When it comes to AI or next-gen technology there are debates on the topic whether it is a threat to humans or not. But there are a number of AI companies which are considered really a threat and recently were blacklisted by the US linking them to the alleged rights abuse.
These firms allegedly make surveillance cameras, facial recognition software and other technology that are present in the Chinese autonomous region, Xinjiang. The New York Times earlier reported that there are many AI firms including Megvii, Yitu and SenseTime, which were behind software used to racially profile and track Uighurs.
Eight Chinese AI firms mentioned in a list which includes a total of 28 entities that US companies are forbidden from selling components to without government approval. Take a look at these companies:
Hikvision: It is the world's leading provider of CCTV & video surveillance products and solutions. In 2017, this company won at least five security-related contracts totalling $260 million yuan in Xinjiang. It should be noted that in 2018 almost 30 percent of its revenue came from outside China. After the list was published, the company stated that the US list lacks "factual basis." Its board secretary Huang Fanghong said, "Currently, the majority of US components can all be directly replaced or replaced with new designs," adding that "If it's necessary, we will design our own chips."
Megvii: This company designs image recognition and deep-learning software. Backed by e-commerce giant Alibaba, Megvii's facial recognition technology is used across several apps in China. The company plans to launch initial public offering (IPO) in Hong Kong, but one of the major sponsors, Goldman Sachs, is currently re-thinking about their involvement after the blacklisting.
SenseTime: It is an AI SaaS company that was founded in Hong Kong and then expanded to China, Singapore, Japan and US. This company is backed by investors such as SoftBank, Alibaba and US chipmaker Qualcomm. It develops facial and images recognition applications, such as crowd monitoring and identity verification for lending apps. SenseTime said it would "work closely with all relevant authorities to fully understand and resolve the situation" after the blacklisting.
Dahua: It is a provider of video surveillance products and services. US formally banned Dahua and Hikvision, along with telecom giant Huawei and other firms, from obtaining government contracts in August.
Meiya Pico: This firm has 20 years of experiences on lab solutions of digital forensics, training services etc. But as per the security experts, it was behind "MFSocket," which allows the police to extract data from phone such as calendar events, SMS, MMS, videos, contacts, Telegram contacts etc.
Yitu: This firm has built apps for facial and speech recognition, such as identity authentication at banks, cancer screening, as well as monitoring transport hubs to assist law enforcement.
iFlytek: This is an information technology company which creates voice recognition software and many voice-based internet/mobile products covering education, communication, music, intelligent toys industries.