Podcast Notes: Export controls in AI.
Every week we summarize a podcast about A.I. to keep you informed and up-to-date without having to listen to the full interview. This week features Jason Matheny of the U.S. National Security Commission on Artificial Intelligence, which Congress created to review and make recommendations on the national security implications of A.I.
Craig: Can you talk about the AI commission's latest recommendations?
Jason says the commission's interim report discussed export controls and investment screenings as ways to protect America's edge in security technologies.
It's a difficult balance for the government. You need the policies to prevent critical technologies from falling into the wrong hands, but not cause such harm to industries and undercut U.S. competitiveness. This requires technical expertise as well as strong regulatory bodies to target the policies to specific technologies and organizations.
Craig: Can you talk about why there is not that technical expertise, particularly for these technologies?
It's hard for government, in general, to quickly draw from the expertise that in the private sector, either from academia or in industry. There are high opportunity costs for the people with technical expertise in the private sector. But the government can access that technical expertise where it already exists.
One thing highlighted in the report is the need to access talent that exists in federally funded research and development centers, as well as university-affiliated research centers. This includes organizations like the National Lab, the applied physics laboratory at Johns Hopkins, and MIT's Lincoln laboratory. Those are really extraordinary concentrations of technical talent that the government has access to. The U.S. should leverage that and get their advice on things like export controls and investment screening.
Craig: Is part of the problem that there isn't sufficient technical expertise among congressional staff to move quickly on these recommendations?
Congress has access to expertise that exists within the Congressional Research Service and the GAO. But when you get down to details, that's where you technical experts need to weigh in...