Biden plans new export controls for quantum computers

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Hello and welcome to Protocol Enterprise! Today: why the US wants to impose new export controls on quantum computing, although no one knows how much quantum is too much quantum, Microsoft’s decades-long relationship with researchers in China could never be the same, and Google’s attempt to speak 1,000 languages.

Kick them in the qubits

The Commerce Ministry is working on a new set of trade restrictions aimed at hampering China’s progress in quantum computing, Protocol has learned.

It’s not clear when Commerce would introduce a new set of export controls around quantum, but staff are in talks with tech companies big and small that operate in the industry. The department is under pressure to move faster by intelligence agencies, including the National Security Agency, which see China’s quantum capabilities as a potential threat, industry sources said.

  • Trade officials are in talks with big tech companies involved in quantum computing, including IBM and Google, as well as smaller companies like IonQ and Quantinnum, according to industry sources.
  • The US is aiming for an agreement with other countries around quantum computing, but wants to go further than what is currently being discussed.
  • Commerce referred the transcript to comments made last week by Undersecretary for Industry and Safety Alan Estevez, and the NSA did not respond to a request for comment.

Despite some advances in quantum computing technology, it remains an emerging technology, making it harder to find ways to restrict access to it.

  • Export controls risk impeding or even stalling progress in the vast field of quantum computing.
  • Stifling US progress could allow other countries to take leadership positions, which would run counter to the administration’s foreign policy goals.
  • In part because there are no standard tools or methods for building quantum computers, there are also no obvious bottlenecks for officials to identify — unlike the relatively mature chip industry.
  • Although much of the quantum industry measures power around the core unit that a machine can process, qubits, commerce workers mean other thresholds, such as B. error correction software.
  • Talks have been going on for years, including during the Trump administration, and an earlier draft proposal met with industry opposition.

The stakes around quantum computing could be high, whether quantum computing companies ever deliver what they promised.

  • If the promise of quantum computing is realized, it could significantly disrupt fields like cryptography or chemistry, and possibly classical computing in general.
  • That this is the case is recognized worldwide and discussions between the Wassenaar nations have been going on for some time.

The steps around quantum computing are part of a comprehensive view of the administration in technologies that underpin U.S. national security and economy, and identify other technologies that may be critical in the future.

  • Top officials identified chips as one of the technology’s core sets and on Oct. 7 issued sweeping restrictions on chip exports.
  • Beyond chips, national security adviser Jake Sullivan identified computers in general (including quantum technology), biotechnology, and clean energy as key areas the government would focus on.
  • Additional scrutiny in these areas and activities around the US government examining how to achieve these goals will continue in the coming months.

Read the whole story here.

— Max A. Cherney (E-mail | chirp)

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Microsoft’s AI future in China

Microsoft was a key force in helping China become the AI ​​powerhouse it is today. Now, with the mere thought of a US company participating in tech projects in China being scrutinized by lawmakers, national security hawks, and human rights defenders, the company could be forced to grapple with tough decisions surrounding the thriving AI ecosystem , which promoted it there.

“Basically, it can be argued that Microsoft Research Asia was the kind of seed capital from which many Chinese AI companies and researchers and the sector really thrived,” said Paul Triolo, senior vice president focused on China at the global strategy consultancy Albright Stonebridge Group.

Microsoft established the Beijing Research Laboratory, also known as MSRA, in 1998. Since then, elements of the research conducted there have been used to create all sorts of Microsoft products. And the research that has emerged from MSRA has helped advance speech recognition, natural language and image processing, and other deep learning research, influencing work at Apple, DeepMind, Facebook, and around the world.

The contributions of Microsoft researchers in China “earn and benefit the international academic research community, which is why I believe it’s important to invest in AI research in China,” Peter Lee, corporate vice president of Microsoft Research and Education, told me Incubations in an email.

However, as the US has expanded its sanctions network to include more Chinese tech companies, it remains to be seen what the future holds for Microsoft’s established AI partnerships in China. “It’s possible that the US government could pressure Microsoft not to pursue certain types of AI research at MSRA, but that would be a big problem for Microsoft in the AI ​​space,” Triolo said.

There’s so much more to mine whole story, including memories from the co-founders of MSRA. Read it – and the rest of Protocol series for evaluating the so-called AI race between the US and China – here.

— Kate Kaye (E-mail | chirp)

AI and chips: what the future holds for the US and China

On Thursday, November 3 at 10:30 am PDT, join Protocol Enterprise’s Kate Kaye for a virtual event that will feature two separate discussions between technology and policy experts on the future of AI-related partnerships between technology companies, developers, and AI researchers take place USA and China, part of Protocol Enterprise’s special report on the future of global AI development amid rise of nationalism.

In the first discussion, Kate and a panel of experts – Davis Sawyer, co-founder and chief product officer of Deeplite; Xiaomeng Lu, Director of Geotechnology at Eurasia Group; and Abigail Coplin, assistant professor of sociology and science, technology and society at Vassar College – will address US-China AI technical collaboration, the possibility of additional US-Chinese divisions that could impact the AI ​​and semiconductor industries, and the way AI technology is being tackled US-China cooperation will be difficult to unravel, and more.

In the second discussion, Kate is joined by Matt Sheehan, a fellow of the Asia Program of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace; Rebecca Arcesati, Analyst at the Mercator Institute for China Studies (MERICS); and Renard Bridgewater, member of the Eye on Surveillance Coalition, to examine the realities and misconceptions surrounding AI ethics in China, the country’s AI and privacy regulations, and the risks of an AI conversation in the US being carried out by national security forces is advanced.

Answer here.

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Thanks for reading – see you tomorrow!

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