Cross-disciplinary AI supply chain risk assessment


  • Gareth Davies University of West of England
  • Angela Mison University of South Wales (UK)
  • Dr. Richard Ward University of South Wales (UK)



While AI remains chip based and part of both commercial and national strategic superiority goals, it is useful to examine the security and risks associated with achieving those goals.  The future strategy rests perilously on an unstable inverted triangle of financial and economic reality. This paper presents the AI chip supply chain as an inverted triangle which base/apex is dependent on a global single supplier with the capability of producing equipment essential for their manufacture.  It highlights the dependence on a single company for the fabrication of those chips, and the security risks associated with that supplier being Taiwanese in limited foreign ownership.  It is suggested that the increasing tensions between China and the USA have resulted, in part, from this dependence, which was demonstrated by the supply chain crisis resulting from Covid-19.  The attempt to reduce this dependence led to the CHIPS and Science Act 2022, signed into law by President Biden.  In part of the inverted triangle are found Big Tech and the major Cloud Service Providers.  They vary between 60% - 80% of their market capital being in financial institutional ownership, most of which is held by a very limited number of institutions, not all of whom are publicly quoted.  To doubt the influence wielded by those financial institutions, just a single institution with major Big Tech and Cloud holdings has, at 31 December 2022, USD 8.59 trillion of assets under management.  This represents economic power and places it between the equivalent Gross Domestic Product of China (USD 19.37 trillion) and Japan (USD 4.41 trillion) the second and third entries behind the USA in the GDP rankings.  Financial institutions are market driven to achieve growth, contribute to economic stability, and are to an extent regulated by unelected vested interests and organisations. The battlefield for national supremacy of AI may concern chips, until the arrival of quantum AI.   Current Chinese economic woes are providing the momentum for pre-emptive strikes at the semiconductor industry, and an inverted triangle is neither a secure nor stable structure for a supply chain.

Author Biographies

Gareth Davies, University of West of England

Gareth Davies is a senior cyber academic at the University of The West of England, UK. Gareth was nominated and shortlisted for the UK ‘Cyber Citizen of The Year Award’ by the UK National Cyber Security Awards in 2021.

Angela Mison, University of South Wales (UK)

Angela Mison is a PhD Researcher, sponsored by Thales, at the University of South Wales, based at the Treforest campus.  She received her MSc Computer Forensics from the University of South Wales, and awarded AESIN Cyber Student of the Year in Automotive by TechWorks in 2019.  Her research area is the cybersecurity of connected and autonomous vehicles.

Dr. Richard Ward, University of South Wales (UK)

Dr Richard Ward is a senior lecturer in Cyber Security at the University of South Wales, based at the Treforest Campus. His academic interests cover a broad range of topics including Cyber Security and AI, combinatorics, cryptography, encryption and side-channel attacks.