3. ... and a struggle over AI in China
American tech companies and research institutions — involved in the development of artificial intelligence in both the U.S. and China — face elevated ethical questions as the two superpowers race for dominance in the field.
What's going on: China’s prestigious Tsinghua University recently laid out "civil-military-fusion," a vision for developing AI for military applications, flagging a close relationship between academia, private companies, and the armed forces, Axios' Kaveh Waddell writes.
For U.S. researchers working in China, the speech, by You Zheng, a Tsinghua VP, raises questions about whether their projects could end up bolstering Beijing's goal of dominating global civilian and military AI.
- Seven months ago, Google launched an AI research center in Beijing, and the company's chief of AI, Jeff Dean, recently joined Tsinghua's computer-science advisory committee.
- And MIT is collaborating with China's iFlyTek, a private company with ties to China's surveillance state.
Such partnerships are numerous enough that the U.S. government has considered restricting them, Reuters reported in April.
Google did not respond to requests for comment. But if U.S. labs pull back from China, something might have to give, Elsa Kania of the Center for a New American Security tells Axios.
- Said Lorand Laskai, a research associate at the Council on Foreign Relations, "If there’s enough blowback, I suspect we’ll see Chinese entities carefully consider whether they want to associate with initiatives like civil–military fusion."
Go deeper: Read Kaveh's whole post