Export controls are considered as the US and China engage in a trade war. The Trump administration has been critical of the way China handles US companies, and often requires technology transfer to Chinese partners as the cost of doing business in the country. And federal officials are making an aggressive argument that China has stolen US technology through hacking and industrial espionage.
Technical companies, academics and policemen appeal to the Ministry of Commerce to take a light hand with the AI export rules before a January 10 deadline for public comment. Their argument has three main points: Restrictions can damage companies in the United States and help international competitors. They can suffocate technological improvements. And they can't make much of a difference.
In August, the Congress passed the Export Control Act of 201
The restrictions will affect the export of technology to some countries. Although it does not specify which ones are, the Ministry of Commerce's suggestion points to countries that have encountered trade and arms embargoes in the past. These include China, Russia and Iran.
The Ministry of Commerce refused to comment on the proposed restrictions. After taking public comments, the department will prepare a formal plan. This can lead to everything from new licensing rules for AI exports to direct bans.
Artificial intelligence can be so important to the technology industry as the World Wide Web was 25 years ago.
It is easy to forget that before the mid-1990s, the technology industry in the United States in a downturn and consumer electronics girls in Japan were so unbeatable. It changed as Silicon Valley companies popularized innovations like the browser and e-commerce. Today, Google, Apple and Facebook dominate as tech all over the world.
But America's domination of artificial intelligence is far from guaranteed. China invests billions in AI for both commercial and military use. And the expertise that has flooded into Silicon Valley over the years is starting to stay at home, partly due to immigration restrictions. Centers for AI research bounce around the world, from Toronto to Cambridge, England and Beijing.
Enforcing export controls on artificial intelligence will create an unusual challenge for regulators.
AI is something policymakers call a dual-use technology. It has innocent commercial applications, such as helping to control the car or asking your phone. It also has important military uses, such as helping an armed drone to find his goals.
The defense planners believe that AI represents the next remarkable change in military weapons, like the tactical measurement of smart bombs a generation ago or nuclear weapons before it. AI can also help surveillance systems and even disinformation campaigns through software that can produce fake images and videos.
But "trying to draw a line between what is military and commercial is very difficult," said David Edelman, a technology policy researcher at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. "It may be impossible."
It is difficult to put a "team in America" mark on artificial intelligence. Research on the technology is often carried out by scientists and engineers worldwide.
Companies rarely keep track of their AI work, as if it were a secret recipe. Instead, they share what they learn, hoping that other researchers can build on it. A company's "breakthrough" is often the last iteration of what many researchers in private companies and universities have been working on.
Much of the AI data code is published in places like Arxiv.org, an academic and corporate research archive. So many political experts believe that if the US limits exports of AI products and services, it will have little effect on the progress of AI in China and other countries.
"The core of these technologies is international and freely available," said Edelman, who was a Specialist for Economic and Technology Policy under President Barack Obama. "No country – USA or China – has a monopoly on it."
Federal Regulations Releasing publicly available information from export controls, which means the government is unlikely to carry companies and universities from publishing basic AI research, but it could establish controls that restrict foreign access to that information, said Greg Jaeger, a lawyer at Stroock & Stroock & Lavan who trades in export controls.
The Ministry of Commerce may also limit the export of cloud computing technology and computer chips related to artificial intelligence. Examples of export restrictions mention both.
Microsoft is already running cloud computing businesses in China through local partners, and Google has It was long hoped to do the same. Amazon, Google and Microsoft refused to comment.
Overriding rules that prevent foreign nationals from working with certain technologies in the United States can also push researchers and businesses to other countries.
"It may be easier for people to just do this in Europe," says Jason Waite, a lawyer with Alston's company & Bird specializing in international trade.
The New York Times