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AI Leaders Leverage Congress as China Tensions Rise| GuyWhoKnowsThings

In recent weeks, American lawmakers have moved to ban the Chinese-owned app TikTok. president biden reinforced his commitment to overcome China's technological boom. And the Chinese government added chips from Intel and AMD to an import blacklist.

Now, as the technological and economic cold war between the United States and China accelerates, Silicon Valley leaders are capitalizing on the conflict with a lobby to defend their interests in another promising field of technology: artificial intelligence.

On May 1, more than 100 tech chiefs and investors, including Alex Karp, head of the defense contractor Palantirand Roelof Botha, managing partner of venture capital firm Sequoia Capital, will come to Washington for a day-long conference and private dinner focused on generating a tougher attitude toward China's progress in AI.

Dozens of lawmakers, including Speaker Mike Johnson, R-Louisiana, will also attend the event, the Hill & Valley Forum, which will include fireside chats and keynote discussions with members of a new House AI task force.

Technology executives plan to use the event to directly lobby against AI regulations they see as onerous, as well as to call for more government spending on technology and research to support its development. They also plan to call for relaxing immigration restrictions to bring more AI experts to the United States.

The event highlights an unusual area of ​​agreement between Washington and Silicon Valley, which have long clashed over issues such as data privacy, protecting children online and even China.

“At the end of the day, whether you're in industry or government, or whatever side of the aisle you're on, we play for Team America,” said Rep. Jay Obernolte of California, Republican chairman of the Caucus. of AI Working Group of the House of Representatives. who will deliver the opening remarks of the conference.

After the rise over the last year of generative AI – technology that has the potential to fundamentally change productivity, innovation and employment trends – lobbying on the topic has exploded. Last year, more than 450 companies, nonprofits, universities and trade groups reported lobbying for AI, more than double the number of organizations the year before, according to OpenSecrets, a nonprofit research group. . Palantir more than doubled its lobbying spending last year to $5 million, its highest level on record.

As tech leaders tap into anti-China fervor in Washington, civil society groups and academics warn that debates over competition for tech leadership could harm efforts to regulate potential damagesuch as the risks that some AI tools could destroy jobs, spread disinformation and disrupt elections.

“The dynamics of this race between the United States and China have profound implications because, on the other side of the China slowdown, there are frictions and minimal regulations for American companies,” said Amba Kak, executive director of the AI ​​Now Institute, a firm research. and former Chief AI Advisor to the Federal Trade Commission.

AI experts say China lags behind US in generative AI at least a year and they may be falling even further behind, although a new study suggests that it is ahead in talent.

The May event is organized by Jacob Helberg, a senior advisor to Palantir and a member of the US-China Economic and Security Review Commission, which reports to Congress on national security threats posed by China. He expanded this year's forum to the first meeting he organized last yearwhich was a private dinner focused largely on the threat from TikTok, owned by Beijing-based ByteDance.

In addition to AI, lawmakers speaking at the Capitol event will push for the Senate to pass legislation to ban TikTok, and Tom Mueller, a founding employee of SpaceX, will talk about the space race between the United States and China. Attendees will include Senator Mike Rounds, Republican of South Dakota and ranking member of the Armed Services Committee, and Representative Ritchie Torres, Democrat of New York on the House Select Committee on the Chinese Communist Party .

“Tech companies can no longer be neutral,” Helberg said, adding that he is refraining from any work involving contracts at the US-China Economic and Security Review Commission that could give Palantir an advantage.

Venture capitalists attending the event have dozens of investments in AI. Sequoia has invested in more than 70 AI startups. Khosla Ventures, a $15 billion venture firm, has several investments, including in OpenAI, the company behind the chatbot ChatGPT.

“It has become even more obvious, even more critical, that we treat China as an adversary,” said Vinod Khosla, director of Khosla Ventures, who will speak at the forum. “What worries me is Western values ​​versus a different set of values ​​in China.”

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