US government restricts exports of artificial intelligence program.
The Trump administration took steps on Friday to crimp exports of artificial intelligence applications as part of a bid to maintain sensitive technologies from the hands of rival powers like China.
Under a new rule which goes into effect on Monday, businesses that export certain types of geospatial imagery software from the United States must apply for a permit to send it abroad except when it’s being sent to Canada. ‘They need to keep American businesses from assisting the Chinese make better AI products that can help their army,’ said James Lewis, a technology specialist with the Washington-based Center for Strategic and International Studies think tank.
The rule will likely be welcomed by business, Lewis said, because it’d feared a much wider crackdown on exports of most artificial intelligence hardware and software
The measure covers software that could be used by detectors, drones, and satellites to automate the process of identifying targets for both military and civilian ends, Lewis said, noting it was a blessing for industry, which feared a much wider crackdown on exports of AI hardware and software.
The measure is the first to be finalized by the Commerce Department under a mandate from a 2018 law, which tasked the agency with writing rules to improve oversight of exports of sensitive technology to adversaries like China, for economic and security reasons.
Reuters first reported that the agency was finalizing a set of narrow rules to limit such exports at a blessing to US industry that feared a much tougher crackdown on sales overseas.
The rule will go into effect in the United States alone, but US authorities could afterwards submit it to international bodies to attempt to make a level playing field globally. It comes amid growing frustration from Republican and Democratic lawmakers over the slow roll-out of rules toughening up export controls, with Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, a Democrat, urging the Commerce Department to speed up the process.
‘While the government considers that it is in the national security interests of the United States to immediately implement these controls, in addition, it wants to offer the interested public with an opportunity to comment on the control of new items,’ the rule release said.