Robotics

Trump administration's proposed export controls could hinder tech research

Illustration of a microscope being partially covered by an American businessman's hand.
Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Last week, the Trump administration said it is considering new export controls on a broad range of futuristic technologies, a move explained as a way to prevent foreign theft and espionage.

Between the lines: With the announcement, U.S. officials are considering national security — mainly keeping China from stealing sensitive technology, and the critical objective is to stay ahead in advanced science and technology. But the announcement triggered a major worry among tech companies and researchers that the new rules could hobble American research in strategically crucial areas like artificial intelligence, robotics and quantum computing.

A look at the surprisingly quarrelsome field of artificial intelligence

Illustration of a robot arm wearing a watch
Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Machines as intelligent as humans will be invented by 2029, predicts technologist Ray Kurzweil. "Nonsense," retorts roboticist Rodney Brooks. By that time, he says, machines will only be as smart as a mouse. As for humanlike intelligence — that may arrive by 2200.

Between these two forecasts — machines with human intelligence in 11 or 182 years — lies much of the rest of the artificial intelligence community, a disputatious lot who disagree on nearly everything about their field, Martin Ford, author of "Architects of Intelligence," tells Axios.

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