Washington looks to restrict foreign investments in tech

Global Business

According to Reuters news agency, an unreleased Pentagon report indicates the U.S. government is looking to strengthen the role of the Committee on Foreign Investment, or CFIUS, on cutting-edge technologies like Artificial Intelligence.

That could target Chinese investment in U.S.-based companies.

CGTN’s Mark Niu takes a look at the steep challenges of attempting to reign in AI.

It’s making nearly everything around us smarter – automobiles that spot potential threats faster than the best race car drivers, and toys that use facial recognition to learn how to better interact with their human owners.

AI is essentially algorithms that mimic the way neurons work in the human brain. That has some in the U.S. government worried that the U.S. could lose its edge in a strategically important technology if it doesn’t tighten controls over Chinese investment in U.S. artificial intelligence companies.

“I don’t think more government intervention or regulation of our international investments is the answer. We are safer when we trade with each other more. And I would rather the U.S. and China trade more-even if it means more Chinese investment in artificial intelligence than less,” Venky Ganesan, managing director at Menlo Ventures said.

Last year, the U.S. was China’s top destination for foreign direct investment with more than $45 billion. How much of that is AI related is unclear, because companies aren’t required to disclose that.

In the near future, nearly all tech companies will incorporate some form of AI, so writing legislation that will cover what’s militarily, or economically sensitive, is going to get a lot harder.