Google’s development of an AI “Manhattan Project” with military applications in China should be investigated by the FBI and CIA, said Peter Thiel, technology entrepreneur, investor, and supporter of President Donald Trump. He offered his remarks in a Sunday-aired interview on FOX News Channel’s Sunday Morning Futures with Maria Bartiromo.
Artificial intelligence technology “clearly has a lot of military applications,” said Thiel, noting the processing of satellite images, processing data, automating drone warfare, and cyberwarfare.
U.S. authorities should investigate Google’s cooperation with China, advised Thiel:
The question about Chinese interest in [Google’s artificial intelligence development] is one that needs to be looked at much more carefully. That’s why I’ve argued that the FBI or the CIA should be looking at this. I think it is unprecedented in the last 1000 years or ever that major U.S. company refused to work with the U.S. military and has worked with our geopolitical rivals. This is not a liberal-conservative thing. This is absolutely unprecedented.
Google’s AI China-based research and development necessarily ends up in the Chinese military’s possession, added Thiel, noting the one-party communist political system facilitating this transfer:
Google has a major AI research lab in China, where, even though it’s not working directly with the Chines military, in effect, all the technology gets handed on to the Chinese military. … This is in black-and-white in the constitution of the Chinese Communist Party, as of 2017, it got amended to stress that there needs to be civil-military fusion in China, where all things need to be integrated. Anything that has civilian use must also be handed over to the People’s Liberation Army, the PLA.
Google’s perceptions of its own political culture is “globalist, “post-national,” and “cosmopolitan,” observed Thiel, describing it as “incredibly insular” and “incurious” about “problems” outside of its California environs.
In October 2018, Google refused to bid on the Department of Defense’s $10 billion JEDI contract, claiming that cooperation with the U.S. military might violate its “AI principles.”
Internal protests among Google employees against working with the Pentagon led the company to end an existing AI contract with the Pentagon in June 2018.
Watch the interview with Peter Thiel here.
Update: Sunday Morning Futures airs on FOX News Channel, but FOX Business Channel as originally written.
Follow Robert Kraychik on Twitter @rkraychik.