Billionaire Silicon Valley investor and PayPal co-founder Peter Thiel called on American technology companies to step up innovation and resist pressures to reject military partnerships, arguing the U.S. is lagging behind China in the technology race. "The China dynamic has changed things tremendously in the last few years. China is going to force us to compete, to think much harder, [about] how we can deploy technologies much faster," Thiel said during a discussion at the Reagan National Defense Forum on Friday, which was livestreamed on Fox Nation. Thiel was commenting on a study by data and analytics company Govini, which showed that the U.S.'s share in global research and development spending declined from more than 60 percent in 1967, to less than 30 percent today. Meanwhile, China's share of the world R&D spending has increased significantly and today China has a larger share than the U.S. did at the height of the Cold War.
Jeff Bezos has hit out at tech firms who refuse to work on military projects. Google recently pulled out of bidding for a lucrative $10bn Pentagon contract, saying the deal would be'inconsistent with its principles', leaving Amazon and Microsoft among those in the race. Microsoft employees called today for it to pull out of bidding for the same contract, saying that they joined Microsoft with'the expectation that the technologies we build will not cause harm or human suffering.' 'If big tech companies are going to turn their back on US Department of Defense, this country is going to be in trouble,' Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos told the Wired25 summit in San Francisco. 'We are going to continue to support the DOD and I think we should,' Bezos replied.
At the height of the 2016 presidential contest, then-Facebook executive Palmer Luckey was a Silicon Valley star when he donated $10,000 to an anti-Hillary Clinton group. Six months later, he was out – reportedly fired for his political positions. Now, Luckey runs a new venture, backed by Silicon Valley billionaire Peter Thiel, that is reportedly valued at more than $1 billion. In the new FOX Nation documentary "Artificial Intelligence: The Coming Revolution," Fox Business Network anchor and'Mornings with Maria' host Maria Bartiromo went inside Luckey's Anduril Industries, which is at the forefront of America's race to use artificial intelligence to protect national security. "The thing about the United States is that we are at a strategic disadvantage because of the ethics that we have. We're not willing to play dirty. Russia and China don't have a problem with any of those things," Luckey told Fox Nation.
A funny thing has happened to Google and Amazon on their path toward high-tech success: They have become crucial cogs in the U.S. national security establishment. Both companies are expanding teams of employees with security clearances to work on projects that include deploying artificial intelligence and building digital "clouds" to offering law enforcement facial recognition tools that can even read the mood of people caught on camera. The security establishment's embrace of Big Tech has ruffled the feathers of traditional defense contractors and roiled employee ranks, in Google's case, over whether the company is being drawn into what disguntled employees called "the business of war." Defense industry analysts say the Pentagon views Big Tech, and particularly Google with its deep bench of artificial intelligence researchers, as vital to the nation's future safety. "They are becoming a critical part of national security, without question," said Alexander Rossino, a senior principal research analyst at Deltek, a Herndon, Virginia, firm that offers software and services to defense?
Microsoft plans to continue to provide its technology to the U.S. military, despite worries among the software maker's own employees that advances in the field of artificial intelligence could empower weapons to act autonomously and kill people. The company laid out its reasoning Friday in a blog post by Brad Smith, Microsoft's president. He wrote that he and Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella addressed employee concerns about the issue in a meeting Thursday, and conceded not all the workers were satisfied. In a letter published on blogging site Medium, the employees wrote that they joined Microsoft with'the expectation that the technologies we build will not cause harm or human suffering.' Microsoft has worked with the U.S. Department of Defense (DOD) on a'longstanding and reliable basis' for four decades.