CHINA’S GROWING AEROSPACE INDUSTRY
China’s Aerospace industry is growing fast. Just this past January the nation reported successfully landing a spacecraft on the far side of the Moon. They also plan to launch a Mars Global Remote Sensing Orbiter in addition to AI powered satellites.
China isn’t wasting any time. According to an aerospace forum held in Chengdu in China’s southwest Sichuan Province held this past June they plan on launching a constellation consisting of 192 remote sensing satellites. They plan on accomplishing this by early 2021.
The above graphic highlights just how seriously China takes AI technology.
SATELLITES ACTING AS AN INTELLIGENT BRAIN SYSTEM
Using Artificial Intelligence, these remote sensing satellites will be equipped with what the Chinese call an “intelligent brain system”. It is important to note that despite the name no one as of yet created an AI that possesses actual intelligence. Nevertheless, these satellites are equipped with multiple resolution sensors which are able to process images autonomously and filter out those affected by weather. The result is only useful images getting transmitted down to the ground.
The projects called “Xingshidai” is currently under construction by ADASpace. They are a private Chengdu-based company that specializes in commercial satellite operation and remote sensing data service. In other words, when the Chinese government wants help with surveillance using satellites ADASpace is one of the first companies they turn to.
China’s commercial rocket called Jielong-1 will launch the satellites into orbit by early 2021.
CAPABILITIES OF THIS SATELLITE SYSTEM
This system of AI satellites is capable of analyzing captured images and deciding on its own whether the image is good enough to transmit back or not. In the past, satellites have been remotely controlled by humans on the ground. These are completely autonomous AI’s with decision making power. The idea is that this system will be on auto-pilot constantly analyzing images which will save a lot of time.
This system is supposed to play an important role in environmental monitoring, disaster prevention, traffic management, and other fields. By ‘other fields’ it is unclear exactly what they are talking about but we will let the diligent reader decide for themselves.
WHAT IS THE IDEA HERE?
Naturally the company behind this “intelligent brain system” will claim that the purpose of this project is weather related but when you look at China’s reputation this just doesn’t hold up. There is always an agenda, always a bigger reason. An army of satellites would provide them with means of surveillance that no country has ever had before. China could do all kinds of things with that kind of power. Many suspect that China is using AI to expand the surveillance they are already conducting on their own citizens. More data for their databases means more accurate machine learning algorithms for future AI powered projects. This just adds to the growing list of privacy concerns stemming from AI technology.
Whether you are talking about China or any other world superpower the ideas behind AI implementation are similar. Everyone is looking to outspend and outeresearch everyone else in order to pull ahead in the arms race and gain power.