The top U.S. military officer has called out U.S. technology giant Google for its artificial intelligence venture in China, saying it “creates a challenge” in maintaining a U.S. military advantage over the Chinese.
Google has said it will not renew a Pentagon contract involving the use of artificial intelligence to analyze drone video but continues to develop artificial intelligence in China.
“That venture for artificial intelligence in China … indirectly benefits the Chinese military and creates a challenge for us in maintaining a competitive advantage,” Gen. Joseph Dunford, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said Thursday.
Dunford, Google execs to meet
China is a competitor to the United States. The Trump administration even revamped the military’s National Defense Strategy last year to make maintaining a military advantage over China and Russia its top priority.
Dunford said Thursday that the Chinese typically require companies doing business in China to have members of the ruling Communist party in that company, a requirement he says will allow the Chinese military access to the companies’ intellectual property.
“It is a distinction without a difference between the Chinese Communist Party, the government and the Chinese military,” Dunford said.
The top general plans to meet with Google representatives next week to discuss his concerns.
A Google representative told VOA the company is “committed to continuing to partner with the U.S. government, including the military, both on specific projects and on broader policy around AI” that are consistent with Google’s principles.
The representative added that Google deeply respects the U.S. military and is working with them to solve problems in areas such as cybersecurity, logistics, transportation and planning.
Dunford warned that Google’s venture in China will ultimately allow China to take advantage of U.S.-developed technology and help an authoritarian government assert control over its people.
“We ought not to think that it’s just about business when we do business in China,” he said.