Can the US military and security adjust their priorities to match speed of China, or more generally, the worlds development of AI technology. The 20th century conventional war focus of the US seems to be a burden at this point. It was in Afghanistan and will continue to be as interconnectivity and technology development spreads around the world.
Does the US need to be more authoritarian, less free, or something else?
In our country, a government worker who thinks we are making a terrible mistake in our AI approach can resign, testify before congress, get a lot of press, and potentially make the entire country change course if the argument for it is strong enough.
China can’t do that as far as I know.
Maybe one way to think about this is that China can act more decisively, and when the decision is the right one, more effectively.
But I think the decisive difference might be that we are more oriented towards truth (in relative terms.)
Similar to the risk/reward measure I think one of China’s strengths is they are rising, they are not yet at the top which creates a focused goal easily communicated internally. If they achieve supremacy after the collapse of the US what is their goal? How do they focus their people from looking for their own betterment? Do they ease into a soft democracy loosening their all controlling grip or do they keep squeezing harder to keep the peoples desires inline which in the end, always fails (I can think of a way this doesn’t fail but it edges into speculative fiction).
This is US at the top now. The leaders have taken the rewards of being at the top and disenfranchised the people from the rewards by distracting them with internal factional conflicts. (Since racism and religious intolerance are interlaced into the foundation of the US they were easy to leverage.) Can they, we, move past this short sighted system of immediate self reward and make the moves needed to a focused goal, a paradigm shift, away from the past to the future. How much money can be drawn out of the budget that pays the entrenched businesses that provide our 20th century military? How many federal politicians can you convince to move away from what they know into they technological present?
Similar to all empires and dynasties, you reach extreme prosperity under a good ruler, but it only takes one bad ruler for the whole system to collapse and for the whole cycle to repeat again. There are grander visions beyond being the top of the world. A good dictator would see that and all would benefit. But what quality the next dictator will have is gonna be a roll of the dice.