Senate asked to sanction US corporations helping China construct its AI-driven “surveillance state” 2023

In a Tuesday session, a witness told senators that U.S. firms that supply China artificial intelligence-driven technology to violate human rights should be penalized by Congress with prison sentences for CEOs.

At a Senate Judiciary subcommittee hearing, Foundation for American Innovation senior fellow Geoffrey Cain cautioned that AI is powering China’s “surveillance state” and that U.S. firms have contributed to this human rights issue.

“China built its AI surveillance apparatus with the connivance and complacency of major American technology firms,” Cain said in his prepared speech. ThermoFisher sold DNA collecting equipment directly to Xinjiang police, who used it to collect genetic data on the minority Uyghur people.

“Since the late 1990s, Microsoft has established itself as the training ground for China’s AI elites through its Beijing-based laboratory, Microsoft Research Asia,” he noted.

Senate asked to penalize US businesses that aid China’s AI-driven “surveillance state”

“The laboratory has trained many AI leaders and developers who went on to found or join the executive leadership of rights-abusing firms, such as Sensetime, Megvii, and iFlyTek.”

The Foundation for American Innovation, formed by Cain, seeks to “align technology to serve human ends: promoting individual freedom, supporting strong institutions, advancing national security, and unleashing economic prosperity.” However, China has employed AI to oppress religious minorities.

“The Chinese Communist Party (CCP) has engineered a vast AI-powered surveillance system literally called ‘Sky Net,’” he claimed. “It operates AI-powered ‘alarms’ that warn the police and intelligence agencies when someone unfurls a flag, when a foreign journalist travels to particular sections of the nation, and when an ethnic minority is present.

“The government accuses entire groups, such as Muslim Uyghurs, of posing a terrorist threat and relentlessly persecutes them with AI tools.”

Cain stated that while IT luminaries like Sam Altman of OpenAI have pushed more engagement with China, Chinese officials have demonstrated no motive to collaborate with China.

“We must abandon the misguided idealism of working with Chinese companies and government bodies with the hope that AI will change the political system, allow for the opening of democratic discourse, and create safer global AI regulations,” he stated. By giving the CCP the keys, we will hurt innovation.

Instead of partnering with China, Congress should assure the U.S. leads AI innovation and can attract people and resources.

“The most advanced American technologies and investments must not be allowed to flow in the direction of China,” he stated. “We must oppose China’s efforts to develop advanced AI systems, influence global standards, and persecute dissidents.”

He suggested that the U.S. should punish China-friendly corporations.

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