This past fall, the Biden administration moved decisively to cut off China’s supply of powerful chips, targeting the cutting-edge semiconductors used for supercomputing and artificial intelligence. However, recent reporting points to blacklisted Chinese entities—including China’s top nuclear weapons lab—gaining access to restricted chips through a combination of smuggling and renting through the cloud. Smuggling also appears to be possible for low-level vendors: Other recent reporting found that Chinese small businesses are smuggling restricted chips through neighboring countries, and that 40,000 to 50,000 of these chips are already in China. If the administration wants to succeed in holding a chokepoint over national security-sensitive supercomputing, the U.S. agency tasked with export control enforcement (the Bureau of Industry and Security, or BIS) will have to get more creative.
The U.S. government can erect significant barriers to China using advanced computing to power a new generation of dangerous military applications.
First, some context. Last year’s export controls included a swath of measures targeting China’s access to semiconductor manufacturing equipment, specific fabrication facilities (known as “fabs”), and certain chips. The chip-specific controls attempted to ban Chinese entities from procuring advanced AI chips based on fixed performance thresholds. The ban applies not just to U.S.-made chips, but also to any chip produced using U.S.-origin technology, software, or equipment.
Read the full article from Foreign Policy.
More from CNAS
Behind China’s Plans to Build AI for the World
To compete with China’s efforts, the United States needs a far more expansive vision of how to empower other nations with the education, tools and infrastructure needed to jum...
By Bill Drexel & Hannah Kelley
U.S.-China Competition and the Race to 6G
China views telecommunications as central to its geopolitical and strategic objectives....
By Sam Howell
Biden Took the First Step With AI Commitments — Now It’s Congress’ Turn
One of the keys to tackling these risks is developing advanced methods to train effective AI systems while maintaining Americans’ privacy....
By Josh Wallin
Time to Act: Building the Technical and Institutional Foundations for AI Assurance
Assurance for AI systems presents unique challenges....
By Josh Wallin & Andrew Reddie