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‘We need to win’ AI race against Beijing, House China Committee member warns

A House GOP lawmaker on the China Select Committee is warning that it is critical for the U.S. to beat China in the ‘race’ for dominance in the artificial intelligence sphere.

‘China is pursuing AI, but they’re also pursuing quantum computing, and it’s a lethal combination,’ Rep. Carlos Gimenez, R-Fla., told Fox News Digital. ‘And in terms of artificial intelligence, the more data that they gather, the faster they’ll advance…AI is a race that we need to win.’

Gimenez explained that AI technology was rapidly being integrated into more facets of both everyday life and the national security sphere.

‘We have to win the race for AI because of the applications of AI in everything, including military hardware. So it’s important for us to win that race, or else that technology will be used against us in the future,’ he said.

When asked about his concerns regarding China coming out ahead, Gimenez said, ‘Many of their weapons will be superior to ours, and that causes me great concern.’

Just last year, the Pentagon unveiled an ambitious new AI program, called the Replicator initiative, aimed at producing thousands of drones with autonomous capabilities in order to compete with China. 

‘Replicator is meant to help us overcome the PRC’s biggest advantage, which is mass. More ships. More missiles. More people,’ Deputy Pentagon Secretary Kathleen Hicks said in August. ‘To stay ahead, we’re going to create a new state of the art — just as America has before — leveraging attritable, autonomous systems in all domains — which are less expensive, put fewer people in the line of fire, and can be changed, updated, or improved with substantially shorter lead times.’

However, Gimenez pointed out that in addition to the military implications, the AI race between the U.S. and China is also being run on a more granular level, which is aided by Beijing’s ability to harvest Americans’ data via TikTok.

He pressed FBI Director Christopher Wray on the issue in a hearing last month, during which Wray admitted he had ‘very significant security concerns about TikTok.’

‘It’s a combination of the ability that the Chinese government would have, if they should choose to exercise it, to control the collection of the data, to control the recommendation algorithm, and if they wanted to, to be able to control and compromise devices,’ Wray said. ‘And if you layer AI, as you’re saying, on top of all of that, it just amplifies those concerns, because the ability to use U.S. personal data and feed that into their AI engine, that just magnifies the problem.’

Gimenez told Fox News Digital that the way to mitigate concerns about China and stay on top of AI innovation was to look closely at U.S. institutions with ties to Beijing.

‘I think we should be looking at educational institutions that have close ties to Chinese companies, Chinese nationals that may be working for the PRC. Look, if you’re a Chinese company, you are bound by their law to turn over whatever research and findings that you have [that] could be useful to the [Chinese military],’ he said.

‘And so we need to look at every single Chinese company as basically an extension of the Chinese military. That’s extremely concerning to me, and the fact that American universities and Western universities that…could be transferring technology.’

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