July 14, 2024

Divest China from America’s artificial intelligence industry

Divest China from America’s artificial intelligence industry

Divest China from America’s artificial intelligence industry

By Jianli Yang
29 February 2024

As the U.S. government continues seeking to comply with President Biden’s recent executive order to implement “safe, secure and trustworthy” artificial intelligence, it must ensure that the contractors it partners with to secure this objective divest themselves of their ties to the Chinese government.

The Chinese Communist Party sees AI as tantamount to its economic and military ambitions. The People’s Liberation Army’s Academy of Military Sciences, National Defense University and National University of Defense Technology have even said that AI and intelligent weapons could define who wins future wars.

For this reason, President Xi Jinping is accelerating funding for AI weapons development projects in China‘s army, navy, air force and Rocket Force. Although the U.S. Department of Defense similarly recognizes that AI “will change society and, ultimately, the character of war,” the United States continues relying on Chinese-connected companies to expand and operationalize its AI industry.

Perhaps the White House recognizes the obvious national security concerns that this poses. At an event at the World Economic Forum this month, Brad Smith, the president of Microsoft, which recently began enabling the U.S. government to adopt AI technologies for “mission critical solutions,” stated that the White House categorized the plan they recently submitted on AI safety and security as “incomplete.”

This characterization seems fair given that the company, which has an AI lab in China, recently found itself subjected to a hack that exposed the email accounts of the U.S. ambassador to China, the assistant secretary of state for East Asia, and the secretary of commerce to Beijing-linked hackers ahead of a critical U.S.-China meeting.

According to Sen. Ron Wyden’s letter to the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency, the company’s “negligent cybersecurity practices” led to the attack.

Yet the company continues to maintain a strategic partnership agreement to bring advanced AI and machine learning capabilities to China‘s top drone manufacturer, Shenzhen DJI Innovation Technology Co., even though the Department of Defense has blacklisted the company’s products from the U.S. over espionage and national security concerns.

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