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Huawei CEO Ren Zhengfei. Screenshot by Axios

Huawei chief Ren Zhengfei said Tuesday that his company is prepared for any further U.S. "attacks," but he believes the world can avoid splitting into two separate technology systems.

Why it matters: The U.S. and China are locked in a fierce battle, with trade restrictions already limiting Huawei's ability to sell phones around the world.

  • "We are more confident we can survive even further attacks," Ren said, appearing at the World Economic Forum Annual Meeting in Davos, Switzerland.

The backdrop: Last year, the U.S. imposed a variety of restrictions that further limited Huawei's ability to do business in the U.S. as well as hampering its ability globally by limiting access to U.S. chips and software. It is also pressuring allies not to use Huawei's networking technology for their 5G systems.

  • Ren expressed optimism the tensions won't lead to a complete bifurcation of Western and Chinese technology. "Whether world will be split in two systems, I don’t think so," he said. "Science is about truth; there is only one truth. It is unique."

Meanwhile: Israeli philosopher Yuval Noah Harari, who joined the Huawei chief on stage, talked about the existential threat posed when any tech company, be it Huawei or Facebook, can know human desires better than people themselves.

  • Ren replied: "We are not sure if that can become reality. We do not rule out this possibility."

The panel included a lot of harkening back to the Cold War and the race to build the atom bomb.

  • The key difference, Harari noted, is that it was largely clear that using the technology behind the atom bomb was bad. With AI, countries may believe they are best served by actively deploying such systems.
  • Harari also pointed out that the U.S.-China tech Cold War is very close to a real arms race — the development of lethal autonomous weapons. And while both sides likely know the danger, the distrust could prompt such systems to be built.

Yes, but: Harari ended on a hopeful note, pointing out that in theory surveillance technology could be used to keep tabs on big business and government, and antivirus software could in future detect efforts to manipulate your mind.

Go deeper: Why Huawei is the United States' 5G boogeyman

Go deeper

911's digital makeover

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

A next-generation 911 would allow the nation's 6,000 911 centers to accept texts, videos and photos.

The big picture: U.S. emergency communications have remained stubbornly analog, but Congress is about to take another run at dragging 911 into the digital age.

Biden enlists business leaders in campaign for vax mandates

President Joe Biden at a meeting with business leaders Sept. 15, 2021. Photo: Oliver Contretas/Getty Images

President Biden convened a meeting of top business leaders Wednesday to build support for a sweeping vaccine mandate that will affect most of America's workers. The message: Vaccines work, and the stalled uptake is holding back the economy.

Why it matters: As vaccine rates have flattened across the country, business leaders have the power to impact their employees’ decisions. Many corporate leaders had been looking for stronger federal guidance to lean on.

51 mins ago - Health

COVID cases are falling, but deaths are rising

Data: N.Y. Times; Chart: Kavya Beheraj/Axios

The pace of new coronavirus infections in the U.S. is beginning to slow — a potential sign that the states hit hardest by the Delta wave may be starting to turn things around.

Yes, but: Deaths are still rising, and it’s still too early to know whether schools might drive cases back up again.