: The video, called "Becoming," is from Dutch filmmaker Jan van Ijken, and is featured by the magazine Aeon. This description from Aeon has more on the process van Ijken captured:
Native to central and southern Europe, the amphibious alpine newt breeds in shallow water, where its larvae are born, hatch and feed on plankton, before sprouting legs and moving to land. This time-lapse video … tracks the development of a single-celled zygote into the hatched larva of an alpine newt.