Analysis

Zachary Arnold

Research Fellow
China
FDI
Immigration
Investment
M&A
R&D
Talent
Venture capital
Visas
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Zachary Arnold is a Research Fellow at Georgetown’s Center for Security and Emerging Technology (CSET). Previously, Zach was an associate at Latham & Watkins, where he specialized in project finance and environmental law. He received a J.D. from Yale Law School, where he was an editor of the Yale Law Journal, and an A.B. (summa cum laude) in Social Studies from Harvard University. He clerked for Judge Patrick Higginbotham of the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit.

Current immigration policies may undermine the historic strength of the United States in attracting and retaining international AI talent. This report examines the immigration policies of four U.S. economic competitor nations—the United Kingdom, Canada, France, and Australia—to offer best practices for ensuring future AI competitiveness.

"AI is very different from other security-relevant technologies, in that the private sector is in the driver's seat." Zach Arnold and Ashwin Acharya joined the ChinaTalk podcast to discuss their work at CSET on AI investment.

While AI innovation would presumably continue in some form without Big Tech, the authors find that breaking up the largest technology companies could fundamentally change the broader AI innovation ecosystem, likely affecting the development of AI applications for national security.

CSET research shows more than 80 percent of international students receiving Ph.D.s in artificial intelligence remain in the U.S. for at least five years. That’s good, write Remco Zwetsloot and Zach Arnold, because America’s tech sector relies on foreign-born talent.

Talent is core to U.S. competitiveness in artificial intelligence, and international graduate students are a large source of AI talent for the United States. Retaining them in this country as they transition into the workforce is key. Graduate student retention has historically been a core U.S. strength, but that strength is endangered by recent events.

This product is a Chinese translation of the CSET issue brief, "Chinese Public AI R&D Spending: Provisional Findings" by Ashwin Acharya and Zachary Arnold.

China aims to become “the world’s primary AI innovation center” by 2030. Toward that end, the Chinese government is spending heavily on AI research and development (R&D)—but perhaps not as heavily as some have thought. This memo provides a provisional, open-source estimate of China’s spending.

The Forbes AI 50 list “shows that foreign talent is critical to AI innovation—and that for now, the United States can still attract talent from around the world,” write CSET’s Remco Zwetsloot, Tina Huang and Zachary Arnold.

Green card limits haven’t budged in decades, while new policies make it harder, costlier, and more uncertain for the world’s talent to come to the United States.

A sustained talent shortage could undermine U.S. strength in artificial intelligence; current immigration policies would make it worse. Read our recommendations for bolstering U.S. leadership in AI research and practice.

As the artificial intelligence field becomes more developed globally, the United States will continue to rely on foreign AI talent to stay ahead of the curve. Here are our preliminary recommendations to maintain current U.S. leadership, bolster the domestic AI workforce and improve the outlook for the future.