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FBI director warns that China’s AI program is a threat


FBI Director Christopher Wray called China’s artificial intelligence (AI) program “deeply concerning,” arguing that it’s not constrained by the rule of law but rather built on huge amounts of stolen data.

Speaking at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, Wray expressed his concerns that China’s AI program will be used for hacking and further advancement of its cybercriminal activity.

"The Chinese government has a bigger hacking program than any other nation in the world," he said. "And their AI program is not constrained by the rule of law and is built on top of massive troves of intellectual property and sensitive data that they've stolen over the years and will be used, unless checked, to advance that same hacking program -- to advance that same intellectual property -- to advance the repression that occurs not just back home in mainland China but increasingly as a product that they export around the world."

He also added a general remark about the current state of technology, saying:

“AI is a classic example of a technology where I have the same reaction every time. I think, ‘Wow, We can do that?’ And then I think, ‘Oh god, they can do that.’”

US officials have long been trying to caution their citizens against using Chinese technology. The FBI had previously issued a warning that Beijing could use TikTok “to control data collection on millions of users” or software on millions of devices which would allow it “to potentially technically compromise” these devices.

Additionally, Wray stated in the past that China is “the greatest long-term threat” to the US, citing 13 individuals – 10 of them Chinese intelligence officers – who sought to exert influence in the US to benefit Beijing.

The US and other countries had also previously accused China's Ministry of State Security of a global cyber hacking campaign that took place between 2011 and 2018.

During the forum discussion, Wray also mentioned autonomous vehicles, suggesting that the enormous amount of data they collect, as well as the possibility of confusing or distorting the algorithms, could be potentially dangerous or even cause real harm.


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