Lessons from CPAC: China’s 5G and AI Programs are a Problem for the United States
The United States is at odds with China on many fronts, and it should come as no surprise that technology is one of them. The Chinese Communist Party (CCP) uses AI technology in combination with its state authority to exert control over its population and suppress liberty. The United States has a few different options to counter this expansion but still needs to address this issue head-on.
Ethan Epstein of the Washington Times moderated a panel at the Conservative Political Action Conference examining China’s use of 5G and Artificial Intelligence (AI). Three experts participated on the panel:Jeremy Achin, CEO, and co-founder of DataRobot, author Gordon Change, and Wisconsin’s very own US Representative, Mike Gallagher (WI-8).
According to Achin, AI is one battleground the United States is fighting on in defense of liberty. The US continues to debate the use of AI in domestic situations, making it difficult to address on the international stage. Achin says that because the CCP cares little (if at all) for human rights, they have no moral or legal restriction on the use of AI to track and monitor individuals.
They apply this standard internationally, in places where they are currently expanding influence through the Belt and Road Initiative, monitoring civilians and expanding intelligence operations. By feeding the international data from the Belt and Road Initiative back into its domestic AI programs, China’s surveillance practices expand on one another, strengthening their state-controlled data collection while improving its international monitoring.
Chinese tech giant Huawei is one of the main developers of 5G and AI technologies. The CCP subsidizes the company’s development and operations, then turns around and uses their extensive networks to gain intelligence and push Communist propaganda. The company’s goal is to build an interconnected world which would allow the Chinese government to access any and all information Huawei touches. Currently, the chief financial officer of Huawei, Meng Wanzhou, is facing charges in the United States for conspiring to violate US sanctions with Iran.
All is not completely grim in the face of Chinese AI and 5G networking, however. Representative Gallagher explained the policies the United States ought to pursue if China’s dangerous expansion is to be countered. He first went over the National Defense Authorization Act, stating that there is bipartisan support within Congress to end the oppressive programs which China continues to develop and implement.
Gallagher also stresses that conveying to the American people why the CCP continues to export their domestic control to the international arena is critical to developing a counter strategy. The American people must understand that Chinese policies risk de-stabilizing the national security of the United States. Companies like Huawei already maintain high operational levels within the United States, further exacerbating these issues.
The United States has allies on its side. More and more nations across the world are recognizing China’s dangerous use of AI technologies. The growing network of anti-Chinese countries will gradually make it harder for the CCP to push Communist propaganda forward. The final panelist, Gordon Change, said that the United States works differently than China in its overseas endeavors: promoting democracy and individual liberty rather than attempting to implement control measures. Representative Gallagher emphasized the need for “bottoms up” support for other nations. If the US continues these empowering processes in nations which desperately need help, it can provide the foundational institutions needed for success.
The closing statements from the panel’s participants made clear that the United States, like in most international relations issues, must continue to lead the charge against China. China has advantages in the sense that companies like Huawei are subsidized by the government. There is no support for individual liberty, but this is not impossible to combat. China uses its power to subjugate those under its sphere of influence, the US uses its power to build up others.
Representative Gallagher’s final statements showed that Wisconsin is a force to be reckoned with in the realms of national security, international relations and foreign policy. The US cannot ensure the defense of the West if its allies are dependant on the East. Using the words of one of America’s greatest presidents and conservatives Gallagher reminded the room of President Lincoln’s expectations for us: to be the last best hope for the world.