Author: Jordan Schneider

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Conversations exploring China, technology, and US-China relations. Guests include a wide range of analysts, policymakers, and academics. Hosted by Jordan Schneider.

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273 Episodes
The Pentagon has a new tech strategy! What does it say, what impact will it have, and what do its authors think about technological change and warfare? Dr. Nina Kollars, advisor to Under Secretary of Defense for Research and Engineering (OUSD(R&E)) Heidi Shyu, and R&E’s Chief Data Officer Cyrus Jabbari join us to discuss in a wide ranging and at times philosophical conversation about the challenges of peacetime innovation critical technology lists lessons from the origins of the machine gun and development of modern fighter jets What Cezanne and Picasso can teach us about military innovation (from this piece NYC ChinaTalk Meetup! Here's the strategy: R&E’s Chief Data Offcer yrHerus Jabbari Music: a guy banging on pots and pans Midjourney is a prompt of an F16 with this late 19th century Japanese calligraphy Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
Dan Faggella, who for ten years has interviewed business leaders about the challenges of implementing AI, joins ChinaTalk to discuss about just how hard it is to get AI to diffuse across an economy. We also get into: Why the past ten years of AI hasn't lived up to its promise The technological, bureaucratic, and cultural challenges of corporate AI diffusion Which sectors are most and least likely to adopt quickly NYC ChinaTalk meetup: Music: Uyghur drill, Ahh? Ohh! by Athree Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
Jeff Ding is the leading US scholar on China and AI and author of one of the earliest China-focused Substacks, ChinAI. He recently published a fire paper called, “The diffusion deficit in scientific and technological power: re-assessing China’s rise.” It makes the argument that diffusion capacity (not just innovation capacity) is critical to economic growth — and China actually fares much worse in diffusion capacity than mainstream narratives imply. In particular, “In cases when the emerging power has a strong innovation capacity but weak diffusion capacity (diffusion deficit), it is less likely to sustain its rise than innovation-centric assessments depict. Conversely, when the emerging power possesses a strong diffusion capacity but weak innovation capacity (diffusion surplus), it is more likely to sustain its rise than innovation-centric assessments portray.” Mainstream narratives, meanwhile, “only compare the U.S. and China’s ability to produce new innovations, neglecting their ability to effectively use and adopt emerging technologies. By revealing the gap between China’s innovation capacity and diffusion capacity, this paper argues that innovation-centric assessments mistakenly inflate China’s S&T power.” NYC ChinaTalk Meetup: Cohosting is Teddy Collins, formerly of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy and DeepMind. Outtro music: midjourney prompt: "frank quietly industrial revolution" Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
PJ Maykish, Abigail Kukura, and Will Moreland from the Future Technologies platform team of the Special Competitive Studies Project (SCSP) join the conversation to discuss critical technologies and the development of a national technology strategy. The guests provide insights into how the United States can create a comprehensive technology strategy that prioritizes the development of critical technologies to compete with China. They also discuss the importance of international collaboration in the development of emerging technologies and the challenges faced in building consensus among different stakeholders. This is the paper we primarily discuss: Platforms-Panel-IPR.pdf ( Vishnu Kannan of Carnegie cohosts. Midjourney art: the prompt is "A Bauhaus poster for a production of Shakespeare's Hamlet. Featuring a young man looking out from a turret on a castle out towards the sea" but I thought it has a bit of a tech forecasting vibe! Music by the great Cab Calloway: Hi De Ho Man - YouTube Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
On Monday, May 1, I interviewed Virgina Senator Mark Warner. We get into the RESTRICT Act, state capacity to analyze emerging technologies, the future of industrial policy, the nature and limits to bipartisanship around China, as well as the government’s role in regulating artificial intelligence. Check out the ChinaTalk newsletter for a full transcript! Art via midjourney prompt: corporate America’s naïveté vis-à-vis China Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
J. Edgar Hoover was a controversial figure who served as the director of the FBI for nearly five decades. In this episode, we explore his life and legacy with Beverly Gage, a professor of 20th-century U.S. history and author of the Bancroft Prize-winning biography "G-Man: J. Edgar Hoover and the Making of the American Century." We discuss The context in which Hoover developed his anti-communist worldview, and how this shaped his approach to law enforcement. The deportation of anarchists to Bolshevik Russia. Similarities between Hoover and Xi Jinping. The role of FBI informants, including one who met with Mao Zedong. Outro music: G-Man Hoover by Van Dyke Parks Check out for transcripts, analysis and more! Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
How did Xi Jinping’s formative years influence how he views the world today? Veteran China scholar Orville Schell, the Arthur Ross Director of the Center on U.S.-China Relations, looks back at decades of writing and working on China, weathering the cycles of the country opening up and shutting down and gives his two cents on what’s going on in Xi’s head. We also discuss —  Why Mao Zedong is a better read than Xi — China’s reciprocity problem on the international stage — How US officials reacted to Tiananmen in a secret meeting with Deng Xiaoping — A history of accessing China for academics, businesspeople and journalists — Xi and victim culture Outro Music: Glenn Gould performing Contrapunctus, I, IV from Bach’s amazing Art of the Fugue Check out the newsletter at! Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
Stephen Roach is a Yale professor with extensive experience in China. He also taught the first China class I ever took, so it may be fair to say he's partially to blame for the entire ChinaTalk enterprise. In our conversation (taped on February 23), we discuss: The nexus between US-China relations and the DSM-5 (we need some relationship therapy!); How false narratives strangle effective diplomatic development; What Stephen thinks about the odds of a hot conflict over Taiwan; Practical proposals to improve the bilateral relationship, including what a “US-China Secretariat” (based in neutral Tahiti, obviously) would look like; Is it the US or China — or both — who fundamentally has no interest in engagement? Apologies for my audio quality in the second half of the show. Outro music: You all should check out the ChinaTalk newsletter! Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
Paul Scharre, Vice President and Director of Studies at CNAS, joins ChinaTalk to discuss AI, military, strategy, and US-China geopolitics. Listen in for a discussion on: How AI will impact the tactical, operational and strategic levels of war How and why AI operates — whether in chess, Dota 2, or aerial dogfighting — in fundamentally different ways than humans; Why AI called for a “protective response from the bureaucracy” The significance of the US’s comparative advantage over China in talent and compute — two of Scharre’s “Four Battlegrounds”; The dictator’s dilemma, and how advances in AI will challenge the CCP in the coming years; When in China, how to interview like a pro! Outro music: a missy elliot + spice girls mix from Arthi, a UK-based DJ who's also an economics correspondent for the times of london! Paul’s latest bestseller: The cover image is Midjourney on “Dota 2–inspired F-35 dogfight” You should all subscribe to the ChinaTalk newsletter! Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
What actually is foreign influence, and how might Canada handle China’s interference in its domestic affairs? Akshay Singh is a research associate at the Centre for International Policy Studies at the University of Ottawa. We discuss: How to roll out a foreign agent registry; The role of the US-Canada relationship; Whether foreign influence is a diaspora problem; And performance reviews for the United Front’s Canada desk. Akshay on how democracies should respond to foreign influence: Outtro music: 公公偏頭痛 by Jay Chou Please consider supporting ChinaTalk on Patreon at Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
The Chips Avengers assemble once again! Reva Goujon of the Rhodium Group, JP Kleinhans of the European think tank SNV, Jay Goldberg of Digits and Dollars, and Dylan Patel, who writes SemiAnalysis. In this episode of ChinaTalk, we all: Deep dive into the CHIPS Act's recent Notice of Funding Opportunity (NOFO); Discuss the potentially existential impact of AI on global power dynamics; Consider the true intentions of the October 2022 export controls — from military constraining China to crippling manufacturing in the broader economy; Muse about the potential for a "splinternet" to emerge as countries around the world — in particular, the US, China, EU members states — adopt different standards and regulations for their tech industries; And more! Outro music: Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
Kevin Xu, Obama-era White House official and creator of comes on ChinaTalk to discuss: Our impressions of the House's TikTok hearing Continued cross-border reliances around batteries and cloud computing The missed opportunity of Zhang Yiming's generation of founders GPT4's remarkable translation capabilities Outtro Music: Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
Kotkin on China

Kotkin on China


Stephen Kotkin is a legendary historian, currently at Hoover, previously at Princeton. Best known for his Stalin biographies, his other works include Uncivil Society, Magnetic Mountain, and Armageddon Averted. Our discussion on China is far-ranging yet in-depth — we manage to pack in: The two dominant subjects taught at the CCP’s Central Party School; Kotkin’s assessment of the main threat to Communism — what “Communism with a human face” means, and why Gorbachev’s reforms ultimately destroyed Communism in the USSR; Why the CCP fears color revolutions more than, say, NATO expansion — and why Xi snapped on Hong Kong in 2020; The twin components of Marxism-Leninism: anti-capitalism + anti-imperialism; And an understanding of Lenin’s “commanding heights,” and what China’s commanding heights are today; The case for optimism about US-China relations, despite — or because of — the recent ratcheting up of tensions; Why Kotkin believes a US-China Cold War is both good and necessary; How the US can get on the diplomatic “front foot”; Making sense of Reagan’s foreign policy — how he was both a “movement conservative” and a “dealmaking conservative.” Outro music: Check out the newsletter and other ChinaTalk content at Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
GPT4—AI Unleashed?

GPT4—AI Unleashed?


How will GPT4 change the world? What implications does it have for policy, economics, and society? How will US-China 'racing dynamics' play out and what are the implications for AI safety? To discuss, I've brought together the AI Justice League: Zvi of 'Don't Worry About the Vase', Nathan Labenz of Waymark, and Matthew Mittelsteadt of Mercatus. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
Dennis Wilder returns to ChinaTalk — this time with some broader thoughts on how the US intelligence community can rise to the occasion vis-à-vis China. In particular, we discuss: The importance of government hiring those with experience living in China; Contributions that the Foreign Broadcast Intelligence Service (FBIS) has made to China intelligence, and why it should be reinstated; A serious request to make an ChatGPT as good as Alice Miller is at analyzing CCP documents; Why the State Department has established China House and the CIA has established the China Mission Center; What we can learn from Richard Danzig’s Driving in the Dark; How to maintain robust intelligence capabilities in the long-run; Raymond P. Ludden and the “Dixie Mission” — and why the US needs more Luddens today. Outro music: Check out the newsletter and other ChinaTalk content at Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
Welcome back to the second part of my conversation with Nick Mulder and Lars Schönander. Picking the narrative up in 1935, get real in this episode: Why the Great Depression, counterintuitively, made importing commodities cheaper, and how that affected Germany’s and Japan’s protectionism; The difference between autarky and autarchy; Whether Kim Jong-un’s North Korea could survive a full-on fuel embargo today by using Nazi-era technology; Nick’s definition of “temporal claustrophobia,” and what it has to do with Japan ultimately siding with the Axis; Parallels between the “ABCD circle” (America, Britain, China, Dutch East Indies) and the semiconductor export controls today; Why having an empire was a liability for Britain; What sanctions had to do with the Czechoslovaks — even with a larger army — falling to the Nazis; How the blockades of WWI differed from WWII; And what lessons pro-decouplers should learn from this history of sanctions. Nick’s book recommendations: Nick’s excellent book: Outro music: Check out the newsletter and other ChinaTalk content at Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
Economic Warfare: A History

Economic Warfare: A History


Today we’re releasing part one of our a two-part conversation with Nick Mulder, a history professor at Cornell and author of The Economic Weapon: The Rise of Sanctions as a Tool of Modern War — a Foreign Affairs Best Book of 2022. With cohost Lars, Schönander, we discuss: The recent advent of the use of sanctions (for example, in the Crimean War, Britain continued to fulfill payments to Russia, the nation it was fighting right then!) Why Europeans were reluctant to employ blockades and sanctions in the early twentieth century, and how their thinking evolved through two world wars How Wilson’s notion of “moral sanctions” and decision to keep blockades in place after the war were important to the development of sanctions, especially during the interwar period The League of Nations’ efforts to establish a “positive sanctions” fund, and why the concept never took off Nick’s take on why Hoover is underrated When and why Italy almost fought a war against Germany over Austria Stay tuned for part two, when we connect this sanctions history to implications to US-China relations today! Nick’s excellent book: Outro music: Check out the newsletter and other ChinaTalk content at Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
Data scientist Bryan Cheong breaks down how AI actually works, creating video using AI and how the technology is being used beyond image and language models. Also, I've got a meetup March 7th in Palo Alto! Joined by Zheng, we also discuss: The farmers in India using AI for marketing Denoising and weights, the tech behind AI image generation tools What's next for developments in AI Singapore's tech scene Outro music: 我說所有的酒都不如你 by 房東的貓 Check out the newsletter and other ChinaTalk content at Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
Today we’re going to do a show about the scariest US-China news story I’ve seen in years, that “The US has intelligence that the Chinese government is considering providing Russia with drones and ammunition for use in the war in Ukraine.” Would China really arm Russia, and if so what will that mean for the world if the US and China end up on opposite sides of a proxy war? To discuss this I have on today Georgetown’s, Dennis Wilder, a longtime CIA veteran who served as an NSC director on the China desk under the bush administration and spent six years under Obama editing the presidential daily brief before concluding his career in government as the CIA’s deputy assistant director for East Asia and the Pacific. Outtro Music: Ukranian rap Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
With AI on the verge of transforming the world, how are regulators across the globe approaching the challenges the technology might pose? Also, what does US-China AI collaboration look like today, and will it get caught up in broader tensions in the relationship? Matt Sheehan and Hadrien Pouget, who are both at Carnegie, come on to discuss. Matt's paper on US-China collaboration: Matt's work on Chinese algorithmic regulation: Hadrien's article about the EU: Outtro Music: Monkey Bee: A Short Film by Jamie Hewlett Subscribe to the newsletter! Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
Comments (4)

Nilesh Choudhary

Wrong audio uploaded

Dec 2nd

Shane Mononokeynes

Please add the songs you use at the end to the description! There's some I really like even if I don't understand it haha

Nov 26th

Sebastian Freear

Really interesting podcast with a breadth of guests and topics. The host and his chosen format have improved a lot over the year or so that I have been listening, and it now feels very professional.

Aug 23rd

Ren You

I really disappointed the discussion of this serious topic was ruined by host and your guest's flippancy.

Mar 14th
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