Cut Off From Chipmaking Tools, China Looks to Build Up Its Own Industry: China is working on a $143 billion support package for its domestic semiconductor industry, according to a Reuters report. The move appears to be part of Beijing’s response to sweeping U.S. export controls, announced in October, that aimed to hamstring China’s domestic semiconductor industry and limit its access to high-end chips. According to the Reuters report, the package could be rolled out as soon as the first quarter of 2023. Initial indications suggest it would primarily consist of subsidies and tax credits to subsidize purchases of Chinese-made semiconductor manufacturing equipment (SME) and other Chinese semiconductor production and research activities. The U.S. export controls put significant limits on China’s access to the tools needed to make high-end semiconductors. Now the Netherlands and Japan, both key SME exporters, appear ready to join the United States in cutting off China’s access to its most advanced tools. Without access to foreign inputs and expertise, Chinese-made SME cannot yet come close to replacing the best Dutch, Japanese, or U.S. equipment, and the reported package is unlikely to change that in the short term. Time will tell if China’s investment will be enough to help bridge the gap.
The Advancing American AI Act, which directs federal agencies to regularly identify and report on AI use cases within the government, requires the Office of Management and Budget to identify four new use cases for AI to support interagency or intra-agency modernization initiatives, and mandates that the Department of Homeland Security develop policies and procedures for the acquisition and use of AI in a manner that supports privacy and safe use (Title LXXII, Subtitle B).
A directive to the Deputy Secretary of Defense to identify priority enterprise projects for using AI and other digital solutions to improve business efficiency or warfighting capabilities, and assigns various responsibilities for implementing the projects (Sec. 1513).
A requirement for the Commander of U.S. Cyber Command and the DOD’s Chief Information Officer, in coordination with the Chief Digital and AI Officer, DARPA, and the Under Secretary of Defense for Research and Engineering, to develop a five-year plan for adopting AI to support DOD cyber missions (Sec. 1554).
A pilot program to evaluate the intelligence community’s ability to provide intelligence support for the export control and investment screening activities of the Department of Commerce and DHS using open-source, publicly and commercially available information (Sec. 6311).
An authorization of efforts to expand the participation of minority-serving institutions in DOD innovation programs and increase DOD STEM talent diversity (Sec. 222 and Sec. 1083, among others).
DOD Awards Cloud Contract to Amazon, Google, Microsoft and Oracle: Last week, the Pentagon announced it had awarded a multi-vendor cloud-computing contract to Amazon, Google, Microsoft and Oracle in what amounts to one of the biggest federal cloud computing contracts to date — as much as $9 billion over five years. The new Joint Warfighter Cloud Capability is expected to act as the backbone for the military’s cloud computing needs, serving “across all security domains and classification levels.” When the DOD announced plans for the JWCC last year, officials said that going with a multicloud approach — multiple clouds from different providers — would let the military remain flexible by taking advantage of vendors’ “varying capabilities.” The Pentagon had originally awarded a 10-year, $10 billion cloud computing contract to Microsoft in 2019, but it canceled that deal over concerns about its growing computational needs and, observers speculated, because of lawsuits from Amazon and Oracle alleging an unfair process. While the contract could be a boon to the four companies, only a small portion of the $9 billion is guaranteed — the rest will be doled out over the next five years as military users bid on the provider best-suited to the task at hand. DOD officials say they hope this competition will help keep overall prices down.
The U.S.-EU Trade and Technology Council Holds Its Third Meeting: On December 5, representatives from the United States and the European Union — including Secretary of State Antony Blinken, Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo and European Commission Executive Vice President Margrethe Vestager — convened in Maryland for the third meeting of the U.S.-EU Trade and Technology Council (TTC). A joint statement by the participants outlined key takeaways from the meeting and offered updates from the ten working groups previously established by the council. Developments of note include:
The TTC released a joint study on AI’s impact on the U.S. and EU workforces. The study charts the current state of AI adoption and discusses potential future impacts.
The U.S. Commerce Department and the European Commission announced plans to implement an early warning system for semiconductor supply chain disruptions.
The United States and EU announced a pilot project to evaluate the use of synthetic data and “privacy enhancing technologies” for health and medicine research.
According to the joint statement, the TTC’s next meeting will be held in Europe in the middle of next year.
In Translation CSET’s translations of significant foreign language documents on AI
Shenzhen AI Regulations:Regulations for the Promotion of the Artificial Intelligence Industry in Shenzhen Special Economic Zone. This document is a set of regulations for the artificial intelligence industry in Shenzhen City in China’s Guangdong Province. The regulations aim to promote AI in Shenzhen, one of China’s tech hubs, but also stress the importance of ethical guidelines for the use of AI technology, so as to prevent AI systems from aiding discriminatory practices or infringing on individuals’ privacy.
If you have a foreign-language document related to security and emerging technologies that you’d like translated into English, CSET may be able to help! Click here for details.
Job Openings and New Funding
The Patrick J. McGovern Foundation has increased its investment in CSET’s success with a $500,000 grant to support diverse talent development and the protection of democratic ideals in the cybersecurity and information sphere. In addition to its initial grant in 2021, the Foundation’s new gift will help CSET continue its work on education and workforce policy at the confluence of AI and cybersecurity and expand into new research areas. These will include cutting-edge AI research for cybersecurity and the study of mitigation strategies to counter disinformation.
And we have more exciting news — we’re hiring! Please apply or share the role below with candidates in your network:
People Operations Specialist: We are currently seeking a People Operations Specialist to play a key role in helping to build and develop the CSET team, with a particular focus on furthering our diversity, equity and inclusion initiatives. This Specialist will provide administrative, organizational and project management support to ensure that our people-focused operations run smoothly. Applications due by January 30.
Fellow – Emerging Technology Supply Chains: We are currently seeking candidates to lead and coordinate our Emerging Technology Supply Chains Line of Research, either as a Research Fellow or Senior Fellow (depending on experience). This fellow will shape priorities, lay out an overall research strategy, oversee execution of the research and production of reports, and help hire and manage supporting researchers. Applications due by January 2.
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On December 5, Zachary Arnold, analytic lead for CSET’s Emerging Technology Observatory, demonstrated the newly launched ETO’s capabilities and led a discussion with Melissa Flagg and John VerWey on the key policy takeaways that can be derived from its tools.
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