The US Senate has recently approved a bill to increase the production and development of artificial intelligence (AI) and other technology in order to face international competition, especially from China.
Indeed, the bill, which passed on Tuesday, provides a $50bn emergency allotment to the US commerce department so as to help boost semiconductor development and manufacturing thanks to research and incentive programs authorized by Congress. Thus, the bill aims to increase spending by $250bn within the first five years.
President Biden stated that the United States needed to maintain its position as one of the most innovative and productive nations and cannot take the risk of falling behind as many countries are starting to investing in emerging technologies. The bill is then described as the biggest investment in scientific research in the US.
The bill will also see the creation of a new directorate focused on artificial intelligence and quantum science with the National Science Foundation.
Moreover, it was reported that the bill will include China-related provisions such as the prohibition of downloading the social media app TikTok on government devices and purchasing drones manufactured and sold by companies backed by the Chinese government.
The bill will now have to be approved by the House of Representatives before it is sent to the White House for the president’s signature. It appears that this is seen as an opportunity for the United States to remain ahead of the competition, especially when facing China.
However, some senators have tried to strike a balance so as to avoid increasing the anti-Asian rhetoric at a time when hate crimes against Asian Americans have spiked during the pandemic.