Rep. Mike Gallagher (R-Wis.), House chairman of the Select Committee on Strategic Competition, has called for the United States to immediately cease funding companies in China that are developing artificial intelligence (AI), the technology bringing about worldwide transformation and disruption.
Gallagher, a U.S. Marine combat veteran, who has been out front in publicizing and pushing legislation to nullify the threat China and its ruling Chinese Communist Party (CCP) pose to America, is asking for this financial pipeline to be shut down as some of the biggest and most powerful American venture capital (VC) firms, either directly or indirectly, are making significant investments in Chinese AI enterprises.
The representative also makes this request as global business and thought leaders—among them technology moguls Elon Musk, Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak, and Pinterest co-founder Evan Sharp—have publicly called for a pause on AI development because of the risks and dangers it poses if not checked and not controlled.
“In recent months, we have seen revolutionary advances in artificial intelligence in America, but we are still neck and neck with the Chinese Communist Party when it comes to this critical technology, which could determine geopolitical dominance in the 21st century,” said Gallagher in a statement he sent to The Epoch Times.
“While serious questions remain about the right guardrails to put in place around AI in America, we know that the CCP will use this technology to further repress their own citizens and export their model of techno-totalitarian control around the world. The most obvious next step is to immediately cut off the flow of American capital to Chinese AI companies.”
Prominent American-based VC firms with global reach and that are funding companies in the Chinese AI sector include Tiger Global Management, Silver Lake, and IDG Capital. Sequoia Capital China, an affiliate of Sequoia Capital headquartered in Silicon Valley, backs Chinese AI companies. Money originating in America helps fund the Chinese VCs, Qiming Venture Partner and Matrix Partners China, that hold stakes in the China AI industry.
Referring to Sequoia Capital, Gallagher said: “Surely Sequoia can find other ways to make money than financing freedom’s end.”
Members of Congress, from both parties, are sounding the alarm on the danger of the United States funding AI development in a country ruled by the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), a growing adversary to the United States, and which is acting increasingly menacingly to its neighbors in the Pacific.
The CCP also uses AI to spy on and track its citizens.
China has set a national deadline of 2030 for it to lead the world in AI.
The Biden administration has been working on an executive order it may soon issue that will curb and tighten the regulations on U.S. investment in Chinese technologies that can be weaponized.
Last October, the Biden administration imposed rules through the Commerce Department’s Bureau of Industry and Security that cut off China’s access to microchips used in weapons systems and technologies for civilian use.
From October 2021 through August 2022, the Special Competitive Studies Project (SCSP), a private foundation located in Arlington, Virginia, conducted interviews and discussions with “225 experts, including government officials, technologists, academic leaders, and many others,” to produce a research report, “Mid-Decade Challenges to National Competitiveness,” which focused on the U.S.–China faceoff and which gave considerable attention to the competition between the two countries for AI superiority.
“Two developments that are shaping the international security environment today mirror the situation in which the Special Studies Project conducted its work,” wrote Henry Kissinger in a letter that preceded the main body of the report. “First, there is an intensifying competition for strategic advantage between the United States and China, and, second, advances in artificial intelligence and other emerging technologies promise to bring tremendous impacts on both economic and military competitiveness, as well as our society.”
An example of a new type of peril and assault on freedom—microtargeting—that AI makes possible is described in the section of the report that focuses on the national defense challenges the United States faces.
“The proliferation of sensors, which collect the data exhaust that individuals leave on the Internet through everyday search, reading, watching, shopping, and dating habits, and the speed with which AI-enabled systems can analyze vast amounts of harvested data can position militaries to be able to micro-target individuals,” reads the report.
“This microtargeting is likely to entail, first and foremost, denigration campaigns and psychological pressure, but under certain circumstances could also entail targeting of key individuals with kinetic attacks.”