A new proposal shows that the U.S. government is looking to find a way to regulate artificial intelligence (AI) so other countries can’t use the technology against it.
According to The Quartz, the proposal by the Department of Commerce lists areas of AI software that might require a license to sell to certain countries, including broad categories like “computer vision” and “natural language processing,” as well as military-specific products such as adaptive camouflage and surveillance technology.
Among the countries listed in the proposal is China, which has already faced tariffs on billions of dollars-worth of imported Chinese goods imposed by the Trump administration. Earlier this year, it was reported that the U.S. was considering taking a closer look at the relationship between U.S. and Chinese tech partnerships.
“This is intended to be a shot across the bow, directed specifically at Beijing, in an attempt to flex their muscles on just how broad these restrictions could be,” says R. David Edelman, a former adviser to president Barack Obama who leads research on technology and public policy issues at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
The White House is also looking to bolster the country’s AI position. In May it announced the creation of a Select Committee on Artificial Intelligence after executives from tech companies including Amazon, Google, and Facebook met with the Trump administration to discuss the country’s future in artificial intelligence.
“As artificial intelligence transforms everything from agriculture to manufacturing to transportation, the potential for AI remains breathtaking,” Michael Kratsios, deputy CTO at the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, said at the time. “But we cannot be passive. To realize the full potential of AI for the American people, it will require the combined efforts of industry, academia, and government.”
The new committee aims “to improve the coordination of federal efforts related to AI to ensure continued U.S. leadership in this field,” and will operate within the technology committee at the National Science and Technology Council.