Reports & Papers

50 Items

A Watrix employee works at his desk in their company’s offices in Beijing, October 31, 2018. Watrix, a Chinese technology startup hopes to begin selling software that recognizes people by their body shape and how they walk, enabling identification when faces are hidden from cameras.

AP Photo / Mark Schiefelbein

Paper - Project Syndicate

Is China Beating the U.S. to AI Supremacy?

| August 2020

Combining decades of experience advancing frontier technologies, on the one hand, and analyzing national security decisionmaking, on the other, we have been collaborating over the past year in an effort to understand the national security implications of China’s great leap forward in artificial intelligence (AI). Our purpose in this essay is to sound an alarm over China’s rapid progress and the current prospect of it overtaking the United States in applying AI in the decade ahead; to explain why AI is for the autocracy led by the Chinese Communist Party (hereafter, the “Party”) an existential priority; to identify key unanswered questions about the dangers of an unconstrained AI arms race between the two digital superpowers; and to point to the reasons why we believe that this is a race the United States can and must win.

Tractors on Westminster bridge

AP/Matt Dunham

Paper - Institut für Sicherheitspolitik

The Global Order After COVID-19

| 2020

Despite the far-reaching effects of the current pandemic,  the essential nature of world politics will not be transformed. The territorial state will remain the basic building-block of international affairs, nationalism will remain a powerful political force, and the major powers will continue to compete for influence in myriad ways. Global institutions, transnational networks, and assorted non-state actors will still play important roles, of course, but the present crisis will not produce a dramatic and enduring increase in global governance or significantly higher levels of international cooperation. In short, the post-COVID-19 world will be less open, less free, less prosperous, and more competitive than the world many people expected to emerge only a few years ago.

Paper

Confronting China’s Efforts to Steal Defense Information

| May 2020

The United States government must require private industry and research institutions to take this threat seriously and develop cybersecurity policy and practices that will result in multiple layers of cybersecurity protections. This layered approach will require combined efforts from both the government and private industry to create an overlapping protection scheme.

Fiber optic cables are seen at a data center in Manhattan, March 2013

AP / Mark Lennihan

Paper

A Case for Fortifying the BUILD Act: The U.S., China, and Internet Infrastructure in the Global South

| July 2019

A well-resourced USDFC as a result of the BUILD Act will support U.S. companies and provide competitive alternatives for the Global South. Prioritizing U.S. support in the telecommunications sector will also help balance China’s growing strategic influence in cyberspace. However, reports suggest that the USDFC’s financial resources will be much less than originally planned. These resources are needed to level the playing field. This paper outlines why.

A prototype Tesla Semi truck at Tesla HQ in California, April 22, 2019.

Flickr/Steve Jurveston

Paper - Environment and Natural Resources Program, Belfer Center

Environmental Implications and Policy Challenges for Bringing Long-Haul Electric Trucks into China: The Case of the Tesla Semi

    Author:
  • Jonathan M. Moch
| July 2019

The Tesla Semi is a battery powered electric long haul truck currently in the prototype phase. Since cost and technological barriers have prevented electric vehicles from making significant inroads into the market for long haul trucks, the announcement of the Tesla Semi marks one of the first major attempts to bring electrification to on-road long haul freight transport. China, as the world’s largest carbon emitter, is an important market for truck electrification. China has a bourgeoning passenger electric vehicle market but, like the rest of the world, is reliant on heavily polluting diesel trucks for on-road freight transport. 

This paper addresses two main questions:

  1. What are the potential impacts on carbon emissions of electric long haul trucks in China? 
  2. What are the barriers to the adoption of electric long haul trucks in China? 

The flag of the People’s Republic of China flies on the U.S.S. Ronald Reagan during a port call in Hong Kong, November 21, 2018

AP / Kin Cheung

Paper - Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Harvard Kennedy School

Coherence and Comprehensiveness: An American Foreign Policy Imperative

| March 2019

As the United States now confronts the prospect of a multi-faceted and quite possibly generational competition with China—underscored not only by recent Trump Administration public statements but also by the clear emergence of bipartisan support for a firm posture against certain Chinese practices—it is essential that U.S. policymakers take steps to ensure our approach is as coherent and comprehensive as possible. (As we make this point, we offer our hope that the relationship between the U.S. and China, unquestionably the most important in the world, can evolve into one that is mutually beneficial and avoids confrontation.

The U.S. Capitol is seen at sunrise, in Washington, October 10, 2017

AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite

Paper - Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Harvard Kennedy School

Protecting Democracy in an Era of Cyber Information War

| February 2019

Citizens voluntarily carry Big Brother and his relatives in their pockets. Along with big data and artificial intelligence, technology has made the problem of defending democracy from information warfare far more complicated than foreseen two decades ago. And while rule of law, trust, truth and openness make democracies asymmetrically vulnerable, they are also critical values to defend.  Any policy to defend against cyber information war must start with the Hippocratic oath: first, do no harm.

Tokyo at night

Flickr / Agustin Rafael Reyes

Paper - London School of Economics

Global Review of Finance For Sustainable Urban Infrastructure

    Authors:
  • Graham Floater
  • Dan Dowling
  • Denise Chan
  • Matthew Ulterino
  • Tim McMinn
  • Ehtisham Ahmad
| December 2017

This paper is a background review representing part of the initial phase of the Financing the Urban Transition work program. The review builds on a growing body of research that highlights both the importance of national sustainable infrastructure and the need to develop more effective and efficient financing mechanisms for delivering compact, connected cities that meet the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals. While progress has been made in both these areas over the last five years, there remains a policy gap between the international/national level and the municipal level.

Institute of Physics at the Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing's Haidian District

DigitalGlobe

Discussion Paper - Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Harvard Kennedy School

A Case Study of a World-Class Research Project Accomplished in China: Lessons for China's Science Policy

| February 2017

It has long been a great Chinese ambition to have a high impact toplevel scientific research conducted in domestic China. In this paper, we provide a case study of the recent discovery of the Quantum Anomalous Hall Effect by the group led by Prof. Qikun Xue at Tsinghua University. We analyze the entire experimental discovery process, explore the research culture developed in this condensed matter and materials physics research group, examine China's funding environment and investigate the functioning of this multi-group collaboration. Lessons from this case study will shed lights on how to foster high impact world-class research institutions in China.

Paper - Carnegie Endowment for International Peace

Russia and Cyber Operations: Challenges and Opportunities for the Next U.S. Administration

| December 13, 2016

Russian cyber operations against the United States aim to both collect information and develop offensive capabilities against future targets. Washington must strengthen its defenses in response.