President Trump said his administration will probe Silicon Valley billionaire Peter Thiel’s claims that Google has “seemingly treasonous” ties with China.
Trump signaled there will be a US investigation after Thiel over the weekend suggested that Google has been actively working with the Chinese military instead of the US armed forces — and that top management has become a hotbed for Chinese spies.
In a Tuesday morning tweet, Trump called Thiel — a libertarian tech tycoon who helped bankroll Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign — a “great and brilliant guy who knows this subject better than anyone,” and said that the “Trump Administration will take a look!”
In a Sunday speech before the National Conservatism Conference in Washington, DC, Thiel said Google should be investigated by the FBI and CIA “in a not excessively gentle manner.” He didn’t provide any evidence for his concerns, but urged investigators to ask the search giant three questions.
“Number one, how many foreign intelligence agencies have infiltrated your Manhattan Project for AI?” Thiel said, likening Google parent Alphabet’s DeepMind artificial intelligence project to the secret US program that developed the atomic bomb.
“Number two, does Google’s senior management consider itself to have been thoroughly infiltrated by Chinese intelligence?” Thiel asked.
Lastly, he said the feds should ask Google executives if they “consider themselves to be so thoroughly infiltrated that they have engaged in the seemingly treasonous decision to work with the Chinese military and not with the US military” because the tech would be stolen by China anyway.
Under pressure from its own employees, Google last summer pledged that it would not use AI in ways that could be considered unethical, declining to renew a contract with the US military to use its AI technology to analyze drone footage.