A top CIA official is warning of the potential threat that China’s artificial intelligence programs may pose to U.S. national security, as the agency also seeks to deploy the tech in a way that is beneficial to the U.S.
Lakshmi Raman, the CIA’s director for artificial intelligence, said at the Politico AI & Tech Summit this week that the agency is watching China’s AI program — with a concern about how it could leverage the technology.
“They are growing every which way,” she said.
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That concern echoes concerns from other parts of the federal government. The Department of Homeland Security’s threat assessment said that “the proliferation of “accessible artificial intelligence tools likely will bolster our adversaries’ tactics.”
“Nation-states seeking to undermine trust in our government institutions, social cohesion, and democratic processes are using AI to create more believable mis-, dis-, and malinformation campaigns, while cyber actors use AI to develop new tools and accesses that allow them to compromise more victims and enable larger-scale, faster, efficient, and more evasive cyber attacks,” the assessment said.
But Raman said that the power of the tech also has potential positives for the U.S., including allowing agents to go through enormous amounts of data and identify trends that wouldn’t be possible without the technology.
She also said that the agency is developing an internal chatbot to help with research and writing.
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“What AI sometimes enables in these spaces is the ability to do it at a scale and speed that hasn’t been possible,” she said, according to the outlet. “It’s much more available, and much easier for people.”
She also said that the agency is looking to hire, telling the conference that “we need the people who can do this kind of work.”
There has been both excitement and concern about the potential uses of the technology. Lawmakers in Congress recently met with tech giants, union leaders and experts about how best to regulate the technology.
A recent Pew Research survey found that a majority of Americans are “more concerned than excited” by the increased use of AI in daily life, a number that has increased dramatically in the last few years.
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