Headline, May 18 2022/ ''' '' CHINA -AMERICA- CHIME '' '''


 CHIME '' '''

ON MY FIRST DAY IN BEIJING, I had a conversation with a young Chinese woman, a college student. Her first question, alluding to a book I wrote was :

'' Mr. Friedman - is the world still flat? ''

I explained why I thought it was flatter than ever by my definition - which was that because of steady advances in connectivity and digitization, more people can compete, connect and collaborate on more things for less money from more places than ever.

During my time in Beijing, I was struck at how educated Chinese people seem to be more connected, and able to get around digital firewalls, than before. I could see the woman wasn't totally convinced by my explanation, so we moved onto other subjects. And then she dropped this : '' I just used ChatGPT.''

It's funny though - just when you start to worry about the state of J.F.K. Airport, and all the stories in recent years that China was going to bury us in the race to A.I., an American team, OpenAI, comes up with -

The world's leading natural language processing tool that enables any user to have humanlike conversations, ask any questions and get deep insights in every major language, including Mandarin.

China got an early jump on A.I. in two realms -facial recognition technology and health records - because there are virtually no privacy restrictions on the government's ability to build huge data sets for machine learning algorithms to find patterns.

But generative A.I. like ChatGPT, gives anyone, from a poor farmer to a college professor, the power to ask any question on any subject in his or her own language.

WHAT ARE AMERICA AND CHINA FIGHTING ABOUT - ANYWAY? A trip to Beijing and Taiwan showed me how the U.S. and China are fated to cooperate and doomed to compete.

THE SMALLEST MISSTEP by either side could ignite a U.S.- China war that would make Ukraine look like neighborhood dust-up.

That's one of the many reasons I found it helpful to be back in Beijing and to be able to observe China again through a larger aperture than a pinhole.

Attending the China Development Forum - Beijing's very useful annual gathering of local and global business leaders, senior Chinese officials, retired diplomats and a few local and Western journalists -reminded me of some powerful old truths and exposed me to eye-popping new realities about what's really eating away at U.S. China relations.

One should have no illusions : The Communist Party's hold is also a product of all the hardwork and savings of the Chinese people, which have enabled the party and the state to build world-class infrastructure and public goods that make life for China's middle and lower classes steadily better.

Beijing and Shanghai, in particular, have become very livable cities, with air pollution largely erased and lots of new, walkable green spaces.

As my Times colleague Keith Bradsher reported in 2021, Shanghai had recently built 55 new parks, bringing its total to 406, and had plans for nearly 600 more.

Keith, one of the handful of American reporters who lived in mainland China through nearly three years of stringent '' zero Covid '' policies, also pointed out to me that some 900 cities and towns in China are now served by high-speed rail, which makes travel to even remote communities incredibly cheap, easy and comfortable.

In the last 23 years, America has built exactly one sort-of-high speed rail line, the Acela, serving 15 stops between Washington D.C. and Boston. Think about that 900 to 15.

I say this not to argue that high-speed trains are better than freedom. I say this to explain that being in Beijing reminds you that China's stability is a product of both an increasingly pervasive police state and a government that has steadily raised standards of living. It's a regime that takes both absolute control and relentless nation building seriously.

For an American to fly from New York's J.F.K. into Beijing Capital International  

Airport today is to fly from an overcrowded bus terminal to a Disney like Tomorrowland. It makes me weep for all the time we have wasted these past eight years talking about a faux nation builder named Donald Trump.

''ChatGPT is prompting some people to ask if the U.S. is rising again, like in the 1990s,'' Dingding Chen, a Chinese political scientist, told me and Keith.

It's for all these reasons that weighing the shifting power relationship between America and China has become such a popular pastime among elites in both our countries.

''The erosion in U.S. - China relations is a result of something old and obvious, but with lots of new twists that are not always visible to the naked eye.''

The Honour and Serving of the Latest Global Operational Research on two mighty superpowers ;  America and China, continues. The World Students Society thanks author Thomas L. Friedman.

With respectful dedication to the Global Founder Framers of !WOW! and then Mankind, Leaders, Students, Professors and Teachers of the world. See you all prepare for Great Global Elections on !WOW! : wssciw.blogspot.com and Twitter - !E-WOW! - The Ecosystem 2011 :

Good Night and God Bless

SAM Daily Times - the Voice of the Voiceless


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