China is also advancing in quantum information sciences, a field that could give a big boost to AI and provide other military advantages. The complex research capitalizes on the ability of subatomic particles like photons to exist in multiple states simultaneously and to mirror each other across vast distances. Breakthroughs in the field could enable vast improvements in computingn power and secure communication. Strategists see numerous military applications, including the supercharging of artificial intelligence.
In the city of Hefei in eastern China, work began last year on a $1 billion national quantum-information-sciences laboratory. Slated to open in 2020, it will build on research already under way nearby in the lab of physicist Pan Jianwei, who led the team that launched the world’s first quantum communications satellite. The project propelled China far ahead of others in transmitting information with essentially unbreakable quantum encryption.