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­.S. ­niversities Reconsider Links With Chinese AI Company


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The iFlytek booth the 2019 CES Asia Show in Shanghai earlier this month.

U.S. universities are reevaluating their ties to Chinese artificial intelligence company iFlyTek.

Credit: Bloomberg

U.S. universities are reevaluating their ties to Chinese artificial intelligence (AI) company iFlyTek, whose voice-recognition and analysis products are used by Chinese police, among others.

The Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) is reconsidering its five-year partnership with iFlyTek.

Rutgers University earlier this year terminated its alliance with the firm.

MIT's iFlyTek relationship involves underwriting three projects in "unsupervised" machine learning.

Daniela Rus of MIT defended the collaboration, arguing, "We bring a lot of value to companies by showing them what's coming round the corner."

iFlyTek is one of a number of Chinese companies credited as "national champions" of AI, for its work in speech recognition and translation software. Chinese authorities use iFlyTek products to launch "intelligent security" measures, with its voice recognition products employed for police interrogations.

The Center for New American Security's Elsa Kania said academic partnerships with iFlyTek raised issues about the universities' ethical review processes.

From Financial Times
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