Why are we selling American AI mil-tech to China?

Researchers combed through more than 66,000 publicly available Peoples Liberation Army purchase records throughout the eight-month period from April to November 2020 and identified 97 unique, high-end artificial intelligence (AI) chips ordered by the PLA. Nearly all of them were designed by U.S. firms Nvidia, Xilinx (now AMD), Intel, and Microsemi.

The CSET report reveals that China is progressing toward its goal of becoming a global powerhouse in artificial intelligence by 2030, thanks to chips developed by U.S. companies.

The Chinese military’s progress in artificial intelligence largely depends on continued access to high-end semiconductors. By analyzing thousands of purchasing records, the policy brief (below) offers a detailed look at how China’s military comes to access these devices. The authors find that most computer chips ordered by Chinese military units are designed by American companies, and outline steps that the U.S. government could/should take to curtail their access.