US intel warns China could dominate AI, gain military edge

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The US National Counterintelligence and Security Center said on Friday that Beijing’s ambitions in advanced technologies could give it an upper hand in healthcare and other important sectors in the United States.

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United States officials issued new warnings Friday about China’s ambitions in artificial intelligence and a range of advanced technologies that could eventually give Beijing a decisive military edge and potential dominance over healthcare and other essential sectors in the US .

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Officials at the National Counterintelligence and Security Center said the warnings included a new effort to inform business executives, academics and local and state government officials about the risks of accepting Chinese investments or expertise in key industries. While the center does not intend to ask the authorities to reject Chinese investment, it will encourage efforts to control intellectual property and implement safeguards.

National security agencies under President Joe Biden’s administration are mounting an aggressive public pressure on China, which some officials have described as the biggest strategic threat to the US. The Biden administration has simultaneously sought to ease some tensions with Beijing from the administration of former US President Donald Trump to that date and seek common ground on trade and climate change.

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Beijing has repeatedly accused Washington of being timid about its intentions and attacked US intelligence for its assessment of China, including allegations that Chinese leaders falsified important information about the coronavirus pandemic. has stopped.

Under President Xi Jinping, the Chinese government has stated its goals to create profitable technologies in robotics and other fields in plans called “Made in China 2025”. The US Justice Department has returned several indictments in recent years alleging China’s theft of sensitive US information, including vaccine research and autonomous vehicle technology.

The acting director of the Counter-Intelligence Center, Michael Orlando, told reporters at a rare briefing on Thursday that the US “cannot afford to lose” to China in several key areas: artificial intelligence, autonomous systems, quantum computing, semiconductors and biotechnology. .

Orlando noted that Chinese business and academia are grateful to the Chinese Communist Party and need to serve the interests of the party.

“Though we have been saying this year after year, people are not digesting it,” he said.

Orlando declined to say whether the US should impose tougher sanctions or outright sanctions on Chinese investment in certain areas, saying his role was not to suggest policy.

But the Counter-Intelligence Center holds regular briefings with private industry and academia, while acknowledging that industry and universities still seek to seek students, experts and investors from China, Orlando said. He will not name the companies with which the Center has met.

Edward Yu, official of the Center for Emerging and Disruptive Technologies, noted Chinese companies’ investments in US and European biotechnology and pharmaceuticals.

Wuxi Biologics has built a vaccine manufacturing facility in Ireland since 2019, announced plans for a production facility in Massachusetts in the US and acquired a Bayer plant in Germany. Officials did not disclose any information linking those acquisitions to Beijing’s influence, but said they were part of a broader pattern by Chinese medical companies.

You said Chinese companies have offered COVID-19 test kits and genetic testing to the US while meeting federal privacy standards and other regulations. But data collected by companies with ties to China could eventually go into Beijing’s hands, you said.

China already has the greatest access to medical data of any country, you said. With its advances in data collection and technology, Beijing may one day be the dominant force in healthcare and leave the US completely dependent on China, he said.

“If you are President Xi,” you said, “that is the gift that keeps on giving.”

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