DAVOS, Switzerland – George Soros has made a big speech at the World Economic Forum's Annual Meeting.
And the last two years have gone, he's not in the business of making friends – especially not in the Chinese government.
Soros absolutely unloading on the emerging nation. After briefly greeting attendees, the billionaire investor and chairman of Soros Fund Management launches straight into his prepared game.
"I want to use my time tonight to warn the world about an unprecedented danger that's threatening the very survival of open societies," he said.
He continued: "I want to call attention to the mortal danger facing open societies from the instruments of control that machine learning and artificial intelligence can put into the hands of repressive regimes a one-party state to reign supreme. "
And with that, Soros was off and running.
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At the center of his anti-China argument what the concept of a centralized database of personal information called a "social credit system."
While Soros acknowledges that it does not exist yet, he said he fears the capabilities afforded by the world's heavyweights will hasten its arrival – and, in the process, dismantle what remains of an open society.
Soros in 2018, which saw him lame the global dominance of tech titans like Facebook and Google. He called them a "menace," and warned that their insatiable thirst for growth could eventually lead them to collaborate with authoritarian regimes like China.
Soros' latest comments pushed that discussion further, and explored the aftermath of a global environment where China's move away from an open society succeeded in full.
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"My key point is that the combination of repressive regimes with IT monopolies endows those regimes with a built-in advantage over open societies, "Soros said. "The instruments of control are useful tools in the hands of authoritarian regimes, but they pose a mortal threat."
He continued, "China is not the only authoritarian regime in the world, but it's undoubtedly the most prosperous, most powerful and most developed in machine learning and artificial intelligence." concept of open society. "
When President Donald Trump embarked upon his ongoing Chinese trade crusade, Soros was pleased. In his mind, China needed to be asked before it was late, and Trump was taking a step in the right direction.
However, according to Soros, the president's follow-through has been disappointing. He said that Trump's political desires made him more amenable to compromise, while he was just taking a harder stance.
So what can the US do to play hardball and keep Xi from executing this nefarious closed-society plan? Soros outlined a pair of ideas.
First, he said that the ongoing global trade should be focused on China. Soros argued Trump should forget about other nations entirely.
Second, Soros said the ZTE's and Huawei's – the two state-sponsored Chinese companies that recently came under fire for intellectual property theft, among other things – should be fierce. He wants the US to crack down on them.
But Soros's ultimate vision is some sort of global agreement that puts tensions to rest. Allow him to explain:
"It's possible to dream of something similar to the United Nations treaty that was out of the Second World War," Soros said. It would be reestablish international cooperation and allow open societies to flourish. "