In the present case, it’s technically legal, but it’s strictly wrong.
The People’s Republic of China is a global leader in the development of artificial intelligence, and it’s on the way to becoming the global leader. AI has a number of uses of which the PRC is taking advantage, including surveillance of citizens and fighting battles and entire wars.
Despite this threat to our nation’s security, American businesses and investors have comprised more than 40% of the 400 international investments in PRC AI, and those 400 investments were 17% of total international investment in PRC AI.
Here, per the Center for Security and Emerging Technology at Georgetown University, are the top 10 American investors in PRC AI—companies that put their lucre acquisition ahead of our nation’s security:
The CSET has reported further that
Collectively, observed transactions involving US investors totaled $40.2 billion invested into 251 Chinese AI companies, which accounts for 37 percent of the $110 billion raised by all Chinese AI companies.
And [emphasis added]
such financial activity, commercial linkages, and the tacit expertise that transfers from US-based funders to target companies in China’s booming AI ecosystem carry implications that extend beyond the business sector. Earlier stage VC investments in particular can provide intangible benefits beyond capital, including mentorship and coaching, name recognition, and networking opportunities. As such, US outbound investment in Chinese technology, and particularly AI, merits additional attention and tracking.
This comes after Google, for instance, infamously refused to continue a contract with the US’ Department of Defense to develop battlefield-capable artificial intelligence packages while continuing actively to support the PRC’s citizen-surveillance and military AI development. Alphabet’s subsequent words and actions concerning its now wholly owned subsidiary now being willing to work with DoD do nothing to mitigate, much less correct, that infamy.