This is fascinating in light of China’s use of AI for automated racism against the minority Muslim population in Xinjiang:
A group of leading institutes and companies have published a set of ethical standards for AI research and called for cross-border cooperation amid vigorous development of the industry.
The Beijing AI Principles was jointly unveiled Saturday by the Beijing Academy of Artificial Intelligence (BAAI), Peking University, Tsinghua University, Institute of Automation and Institute of Computing Technology in Chinese Academy of Sciences, and an AI industrial league involving firms like Baidu, Alibaba and Tencent.
“The development of AI is a common challenge for all humanity. Only through coordination on a global scale can we build AI that is beneficial to both humanity and nature,” said BAAI director Zeng Yi.Beijing publishes AI ethical standards, calls for int’l cooperation
The principles themselves are as laudatory and vague as most other frameworks: “Do Good,” “Be Ethical.” They explicitly call out the human rights of privacy, dignity, freedom, and autonomy. It’s difficult to say if this is a sign of internal dissent or strategic positioning given the primarily academic and commercial origin of the framework.
Paul Mozur, writing for the New York Times:
Now, documents and interviews show that the authorities are also using a vast, secret system of advanced facial recognition technology to track and control the Uighurs, a largely Muslim minority. It is the first known example of a government intentionally using artificial intelligence for racial profiling, experts said.
The facial recognition technology, which is integrated into China’s rapidly expanding networks of surveillance cameras, looks exclusively for Uighurs based on their appearance and keeps records of their comings and goings for search and review. The practice makes China a pioneer in applying next-generation technology to watch its people, potentially ushering in a new era of automated racism.One Month, 500,000 Face Scans: How China Is Using A.I. to Profile a Minority
Bill Gates recently said that AI is the new nuclear technology: both promising and dangerous.
Our long term survival probably requires being good at managing the dangers of increasingly powerful technologies. Not a great start.
Hot on the news of the Huawei indictment is this story about about the second Chinese national accused of stealing autonomous vehicle trade secrets from Apple.
And from the China Law Blog, a bit of disheartening commentary:
What can happen to the Chinese employees of your WFOE [Wholly Foreign-Owned Enterprise] in China is exactly what allegedly happened to the Chinese employees of Huawei’s U.S. subsidiary. The local Chinese government will give your employees a detailed list of exactly what your employees must take from the WFOE and the timeframe in which they must complete the task. Though your Chinese employees may formally work for your WFOE, the Chinese government is essentially their ultimate “boss,” in the same way Huawei China is alleged to have been the ultimate boss of the employees of their U.S. subsidiary.
What though if your WFOE employee is an honest person and resists following the local government’s instructions? Or perhaps the employee is not so honest but resists simply because he or she does not want to risk losing his or her job if caught. The local government responds: your spouse works as a nurse in the local hospital and it would be too bad if she lost her job. Your father lives on a pension from the local government and it would be too bad if he lost his pension. Your daughter is applying for admission to the local high school and it would be too bad if she is denied entry. On the other hand, if you provide what we [the local government] have requested, we will ensure none of this happens. Moreover, you and your family will receive benefits. If you lose your job, we will find you another job. Don’t worry about it. Just do what you are told and help YOUR country. The pressure to comply is overwhelming and your Chinese employee complies. Your employee really has no choice.
This is the practice in China.The Huawei Indictments are the New Normal
The point is that this has always been true, and now we’re seeing more aggressive U.S. action.