The FBI Director, Christopher Wray, expressed deep concern over China’s Artificial Intelligence (AI) program during a panel session at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland. He stated that the program is “not constrained by the rule of law” and is built on stolen intellectual property and sensitive data.
Wray emphasized that China’s AI ambitions pose a significant threat to national security, and if left unchecked, could lead to even more aggressive hacking operations, intellectual property theft, and repression of dissidents both within and outside the country.
He also pointed out that China’s lack of transparency and accountability make it difficult for the US and other nations to understand the true scope and intent of their AI program.
These concerns have been echoed by other US officials in the past. In October 2021, counterintelligence officials issued warnings about China’s AI ambitions as part of a renewed effort to educate business executives, academics, and state and local government officials about the dangers of accepting Chinese investment or expertise in key industries.
Additionally, an AI commission led by former Google CEO, Eric Schmidt, urged the US to improve its AI capabilities to counter China, including by developing “AI-enabled” weapons.
Wray’s comments come amid an ongoing tensions between the US and China, with both nations accusing each other of espionage, intellectual property theft, and other forms of aggression.
A spokesperson for the Chinese Embassy in Washington did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Wray’s remarks. Beijing has repeatedly accused Washington of inciting fear and criticised US intelligence for its assessments of China.
It is important to note that while concerns over China’s AI program are valid, it is also important to recognize that AI development is a global effort, and many countries including the US and China are actively investing in its development.
It is crucial for nations to work together to establish international norms and regulations to ensure that AI is developed and used in a responsible and ethical manner.