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Monday, May 27, 2024

Lawmakers in the United States have introduced a bill focused on the export of artificial intelligence (AI).

If approved, the legislation would simplify regulations, especially concerning open-source AI, and empower the Commerce Department with increased supervision over AI systems.

A bipartisan coalition of lawmakers has introduced a bill aimed at bolstering the Biden administration’s authority to regulate the export of AI models, with a primary focus on safeguarding US technology from potential misuse by foreign rivals. Supported by both Republicans and Democrats, the proposed legislation seeks to empower the Commerce Department with explicit control over AI exports deemed as posing risks to national security, including the prohibition of collaborations between Americans and foreigners on such systems.

The bill underscores the urgency of strengthening legal oversight to shield US AI technology from adversarial exploitation. Of particular concern are advanced AI models capable of processing vast data sets and generating content that adversaries could exploit for cyber attacks or the development of biological weapons.

While neither the Commerce Department nor the White House has issued official statements on the bill, reports indicate that the US is preparing to impose export controls on proprietary AI models to counter the threats posed by China and Russia. Current US regulations present challenges in controlling the export of open-source AI models, which are freely available. Therefore, the proposed legislation aims to streamline regulations, particularly concerning open-source AI, and provide the Commerce Department with enhanced oversight over AI systems if it is approved.

Why does it matter?

The unveiling of this bill occurs amid escalating global competition in AI advancement. For example, China extensively utilizes open-source models such as Meta Platforms’ ‘Llama’ series. Recent disclosures regarding the utilization of these models by Chinese AI companies have prompted worries about intellectual property and security vulnerabilities. Additionally, Microsoft’s substantial investment in a UAE-based AI company, G42, has ignited discussions about the ramifications of strengthening bonds between Gulf states and China, resulting in security pacts between the US, UAE, and Microsoft.

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