US Urged To Punish Companies That Help China’s AI Programs

US Urged To Punish Companies That Help China's AI Programs

( – The US Senate recently started holding hearings to help lawmakers acquaint themselves with the rapid rise of artificial intelligence (AI) and its potential impact on national security, government, industry, and individuals. For instance, on Tuesday, June 13, the Senate held the first of three “bipartisan Senators-only” briefings on the topic. Notably, the Senators’ final hearing will be the country’s “first-ever classified All-Senator briefing” on AI’s use by America’s foes.

The Judiciary Committee’s Subcommittee on Human Rights and the Law also held a hearing on AI and how it relates to the panel’s area of oversight on the same day. The briefing began with a massive bang after one of its four witnesses urged senators to crack down on companies that help China expand its use of the new technology to facilitate the Chinese Communist Party’s (CCP’s) oppressive goals.

Senators Urged To Punish Companies Helping China’s Improper Use of AI

Geoffrey Cain, a senior fellow with the Chicago-based Foundation for American Innovation, used his opening statement before the subcommittee to address concerns regarding China’s use of AI to empower its “surveillance state” and its longstanding pattern of perpetrating human rights abuses on its citizens.

Cain explained that the CCP developed its “AI surveillance apparatus” with the assistance and “complacency” of American Big Tech companies. He cited Microsoft’s decades-long work to “establish itself” as a training partner for Chinese “AI elites” through its Microsoft Research Asia facility, the corporation’s Beijing-based lab opened during founder Bill Gate’s tenure as CEO.

Continuing, Cain accused Microsoft of training many of the CCP’s AI developers and leaders who later founded or joined the leadership ranks of tech firms known for their human rights abuses. The US government eventually started sanctioning those individuals and their companies, starting in 2019.

However, Cain said that wasn’t enough. He said that, so far, American tech companies have eluded accountability for their involvement in the rise of China’s surveillance state and human rights abuses. He urged the senate panel to consider taking two steps to end that complicity between US-based Big Tech and the CCP.

  1. Draft a bill criminalizing American business activities in China that are “likely to support… human rights abuses,” directly or indirectly by the CCP.
  2. Include prison time and other penalties for American business executives helping a Chinese tech company develop any partnership involving AI that the CCP would “likely use… for the oppression of human rights and democratic values.”

Cain’s organization, the Foundation for American Innovation, is a collection of innovators and entrepreneurs who work together to “advance a more perfect union” between technology and the United States. They aim to support that mission by helping create “better collaboration” between lawmakers and innovators to help the tech industry advance without undermining national security, workers’ livelihoods, and the American way of life.

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