Twitter has appointed suspected Chinese spy Fei-Fei Li to the Board of Directors. Li has been involved with the project to weaponize Artificial Intelligence for human-machine combat teaming for the Chinese military in collaboration with Google.
“With unparalleled expertise in engineering, computer science and artificial intelligence (AI), Fei-Fei brings relevant perspectives to the Board as Twitter continues to utilize technology to improve our service and achieve our long-term objectives,” said Omid Kordestani, Executive Chairman of Twitter.
Fei-Fei Li has been widely reported by Chinese media as the Google scientists who led the company’s efforts to build its China AI operations. The company opened an AI research center in Beijing in December 2017.
Fei-Fei Li, who was at Google from January 2017 to September 2018, is currently a professor in the computer science department at Stanford University.
At the launch event of Google’s AI Center in China in December 2017, Chinese media portal Sina reported that Fei-Fei Li told the audience that she started pushing the idea to set up an AI center in China with the CEOs of Google and Google Cloud right after she joined the company in January 2017.
Fei-Fei Li was also cited in a December 2017 report by Chinese news portal sohu.com as saying: “China is like a sleeping giant. When she wakes, she will tremble the world.”
She added that China had already awakened in the AI world, the report stated.
According to a CNN report, Fei-Fei Li is a U.S. citizen, who immigrated from China with her parents in 1992 when she was 16.
She graduated from Princeton University in 1999 with a bachelor’s degree in physics, and completed a doctorate at the California Institute of Technology in 2005. She served as the director of Stanford’s AI research lab from 2013 to 2018.
Many Chinese media and Chinese regime officials have heaped praise on Fei-Fei Li, touting her as an outstanding talent in the field of AI.
She was one of the winners of the 2017–2018 “You Bring Charm to the World Award,” an award sponsored by several Chinese media outlets and presented to Chinese individuals who influence the world’s view of the country.
In December 2017, she was reportedly named by the Chinese think tank Center for China and Globalization as among the 50 most successful Chinese who have studied abroad. The recognition was announced at a conference convened by several government agencies.
The Chinese regime has sought to use overseas-trained Chinese experts and professionals to expand its influence abroad.
In 2015, the Party’s United Front Work Department, a body tasked with running the regime’s influence operations overseas, specifically designated a new focus of working with Chinese individuals who have received foreign education, state-run media China Daily reported.
In 2008, the regime launched a recruitment drive called “Thousand Talents Program,” aimed to lure accomplished Chinese and foreign professionals, experts, and entrepreneurs to work in China. The program has come under intensified scrutiny in the United States in recent years, for its role in facilitating the transfer of U.S. intellectual property to China.
In May 2018, Fei-Fei Li found herself the center of internal debate within Google about whether it should proceed with Project Maven, a contract with the Pentagon to provide AI for analyzing drone footage.
In leaked emails obtained by The Intercept, Fei-Fei Li was concerned about the optics of the deal, writing that it may stir up concern over the possibility that the company was weaponizing AI.
“This is red meat to the media to find all ways to damage Google. You probably heard Elon Musk and his comment about AI causing WW3,” wrote Fei-Fei Li.
“I don’t know what would happen if the media starts picking up a theme that Google is secretly building AI weapons or AI technologies to enable weapons for the Defense industry.”
Google later decided not to renew its contract with the Pentagon, reportedly due to backlash from the company’s employees.
Google has recently come under the spotlight for its AI operations in China. American President Donald Trump has kicked off a storm stating that he will initiate an investigation looking to “treasonous activities” by Google.
Google came under fire last year for its plans to build a censored search engine for China. Employees protested and after internal upheaval and political pressure, the project, called Dragonfly, was put on hold.
Meanwhile, Google decided not to renew its contract with a Pentagon drone program after extensive protests from employees. Trump personally paid the CEO of Google Sundar Pichai a visit to get an assurance from him that “he is totally committed to the U.S. Military”.
The Competition Commission of India (CCI) launched a probe in April against Google for leveraging its dominant market position. If found guilty Google might be looking at a fine that could exceed Rs 136 crore (almost 10 million dollars).
Interestingly, as reported by The Print, an anonymous source told them that the investigation could take about two years to complete apart from the potential penalty.
The investigation started off after the case was filed by contracted employees of the CCI. Now, the investigation will be taken over by permanent employees of the 30-member watchdog team.
Google’s platform Google Earth also played a vital role in the 26/11 Mumbai attacks of 2008. Will the India government investigate Google’s suspicious role in India as is being done by Americans?
In the words of Snowden, “the rebranding of Surveillance as Social Media is the most successful deception since the Department of War became the Department of Defense.”
Whether Google colludes with Chinese military or has been already infiltrated by Chinese spies or whether the Americans are successful in getting it out of the Chinese orbit, Indians should be well warned that Google is a military front company and as was the case in Mumbai attacks it will be used as a weapon of war against India if a situation so arise.