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🤺 A new AI Warfare Military Race? 🏛 Who are the new AI Superpowers emerging towards 2030 🦾? Where is your place within in all this 👩🌾?
Metahistory of technological & military superpowers; The economical implications of AI for the world order in 2030. Drones Swarm Wars & the new AI Warfare Race of the 2020's.
In articles like, “The Quiet Rise of an Artificial Intelligence Arms Race” (人工智能军备竞赛正在悄然兴起), Chinese military authors point to a quote from Russian President Vladimir Putin, that whoever leads in AI will “rule the world.”
Whether you like it or not, AI is already ubiquitous. When you unlock your phone holding it up to your face when you use Google for a search when you watch a video on Youtube… This ubiquity of AI is important: because it shows us that the developments of AI already cannot be contained. They are bound to bleed across between the civilians and the military fields… In this month's article, we will deep dive into the new AI Warfare Race & its economical repercussions on 2030’s world order.
When you think about the world's superpowers, you probably think of countries like the United States and China, and that's for a good reason as these are currently the two largest and most important economies in the world. But that might not be for much longer because, over the last five years, a handful of lesser-known countries have quietly been working on some world-changing projects in the background… Projects that could catapult them to being the top economic superpower of the world in the next few decades.
Artificial intelligence (AI) technologies are forecast to add US$15 trillion to the global economy by 2030. According to the findings of our Index and as might be expected, the governments of countries in the Global North are better placed to take advantage of these gains than those in the Global South. There is a risk, therefore, that countries in the Global South could be left behind by the so-called fourth industrial revolution. Not only will they not reap the potential benefits of AI, but there is also the danger that unequal implementation widens global economical inequalities while giving warfare a totally new angle.
Case Study: Britain's military world order.
During the XVII century, the two largest economies in the world were that of China and India. In fact, over half of the world's economic output during that time came from these two countries, and this was mainly because the world economy at the time was almost completely based around agriculture and extracting raw resources, which China and India were the dominant world players in.
On the verge of the 1800th century, however: something changed. As China and India continued to focus upon their wealthy agricultural economy, a small island country called “Great Britain” was quietly innovating and trying to create new technologies that could help the country prosper not just for the next few years, but for the next century to come.
So, for example, China and India were the largest cotton manufacturers in the world in 1720, and that decade, by creating steam-powered loom machines, the productivity of one textile worker in Great Britain became 500 times greater than a worker in China or India. Essentially one innovation in Great Britain made a large portion of China and India's economy obsolete overnight and great Britain's innovation didn't stop there. They also invented the steam engine in the 17 hundreds, which was revolutionary for productivity not only for textiles manufacturing but everything really, reducing travel distances from days to hours and enabling trade loads from pounds to tons.
But Britain did not stop there: Great Britain also invented many other things during this time, from building an advanced military to new advanced steam power98w-q0ed machines for agriculture, with a significantly more efficient way to produce steel metals, machine tools, large-scale chemical production plants and, yes even every advanced agricultural tool.
Essentially, Great Britain had used technological innovation to become the world's one true superpower by the 1800th and because of their advances in technology, during this time, Great Britain was pretty much able to do whatever they wanted on the world stage as their military technology was so advanced that they ended up conquering many regions around the world, on way to becoming the largest empire in history.
Now, the Industrial Revolution was the largest reason why great Britain was able to build the largest empire the world had ever seen. But to the surprise of many, that was not the only industrial revolution that would knock off the world's top superpowers from their throne.
One revolution at a time
Over the centuries, there have been multiple industrial revolutions. The first industrial revolution was known for producing steam power and small machine tools. But a second industrial revolution occurred between 18 70 1914. And during this time the United States began rapidly adopting new technologies such as electricity, railroads, the telegraph, telephone, mass production of steel petroleum, the combustion engine, and much more and because the US quickly adopted these technologies.
First, they had early surgeon productivity and surpassed Great Britain as the world's top economic superpower. In fact, by 1900, the western world had become so much more technologically advanced than the rest of the world that much smaller countries like Germany and France had reached the same economic levels as the superpowers from 100 years earlier, which were China and India.
So the winner of the second Industrial Revolution was America because they adopted the newest technologies first. But soon after the second industrial revolution came the third industrial revolution and this was the period in the 20th century, where we saw the invention of computers, software, automobiles, nuclear technology, and electronics. And, as you might have guessed, for the most part of the United States, Japan, and the Soviet Union were knowledge is the fastest and made them the global superpowers for much of the 20th century.
And so that brings us to the moment we are living in today, whether you know it or not. We are currently going through the fourth Industrial Revolution and based on the previous history of the last several industrial revolutions, whatever country invents and adopts the newest and most powerful technologies first will likely be able to be a superpower of the world for the next 50 years.
That’s why many countries around the world know the stakes are just as high for this industrial revolution as they were for the last ones. Hence, one common trend that we have seen through each one of these industrial revolutions is that whatever country adopts a technology that dramatically increases productivity -first- will end up becoming a superpower and establish a new world order.
We are at the Edge of tomorrow
So what technology will be the most vital to economies around the world for the next 50 years? Well, almost every country around the world agrees that it is a technology that some people are embracing in their daily lives today, while others are becoming ever more fearful of it every day.
In 1950 to a computer scientist named Sandy Douglas built one of the first known computer games. In the game he designed, which he called OXO. He programmed the software in a way where the computer had a loss rate of 0%, meaning that if a human were to have played this game on the computer, which essentially ticked tack toe, the human player could never win, even if the human player played a perfect game.
And this was arguably the first time in history where a computer was able to perform a multivariable game better than any human ever could, and this trend of computers getting better at games will continue for the next several decades.
In 1988 computers became unbeatable at Connect Four, by 1997, IBM’s Deep Blue beat the world champion, Garry Kasparov, in a game of chess and, in 2016, Google's Deepmind beat world champion Go player, Lee Sedol, all in the best of five series, a task that many thoughts were impossible for a computer to do at the time.
Now, even though these were some of the most popular milestones in AI, that many of you have probably heard of, it is important to note that while the world’s media focused on these large events of an AI playing against humans in games, there were even more important AIs being developed in parallel with much larger impact in the real world.
However, in the immediate future, the biggest implications of the AI arms race will likely come from the economics of AI applied to consumers services. You see, as every year passes, AI gets a little more sophisticated and more jobs get automated away. In fact, one study showed that from the year 2000 up until 2018 1.7 million manufacturing jobs were lost due to AI and automation and another study from McKinsey showed that up to 20 million by 2030.
Now from a corporate perspective, this kind of makes sense. The corporations and countries that adopt AI will have an increase in efficiency that has not been seen since the last industrial revolution. This is because machines are typically between 100% and 1000% more efficient than humans, in the manufacturing space at least. You also don't have to pay machines: a wage and machines won't come with any other economic efficiencies such as 5 days a week, 8-hour workday, vacation, healthcare benefits, etc.
So, what does this all mean for a country or corporation that adopts AI automation in the manufacturing sector? First is two things, one of which is that they can make goods for a much lesser cost than anywhere else in the global marketplace. I mean, one day in the next decade, there might be a nearer zero labor cost to manufacturing certain items with AI and therefore whoever makes the goods for the cheapest using AI instead of humans will have a significant competitive advantage and will likely be able to become the next Factory hub of the world.
It’s also worth mentioning that it also means that some countries will likely experience an increase in their unemployment rate as most of their manufacturing jobs get automated or relocated away to cheaper automated factory hubs.
Now for those that are curious, the countries that are adopting automation, the quickest within the manufacturing sector are in order, South Korea, Singapore, Germany, and Japan. And what's also interesting is that Japan, Germany, and South Korea are already 3rd, 4th, and 5th, positions respectively.
With regards to being the largest manufacturing country in the world, and the only two countries that are bigger manufacturers in the world are China and the United States. So the fact that those three smaller countries [Japan, Germany, South Korea] are automating at a rate that is much higher than China and the United States might mean that they could potentially catch up to and surpassed those countries as the top manufacturing nation in the world in the next decade or two.
But this is also assuming that AI and automation keep innovating at the same rate that it is today. And if it does, it'll give those smaller countries a bigger competitive advantage. So in a sense right now, South Korea Germany in Japan are the countries that are the closest to adopting a 100% ai run manufacturing sector, which means that one of them could become the front runner for becoming the manufacturing powerhouse of the world at some point in the 21st century.
The United Kingdom, for example, actually has the fastest-growing AI sector in the world. Canada has a handful of world-leading AI companies like Blue Dot and Element. Recently, Singapore has been rated the number one best country in regards to its AI implementation into its own economy. South Korea has the highest AI investment per capita in the world. Japan also produced several top AI robotics companies funded for the past 20 years by players like Softbank. Russia will soon have 30% of its military be run by AI-enabled Robotics [interesting AI warfare report here] and Germany and France are producing more computer science, math, and engineering graduates per capita than anywhere else in the world. All this means is that many major countries have realized the importance of AI and automation in regard to the future global economy.
The AI Warfare Arms Race
In reality, while most of the media & public attention focuses on the novelty of AI and its applications for Games, Ecommerce, Social Media etc; Governments and corporations around the world have quietly been gearing up for the next economic and militaristic battle for world domination through artificial intelligence. That is why the fourth industrial revolution is heavily tied to an event that is currently going on that is called the “Artificial Intelligent Arms Race”.
So let's start off with the current leaders in AI, who is the United States and China in 2014 of United States, former secretary of defense said “Artificial intelligence will define the next generation of warfare”. And that is why the United States government has been investing roughly $8 billion per year into AI researches.
One of the biggest projects is a project called Sea Hunter, which is a fully functional American warship that is currently in its final stages of testing before becoming an official part of the U. S. Navy. The benefits of having an AI-run warship are pretty substantial in regards to the Navy's budget: That's because typical worship that is full of crew members typically costs about $700,000 per day in order to maintain, but the Sea HunterAI-run warship costs only $15,000 per day, making it 98% more efficient than a human-run warship.
Now, the United States’ biggest advantage probably isn't actually from government-run AI research, though, in my opinion, the biggest advantage is in Silicon Valley.
While even though the U. S government is investing billions of dollars per year into AI innovation, the US. the private sector is dramatically outpacing the entire US government in regard to AI innovation.
When you just think about all of the AI milestones in history, most of them have come from us private companies or American universities. Whether it's Google, IBM, Amazon, AITesla, or SpaceX: private companies and universities might actually be the US’s biggest advantage to maintaining its dominance as the world's biggest superpower, and we will come back to some of the economic implications of this in this article. But the next biggest contender in the AI Arms Race is China.
Now, as you can imagine, we all know the militaristic implications of AI and how the country with the best AI and robotics will likely have the best future military. Whether it's an AI-run Navy, Air Force, or infantry. There will likely be a scenario in the next 30 years at least one military power will have a large portion of their military be run by AI, and if that were to be the case, they could theoretically dwarf the military capabilities of any other country in the world.
Drone swarms and 'flash wars' are already here.
In late 2020, as the world was consumed by the pandemic, festering tensions in the Caucasus erupted into war.
It looked like a textbook regional conflict, with Azerbaijan and Armenia fighting over the disputed region of Nagorno-Karabakh. But for those paying attention, this was a watershed in warfare. For a region that was disputed for decades, in 2020, the first time use of drones swarms gave Azerbaijan the victory within a record time of 3 months. This is what we call a “Flash War”: A war powered by AI robots, that happened so fast that the opponent didn’t even have a chance to fight back.
"The really important aspect of the conflict in Nagorno-Karabakh, in my view, was the use of these loitering munitions, so-called 'kamikaze drones' — these pretty autonomous systems," said Ulrike Franke, an expert on drone warfare at the European Council on Foreign Relations.
Watching the video will make you understand why this use of drone Swarms is a game-changer in warfare.
Now, his is just the beginning. Looking ahead, AI-driven technologies such as swarming will come into military use — enabling many drones to operate together as a lethal whole. The scale and speed of swarming open up the prospect of military clashes so rapid and complex that humans cannot follow them, further fueling an arms race dynamic. This critical factor of speed could even lead to wars that erupt out of nowhere, with autonomous systems reacting to each other in a spiral of escalation.
Xi Jinping said in 2019, that AI technology is critical to the future of global military and economic power competition. That is why China has become a hot spot for AI investment over the last five years. The Chinese government also announced a $2 billion AI incubator and Chinese companies have filed five times as many AI patents as American companies now, saying all of this, China may not even be the biggest threat to the United States’s AI supremacy. In 2017, already nearly half of the world's AI startup investments went to Chinese consumers & defenses companies.
The Future is here. Red pill or blue pill?
“The world is a dangerous place to live. Not because of the people who are evil, but because of the people who don’t know anything about it” Albert Einstein.
Sometimes knowing the future can feel overwhelming. Thinking about it, I was really much happier before spending 2 years trying to understand how our world will look like in 2050 while writing Atlas’s investment thesis, The Adaptive Economy.
I see extremely smart & knowledgeable people becoming depressed, staying in their bed watching Netflix with red wine when they are not at their zombie 9-5 jobs: they are not wrong, they have simply chosen the easier option. They choose to ignore facts, then choose the blue pill, the comfortable truth.
I have to admit that I sometimes feel like this too and want to give up on everything, just get back to work a normal job, buy PS5, and drive to my 9-5 job in a BMW.
For everybody else, here are the two challenges our generation can seize to make history:
-Sustainability: How will you and your family be able to breathe & live in the Adaptive Economy? Protecting the sustainability of the natural ecosystems where you live during the current 6th planetary extinction we are living in.
-Reskilling: How will you and your family be able to work in the Adaptive Economy? Ensuring the relevant skillsets of the workforce of your country in the midst of economical and military AI disruption.
If you have been reading my newsletter for a while, you will agree that these are really the 2 biggest battles we can identify and act on today.
These are the 2 battles our generation will have to take and this is the War the members of Atlas Society are embarking into.
But we won’t go far unless we get together the business leaders of today, with the wealth available to fund these solutions.
Hence here is my call for you: Be watching, or be part of the solution. Join us trying to make a difference, join Atlas Society.