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Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty

International students outnumber homegrown talent two to one among newly graduated AI experts, driving American leadership in the critical and increasingly crowded field.

Why it matters: Experts worry that U.S. hostility to immigration is choking this vital pipeline, potentially handing an advantage to competitors like China.

The big picture: Bright minds are the primary fuel for AI advances.

  • Experts attribute America's primacy in large part to its ability to attract the world's top talent, train them in top universities, and then employ them in academia or the booming private sector.
  • But as other countries' AI capabilities improve quickly, the balance may be upset.
  • A landmark new report on AI talent argues that "…any short-term increase in other states’ relative attractiveness — even if counteracted after the fact — can have long-term and potentially irreversible consequences."

Driving the news: In the new report, shared first with Axios, Remco Zwetsloot of the Center for Security and Emerging Technology at Georgetown analyzes the detailed education and work histories of thousands of recent AI graduates in the U.S.

  • Zwetsloot and his co-authors find that 80% of international students stay in the U.S. after graduation, a proportion that's stayed steady for years. But several looming changes threaten this trend.
  • Professional opportunities, immigration rules and personal considerations drive international students' decisions to stay or return after school — and immigration is only getting more restricted.

One particular danger, according to the report, is a rollback of Optional Practical Training, a program that allows graduates to work in the U.S. for three years after finishing school.

What's next: The White House has proposed reallocating the number of visas to accommodate more high-skilled immigrants. But Zwetsloot says that's not enough.

  • "Ultimately, increasing numerical caps will do a lot more for U.S. retention of the best and brightest than tweaking the allocation system for an insufficient number of slots," he says.

Go deeper: A potential AI talent drain

Go deeper

Tina Reed, author of Vitals
46 mins ago - Health

Experts fear a bad flu season on top of COVID

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Public health officials are warning that the U.S. may be on the verge of a dangerous double whammy: COVID and flu, spreading simultaneously.

The big picture: The Delta variant is still circulating across the U.S., and the Omicron variant isn't far behind. On top of that, experts see potential warning signs of a bad flu season, which could leave millions of Americans vulnerable and strain health care resources.

Updated 2 hours ago - World

Australia joins U.S. in diplomatic boycott of Beijing Winter Olympics

Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison. Photo: Darrian Traynor/Getty Images

Australia is joining the U.S. in a diplomatic boycott of the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympic Games in protest of human rights abuses committed by China's government, Prime Minister Scott Morrison confirmed Wednesday.

Driving the news: After the Biden administration's announcement that U.S. officials won't attend the Games due to the ongoing genocide of Uighurs and other Muslim minorities in the Xinjiang region of China, Morrison said at a Sydney briefing that Australia would follow suit as "it's the right thing to do."

Progressives to file resolution to strip Boebert's committee seats

Rep. Lauren Boebert walking through the Senate side of the U.S. Capitol earlier this month. Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

House progressives are planning to introduce a resolution on Wednesday to strip Rep. Lauren Boebert (R-Colo.) of her committee assignments, according to a Democratic aide familiar with the matter.

Why it matters: The move, which was first reported by the Washington Post, comes as progressives — anxious to see the right-wing firebrand face retribution for her recent comments — have grown frustrated by Democratic leadership's inaction on the issue.