U.S. not prepared to defend against AI-based attacks, report says

The federal government is not prepared to address threats posed by the increased adoption of artificial intelligence, according to a new report from the The National Security Commission on Artificial Intelligence.

The report recommends that the United States invest $40 billion in AI research to keep up with adversaries including China and Russia in the AI field, and set a goal of becoming “AI-ready” by 2025.

“This is not a time for abstract criticism of industrial policy or fears of deficit spending to stand in the way of progress. In 1956, President Dwight Eisenhower, a fiscally conservative Republican, worked with a Democratic Congress to commit $10 billion to build the Interstate Highway System. That is $96 billion in today’s world,” the report says. “Surely we can make a similar investment in the nation’s future.”

The report argues that the United States is currently ahead, falling behind in guarding against the increased use of foreign powers to spread disinformation online and launch cyberattacks.

The commissioners also wrote that this is not the time for “incremental toggles to federal research budgets or adding a few new positions in the Pentagon for Silicon Valley technologists.”

The report does propose the creation of a Technology Competitiveness Council within the White House to be chaired by the vice president as well as a Steering Committee on Emerging Technology within the Defense Department to coordinate and advance implementation of technology.

It also urges President Joe Biden to reject calls for a global ban on AI-powered autonomous weapons, saying that China and Russia are unlikely to keep to any treaty they sign.

The commission was established as part of the 2019 National Defense Authorization Act and the majority of its members — who include representatives from Google, Microsoft, Amazon Web Services and Oracle — were appointed by Congress.

US lagging in critical artificial intelligence: panel

San Francisco (AFP) March 2, 2021 –
The United States is dangerously behind in artificial intelligence critical to its future including national security, according to a commission that includes a former head of Google and the future chief of Amazon.

A report released by the National Security Commission on Artificial Intelligence called for the country to invest $40 billion to win a strategic AI competition with China.

“America is not prepared to defend or compete in the AI era,” ex-Google chief Eric Schmidt and former US deputy secretary of defense Robert Work said in a letter included with the 756-page report.

“This is the tough reality we must face,” the chairs of the commission said in the report released late Monday.

The commission formed by Congress in 2018 is made up of technologists, national security professionals, business executives, and academic leaders including Oracle chief executive Safra Katz, an Andrew Jassy, who will take over head of Amazon later this year.

“AI will be the most powerful tool in generations for benefiting humanity,” the letter read.

“AI systems will also be used in the pursuit of power. We fear AI tools will be weapons of first resort in future conflicts.”

Nations are already using AI in disinformation attacks to sow division and confusion in democracies, the commission maintained, warning that states, terrorists, and criminals will pair it with commercially available drones to make “smart weapons.”

“It is no secret that America’s military rivals are integrating AI concepts and platforms to challenge the United States’ decades-long technology advantage,” the letter read.

“We will not be able to defend against AI-enabled threats without ubiquitous AI capabilities and new war-fighting paradigms.”

China’s efforts to become the world’s leader in AI within a decade should worry Americans, according to the commission, which maintained that the technology is used by that country for repression and surveillance.

The commission called for the creation of a US academy that recruits and develops tech talent with rigor on par with the way military officers are cultivated.

The United States also needs to ramp up science and technology education and do more to attract highly skilled immigrants, the commission said.

The country should make a priority of reviving domestic production of sophisticated computer chips, most of which are now made at factories in Asia, according to the report.

“A strategic blockage would cost far more and put our security at risk,” the report said.

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Former defense contractor pleads guilty to taking classified documents

Washington DC (UPI) Feb 26, 2021

A former U.S. Air Force contractor pleaded guilty to stealing about 2,500 pages of classified documents, the Justice Department announced.
Izaak Vincent Kemp admitted that he illegally took 112 classified documents during his employment between 2016 and 2019 at the U.S. Air Force Research Laboratory and the National Air and Space Intelligence Center, both located at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio.
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