National security risks: AI as a pending Congressional target

Export controls as it relates to AI are focused on the sale of advanced semiconductors to the U.S., China, Russia, and other countries. In October 2022, the U.S. Commerce Department’s Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS) issued an interim final rule to deny China’s access to certain semiconductor and advanced computing technology and to inhibit China’s ability to manufacture those items domestically. Additionally, on 7 March 2023, U.S. Senators Mark Warner and John Thune introduced the Restricting the Emergence of Security Threats that Risk Information and Communications Technology (RESTRICT) Act, sweeping legislation aimed at restricting or prohibiting the use of Chinese and other specified foreign adversaries’ technologies in the U.S. with information and communications technology products and services integral to AI and ML being among a number of areas to be prioritized.

BIS’s October 2022 rule does not solely target AI platforms and capabilities. The rule places restrictions on certain high-performance integrated circuits and related computers, servers and electronic assemblies that are used in advanced computing platforms which in turn enable advanced AI capabilities. It also imposes end-use and end-user-based restrictions on exports, reexports, and in-country transfers of items intended for use in certain semiconductor fabrication “facilities” in China and

“supercomputers” located in or destined for China. Additionally, the RESTRICT Act legislation poses additional potential restrictions on the use and supply of information, communication and technology (ICT) products and services, which could include the targeting of AI-related products or services, to or from certain countries, including China, and would grant the Commerce Department express authority to target assets outside the U.S. that are used to support or enable the use of certain adversary country ICT products and services in the U.S.

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