The question of patriotism & # 39; in high-tech cooperation in China

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In July, billionaire investor and entrepreneur Peter Thiel asked for an FBI and CIA investigation on Google, saying the company was “treacherous” for working with the Chinese military instead of military States United.

Treasury Secretary Steven T. rejected Thiel's allegations
Mnuchin, who said he and President Trump met with Google CEO Sundar Pichai at the White House and had not received any evidence of Google working with Chinese government or military.

Thiel was criticized for trying to tease US-Chinese trade war to stoke for the benefit of his own business. But his views also showed a changing landscape in US-China's high-tech cooperation, as American companies and institutions are considering the safeguards that should be in place to ensure that the partners of the US do not work. Chinese national security or human rights.

Some lawmakers – Democrats and Republicans – recently asked for an examination of US funding that enables Chinese government surveillance of Muslim minorities in the province of Xinjiang. Scientists were criticized for knowingly or knowingly using Chinese datasets using biometric data collected from a minority from minorities.

For national security, researchers assist China with applications for artificial information
accused of enabling Chinese military advancement. Thiel, whose company Palantir works extensively with the Department of Defense, says that “patriotism” is to be done to serve the US military interests.

But many experts and academics do not agree. They say that the risks of China's high-tech cooperation are serious, but that ethical issues are better focused on transparency and consent standards than on loyalty and patriotism ideas.

The most important difference between US systems and Chinese systems, they say, is that American companies and individuals have the freedom to work with the government.

It is difficult to compose problems in terms of “patriotism”, as it says, as it implies that companies or individuals exercising that freedom to deny a military partnership are unethical in some way, when they show that they have strength in the American system.

“It is important that individuals can benefit from what the government asks us to do. That is the American thing I can think of, ”said Kara Frederick, an analyst in the Washington, D.C.-based Thinking Center for New American Security who previously worked on a global security team at Facebook.

Democracy alone is not an adequate defense against violations of privacy and data abuse, as evidenced by the scandal involving the data mining company Cambridge Analytica, which has secretly harvested information obtained from Facebook and its content; it used to influence the 2016 presidential race. But at least the rule of law and the protection of freedom of expression can provide an opportunity for public debate and accountability, according to analysts.

Can not say whether ethical standards can be in high-tech cooperation of China-China due to the authoritative Chinese political structure.

Joe Lonsdale, co-founder of Palantir, referred to these differences as a contrast to “two very different cultures.” When Google supports AI research with Chinese universities, it basically serves the Chinese government, as he said in CNBC's interview, as “everything in China the government. ”

“If you work in China, you work with the government,” said Lonsdale.
“That's how China works.”

Frederick agreed that high-tech companies should re-imagine their Chinese research partnerships. According to National Information Law passed in 2017, a Chinese government can order any person or organization to give information and technology in the name of national security.

“You can't do something and believe that people are always good and going to use it for good things,” said Frederick.

But it is too clarified Chinese people and institutions to merge with Chinese government, or all co-labeling as a treacherous support for Chinese military, said Elsa Kania, technology and security analyst at the Center for New American Security.

“Due to the fact that Google is working on AI in China it does not mean that they are supporting Chinese military directly,” said Kania, adding that even many Chinese companies are not “expecting to be working with the army. ”

“If you are a company which competes firmly for commercial advantage, working with the [Freedom of the People Army] t
it is not your best interest, ”she said.

China's high-tech employees told the Times that they rarely think about ethical implications of their work, but also that politics played a minimal role in their career decisions.

“It's not like in the US, where people try to stay away from government. Here, the government is more honored in some way, ”said Cathy, 26, an employee of a high-tech company in Beijing who spoke on
withholding the condition of her full name to avoid any consequences of her employer.

Huawei's friends thought they had left because of the over-healthy work culture too, she said, but she changed their minds when Huawei Meng Wanzhou's performance in Canada was retained on request. government.

“In this way, they feel that they are doing more. You are fighting for a bigger reason as not only are you standing for the company but for your country as a whole, ”she said.

At the same time, Cathy said that her career decisions were primarily guided by her goals for personal progress. “I didn't work for a company because it's bullied abroad,” she said.

James, 27, said an employee in a microchip assembly factory in Shenzhen also asked that his full name be retained, that many young Chinese struggle to find employment.

“My day-to-day care is whether the traffic is good, do I work, will the city be a little more convenient,” he said. “You talk about politics for half an hour, what do you get from it? Everything is status quo. ”

Most young Chinese tech workers are not thinking about the ethics of the people they work for, James says. It is an economic challenge for people to move to the major cities where large technology companies are located.

“If I could work in one of those big technology companies, I would be delighted,” he said. “I want to go to whatever company I can go into.”

In the US, thousands of employees in large companies, some even on ethical grounds – particularly at Google, have challenged employees where they challenged Project Dragonfly, the company's plan to create a critical search engine for China. and Project Maven, a partnership with the Department of Defense in AI which could be used for drone strikes.

Jack Poulson, a former Google researcher who succeeded in the Dragonfly Project and currently runs high-tech non-profit accountability, said that high-tech workers and academics should demand full transparency regarding the human rights implications of any project. who is entrusted with them.

“I don't think it's fair that you contribute to the loss of life as a high-tech company,” said Poulson. “As a civilian, you have the right not to add to any weapons system or to any right or safety deprivation.”

Thiel's statement was provided as a warning about China but he suggested that tech workers should attend US military instead, Poulson said.
But high-tech ethics is not associated with a high-tech connection with one country or another without checking military interests, Frederick said.

“Not only are he hard guns and guns and an aggressive situation. It's a battle on how this advanced technology is used, to help people or to hurt them, ”she said. “We are not going to use virtual scanning for specific minorities and religious groups. We must say that. ”

Huang Yasheng, professor of MIT who is in charge of China Lab's business school, said that a civil-military fusion should be “given as given” in China and treated with appropriate safeguards, but she should not stop participation.

AI would be extremely productive in AI, said Huang, where China is at the forefront of technology in the United States.

“The way to promote AI is to make data more, that requires collaboration and sharing,” said Huang, adding that engaging Chinese scientists with ethical debate about ethics is a positive strategy.

“Perhaps we will eventually decide. It's like a divorce, ”Huang said. “Do you go to a divorce after a number of conflict situations, or at some stage in the first instance?” T

“If the two countries split, this is not a technological future that is good for humanity, as this would make China even worse than they are now. We should cooperate as a way of playing a passive influence on their behavior. ”

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