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Michael Kratsios from Web Summit: «The Chinese government has built an advanced authoritarian state»

The full speech by the United States CTO Michael Kratsios at the Web Summit

tempo di lettura: 15 minuti

Good afternoon. It is such an honor to be with all of you at the 2019 web summit here in Lisbon. I have heard that this is absolutely the best Technology Conference on the planet, and based on the incredible entrepreneurial energy in this room today it is very very clear why here ideas are converging from around the world. They’re bridging cultures and bringing together innovators to solve the greatest challenges of tomorrow. enables the best technologists and creators to be in the same room and build off of each other, to help so solve global challenges and make the world a better place for generations to come.

When Americans come to Europe we have a deep and some way inexpressible sense that we have landed on familiar ground. America inherited a legacy of core institutional and cultural values from Europe, spanning from the earliest reaches of your history. It is because of that legacy that we became a center of innovation and technology, America succeeds because people have an unparalleled freedom to chase their dreams and pursue excellence, citizens are secure in their property, and they are protected by the rule of law. Government defends justice and fair competition. We constantly debate and challenge each other. We passionately stand for the dignity of every person. And we believe that those who create innovate and flourish should not only work to improve their own lives, but serve their neighbors as well.

Our bottom up system works not because of government management, but because it is driven by the brilliance of good and free people who are confident in our most fundamental rights. Upon this proven Foundation, our community of nations has developed technology for the benefit of all people, many important technological inventions of the 20th century originated here in Europe, from the automobile to the telescope, the ingenuity of the United States resulted in the quick adoption of new innovations, expanding upon them, and unleashing new breakthroughs.

Together we built new modes of communication and transportation, we cure diseases and explore new frontiers. We design tools of every kind to solve our common challenges. The combined strength and power of the US, Europe and our allies to drive technological leadership means our core values will continue to underpin the development and the application of emerging technologies. Our future depends upon America and Europe working together to embrace innovation and defend our free system against our adversaries, that seek to undermine our shared values.

The United States remains unwaveringly committed to advancing technology leadership at home and abroad.

The US system is centered on a light touch regulatory approach that advances economic freedom and a commitment to the rule of law, and to human dignity.

We have done this domestically, with actions to prioritize research and development to build the workforce of the future to address regulatory challenges and to remove barriers to innovation. We embrace an unrivaled ecosystem of innovation built upon the cooperation of academia, the private sector and the federal government.

When we create an environment for each of these institutions to freely work together, were able to push the boundaries of science and unlock new potential for technological advancement. This is why the United States continues to be the birthplace of incredible innovation. Last month, for example, we prove just how well our system works when American company partnered with the federal government and our world class universities to achieve quantum supremacy, demonstrating that a quantum computer can perform tasks that reached beyond the capabilities of classical computers.

Our approach rejects the false dichotomy, but somehow we must choose between the benefits of emerging technology on one hand, and following our moral compass, on the other. Importantly, we recognize that we don’t need to impose preemptive overly burdensome and innovation killing regulations to stay true to our values. The United States is demonstrating how this model of innovation works through our American AI initiative launched by our president this past February, we’re empowering our innovators to boldly pursue r&d, while also developing national standards and guidance on a explain ability safety trustworthiness and other challenging technical and ethical issues. When it comes to technology, the best way to uphold our values is to make sure America and our allies remain v global hubs of innovation. Only then can we shape the global evolution of technology in a manner that is consistent with all of our values. We have taken a number of steps to work with like minded nations to advance innovation and align with our principles around the world.

We have enhanced cooperation on AI research and development with our international partners, we’ve committed in the g7 to work with our allies on how AI can be applied to solve challenges that reach across borders from cancer research to emergency response. And we’ve warned to the dangers of working with repressive regimes that don’t share our same values.

Earlier this year, the United States joined with our allies and the OECD to agree to international principles to advance the trustworthy development of artificial intelligence OECD nations recognize that because AI is essential to our economies, our national security and our quality of life. We must support AI innovation, not restricted. We are committed to developing this emerging technology in a way that promotes public trust, protect civil liberties and respects the privacy and the dignity of every individual yet.

While we all work together to promote our principles and develop technology for the good of mankind. We must also defend ourselves against an increasingly aggressive government that is undermining our values and subverting the free and fair system that allows all of us to succeed.

The Chinese government has built an advanced authoritarian state by twisting technology to put censorship over free expression and citizen control over empowerment, through their massive system of censorship. The Great Firewall. The Chinese government violates the privacy of every person their country by monitoring online communications and blocking access to information, the Chinese Communist Party uses technology to control and imprison dissidents activists and minorities, including the Muslim leaders, they degrade the individual dignity of Chinese citizens.

By implementing a dystopian credit score, and the government continues, extending its authoritarianism abroad, and in no case, is this more clear than with Huawei Chinese law compels all Chinese companies, including Huawei to cooperate with its Intelligence and Security Services, no matter where the company operates in perhaps the most disturbing account of espionage news outlets have reported after Huawei installed communications technology equipment at the headquarters of the African Union, their computer system was hacked and data was transferred to servers in Shanghai, every single night for five years.

Yet despite this, in other grave and documented actions that run counter to the values of Europe, America and our allies. Countries continue to consider opening their arms to Chinese companies in order to build critical infrastructure like 5G and develop key technologies like artificial intelligence.

If we allow Beijing such a profound degree of access and influence in our technology system, we run the risk of repeating the same mistakes, our nation’s made nearly 20 years ago, in 2001, our leaders lead China into the World Trade Organization, expecting that as we opened our economies to them, the country would liberalize politically and economically. Instead, China stole our intellectual property. They forced companies to hand over valuable technology, or to access their market, and now they require access to all data, information and secrets contained on any server in China.

Today we must ask ourselves if we face a similar Crossroads with technology.

Emerging tech like 5G and AI will underpin everything from our communication systems to our militaries, we fundamentally believe that innovation will uplift and empower people. But if we don’t act now, Chinese influence and control of technology will not only undermine the freedoms of their own citizens, but all citizens of the world. And while it took decades for China to shift the gravity of global manufacturing after entering the WTO technology moves at a much faster pace.

Technological leadership from democratic nations has never been more of an imperative. We must continue to advance innovation. That is ingrained with our approach to human rights, civil liberties privacy and the rule of law. In America we are leading by example. We combat technological repression, with an innovation ecosystem that is the envy of the world. One driven by free market capitalism and bold ideas that advanced science and technology and make our nation prosperous and strong.

We have also been forced to take steps to stop others from infiltrating our technology infrastructure, stealing American research, and using technology to violate human rights. Earlier this year, our president signed an executive order providing new authorities to ban within the United States, the sale of unsecured communications technologies are present also signed legislation expanding our authority to restrict for investment in US businesses that compromises our critical technology. We commend those nations that have begun to protect their own strategic industries from foreign takeover.

And we are standing up for human dignity, by restricting Chinese entities that have committed human rights abuses from purchasing American products, and by banning the sale of high tech equipment to known human rights abusers.

Today we are not just fighting for fairness, or for economic rights.

We are fighting to defend the free market system that fuels our innovation. We’re fighting so technological advances driving our economies, strengthening our security and powering our citizens and defining our future will be built by us with our values. When our values drive innovation, technology that could be used to repress people will lift them up. We will use AI to reinvigorate manufacturing and save lives through improved disaster response, we will use biotech develop individually tailored treatments for diseases, extreme weather resistant crops, we will use quantum computing to explore the origins of the universe and design new chemicals and materials, we will use 5G to revolutionize healthcare with remote surgery and make our roads safer with autonomous vehicles, we will do all these things and so much more. We have the will to make the right choices now, and the courage to ratify our words with actions, the American government is taking a stand and we cannot do this without Europe and our allies around the world.

We may not see eye to eye on every aspect of Technology Policy, but we all agree on the principles that matter most. If we want to safeguard our freedom, we must work together. Ultimately, our free system succeeds because power rests in the hands of our people. Companies creators and consumers, like yourselves must decide what future you want. You must be willing to fight for your interests, and for our shared values is up to all of us to support the international ecosystem that relies on fairness on respect, and on reciprocity. It is up to all of us to ensure our innovators have the openness and freedom to thrive. It is up to all of us to defend our technology and our fundamental rights from foreign adversaries. We must act now because the world can change very quickly.

We have built an age of unprecedented prosperity and technological wonder. Now, we must all recommit to defending the principles that made us great, and we must always build technology that serves our people and inspires hope in the world. Thank you.

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