325 episodes

Conversations exploring China, technology, and US-China relations. Guests include a wide range of analysts, policymakers, and academics. Hosted by Jordan Schneider.
Check out the newsletter at https://www.chinatalk.media/

ChinaTalk Jordan Schneider

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    • 4.5 • 236 Ratings

Conversations exploring China, technology, and US-China relations. Guests include a wide range of analysts, policymakers, and academics. Hosted by Jordan Schneider.
Check out the newsletter at https://www.chinatalk.media/

    India's Chip War

    India's Chip War

    Why can India design chips with the best of them but has completely failed to develop fabs, much less a broader electronics industry? To discuss, I have on Pranay Kotasthane, former chip designer at TI and Qualcomm who now works at the Takshashila Institution and is the author of the new book When the Chips are Down.
    Chris Miller of Chip War cohosts.
    We get into:

    How the political economy of technology in India led to world class software and services but underwhelming manufacturing

    Why India was slower to the uptake than China that socialism really sucks at getting your country rich

    What it takes to design a chip.

    Outtro music: Ye Jo Des Hai Tera https://youtu.be/4tiVPuLbbHg?feature=shared
    Image: spectacular Mughal painting of an elephant currently on at the Met. that I prompted with semiconductor alot https://www.metmuseum.org/art/collection/search/825607?pkgids=906
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    • 1 hr 13 min
    AI at the Frontier: What it Takes to Compete

    AI at the Frontier: What it Takes to Compete

    What does it take to train a frontier model? What's the know-how, the secret sauce that makes firms lets OpenAI and Deepmind push the limits of what's possible? How much are Chinese firms benefitting from western open source, and in the long term is it possible for western labs to maintain an edge?
    The hosts of the excellent Latent Space podcast, Alessio Fanelli of Decibel VC and Shawn Wang of Smol AI, come on to discuss.
    We get into:

    How the secret sauce used to push the frontier of AI diffuses out of the top labs and into substacks

    How labs are managing the culture change from quasi-academic outfits to places that have to ship

    How open source raises the global AI standard, but why there's likely to always be a gap between closed and open source

    China as a "GPU Poor" nation

    Three key algorithmic innovations that could reshape the balance of power between the GPU rich and GPU poor


    Outtro music: CHEKI https://open.spotify.com/track/1zKL2bOEkMDGuIjLhG34YA?si=9a713a88aa3d4f71
    Cover photo: "Inkstand with A Madman Distilling His Brains" 1600s Urbino. Kind of like training a model! https://www.metmuseum.org/art/collection/search/188899
    The met description: In this whimsical maiolica sculpture, a well-dressed man leans forward in his seat with his head in a covered pot set above a fiery hearth. The vessel beside the hearth almost certainly held ink. The man’s actions are explained by an inscription on the chair: "I distill my brain and am totally happy." Thus the task of the writer is equated with distillation—the process through which a liquid is purified by heating and cooling, extracting its essence.
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    • 1 hr 20 min
    Pottinger on Trump 2.0

    Pottinger on Trump 2.0

    Matt Pottinger reported for years out of China, served as a US Marine Corps intelligence officer in Iraq and Afghanistan, and held several senior roles on Trump's NSC , concluding his time in the White House as the Deputy National Security Advisor.
    Today, Matt chairs the China Program at the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies.
    In this interview, we discuss:

    How Matt expects a second Trump administration’s China policy might develop.

    Why Trump is leaning more into strategic ambiguity than Biden, what that means for deterrence, and how that impacts the likelihood of him standing by were the PRC to invade Taiwan.

    Why bipartisan support for the US-China trade war will continue to shape the contours of great-power conflict.

    Matt’s look at the origins and political fallout of COVID-19.

    Plus, reflections on Mike Flynn and how Trump ran his NSC. 


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    Outtro music: Miles Davis, So What https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ylXk1LBvIqU
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    • 54 min
    Is the NSC Unwell?

    Is the NSC Unwell?

    Heart attacks, prostate cancer, Jake Sullivan awake for a home invasion attempt at 4 AM because he was just up working on a random Tuesday night?
    Is the national security bureaucracy in America unwell?
    To discuss, I have on today John Gans, a former Pentagon speechwriter, who’s had many, many other jobs in Washington. He is also the author of the fantastic “White House Warriors,” a history of the National Security Council.  
    We get into:

    Why the organizational design of the NSC leads to such crushing burdens for midlevel and senior staffers

    The kinds of high-flyers that are drawn to the national security complex and what keeps them there

    How POTUS’s time constraints impact decision-making

    Why NSC’s historically are excellent at spotting problems but often overeager when crafting solutions

    The NSC’s role in America’s “forever wars.”

    Roosevelt, Kennedy, Nixon, and Trump’s “maverick model” of running the NSC compared to the Eisenhower vision of “regular order”

    How seemingly prosaic technological innovations like track changes and video conferencing have dramatically changed national security policymaking

    How reading Shakespeare can improve the quality of our policy-making

    What a better model could look like


    Illustration from the New Yorker's recent feature on Sullivan. https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2023/10/16/trial-by-combat
    Outtro audio from
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    • 1 hr 42 min
    Taiwan Election Results and Implications for Beijing

    Taiwan Election Results and Implications for Beijing

    Kharis Templeman, research fellow at Stanford’s Hoover Institution, returns to ChinaTalk to break down the recent Taiwan elections, held on January 13.

    We discuss:

    The lack of surprises in the election results, the subdued vibes during the campaign, and contrasts between local perspectives and foreign media narratives.

    Why the KMT failed to win the presidency, notwithstanding voter dissatisfaction with the DPP.

    China’s surprisingly muted response to the election, and how it may reassess its cross-Strait policies given a third DPP president.

    The new composition of the Legislative Yuan, and the strategic position of the Taiwan People’s Party as gatekeeper.

    Observations from Kharis’s time in Taiwan during the election season, and the gift of Taiwan’s democratic process.


    Outro music: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=epwlWDCCevY
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    • 46 min
    How the Navy Learned to Fight

    How the Navy Learned to Fight

    How did the US Navy evolve over the first half of the 20th century from a bunch of unschooled violent sailors who couldn't shoot straight to the world's largest and most technologically advanced fighting force? What lessons around organizational design can we learn from this transformation?
    Trent Hone, author of Learning War and Mastering the Art of Command, joins to discuss.
    Outtro Music: A selection from Brahms' 3rd Symphony, apparently Adm. Nimitz's favorite https://open.spotify.com/track/3T9xcTbS2E3epbncsMwkNC?si=296e316488c841d5
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    • 1 hr 52 min

Customer Reviews

4.5 out of 5
236 Ratings

236 Ratings

blackdogforever ,

Highly recommend

Sharp questions, excellent!

joseph naus ,

State Department Sponsored? Cut-out?

China bad. America good.
China steals secrets and lies and is ruled by a maniacal dictator. US is the golden light that protects and shines on the world. I used to listen and he had good guests.
Now it’s mostly government hacks.

Codybroken ,

Open your mind and let info come in

I think Jordan is brilliant. He has a wide variety of excellent guests. No, not all episodes are about China. I don’t care. YES, host has biases, and his guests have biases. EVERYONE has biases. I enjoy the host’s unique style and his humor.

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