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Experts give Biden’s push to defend American technology from China mixed reviews.

Tech companies are concerned that laws could put US enterprises at a competitive disadvantage.
A Biden administration campaign to require cloud businesses to reveal when a foreigner uses their platforms to power artificial intelligence might be interpreted as an escalation in the ongoing digital war between China and the United States, while analysts disagree on how effective the tactic will be.

“The federal government must take the threat of AI seriously, particularly when it emanates from malevolent foreign actors. Jon Schweppe, the American Principles Project’s policy director, told Fox News Digital that this is a positive step.

Schweppe’s comments came after U.S. Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo announced that her department may soon force US tech companies to declare whenever a non-US business utilizes their cloud to train a huge language model, according to a Bloomberg story.
Though Raimondo did not name any specific companies or countries, the potential move has largely been viewed as a way for the United States to maintain an advantage over China in AI technology, with President Biden saying in October that such disclosures could help detect if foreign actors intend to use AI to launch “malicious cyber-enabled activity.”

Last month, Ramondo hinted at similar measures geared directly at China, stating in an interview that the US intends to “shut down every avenue that the Chinese could have to get access to our models or train their own models.”

China’s push toward AI development has been a primary priority for the administration, which has already attempted to counter Beijing’s progress by banning chip exports to the country and punishing some Chinese enterprises, though the country has continued to make advances despite the US actions.

According to Christopher Alexander, the chief analytics officer of Pioneer Development Group, the latest proposal shows that the “U.S. government is finally taking the threat of Chinese economic espionage seriously.”

“There is no silver bullet to address China’s ongoing theft of intellectual property, but policies like this make the US AI business more difficult to compete with. Because of poor industrial security, the United States cannot afford to support Chinese AI research,” Alexander stated. “Ideally, the government will focus more on support over-regulation, but the scope and nature of this national security threat, along with the incredible opportunity it presents, necessitate a close and fruitful government relationship with the private sector.”

Similarly, Heritage Foundation Tech Research Policy Center research associate Jake Denton told Fox News Digital that the United States cannot “let naive assumptions about the universal benefits of progress blind us to the reality that technology empowers its first move.”

“There is no silver bullet to address China’s ongoing theft of intellectual property, but policies like this make the US AI business more difficult to compete with. Because of poor industrial security, the United States cannot afford to support Chinese AI research,” Alexander stated. “Ideally, the government will focus more on support over-regulation, but the scope and nature of this national security threat, along with the incredible opportunity it presents, necessitates a close and fruitful government relationship with the private sector.”

Similarly, Heritage Foundation Tech Research Policy Center research associate Jake Denton told Fox News Digital that the United States cannot “let naive assumptions about the universal benefits of progress blind us to the reality that technology empowers its first move.”

“If China wins the Al race, it may become the dominant world power for years. “We need to wake up and realize this is a Sputnik moment,” Denton stated. “America must protect the technology required for Al advances and guarantee that they serve our national interests. Allowing Chinese enterprises to access our chips, cloud technologies, and talent is equivalent to unilateral disarmament in a technology cold war.”

However, not all experts believe the idea would be beneficial, with some concerned that it could impede technological advancement.

“This will significantly slow technological advancement. It adds layers of bureaucracy and paperwork, requiring developers to achieve arbitrary requirements set by an uneducated federal government.” Samuel Mangold-Lenett, a staff editor of The Federalist.

However, Mangold-Lenett agreed that the United States must prevent foreign rivals like China from gaining access to “critical technologies,” particularly given their history of “hacking and stealing from us.”

“We ought to allow American developers the freedom to develop robust systems without hindrance while incentivizing as much data security as possible,” the president stated.

According to Bloomberg, it is unclear how the United States will govern the IT industry’s contacts with foreigners, particularly since cloud service exchanges are not physical goods and have historically been “beyond the domain of export controls.”

Meanwhile, cloud providers in the United States have long expressed concern that such restrictions, if not mirrored by other allied countries, may put American enterprises at a competitive disadvantage.

Phil Siegel, founder of the Center for Advanced Preparedness and Threat Response Simulation, expressed similar concerns to Fox News Digital, stating that the move “could cause foreign firms to look for alternatives and shift share out of the U.S. to avoid reporting requirements.”

“It might also cause regulatory retaliation by other countries, which, taken together, could slow overall development and raise costs by providing a price umbrella for Amazon, Microsoft, Google, and any foreign competitors,” Siegel said in a statement. “Overall, these types of regulations are more onerous than just asking for a one-time KYC (know your customer) type of regulatory regime, which could be uniformly applied, would cause deeper investigation, especially for foreign firms, and allow the cloud companies to have more accountability.”

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