Jan 24, 2019

Soros blasts China's AI ambitions as "mortal threat" to open societies

Billionaire investor George Soros. Photo: Herbert Neubauer/AFP via Getty Images

Speaking at at a private dinner at the World Economic Forum in Davos Thursday, billionaire investor George Soros labeled Chinese President Xi Jinping the world’s "most dangerous opponent of open societies," calling specific attention to China's quest to become an AI superpower, BuzzFeed News reports.

"What I find particularly disturbing is the instruments of control that give an inherent advantage to authoritarian regimes over open societies."

Why it matters: As the Financial Times notes, Soros often uses his Davos appearances to warn of "dangers to the rules-based democratic world order," having called for tech platforms like Facebook and Google to be more strictly regulated at last year's speech. This year, the liberal activist singled out China as the most technologically advanced authoritarian regime in the world, criticizing its controversial state-sanctioned social credit score system as one of the ways Xi is seeking to exercise "total control" over the Chinese people.

  • Soros, a Democratic mega-donor and staunch critic of President Trump, also said the U.S. and China are locked in a "cold war that could soon turn into a hot one," CNBC reports. He added that their ongoing trade war is undermining "the U.S. policy objective of curbing China’s abuses and excesses."

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Pompeo tells Congress Hong Kong is no longer autonomous from China

Photo: Nicholas Kamm/POOL/AFP via Getty Images

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said in a statement Wednesday that he has certified to Congress that Hong Kong is no longer autonomous from China and does not warrant special treatment under U.S. law.

The big picture: The Chinese Communist Party has unveiled a sweeping new security law that will criminalize sedition, foreign influence and secession in Hong Kong. The move and the subsequent reaction from the U.S. has put the once semi-autonomous city's status as one of Asia's largest financial hubs at risk.

Podcast: Trump vs. Twitter ... vs. Trump

Twitter came under fire on Tuesday for allowing President Trump to tweet conspiracy theories about Joe Scarborough and the 2001 death of one of his staffers, despite the objections of the staffer's family. The company came under further fire from Trump himself for fact-checking two of his tweets about mail-in voting.

Dan and the New York Times' Kara Swisher dig into Trump’s use of the platform and Twitter’s steps — and missteps — in handling it.

Go deeper: Trump has turned Big Tech's speech rules into a political football

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Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 11:30 a.m. ET: 5,618,829 — Total deaths: 351,146 — Total recoveries — 2,311,404Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 11:30 a.m. ET: 1,681,793 — Total deaths: 98,933 — Total recoveries: 384,902 — Total tested: 14,907,041Map.
  3. Public health: Fauci says data is "really quite evident" against hydroxychloroquine — Nearly half of Americans say someone in their household has delayed medical care.
  4. Tech: Zipline drones deliver masks to hospitals; vaccines could be next
  5. Business: Boeing to lay off 6,770 more U.S. employees.
  6. 🏒Sports: NHL unveils 24-team playoff plan to return from hiatus.
  7. What should I do? When you can be around others after contracting the coronavirus — Traveling, asthma, dishes, disinfectants and being contagiousMasks, lending books and self-isolatingExercise, laundry, what counts as soap — Pets, moving and personal healthAnswers about the virus from Axios expertsWhat to know about social distancingHow to minimize your risk.
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Updated 23 mins ago - Politics & Policy