Jun 13, 2017

U.S. wants to scrutinize China's investment in artificial intelligence

Kirsty Wigglesworth / AP

The United States wants to strengthen its ability to scrutinize Chinese investment in American tech companies, especially when it comes to artificial intelligence, per Reuters.

Why it matters: American officials fear that China's investment in AI companies is a prime example of an effort to overwhelm the U.S. with soft power. They say it puts some of America's most cutting-edge companies at the risk of becoming beholden to the defense whims of a foreign adversary.

The concern: China is attempting to circumvent U.S. oversight laws with selective early-stage investments in American technologies that might bolster its military capacity. Such investments could lock up advances that the U.S. Defense Department might otherwise obtain. One prime area: image processing for drone aircraft that might learn to recognize significant developments on the ground.

A potential fix: Increase the powers of the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States, a board that includes representatives from major executive departments, to look into the backgrounds of high-tech investors from countries deemed to be potential security threats.

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