American Tech Companies Worried about the Great Firewall of China in Hong Kong

Google, OpenAI and Microsoft are slowing squeezing out accessibility to their AI chatbots in Hong Kong. This is in unequivocal acknowledgement that Hong Kong no longer has any special status over mainland China regarding freedom of information. None of the above-mentioned companies are confirming this as the reason. But given the 2020 National Security Law being enforced by Beijing, it’s blatantly obvious.

Criticism of State is now completely forbidden, but you try telling AI that. Unfortunately, the likes of ChatGPT cannot differentiate between what is fact and what is secession. So Google, OpenAI and Microsoft are taking no risks that their creations may be inciting violence and revolution simply because a human asked the wrong questions.

The data ecosystem is a house of cards

The ecosystem of data access is the battle here, as brands like Apple need Google, for example. If Google is suddenly banned in China because of a too chatty chatbot, the tech domino effect will be incalculable. Especially in Apple’s case, as China is still a manufacturing hub for the iconic brand. Yes, of course there’s Tencent, but its censoring mechanisms are already off the scale. Freedom of information is not one of its strong points.

This news comes barely a week after Beijing took legal exception to around 30 YouTube videos featuring an unofficial anthem called Glory to Hong Kong It incites insurrection, claims the Government. Watch this space to see how that develops.

The Bigger Picture 

Although Hong Kong isn’t that big a market, that’s not to say that this latest development is just a storm in a chai cup. The ramifications of further information crackdowns from the government, which has already caused thousands to leave the former British Protectorate, are quite simple. Hong Kong will lose its commercial interface value between China and the rest of the world. Not because of the unpredictability of its leaders’ behaviour towards freedom of information.

But because of their predictability.

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