General Studies (International Relations): China’s Rise in Emerging Technologies And Implications For India

General Studies: International Relations 01; Contemporary Issues for UPSC Prelims and Mains; China’s Rise In Emerging Technologies

The world is entering a new industrial revolution which is being driven by new technologies.

What are these New Technologies?

  • 5G
  • Artificial intelligence (AI)
  • Internet of Things (IoT)
  • Robotics
  • 3D printing
  • Blockchain
  • Cloud Computing

Fifth Generation Technologies

It provides better performance than the previous generations of mobile systems. The fifth generation of mobile wireless is more stable, connect more devices at once. It also has the potential to move more data at a faster speed.

Benefits: Improved speed, 5G towers will be smaller, it will improve the coverage, more capacity for multiple devices.

Artificial intelligence (AI)

According to the National Strategy for Artificial Intelligence, a report prepared by the NITI Aayog in June 2018, AI is a constellation of technologies that enable machines to act with higher levels of intelligence and emulate the human capabilities of sense, comprehend and act.

Internet of Things (IoT)

Simply put, this is the concept of basically connecting any device with an on and off switch to the Internet (and/or to each other). This includes everything from cellphones, coffee makers, washing machines, headphones, lamps, wearable devices and almost anything else you can think of. 

Robotics

Robotics is the study of robots. Robots are machines that can be used to do jobs. Some robots can do work by themselves. Other robots must always have a person telling them what to do.

3D Printing

This manufacturing process creates a three-dimensional object. This process is done through incrementally adding material until the three-dimensional object is complete.

This is different from subtractive manufacturing techniques such as carving or milling, in which an object is created by selectively removing parts from a piece of raw material. A 3D printer can turn a digital model into a tangible 3D object.

Blockchain

Through this technology information is passed from Person A to Person B in safe and automated way. From the one end of transaction, Person A creates a block. This block gets verified by millions of computers distributed around the net. After the verification, block is added to a chain. This chain is stored across the net which creates a unique record and unique history. Falsifying this record is simply impossible. Bitcoin is an example of this technology. But there are many other ways this technology can be used.

Cloud Computing

Storing IT resources over the Internet and delivering them pay-as-you-go-pricing model is called cloud computing. Buyers don’t have to own and maintain physical data centres and servers. Services related to technology can be accessed from a cloud provider.

China’s Rise in Emerging Technologies

General Studies International Relations 01 (GS Paper II):

  • We all know the success stories of Chinese industries in conventional areas such automobiles, high speed railways, electronics. But, now, Chinese industries are getting closer to the leadership position in above-mentioned emerging technologies.
  • China’s rise is being noticed by the world powers as it is reaching a critical mass of expertise, talent and financial firepower.
  • As far as R&D spending is concerned, China is second only second only to the United States. China’s is currently running many futuristic projects which are aimed at catching up with strategic and selected industries, in which US has been in a leadership position for many years.
  • China’s supremacy in technology can be gauged from the fact that Alibaba, Ant Financial, Baidu and Tencent are all Chinese companies. These tech leaders drove much of China’s overall venture capital investments in 2018.
  • China’s rise in tech innovations has been facilitated by the Government which has made technology a national strategy. In 2017, China released the “New Generation Artificial Intelligence Plan”. This plan makes leadership in AI a matter of national strategy.

Implications for India

General Studies International Relations 01 (GS Paper II): China’s emergence as a high-tech innovator poses both economic and security challenges.

  • India’s will have to be watchful how Chinese companies do business in India.
  • Further, China can use these technologies for military purpose as well.

Unlike the US, China is less open about its technological advances and how they are being regulated. This opaqueness is being viewed with suspicion by the west as the western countries fear that China’s rise is resulting in two broad sets of standards and protocols. One is led by the western countries as well as Japan and another one is by China.

India needs to be watchful. It should also form alliances with the western technological giants to keep its interest secure.

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