China takes a swipe at the BBC over Hawking’s death comments
An article on ‘China’s love for the late physicist’ comes under fire from Beijing's state-owned media
As the world mourned the death of beloved physicist Stephen Hawking, an article published by the BBC took the opportunity to highlight criticisms levied against China.
On Thursday, the state-owned Global Times took a jab at the British news outlet for its coverage.
The BBC report pivoted from a discussion of China’s love for Hawking to a look at concerns he had regarding artificial intelligence (AI), which the Global Times said were taken out of context.
“We should do all we can to ensure that [AI’s] future development benefits us and our environment,” the BBC author quoted Hawking as saying. “China is now one of the world’s leaders in investing, developing and using AI technology, such as using facial recognition to catch criminals – and to keep a close eye on the population.”
“Did Hawking worry about AI?,” Global Times asked. “Yes. But his anxiety mainly focused on the hypothesis that humans, who are limited by slow biological evolution, couldn’t compete and would be superseded by AI, period.”
The BBC article was posted with a video from last year about China’s Skynet Project, a camera surveillance project that can scan faces and compare them with its database of criminal suspects.
“Because of differences in political systems,” the Global Times editorial wrote, “it seems that nothing China does is right in the eyes of Western media.”
“Such a prejudice resulted from their double standard when it comes to China. It’s not that AI or facial recognition is evil, but when they are connected to China’s system, the West cannot possibly deem them trustworthy, despite their advantages.”
“Yet utilizing the death of a great master of science to throw mud at China’s system is jaw-dropping,” the commentary protested.