It is no secret that the United States is making various efforts to prevent China from gaining access to advanced chips for artificial intelligence. Washington has sharpened the sanctions against Beijing and has even involved other major players such as the Netherlands and Japan in this trade war.
The axis of the movements of the Joe Biden administration to bring the Asian giant to its knees has basically consisted of avoiding the exports of graphics such as the NVIDIA A100 and NVIDIA H100, two key components for machine learning tasks. Now, China has certain resources to get by.
When you can “rent” western data centers
Beyond the parallel market where it is usually possible to buy the aforementioned advanced chips (although at an exorbitant price), there is an alternative that no physical components required. We are talking about cloud computing, a possibility that in recent years has substantially transformed the technology industry.
Gone are the days when, as a company, research lab, etc., you had to set up your own servers or have physical access to them. In the world we live in we can use a huge amount of computing resources without a complex infrastructure of our own. As? With cloud computing services like Amazon Web Services, Microsoft Azure, IBM Cloud and Google Cloud.
As we can see, the possibilities that this scenario opens up are enormous. For example, giants like Spotify or Netflix resort to this type of highly scalable and customizable to meet your needs for storage, databases, analytics, recommendation engines, transcoding and more. even does Midjourney to train its artificial intelligence models.
Faced with this scenario, collects The Wall Street JournalUS national security analysts believe that Chinese companies may have been using cloud services from Western companies to circumvent part of the sanctions. This intelligent movement, however, could have its days numbered since Washington is preparing to carry out a new movement at the cost of more sanctions.
In addition to trade restrictions already imposed, which also include complex photolithography equipment for chip manufacturing, the Biden administration seeks to force US cloud computing companies to get special permission before offering its services with advanced chips to Chinese companies.
All this is taking place at a time when, as we have said, the commitment to offering cloud computing services oriented towards artificial intelligence continues to grow. Microsoft, for example, has partnered with NVIDIA to create a new AI supercomputer whose power could be made available to customers willing to pay to develop their own projects.
For now, we have to wait to find out if this action that the WSJ is advancing will end up materializing. It should be noted, however, that China has not stood idly by and has also used its power to deal several blows to the United Statesfor example, by limiting exports of certain metals and closing the door on Micron, the largest US memory maker.
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