White House counters Chinese AI ventures posturing in Middle East.

  • The White House addresses concerns over the increasing relationship between China and the Middle Eastern private industry, particularly in AI technology.
  • The Biden administration has held private discussions with the United Arab Emirates (UAE) about the relationship between Beijing and the Emirati company G42, owner of the reportedly most advanced Arab-language AI model.
  • Gulf states have raised their expenditure in China from $100 million in 2022 to around $2.3 billion this year.
  • The Chief Technologist at the Foundation for Defense of Democracy’s Center on Cyber and Technology Innovation, Dr. Georgianna Shea, expresses concern over AI technology becoming a backdoor into various systems within the United States.

The White House has privately expressed concern over the increasingly close relationship between Beijing and private industry in the Middle East. This potential alliance could contribute to Chinese influence over advanced artificial intelligence (AI) models, according to Dr. Georgianna Shea of the Foundation for Defense of Democracy’s Center on Cyber and Technology Innovation.

The Biden administration has addressed these concerns directly with the United Arab Emirates (UAE), warning the oil-rich nation to pay attention to the ties between Chinese interests and Emirati company G42. G42 is the creator of the Jais AI model, which is said to be the most advanced Arab-language AI model to date.

There has been a significant increase in the Gulf states’ spending on China, with investments escalating from $100 million in 2022 to an estimated $2.3 billion this year. This occurs even as the U.S. remains the chief investment interest of the region.

Dr. Shea compared China’s involvement in AI to the Huawei issue where 5G technologies transformed into backdoors into multiple systems within the United States. Similarly, if China partners up with U.S. allies in AI development, the same sort of backdoors could emerge, posing threats of intellectual property theft and potential biases in AI developments.

The White House is reportedly taking action and has begun discussions with Sheikh Tahnoon bin Zayed, the UAE’s national security adviser, concerning G42’s ties to China. Nevertheless, it remains to be seen how U.S. policies on AI will adapt and develop in the face of these changes.