Proposed technology export ban in US could affect Apple

Published: Nov 20, 2018, 18:37 IST | IANS | San Francisco

In Apple's case, such restrictions on AI technology could hypothetically prevent the company from selling iPhones in specific markets completely

A ban has been proposed in the US on the selling of emerging technologies like Artificial Intelligence (AI), computer vision and iPhone processor technology, which could majorly affect trade, working and research of many tech giants, including Apple.

In Apple's case, such restrictions on AI technology could hypothetically prevent the company from selling iPhones in specific markets completely, or force it to produce a version with features cut to comply with licensing rules, Apple Insider reported on Monday.

According to a document shared on Twitter by former presidential technology and national security advisor R. David Edelman, the US Bureau of Industry and Security has requested for public comments about the idea of monitoring the sales of certain technologies to other countries.

The filing is a request for public comment on "criteria for identifying emerging technologies that are essential to US national security", due to the potential of being used as conventional weapons, weapons of mass destruction, terrorist applications, intelligence collection, or "could provide the United States with a qualitative military or intelligence advantage", the report added.

The technologies are being tested for national security impact including deep learning technologies, computer vision, speech and audio processing, AI cloud technologies, AI chipsets, and the potential for audio and video manipulation technologies.

Apple covers a number of products and services offered to consumers as well as the ones the company is working on which are based on AI -- for example, the natural language processing and AI technologies relate to Siri, along with Apple's other machine learning work, while computer vision would cover Face ID and vision systems used in Apple's self-driving vehicle-oriented "Project Titan".

Other general areas raised include navigation, quantum information, sensing technology, robotics, drones, brain-computer interfaces, advanced materials, advanced surveillance and microprocessor technology.

American citizens can share their responses on the subject only by December 19 -- giving only a one-month window for responses from the public before the Bureau starts pressing the matter further.

There has been no comment from Apple expressing concerns or opinions on the matter as yet.

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