Brief: US considers restricting China’s investments in AI


President Trump. Photo credit: Gage Skidmore.

The news:

  • The US is weighing up restricting Chinese investment in artificial intelligence and machine learning technology, reports Reuters this morning, citing current and former US officials.
  • The move would shield important technology that’s relevant to national security.
  • An unpublished Pentagon report, seen by Reuters, warns that China is gaining access to sensitive technology through investments. That has prompted the Trump administration to consider shaking up the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS), which reviews overseas acquisitions of US companies on national security grounds, according to a Trump administration official.

Why it matters:

  • It comes as Chinese companies are investing more than ever in overseas firms, both to boost their own technology and services as well as for financial gain.
  • AI and machine learning have applications far beyond mobile apps – including in military software and equipment.
  • “What drives a lot of the concern is that China is a military competitor,” said James Lewis, a senior fellow at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, to the New York Times earlier this year in reference to a white paper commissioned by the Department of Defense. “How do you deal with a military competitor playing in your most innovative market?”

Source: Reuters

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