Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Anatoly Karlin — China Overtakes US in Scientific Articles, Robots, Supercomputers

By the end of the 1990s, China had come to dominate the mainstays of geopolitical power in the 20th century – coal and steel production. As a consequence, it leapt to the top of the Compositive Index of National Capability, which uses military expenditure, military personnel, energy consumption, iron and steel production, urban population, and total population as a proxy of national power. Still, one could legitimately argue that all of these factors are hardly relevant today. While Germany’s fourfold preponderance in steel production over Russia may have been a critical number in 1914, China’s eightfold advantage in steel production over the US by 2014 is all but meaningless in any relevant comparison of national power.
By the end of the 2000s, like Victorian Britain in the mid-19th century, China became the workshop of the world, overtaking the US in both manufacturing and coming very close to it in terms of PPP-adjusted GDP. As a consequence, this was when China also overtook the US on a wide range of consumer welfare and ecological impact indicators, such as exports, CO2 emissions, Internet users, energy consumption, car sales, car production, and number of patents issued. Still, its presence in the hi-tech sector was still pretty modest, and innovation was low. This was not yet an economy that could furnish first-class armaments, or inspire far off peoples to carry out color revolutions in its name.
But as of this year, China is hurtling past yet another set of inflection points – the hi-tech component of its economy, roughly comparable to any of the major European Powers a mere decade ago, is now about to converge and then hurtle past that of the US (even if in per capita terms it remains considerably behind, like South Korea 20 years ago).
Here are the three numbers that illustrate this:
The Unz Review
China Overtakes US in Scientific Articles, Robots, Supercomputers
Anatoly Karlin


Ryan Harris said...

Keeping up with the pace of technological development in any broad field now when we have billions of people working, is a challenge. It will be interesting to see how humans adapt as the pace accelerates in the next few decades. If we study narrower subject matters and become experts in arcane fields, or spend more time being educated and less time creating in broader fields, whatever happens, it will change the character of universities and research every where. It's not only China but a billion people in Africa, India, South Asia, South America... lots more science.

Roger Erickson said...

But we still lead in what counts most: Lobbyists! (right? :( )