1 of 2 | President Joe Biden signed an executive order Wednesday banning U.S. investments in artificial intelligence and other technologies that come from China. File Photo by Yuri Gripas/UPI | License Photo
Aug. 9 (UPI) -- President Joe Biden signed an executive order Wednesday banning U.S. investments in artificial intelligence and other technologies that come from China.
The White House said in a statement the Biden administration remains "committed to keeping America safe and defending America's national security by protecting technologies that are critical to the next generation of military innovation."
Besides AI, such technologies include semiconductors and microelectronics, as well as quantum information technologies.
The executive order did not limit the executive order to China, rather it focused on the broader "countries of concern." However, Biden did append an annex to the executive order identifying China and two of its special administrative regions, Hong Kong and Macau, as a country of concern.
Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen will have the authorization to regulate U.S. investments into entities engaged in activities involving the "sensitive technologies," which are critical to national security.
In its own statement, the Treasury Department said China is already exploiting U.S. investments to modernize its military technologies.
The United States already prohibits or restricts the exports of many such technologies being considered under the program, the Treasury Department noted.
"These countries eliminate barriers between civilian and commercial sectors and military and defense industrial sectors, not just through research and development, but also by acquiring and diverting the world's cutting-edge technologies, for the purposes of achieving military dominance," Biden wrote in the executive order.
"Rapid advancement in semiconductors and microelectronics, quantum information technologies, and artificial intelligence capabilities by these countries significantly enhances their ability to conduct activities that threaten the national security of the United States."
Earlier this month, Rep. Mike Gallagher -- the chairman of the House Select Committee on the Chinese Communist Party -- wrote to Biden ahead of the rumored executive order.
"U.S. investment flowing into the PRC poses a significant national security risk, exposes Americans to material and systemic financial risks, and makes them complicit -- often unwittingly -- in human-rights abuses," Gallagher said in his letter.
"Though the exact total is unknown, by one estimate, over $200 billion of U.S. capital is invested in PRC companies through private markets, while over $1.1 trillion of American capital is invested through public markets in PRC stocks and bonds."
Gallagher added that a "sizeable portion" of such investments directly finance Chinese technology companies with documented connections to the Chinese military and the Chinese Communist Party's "abhorrent human rights abuses."
Biden announced another initiative Wednesday to assert U.S. dominance in such technologies -- the AI Cyber Challenge competition to award millions in prizes to those who identify and fix cyber vulnerabilities using AI.