The US Government Begins Limiting Some Exports of AI Software

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    “The Trump administration will make it more difficult to export artificial intelligence software as of next week, part of a bid to keep sensitive technologies out of the hands of rival powers like China,” reports Reuters. The Verge has more details: The ban, which comes into force on Monday, is the first to be applied under a 2018 law known as the Export Control Reform Act or ECRA. This requires the government to examine how it can restrict the export of “emerging” technologies “essential to the national security of the United States” — including AI… When ECRA was announced in 2018, some in the tech industry feared it would harm the field of artificial intelligence, which benefits greatly from the exchange of research and commercial programs across borders. Although the U.S. is generally considered to be the world leader in AI, China is a strong second place and gaining fast. But the new export ban is extremely narrow. It applies only to software that uses neural networks (a key component in machine learning) to discover “points of interest” in geospatial imagery; things like houses or vehicles… [S]uch software is of growing importance to military intelligence, too. The U.S., for example, is developing an AI analysis tool named Sentinel, which is supposed to highlight “anomalies” in satellite imagery. It might flag troop and missile movements, for example, or suggest areas that human analysts should examine in detail. The rule only applies in America, reports Reuters, “but U.S. authorities could later submit it to international bodies to try to create a level playing field globally.” Read more of this story at Slashdot.

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