MIT technology review has got its paws on Huawei’s technology road map, it makes sobering reading to anyone who thinks America is going to be great again.
The roadmap shows that Huawei is progressing more rapidly than any other business in the world.
New America, a Washington think tank, rolled out expert Samm Sacks to say that the Chinese government and private sector approach is to build companies that compete across the full tech stack.
"That's what Huawei is doing." Huawei's AI strategy "will also raise a host of new security issues", the report notes. "The company's technological ubiquity, and the fact that Chinese companies are ultimately answerable to their government, are big reasons why the US views Huawei as an unprecedented national security threat."
In an interview with MIT Technology Review, Xu Wenwei, director of the Huawei board and the company's chief strategy and marketing officer, touted the scope of its AI plans.
He also defended the company's record on security. And he promised that Huawei would seek to engage with the rest of the world to address emerging risks and threats posed by AI.
Xu (who uses the Western name William Xu) said that Huawei plans to increase its investments in AI and integrate it throughout the company to "build a full-stack AI portfolio".
Since Huawei is a private firm, it's tricky to quantify its technology investments. But officials from the company said last year that it planned to more than double annual R&D spending to between $15 billion and $20 billion. This could catapult the company to between fifth and second place in worldwide spending on R&D. According to its website, some 80,000 employees, or 45 percent of Huawei's workforce, are involved in R&D.
Machine-learning services are a new source of risk, since they can be exploited by hackers, and the data used to train such services may contain private information. The use of AI algorithms also makes systems more complex and opaquer, which means security auditing is more challenging. As part of an effort to reassure doubters, Xu promised that Huawei would release a code of AI principles in April.
This will amount to a promise that the company will seek to protect user data and ensure security. Xu also said Huawei wants to collaborate with its international competitors, which would include the likes of Google and Amazon, to ensure that the technology is developed responsibly. It is, however, unclear whether Huawei might allow its AI services to be audited by a third party, as it has done with its hardware.