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Sunday, June 16, 2024

US lawmakers introduce AI export bill

The measure would streamline regulations, particularly regarding open-source AI, and grant the Commerce Department enhanced oversight over AI systems if approved.

A bipartisan coalition of lawmakers has unveiled a bill aimed at bolstering the Biden administration’s authority to regulate the export of AI models, with a focus on safeguarding US technology from potential misuse by foreign rivals. Supported by both Republicans and Democrats, the legislation proposes empowering the Commerce Department to oversee AI exports that pose risks to national security and to restrict collaboration between Americans and foreigners on such systems.

The bill underscores the urgent need to enhance legal oversight to shield US AI technology from exploitation by adversaries. Of particular concern are advanced AI models capable of processing large volumes of data and generating content that could be leveraged for cyberattacks or even the development of biological weapons.

While neither the Commerce Department nor the White House has issued a statement on the bill, reports suggest that the US is preparing to impose export controls on proprietary AI models to counter threats posed by China and Russia. Existing US laws present challenges in regulating the export of open-source AI models, which are freely available. If approved, this legal measure would streamline regulations, especially concerning open-source AI, and provide the Commerce Department with increased oversight over AI systems.

Why does it matter?
The introduction of this bill coincides with heightened global competition in AI development. China, for example, heavily relies on open-source models like Meta Platforms’ ‘Llama’ series. Recent reports of Chinese AI firms utilizing these models have raised concerns regarding intellectual property and security risks. Additionally, Microsoft’s substantial investment in a UAE-based AI company, G42, has sparked discussions about the ramifications of deepening ties between Gulf states and China, prompting security agreements between the US, UAE, and Microsoft.

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