U.S. officials reportedly are rethinking the advisability of allowing the Chinese to invest in sensitive technologies seen as vital to national security.

Reuters reported Wednesday U.S. officials are concerned such cutting-edge technologies as artificial intelligence and machine learning could be used by the Chinese to augment their military capabilities and achieve greater advancements in strategic industries.

Technology is the fastest growing industry in the United States, and China has funneled $45.6 billion into U.S. acquisitions and Greenfield investments in the last year, Rhodium Group found. That investment is expected to double this year.

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Artificial intelligence and machine learning are seen as key components of the military drone program, which is an integral part of the fight against the Islamic State group. The Pentagon is trying to develop algorithms to sort through the mounds of data the drones provide, freeing human analysts from examining all but the most significant information.

"A lot of times these things are flying around [and] ... there's nothing in the scene that's of interest," Air Force Lt. Gen. John N.T. "Jack" Shanahan, director for defense intelligence for warfighting support, told Reuters.

Shanahan said his team is attempting to get the system to recognize such items as trucks and buildings and people so that patterns can be detected. Some $30 million is being invested in the effort. Silicon Valley is working on similar technology, which could be adapted for military purposes by adversaries, Reuters said.

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Reuters said it had reviewed a Pentagon report that warns China is avoiding U.S. oversight and gaining access to sensitive technology as the debate continues on strengthening the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States, which reviews foreign acquisitions of U.S. companies based on national security considerations. The Chinese reportedly have sidestepped much of that scrutiny by taking small positions in early-stage startups.

Defense Secretary Jim Mattis has called the committee’s methods “outdated,” saying it needs to be updated to meet current circumstances.

"For decades, the United States enjoyed uncontested or dominant superiority in every operating domain or realm. ... Today, every operating domain — outer space, air, sea, undersea, land and cyberspace — is contested," Mattis testified Tuesday before a Senate committee.

The committee, under the Obama administration, prevented Chinese acquisition of high-end chipmakers.

CB Insights said it has tracked 29 Chinese investors who have put money into U.S. artificial intelligence companies since 2012.

An aide to Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, told Reuters the lawmaker is working on legislation that would give the committee, which is composed by representatives from the departments of  Treasury, Defense, Justice, Homeland Security, Commerce, State and Energy, more authority to block some technology investments.

"Artificial intelligence is one of many leading-edge technologies that China seeks and that has potential military applications," the Cornyn aide said. "These technologies are so new that our export control system has not yet figured out how to cover them, which is part of the reason they are slipping through the gaps in the existing safeguards."

"Quite a few people in the U.S. security establishment see China as a likely potential adversary," Professor Trevor Taylor of the U.K.'s Royal United Services Institute for Defense and Security Studies told the BBC.

"A message that's come through clearly from the Pentagon is that artificial intelligence and man-machine interfaces are going to be crucial for the U.S. to restore the gap between its capabilities and that of others.

"So, it's understandable that they would not want the Chinese to get access to American expertise.”