Microsoft has been working with a Chinese military-run university on researching artificial intelligence that could be used for censorship and surveillance, according to a shocking new report from Financial Times. A series of scientific studies were co-authored by researchers from Microsoft Research Asia and scientists associated with China’s National University of Defense Technology (NUDT). This apparent relationship between Microsoft and a Chinese military university is now giving rise to a tidal wave of concerns.
A number of experts have spoken out about the potential risks of U.S.-China academic relations, but there are also serious red flags about the artificial intelligence (AI) that Microsoft and the Chinese were working to develop. The research points to widespread surveillance and censorship, and people across the tech industry and from around the political spectrum are outraged over Microsoft’s role in enabling the Chinese government’s oppression of its citizens.
Microsoft and communist China research AI censorship
Microsoft and the Chinese military-run university NUDT have joined forces to work on research for AI that could be used for nefarious purposes. A trio of recently published papers has revealed their silent partnership for all the world to see.
One paper explores a new AI technique for recreating elaborate environmental maps through the surveying of human faces. Breitbart (1) reports that experts caution such technology will have immediate use in the surveillance arena.
Samm Sacks, senior fellow at the New America think tank and China tech expert, says that these papers raise
“red flags because of the nature of the technology, the author affiliations, combined with what we know about how this technology is being deployed in China right now.”
“The [Chinese] government is using these technologies to build surveillance systems and to detain minorities [in Xinjiang],”
she reportedly added.
And we all know what happens to people who get blacklisted in China (2). Threats, attacks and disappearances are all far too common among communist China’s dissidents.
Other papers published by Microsoft and NUDT focused on machine learning. Experts say that while this area of tech may not sound “concerning,” machine learning could be key for the Chinese government to engage in censorship at scale.
Microsoft’s joint research efforts with the NUDT will undoubtedly serve the Chinese government’s goals to have complete dominion over its people.
Microsoft under fire
A number of U.S. legislators have called out Microsoft’s partnership with China. Sen. Marco Rubio recently described it as “deeply disturbing,” and said it was
“an act that makes them complicit”
in China’s abuse of human rights.
Microsoft has defended their abhorrent partnership with NUDT, declaring that their partnership with Chinese military has helped them to “advance our understanding of technology.” The company states further that it is important for their scientists to work with experts from around the world to continue advancing forward.
“In each case, the research is guided by our principles, fully complies with U.S. and local laws, and the research is published to ensure transparency so that everyone can benefit from our work,”
Microsoft’s statement said further.
But experts say that the technologies Microsoft has helped NUDT research can easily be used for unsavory purposes, such as censorship and targeted surveillance.
According to Business Insider (3), Chinese authorities are already using the facial recognition software to track and detain over one million Muslim minorities.
Anyone who dares to act or speak against the communist regime also faces detainment.
Microsoft is not the first company to bend the knee to communist China. Google recently came under fire for “blacklisting” a political dissident (4) at the behest of the Chinese government.
Apple has also faced scrutiny for allowing the foreign regime to dictate (5) what apps are available or banned from the app store. Across the board, it seems that Big Tech has no problem with colluding with a government seeking to violate its citizen’s natural rights — and it’s not just happening in China.
This article originally was published on NewsTarget by Vicki Batts