MIT Cuts Ties With a Chinese AI Firm Amid Human Rights Concerns

 Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region Prison Administration and iFlytek Strategic Cooperation Framework Agreement Signing Ceremony. May 03, 2017

WILL KNIGHT
4.21.2020 08:00 AM

MIT HAS TERMINATED a research collaboration with iFlytek, a Chinese artificial intelligence company accused of supplying technology for surveilling Muslims in the northwestern province of Xinjiang.

The university canceled the relationship in February after reviewing an upcoming project under tightened guidelines governing funding from companies in China, Russia, and Saudi Arabia. MIT has not said why it terminated the iFlytek collaboration or disclosed details about the project that prompted the review, but it has faced pushback from some students and staff about the arrangement since it began two years ago.

“We take very seriously concerns about national security and economic security threats from China and other countries, and human rights issues,” says Maria Zuber, vice president of research at MIT.

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