Trump administration considers restricting US exports of AI tech

The US Commerce Department has suggested that the sale of AI and other emerging technologies may put the US' national security at risk

21Nov

A new proposal from the US Commerce Department has revealed President Donald Trump is considering curbing the export of US AI technology. The reasoning behind this potential move is that the department considers AI and other emerging technologies as "essential to the national security of the US".

The forms of AI tech the department is considering putting on a "controlled" list include neural network and deep learning software, computer vision, NLP and microprocessors. It may also affect the export of more embryonic technologies such as those utilized in quantum computers and robotics.


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Trade tensions between the US and China continue to simmer and the competition for world AI dominance has appeared to grow uglier in recent weeks. A US-China Economic and Security Review Commission recently warned the US government against using Chinese information technology, also for national security reasons.

However, even though the proposal from the Commerce Department claims the exportation of these forms of tech may "negatively impacting US leadership in the science, technology, engineering, and manufacturing sector," many argue that this move may start a chain reaction which could end up leaving the US in an even worse of position.

Speaking to ABS-CBN News, the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation's vice president Daniel Castro said: "If the US government bans the export of AI technology, other countries will likely enact reciprocal policies.

"It will mean US companies are locked out of certain markets, allowing firms in other countries to compete unchallenged," he added.

This echoes a report released by the Center for Strategic and International Studies in October which commented on how these kinds of actions still leave the US open to being compromised: "If an adversary succeeds in acquiring technology from a US firm or startup through investment, that is a detriment to national security.

"On the other hand, if the US refuses to work with companies that have Chinese investment or funding because of the national security risk that this investment might pose, these companies could lose access to significant investment potential and the US government also loses a potential partner for new ideas and capabilities," the report added.

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