Artificial Intelligence. Image: iStock
Major tech companies and government agencies continue to enhance their computational power. Image: iStock

China shares its artificial intelligence network with authoritarian regimes across the world and spends heavily on the deployment of military assets throughout its interior for the sole purpose of cementing the regime’s hold. Resembling the bankruptcy of the Soviet Union, China’s expenditure in its interior reveals an Achilles’ heel that Beijing wishes to hide. However, inquiring about the socio-political legitimacy of China’s government remains dangerous.

To better understand Beijing’s behavior, two American scholars have devised an algorithm that liberates US policymakers from the arduous task of data accumulation. The Policy Change Index (PCI) from Washington’s American Enterprise Institute has overcome a daunting analytical challenge.

The PCI is a machine-learning algorithm that reads the People’s Daily (the Communist Party of China’s mouthpiece) for the sole purpose of analyzing policy changes over time. As a leading indicator of actual policy changes since 1951, the PCI encapsulates the movement of Chinese policy visually.

Designed by Julian Tszkin Chan, a senior economist at Bates White Consulting, and Weifeng Zhong from the American Enterprise Institute, the PCI depicts gradual changes in Chinese policy that aren’t captured in traditional ways. Simply put, the algorithm detects changes in Chinese policy prioritization across time.

Depicting quantitative indicators of Chinese policy across decades can help US combatant commanders craft viable strategies against China, and the method can be transferred to any quantifiable entity.

Imagine having visualized changes across decades for multiple component relations. For example, measuring divergent aggregates in China’s move toward decentralization in acquiring provincial debt. It can also capture changes in the public policy statements of multiple political principles, even competing agencies like the Chinese Central Bank and the Ministry of Finance.

While China continues to invest heavily in refined applications of artificial intelligence, the US seeks to confront Beijing openly through conventional means. In conflict, the Chinese leadership must attend to a dangerously vulnerable interior that could easily be exploited. No amount of artificial intelligence can help a beleaguered regime regain political legitimacy.

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William Holland is North American recruiter for Wikistrat global consultancy monitoring Pakistan's nuclear program.