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Semiconductor Export Restrictions Could Harm U.S. Companies, Industry Says

The United States acted unilaterally, and its allies are not yet ‘on board,’ said the Semiconductor Industry Association.

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Photo of Jimmy Goodrich, vice president of global policy at the Semiconductor Industry Association

WASHINGTON, November 4, 2022 – The Department of Commerce’s recent export restrictions on semiconductors will make American companies less competitive in global markets unless U.S. allies agree to abide by similar measures, Jimmy Goodrich, vice president of global policy at the Semiconductor Industry Association, at a web panel Friday.

In October, Commerce prohibited the exportation to China of certain high-functioning chips necessary for supercomputers and moved to prevent other countries from providing China with certain semiconductors made with American technology.

The Commerce Department also limited American citizens’ ability to work with Chinese chip facilities. The restrictions were billed as a national security imperative and designed to limit the development next-generation, chip-dependent Chinese military technology.

However, the United States acted unilaterally, and her allies are not yet “on board,” Goodrich said.

Until allies opt into similar restrictions, the department’s new rules will “encourage the de-Americanization of [intellectual property] and supply chains,” Goodrich said. “If you’re a multinational company, you’re thinking about developing your intellectual property, where are you going to do it? Probably not the United States at this point.”

“You’re going to look to Singapore, Malaysia, India, Australia, where you may not face that type of regulatory environment,” he added.

China is a huge market for the American chip industry and related businesses, and based on the new restrictions, some firms are predicting revenue declines of $1 billion to $2.5 billion, Goodrich said.

“[The challenge] is balancing a national security with the economic security piece,” stated Paul Triolo, senior vice president for China and technology policy lead at the Albright Stonebridge Group. “There hasn’t really been a significant discussion of how China fits into [global] supply chains and under what conditions.”

Commerce added the export restrictions just two months after President Joe Biden signed into law the CHIPS and Science Act, which allocated $52.7 billion for domestic semiconductor research, development, manufacturing, and workforce development. Since CHIPS, Intel and others have announced or broken ground on several chip factories in the United States.

Advanced Energy

Debt Ceiling Law Doesn’t Change Administration Priorities on Semiconductors, Advanced Energy and Broadband

With government action, America can reindustrialize itself, bolster national security, revive left-behind places and reduce carbon emissions.

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WASHINGTON, June 2, 2023 — Perhaps the greatest surprise of the debt ceiling deal passed Thursday night by the Senate (and on Wednesday by the House) is that it leaves unscathed the Biden administration’s three top domestic priorities: the Inflation Reduction Act (August 2022), semiconductor promotion in the CHIPS and Science Act (July 2022), and the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (November 2021).

Together, these measures will invest more than $2 trillion of federal funds into American manufacturing, infrastructure (including broadband) and advanced energy.

REGISTER FOR THE MADE IN AMERICA SUMMIT

As Broadband Breakfast’s Made in America Summit takes shape, we encourage you to register now to attend this important event on Tuesday, June 27, in Washington. The summit’s four sessions will explore the intersection of these vital big-picture topics:

  • (R)e-building Energy and Internet Infrastructure
  • Semiconductor Manufacturing and U.S.-Chinese Tech Race
  • Challenges to Reorienting America’s Supply Chain
  • Making Cleaner Energy and Enhancing Green Industry

The Inflation Reduction Act invests billions of dollars in clean energy projects that work to limit carbon emissions and other pollutants, including solar, wind, nuclear, clean hydrogen and more. But will its investments in clean energy founder on the lack of infrastructure deployment, or by delays in federal, state and local permitting? This session will also consider the intersection of “smart grid” infrastructure, long-haul and local, and the synchronicities between the broadband and energy economies.

• Lori Bird, U.S. Energy Program Director and Polsky Chair for Renewable Energy, World Resources Institute
• Xan Fishman, Director of Energy Policy and Carbon Management, Bipartisan Policy Center
• Quindi Franco, Assistant Director, Government Accountability Office
• Robert Glicksman, Professor of Environmental Law, George Washington University Law School
Other panelists have been invited

The CHIPS and Science Act provides $280 billion in funding to spur semiconductor research and manufacturing in the United States. Semiconductors are key components of consumer electronics, military systems and countless other applications, making a domestic supply chain critically important — particularly amid an increasingly hostile technological race with China. How successful will efforts be to bring semiconductor manufacturing to America?

• Gene Irisari, Head of Semiconductor Policy, Samsung
• Shawn Muma, Director of Supply Chain Innovation & Emerging Technologies, Digital Supply Chain Institute
• Maryam Rofougaran, CEO and Co-Founder, Movandi Corporation
• Rishi Iyengar (moderator), Global Technology Reporter, Foreign Policy
Other panelists have been invited

The Build America Buy America Act, part of the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, established a domestic content procurement preference for all federally subsidized infrastructure projects. Although waivers of Buy America requirements have been proposed for certain projects — such as Middle Mile Grant Program recipients — it appears unlikely that these will be extended to initiatives such as the Broadband Equity, Access and Deployment program, despite requests and warnings from industry leaders. Although fiber-optic cable production is on the rise, significant issues remain in America’s semiconductor and electronic equipment supply. How will these issues be addressed in broadband and other infrastructure projects?

 Panelists to be announced

The Inflation Reduction Act establishes requirements for the use of American-made equipment in clean energy production. How will those requirements impact green energy development? How will the resulting projects interact with other ongoing infrastructure initiatives? What will it take for America to establish itself as a clean energy superpower?

 Panelists to be announced

Early-bird registration of $199 until Friday, June 9 + government and Broadband Breakfast Club rate.

Check back frequently to see updates on the Made in America Summit event page.

REGISTER FOR THE MADE IN AMERICA SUMMIT

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Artificial Intelligence

U.S. Must Take Lead on Global AI Regulations: State Department Official

Call for leadership comes during pivotal time in AI development.

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Photo of State Department official Jennifer Bachus in December 2014 by Ardian Nrecaj used with permission

WASHINGTON, May 31, 2023 – A State Department official is calling for a United States-led global coalition to set artificial intelligence regulations.

“This is the exact moment where the US needs to show leadership,” Jennifer Bachus, assistant secretary of state for Cyberspace and Digital Policy, said last week on a panel discussing international principles on responsible AI. “This is a shared problem and we need a shared solution.”

She opposed pitting the U.S. and China against one another in the AI race, saying it would “ultimately always lead to a problem.” Instead, Bachus called for an alliance of the United States, the European Union, and Japan to take the lead in creating a legal framework to govern artificial intelligence.

The introduction of OpenAI’s ChatGPT earlier this year sent tech companies in a rush to create their own generative AI chatbot systems. Competition between tech giants has heated up with the recent release of Google’s Bard and Microsoft’s Bing chatbot. Similar to ChatGPT in terms of its vast language model, these chatbots can also access data from the internet to answer queries or carry out tasks.

Experts are concerned about the dangers posed by this unprecedented technology. On Tuesday, hundreds of tech experts and industry leaders, including OpenAI’s CEO Sam Altman, signed a one-sentence statement calling the existential threats presented by A.I. a “global priority” on par with “pandemics and nuclear conflicts.” Earlier in March, Elon Musk joined several AI experts signing another open letter urging for a pause on “giant AI experiments.”

Despite the pressing concerns about generative AI, there is rising criticism that policymakers are slow to put forth adequate legislation for this nascent technology. Panelists argued this is partly because legislators have difficulty understanding technological innovations. Michelle Giuda, director of Krach Institute for Tech Diplomacy, argued for a more proactive contribution from the academic community and tech firms.

“There is a risk of relying too much on the government to regulate ahead of where innovation is going and providing the clarity that’s needed,” said Giuda. “We all know that the government isn’t going to stay ahead of the innovation curve, but this is an ongoing dialogue between tech companies, governments and civil society.”

Microsoft’s Chief Responsible AI Officer, Natasha Crampton, agreed that developers and experts in the field must play a central role in crafting and implementing legislation pertaining to artificial intelligence. She did, however, mention that businesses using AI technology should also share part of the responsibility.

“It is our job to make sure that safety and responsibility is baked into these systems from the very beginning,” said Crampton. “Making sure that you are really holding developers to very high standards but also deployers of technology in some aspects as well.”

Earlier in May, Sens. Michael Bennet, D-C.O., and Peter Welch, D-VT. introduced a bill to establish a government agency to oversee artificial intelligence. The Joe Biden administration also announced $140 million in funding to establish seven new National AI Research institutions, increasing the total number of institutions in the nation to 25.

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Artificial Intelligence

AI is a Key Component in Effectively Managing the Energy Grid

The ability to balance the grid’s supply and demand in real time will become extremely complex.

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Photo of Jeremy Renshaw of the Electric Power Research Institute

WASHINGTON, May 30, 2023 – Artificial intelligence will be required to effectively manage and optimize a more complex energy grid, said experts at a United States Energy Association event Tuesday. 

Renewable energy technologies such as solar panels, electric vehicles, and power walls add large amounts of energy storage to the grid, said Jeremy Renshaw, senior technical executive at the Electric Power Research Institute. Utility companies are required to manage many bidirectional resources that both store and use energy, he said. 

Learn more about the smart grid, clean energy and the U.S.-China tech race at Broadband Breakfast’s Made in America Summit on June 27.

“The grid of the future is going to be significantly more complicated,” said Renshaw. Having humans operate the grid will be economically infeasible, he continued, claiming that AI will drastically improve operations. 

The ability to balance the grid’s supply and demand in real time will become extremely complex with the adoption of these new technologies, added Marc Spieler, leader for global business development at AI hardware and software supplier, Nvidia. 

Utility companies will need to redirect traffic in real time to support the incoming demand, he said. AI enables real time redirecting of traffic and an understanding of the capacity of the grid at any point, said Spieler.  

Moreover, AI can identify what changes need to be made to avoid waste by over generating electricity and black outs by under generating, he said. AI also has the capability to predict and plan for extreme weather that can be hazardous to electrical infrastructure and can identify bottleneck areas where infrastructure needs to be updated, said Spieler. 

Human management will still be required to ensure that systems are operated responsibly, said John Savage, professor of computer science at Brown University. Utility companies should avoid allowing AI to make unsupervised decisions especially for unforeseen scenarios, he said. 

The panelists envision AI as a decision support mechanism to help humans make more informed decisions, agreed the panelists. The technology will replace jobs that deal with mundane and repetitive tasks but will ultimately create more jobs in new positions, said Renshaw. 

This comes several weeks after industry experts urged Congress to implement federal AI regulation. 

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