Google (NASDAQ: GOOGL) continues to get plenty of flak on both social media as well as among the administrative halls of the U.S. government, with today being no exception.
Monday saw one of Silicon Valley’s top billionaires voice his opinion of the tech giant, warning that the company was engaged in “seemingly treasonous” behavior and warned that both their close ties with China as well as claims of bias in their search engine results needs a serious investigation.
Peter Thiel said in a speech on Sunday in Washington that Google’s cozy relationship with China coupled with the fact they chose to let a U.S. defense department contract expire is a troubling sign. With the agreement coming to an end, the American government won’t have access to Google’s artificial intelligence tools. Thiel specifically warned that the kind of AI being developed by the tech giant should be seen as a potential “military weapon.”
“We’ve been a lot more dishonest about that in Silicon Valley than the nuclear physicists were in the 1940s,” he said in the opening speech at the National Conservatism conference. Thiel then went on to say that the company’s actions were “seemingly treasonous,” and speculated that the senior management of Google might have been infiltrated by foreign intelligence services. He added that federal authorities should ask Google executives if they “consider themselves to be so thoroughly infiltrated that they have engaged in the seemingly treasonous decision to work with the Chinese military and not with the US military” because they figured the technology would get stolen by China regardless of what they did.
While the idea of a major tech company developing some kind of AI super weapon seems like something out of a Tom Clancy novel, it’s enough of a possibility that many experts suggest the Trump administration should launch an investigation.
A Google spokesperson responded by saying that they specifically do not work with the Chinese military. However, last year’s news leak that Google was working on a search engine in China that would comply with the government’s strict censorship requirements gave the company plenty of bad press.
Management ended up shutting down the project in December after receiving major blowback from their employees.
In terms of its stock price, Google wasn’t fazed much from Thiel’s warnings, as a company of such size would need a much bigger development to see its shares move. The stock was up just 0.45 percent on Monday.
Google Company Profile
Alphabet is a holding company, with Google, the Internet media giant, as a wholly owned subsidiary. Google generates 99% of Alphabet revenue, of which more than 85% is from online ads. Google’s other revenue is from sales of apps and content on Google Play and YouTube, as well as cloud service fees and other licensing revenue.
Sales of hardware such as Chromebooks, the Pixel smartphone, and smart homes products, which include Nest and Google Home, also contribute to other revenue.
Alphabet’s moonshot investments are in its other bets segment, where it bets on technology to enhance health (Verily), faster Internet access to homes (Google Fiber), self-driving cars (Waymo), and more. Alphabet’s operating margin has been 25%-30%, with Google at 30% and other bets operating at a loss. – Warrior Trading News