“Capitalists will sell us ropes for us to hang them,” Lenin is believed to have said. That lesson Google, and the United States as a whole, may soon learn difficult ways to deal with Communist China.
A few weeks ago, Eric Schmidt, who headed Google from 2001 to 2015, testified in Congress that the Chinese Communist Party is becoming a major threat to technology, especially artificial intelligence, or AI.
He said he was convinced that the threat of China’s leadership in key technology areas was a national crisis. AI will be used to advance every aspect of national power, from healthcare to food production to environmental sustainability … Within the next decade, China will surpass the United States as the world’s AI superpower There is a possibility.
Schmidt was right to sound the alarm. But he stopped naming one of the main culprit, Google.
In 2017, Google opened an artificial intelligence laboratory in Beijing. The company is also collaborating with two of China’s leading universities on AI.
Opening an AI lab was a big turnaround for Google. The company previously abandoned mainland China in 2010 after the Beijing administration demanded that Schmidt and his colleagues censor their search engines.
Why flip? money.
By 2017, New York Times journalist Cade Mets spoke in his new book, Genius Makers. Google was rethinking about China. The market was too big to ignore.
Google realized the dangers posed by totalitarians in Beijing, so they decided to sell the ropes to them anyway.
To make matters worse, do you remember the early 2000s, rather than fulfilling the techno utopian dream of spreading American values to the ends of the globe and promoting a more open world? Google and other tech giants have now implemented one of the core principles of communist China, censorship, in the mainland United States.
Despite being a victim of unjustified censorship in China, Google is now swinging here in the United States. Google was one of several exclusive Big Tech companies that helped wipe out Twitter’s alternative parlors from the Internet in January.
The parlor attack probably did not crack down on user content sufficiently aggressively. But the same or worse can be said for Google.
In 2019, reporters and activists pointed out that Google’s YouTube algorithm promotes overly sexual content involving children. Wired has warned that a network of pedophiles is hidden behind YouTube. This issue has plagued YouTube for years. By Google’s own standards, YouTube should have been taken offline.
Conclusion: We need a pro-American tech company. Google’s Chinese story reveals stakes.
One is the open internet. China is censoring news, criticism and freedom of speech. Chinese-style censorship of websites or apps is a threat to the Internet itself when applied by Google or other big tech companies outside of China.
The second is the question of who controls our century, China or the United States.
In 2018, Russia’s leading Vladimir Putin predicted:Anyone who will be a leader in this field [AI] Become the ruler of the world.
The Chinese government recognizes this through the policy of Made in China 2025. The goal is to dominate 10 high-tech areas over the next four years. AI is one of ten.
These interests oblige US companies not to help totalitarian enemies in a plausible way. Google has publicly stated that it will not work with the Chinese military, but after all, it has no control over how the technology is used in China.
In China, unlike the United States, there is no line of light that separates the administration from the private sector. Chinese businesses and the technologies they develop are designed to serve the purposes of the Communist Party.
A major challenge for the Biden administration is how to recover and secure the supply chain of critical commodities. This should include medicines and other strategic products. But it shouldn’t stop there. Beijing cannot be allowed to dominate the global flow of information and thereby control its ability to think freely.
Our governments and businesses should be coordinated in line with this principle: America must not sell our long-term future for short-term gains. You can’t afford to sell a rope to someone who hangs it.
Rick Berman is the director of the American Security Institute.
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