Microelectronics, artificial intelligence (AI), and 5G are “destiny-shaping technology” sectors for the US, the report by the Special Competitive Studies Project (SCSP), chaired by former Google chief executive Eric Schmidt, warns.
But the US and its allies, including Australia, are risking ceding control of these technologies to China, the US think tank says.
Microelectronics matter to the US because the superpower is utterly dependent on them. But Chinese industry produces a large amount of the global supply.
And Chinese companies are leading in 5G development and rollout, giving Beijing the opportunity to control network hardware throughout the world.
AI is important because China has linked it to national security – but the US plan for the technology trails Beijing by years.
The SCSP says the worst-case scenario would be China taking control of Taiwan. This would enable it to halt the supply of rare earth minerals to the US,.
This would mean “America’s military is crippled, and the nation is plunged into a depression,” the report warns.
“Americans are forced to live in a world where China can turn off the technology tap.”
Last month, President Joe Biden signed new legislation aimed at boosting the US semiconductor industry, in an attempt to address a long-running computer chip shortage and reduce reliance on other countries, such as China.