Accelerating the Evolution of AI Export Controls

Ritwik Gupta is a computer vision Ph.D. student at the University of California, Berkeley, in the Berkeley AI Research Lab and a fellow at the Berkeley Risk and Security Lab and Berkeley Center for Security in Politics. He serves as the Deputy Technical Director for Autonomy at the Defense Innovation Unit. Andrew W. Reddie is an Associate Research Professor at the University of California, Berkeley’s Goldman School of Public Policy, and Founder and Faculty Director of the Berkeley Risk and Security Lab. Artificial intelligence is poised to revolutionize economies, scientific research, and the power dynamics between governments and industries. As AI research expands and its capabilities grow, a nation’s prowess in AI will increasingly signify its overall strength.  The United States faces a competitive geopolitical environment and must make strategic investments, regulations, and restrictions to maintain its leadership in AI R&D while countering the gains of rivals like China. The US has held a slim lead in the development of AI models according to Stanford’s 2023 AI Index report, and a large lead in the development of hardware needed to train AI models quickly and effectively. Ensuring that adversaries are unable to access the hardware “engines”’ that drive AI model development is a strategy by which US policymakers believe the US can create a “moat” that provides the it with an impassable advantage. The nation’s recent imposition of export controls on advanced semiconductors seeks to further limit China’s access to the cutting-edge chips needed to build supercomputers and train advanced AI systems. …Accelerating the Evolution of AI Export Controls