US tech giants funding China's race to supremacy in AI — the 'battlefield of the future'
"[T]ransactions involving U.S. investors totaled $40.2 billion invested into 251 Chinese AI companies," accounting for "37 percent of the $110 billion raised by all Chinese AI companies," according to new report from Georgetown University's Center for Security and Emerging Technology.
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A recently leaked memo from Gen. Mike Minihan, the head of the U.S. Air Mobility Command (AMC), suggested that, within the next two years, the U.S. would be at war with China over Taiwan.
"I hope I am wrong," wrote the four-star general, before adding that his gut feeling is that "we will fight in 2025." The leaked memo comes at a time when, according to a recent article in The Economist, tensions between the U.S. and China are at an all-time high — a conclusion amply reinforced by recent headlines about the test of wills between the two nations over a Chinese spy balloon the Pentagon believes was overflying sensitive U.S. military sites.
The wars of tomorrow will be won by the nations with the best technology, including, especially, the best artificial intelligence (AI) capabilities. China is fast-becoming the global leader in AI, thus creating arguably the greatest cybersecurity threat facing the United States today, as a 2021 article in the Harvard Business Review noted.
The U.S. "must maintain vigilance and win the battle being fought in global cyberspace — it is the battlefield of the future," former FBI crisis manager and security risk expert Jim DiOrio told Just the News. In many ways, he added, "quantum computing and AI should be viewed as the new space race."
Despite what's at stake — for U.S. security and global freedom — in the competition with China for AI supremacy, major U.S. investors have played a significant role in funding this threat.
A new report released by researchers at Georgetown University's Center for Security and Emerging Technology shows many U.S. companies are investing inordinate sums of money in Chinese companies. Between 2015 and 2021, 167 U.S. investors participated in over 400 investment transactions involving Chinese AI companies, representing 17% of the global total of 2,299.
Investors have included Intel and Qualcomm, multinational semiconductor giants headquartered in Santa Clara, Calif. and San Diego, respectively. Qualcomm, with 13 investments, and Intel, with 11, were both outdone by GGV Capital. The global venture capital firm, also based in California, made a total of 43 investments in China's AI sector.
"Collectively, observed transactions involving U.S. investors totaled $40.2 billion invested into 251 Chinese AI companies," accounting for "37 percent of the $110 billion raised by all Chinese AI companies," according to the Georgetown report.
"Venture Capital firms need to do a better job performing their due diligence — maybe even engaging an independent third party vendor to conduct it," said DiOrio, who has been sounding the alarm on the threat from China for years.
"It's no secret that the CCP is alive and well in every aspect of the U.S. corporate structure, including academia," he said. "They continue to steal intellectual property globally and utilize it to strengthen their standing."
In the coming months, the Biden administration is expected to issue an executive order effectively banning some U.S. investments in Chinese tech industries. Such a ban, if and when it is introduced, would be welcomed by elected leaders on both sides of the political aisle.
In China, as has been widely noted, there's no such thing as a private company. This appears to be especially true with Chinese tech companies. To invest in Chinese tech is, in many ways, to invest in the Chinese Communist Party (CCP). Chinese tech firms work hand in hand with the Chinese military.
The "U.S. government is not currently in a position to effectively monitor, measure, or regulate outbound investment flows to Chinese AI companies," warn the authors of the Georgetown report.
This may be about to change.
Besides weighing an executive order, the Biden administration is, according to Reuters, preparing to partner with India, home to the fastest-growing major economy in the world. This partnership will see both countries effectively compete against China in three separate but often overlapping areas: the military sector, semiconductor manufacturing, and AI.
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