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Peter Thiel: Google Made 'Seemingly Treasonous' Choice

He calls for the FBI, CIA to investigate the company
By Kate Seamons,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 15, 2019 8:43 AM CDT
This Tuesday, July 19, 2016, file photo shows the Google logo at the company's headquarters in Mountain View, Calif.   (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez, File)
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(Newser) – Silicon Valley bigwig Peter Thiel spoke at the nationalism-focused National Conservatism Conference on Sunday night, and he suggested the government place a big target on Google's back. Axios reports that the PayPal co-founder and Facebook board member called for the FBI and CIA to investigate the search giant over what he alleges is assistance given to the Chinese military. Bloomberg reports his comments focused on artificial intelligence, which Google is developing as part of its DeepMind subsidiary. He recast such AI as a potential "military weapon" and said "we’ve been a lot more dishonest about that in Silicon Valley than the nuclear physicists were in the 1940s." He posed three questions that he thinks the FBI and CIA should ask Google in a "not excessively gentle manner" about its AI work:

  1. "How many foreign intelligence agencies have infiltrated your Manhattan Project for AI?"
  2. "Does Google's senior management consider itself to have been thoroughly infiltrated by Chinese intelligence?"
  3. "Is it because 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 they are making the sort of bad, short-term rationalistic [decision] that if the technology doesn't go out the front door, it gets stolen out the backdoor anyway?"
CNBC provides some context to his comment about Google not working with the US military, flagging a report that said Google would not be renewing a now-expired Department of Defense contract that involved applying its AI tools to Pentagon drone footage. (Read more Peter Thiel stories.)

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