In recent years, the emergence of AI has played a pivotal role in shaping the landscape of the electronics market. However, introducing new AI regulations in both the United States and the European Union is set to impact the industry significantly. These regulations, designed to address concerns related to national security, competition, and consumer privacy, could ripple throughout the global electronics market.
In addition to national security and competition concerns, the impact of AI regulations on the global electronics market extends to trade and supply chains.
Impact of AI regulations
Nvidia, the leading AI chip manufacturer, is already feeling the effects of these export controls, as it may need to cancel billions of dollars in future orders to China. This could impact Chinese tech companies that rely on Nvidia’s AI resources. Nvidia is not alone, as many other companies may also face challenges in navigating the complex web of export regulations, potentially disrupting supply chains and affecting the global electronics market.
Nvidia said its L40S, an AI chip it launched this year, is also affected by the U.S. export ban. Some Chinese companies had talked with Nvidia about increasing purchases of L40S GPUs weeks before the Oct. 17 new rules, as the industry speculated that A800 and H800 were likely to be banned by the U.S.
The U.S. & EU in the lead
The U.S. domination of AI research and development is hard to overstate. The wealth, power, and ambition of U.S. tech giants remain unmatched. According to the 2023 State of AI report, the U.S. produced more than 70 percent of the most cited AI research papers over the past three years, followed by China and the U.K.
U.S. President Joe Biden issued one of the most sweeping regulatory orders in the AI sector. The order addresses various AI-related concerns, from national security threats to competition and consumer privacy. The order recognizes the immense potential of AI while acknowledging the need to govern this technology effectively. It represents a significant step towards harnessing the benefits of AI while mitigating the associated risks. The order mobilizes various government agencies, including the Departments of Commerce, Energy, and Homeland Security, to work jointly in regulating AI effectively.
Companies developing AI models that could threaten U.S. national security must share information on how they are ensuring the safety of their tools. This requirement is essential in a world where AI technology is increasingly entangled with critical infrastructure, military applications, and cybersecurity. By ensuring transparency and accountability, the U.S. government aims to protect its national interests and maintain a competitive edge in AI technology.
While the United States is taking significant steps to regulate AI, the European Union has been at the forefront of the race to enact comprehensive AI legislation. Its landmark AI law is set to be fully approved by the end of the year and will become a model for other regions. The E.U. has adopted a proactive approach, recognizing the need for balanced regulation that addresses risks without stifling innovation.
The legislation addresses issues related to transparency, accountability, and the responsible use of AI, aiming to strike a balance between fostering innovation and protecting consumers and society. The law also significantly focuses on high-risk applications, ensuring they are subject to stricter regulation and oversight.
“The AI act is in the final stages of the legislative process. In that process, we are discussing the foundation of a European AI Office. This office could deal with the most advanced AI models, with responsibility for oversight,” said Commission President Ursula von der Leyen.
“With the AI act, the E.U. is a global frontrunner in setting clear and proportionate rules on AI to tackle risks and promote innovation,” said Thierry Breton, Commissioner for Internal Market.
However, Věra Jourová, the European Commission’s vice-president for values and transparency, has cautioned against being overly paranoid or restrictive in regulating generative artificial intelligence. She emphasizes the importance of conducting a solid analysis of possible risks and adapting regulations dynamically based on the technology’s usage. This approach aligns with the E.U.’s commitment to fostering innovation while ensuring the responsible use of AI.
The U.K. & China discuss AI
The Bletchley Park summit on artificial intelligence, hosted by U.K. Prime Minister Rishi Sunak, brought together officials from the U.S. and China, who surprisingly found common ground on the need to control AI despite trade and technological tensions. This gathering of representatives from 28 nations, as well as prominent tech figures, highlighted the U.K.’s ability to convene discussions on AI. However, it also exposed underlying tensions regarding AI development, as the U.S. asserted its leadership in AI innovation and its intent to write its own rules for AI regulation and security. The U.S. announced plans to establish its AI Safety Institute, aligning with the U.K.’s similar initiative, leading to competition expectations in the AI domain.
Impact on the supply chain
In addition to national security and competition concerns, the impact of these AI regulations on the global electronics market extends to trade and supply chains. The recent U.S. export controls on AI chips, exemplified by Nvidia’s situation, can have far-reaching consequences. The restrictions require companies to obtain licenses before exporting high-performance AI chips to countries of concern, including China. This move is part of a broader effort to limit China’s access to advanced chips and AI technology due to concerns about its military and cyber capabilities.
Meanwhile, widespread interest in AI applications has begun to strain chip supplies. Availability remains limited for Nvidia’s Tesla series, according to distributor Fusion Worldwide. The constraints have pushed AI and deep learning customers to alternative GPUs, which has resulted in a spike in demand for the A10, A30, and A40. Pricing has followed suit due to the unexpected uptrend, with a concentrated increase in Asian markets thanks to heightened demand. Lead times have also expanded for mainstream workstation series as demand has spiked within multiple industries, Fusion reports.
Furthermore, RTX 4090 supply has been drastically reduced due to the lower allocation of GPU chipsets. This development has affected overall GPU allocation and caused lead times to extend. Supply is volatile for the RTX 4090 single blower edition series, Fusion reports, and delivery time frames from all GPU sourcing partners will be subject to change until further notice.
Alternatively, shipment dates for the new model L40s have been confirmed and will arrive between October and November. This GPU has improved performance compared to Nvidia’s Tesla A800, so Fusion expects demand will likely decline for older series as customers upgrade to the newer model. Vendors may release more of their A800 inventory to prevent further price erosion.
The electronics industry must adapt to evolving AI regulations, which may affect trade, supply chains, and the competitive landscape. Finding the right balance between fostering innovation and ensuring responsible AI development will be crucial for the industry’s future.
The post How New AI Regulations Will Impact the Supply Chain appeared first on EPS News.