Baidu announces participation in “Partnership with AI29. June 2020
Baidu announces participation in “Partnership with AI
Against the background of the deteriorating relations between the USA and China, Baidu will leave the “Partnership for AI” (PAI) alliance. PAI is a US-led alliance that aims to promote the ethical development and use of AI technologies. Baidu was the only Chinese member.
The loss of Baidu’s expertise and any representation of China is devastating for PAI. The ethical development of AI requires global cooperation to set acceptable standards that help ensure security without limiting innovation.
Baidu has officially cited financial pressure for his decision to withdraw from the alliance. The directors of PAI hope that Baidu will renew its membership in the Alliance next year.
Cooperation between American and Chinese companies is becoming increasingly difficult as the world’s largest economies continue to impose sanctions on each other. The US has criticised China for its handling of the coronavirus outbreak, trade practices, mass arrests and alleged torture of Uighur Muslims in “re-education camps”, and for breaking Hong Kong’s semi-autonomy.
In the world of technology, much attention has been focused on the Chinese telecommunications giant Huawei – which the US accuses of posing a threat to national security. Canada arrested Huawei CFO Meng Wanzhou last year on charges of using the company’s subsidiaries to defy US sanctions against Iran. Two Canadian businessmen arrested in China shortly after Meng’s arrest as part of an alleged retaliatory action were charged with espionage by Beijing this week.
Last October, the US added six Chinese AI companies to its entity list on the grounds of their role in alleged human rights abuses.
It prohibits American companies from cooperating with them without the express permission of the government.
Earlier this week the US Department of Commerce made an exception to the inclusion of Huawei in the Entities list. This allows US companies to cooperate with the Chinese giant for the purpose of developing 5G standards.
Overall, however, cooperation between American and Chinese companies is becoming increasingly difficult due to the political climate. It would not be surprising if there were more cases of companies like Baidu pulling out of well-intentioned alliances like PAI because no reasonable solutions to differences are sought.