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US Mulls Over Regulations To Restrict China's Access To Advanced AI Software Behind Apps Like ChatGPT

The Biden administration is reportedly contemplating the introduction of new regulations aimed at curbing China’s access to advanced AI models, such as those utilized in ChatGPT.

What Happened: According to three sources privy to the matter, the Commerce Department is considering a regulatory push to limit the export of proprietary or closed-source AI models, which keep their software and data confidential, Reuters reported on Wednesday. This move is viewed as a fresh strategy to safeguard U.S. AI from China, succeeding a series of measures over the past two years aimed at blocking the export of sophisticated AI chips to the Asian country.

At present, there are no restrictions on U.S. AI giants such as Microsoft MSFT, OpenAI, Alphabet’s GOOGL GOOG Google DeepMind, and rival Anthropic from selling their powerful closed source AI models globally without governmental oversight. The worry is that U.S. adversaries could exploit these models to initiate aggressive cyber attacks or even create potent biological weapons.

The U.S. may employ a threshold based on the amount of computing power required to train a model, as per an AI executive order issued last October, to enforce an export control on AI models. This threshold could serve as the basis for determining which AI models would be subject to export restrictions, two U.S. officials and another source briefed on the discussions revealed.

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However, the sources emphasized that the agency is far from finalizing a rule proposal. The consideration of such a move signifies the U.S. government’s intent to close gaps in its effort to thwart Beijing’s AI ambitions, despite the challenges of imposing a robust regulatory regime on rapidly evolving technology.

Why It Matters: This development follows a series of events that have shaped the AI landscape between the U.S. and China. In March, China announced a significant move to support its AI startups by offering "computing vouchers" to these companies, aiming to address the challenges posed by the U.S. chip restrictions.

Subsequently, in April, the U.S. and China agreed to hold their first high-level talks on artificial intelligence (AI), as confirmed by U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken.

Most recently, in May, China has been witnessing a rapid advancement in the field of artificial intelligence, significantly accelerating the development of humanoid robots.

The proposed U.S. regulations can be seen as a response to these developments, aiming to protect national security and maintain a competitive edge in the global AI race.

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