US Lawmaker Urges Winning the AI Race Against China due to National Security Concerns

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In a recent hearing held by the House select committee on China, Rep. Carlos Gimenez, a Republican member of the China Select Committee, stressed the importance of the United States coming out ahead in the race for dominance in the field of artificial intelligence (AI). Gimenez, who represents Florida, warned that China’s pursuit of AI and quantum computing poses a significant threat to national security.

According to Gimenez, the integration of AI technology into various aspects of everyday life and the military makes it crucial for the US to win the race against China. He emphasized that as China gathers more data, their advancements in AI will accelerate. “AI is a race that we need to win,” he stated.

Chinese President Xi Jinping has been overseeing China’s efforts to surpass the US in the AI race. Gimenez expressed concern that if China comes out ahead, many of their weapons will be superior to those of the US, posing a grave threat.

The Pentagon has already taken steps to compete with China in the AI field. Last year, they launched the Replicator initiative, which aims to produce thousands of autonomous drones. The goal is to leverage attritable, autonomous systems to overcome China’s advantage in terms of mass military capabilities.

However, Gimenez highlighted that the US-China AI race goes beyond military implications. He pointed out that China’s ability to harvest Americans’ data through platforms like TikTok gives them a significant advantage. During a hearing last month, FBI Director Christopher Wray expressed “very significant security concerns about TikTok.”

Wray acknowledged the combination of China’s control over data collection and recommendation algorithms, along with their potential to compromise devices. When AI is added to the equation, these concerns are further amplified. The ability to use US personal data in their AI engine magnifies the problem.

To mitigate concerns and maintain a competitive edge in AI innovation, Gimenez proposed closely scrutinizing US institutions with ties to Beijing. He stressed the need to view every Chinese company as an extension of the Chinese military, given their legal obligation to hand over research and findings useful to the military. He expressed concern about the transfer of technology from American and Western universities to Chinese companies.

The race for AI dominance between the US and China carries significant implications for national security and everyday life. As AI continues to advance, the US must prioritize winning this race to protect its interests. By closely monitoring institutions with ties to China and addressing security concerns related to data collection, the US can strive to maintain its edge in the field of artificial intelligence.

Elizabeth Elkind is a reporter for Digital, covering Congress and the intersection of Artificial Intelligence and politics. She has previously contributed to publications like the Daily Mail and CBS News. Stay updated with the latest developments from the 2024 campaign trail and exclusive interviews by subscribing to her newsletter.

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