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The PLA’s AI Competitions

Can the new design contests foster a culture of military innovation in China?

A child watches a video depicting the flow of digital information during the National Science Festival and In recent years, the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) has sought to facilitate innovation through hosting “Artificial Intelligence (AI) Challenge”-style competitions. Interesting content aside, these PLA equipment departments-led competitions essentially serve as a disruptive element that helps bring new players and new ideas into the military’s traditional research, development and acquisition (RD&A) process. They create new avenues for the PLA to directly interface with young innovators from within and outside of the PLA. They added modern vibes to these “games” and “challenges” also help increase the appeal of the PLA’s innovation culture. In the long run, a more open and modern innovation culture will no doubt be conducive to its recruitment of a college-educated, tech savvy younger workforce. This is perhaps one of the most interesting, and also the newest, AI competition series that the PLA is currently running.

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