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US lawmakers unveil a bill to make it easier to restrict the export of AI models

US lawmakers unveil a bill to make it easier to restrict the export of AI models

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – A bipartisan group of lawmakers unveiled a bill late Wednesday that would make it easier for the Biden administration to impose export controls on AI models, in a bid to protect the prized U.S. technology from foreign bad actors.

The bill, sponsored by Republicans Michael McCaul, John Molenaar, Max Wise and Democrat Raja Krishnamoorthi, would also give the Commerce Department explicit authority to ban Americans from working with foreigners to develop AI systems that pose risks to the US national security.

The legislation is intended to protect future AI export rules from legal challenges. Concerns are growing that U.S. adversaries could use the models, which collect vast amounts of text and images to summarize information and generate content, to launch aggressive cyberattacks or even create powerful biological weapons.

Reuters reported on Wednesday that the United States is about to open a new front in its efforts to protect American AI from China and Russia, with tentative plans to impose export controls on the most advanced proprietary AI models.

But under existing US law, it is much more difficult for the Commerce Department, which oversees US export policy, to regulate the export of open source AI models, which can be downloaded for free.

If approved, the measure would remove roadblocks to regulating the export of open source AI set out in the International Emergency Economic Powers Act and also give the Commerce Department express authority to regulate AI systems.

China relies heavily on many open source models developed in the West, such as Meta Platforms’ “Llama” series.

In March, the Beijing Academy of Artificial Intelligence, a high-level research laboratory, was quoted by Chinese state media as claiming that the majority of China’s homegrown AI models were in fact built using Meta’s Llama models and that this posed a major challenge to the Chinese economy. AI development.

In November 2023, 01.AI, one of the most high-profile AI unicorns in China founded by Google’s former director Lee Kai-fu, faced major backlash after some AI engineers discovered that its AI model Yi-34B had been built on Meta’s Llama. system.

It also comes after Microsoft (MSFT.O) announced it will invest $1.5 billion in United Arab Emirates-based artificial intelligence company G42, giving G42 permission to use Microsoft’s cloud services to power its AI applications to be carried out.

The deal, which included a security agreement with the US and UAE governments, was unveiled despite growing concerns in the United States about deepening ties between China and Gulf states, including the UAE.

(Reporting by Alexandra Alper; Editing by Diane Craft)