What’s This? A Bipartisan Plan For AI And National Security

from ars technica

US Reps. Will Hurd and Robin Kelly are from opposite sides of the ever-widening aisle, but they share a concern that the United States may lose its grip on artificial intelligence, threatening the American economy and the balance of world power.

On Thursday, Hurd (R-Tex.) and Kelly (D-Ill.) offered suggestions to prevent the US from falling behind China, especially, on applications of AI to defense and national security. They want to cut off China’s access to AI-specific silicon chips and push Congress and federal agencies to devote more resources to advancing and safely deploying AI technology.

Although Capitol Hill is increasingly divided, the bipartisan duo claims to see an emerging consensus that China poses a serious threat and that supporting US tech development is a vital remedy.

More here.

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6 Comments

  1. Amidst a global pandemic caused by the Coronavirus, our lives have gone digital. From taking classes remotely in pursuit of degrees to keeping desk work out of office buildings and into the household, technology has become an ever-increasingly important aspect in our society. It is not as though the technology has been created in response to the virus, but has rather began being utilized because of its critical need for our lives to continue. Advanced technology surrounds us at all times of the day, and soon, it may even begin to fight our wars for us through the application of Artificial Intelligence.

    While Republicans and Democrats bicker day-in and day-out about the policy regarding foreign affairs, the two parties are beginning to come together to advocate for more funding, research, and application of Artificial Intelligence (AI), according to Tim Simonite’s article in ArsTechnica. Simonite explains the nuances of this bipartisan plan, including some of the issues that are forefront in the minds of many officials and citizens of the world. In my opinion, however, the most pressing issue is AI’s machine learning. Machine learning is nothing new. Our cell phones have the capability of learning our routines over time and adjusting settings and applications on their devices to try and better suit our needs. The machine learning on our everyday devices can take weeks and sometimes even months to configure an algorithm that it believes to fit its owner’s lifestyle, but how can this be done with AI constructed for our national defense?

    Unless there are great advancements in this form of technology (which may occur if more funding and research are conducted, as suggested in Simonite’s article), robots and AIs will be unable to learn to adapt to wartime environments and conditions before it is too late. Furthermore, there are millions of nuances that programmed AI will be unable to process and resolve without malfunction or system error. For example, when the United States’ troops were heavily deployed in the Middle East to combat terrorism, there were dozens, if not more, stories about mothers and children being utilized as weapons. As a result, soldiers had to learn to be aware of everyone and to deem everyone as a threat until proven otherwise. Could a coded AI defense system be able to learn the distinction between a Middle Eastern family and a terroristic threat? If human beings cannot differentiate between the two, then there is a very small likelihood of an AI being programmed to do so successfully.

    While there are many ways the Artificial Intelligence can be utilized domestically in the United States, I believe its current capabilities would not deem it fit to be used for national defense or security. Although a bipartisan plan that advocates for better funding and implementation of Artificial Intelligence on the back-end of our workforce have its merits, but I do not believe Artificial Intelligence has proved itself to be able to keep us safe.

  2. For a very long time, the United States has been the number one world power. No one can compete with the United States economically or militarily. However, for the first time in history, another country has been nipping at the United State’s heals. That country is China. Over the last four decades, China’s gross domestic product has grown at an average annual rate of about 10%. This can be read about here. All of this rapid growth for China has placed them slightly behind the United States economically. If things do not change, China could pass the United States within the next ten years, according to Financial Times.
    Tom Simonite’s article talks about an advancement in Artificial Intelligence (AI) that could possibly keep the United States at the top of the podium of world powers. I support the idea of more Artificial resources in the military for the simple reason that less American troops have to die on the battlefield. Also, the artificial intelligence has the ability to be very effective in the military setting. Being able to precisely carry out operations with the artificial intelligence be more efficient. However, AI can go very wrong, as pointed out in the article. I agree that there would have to be communication between countries about the Artificial Intelligence just incase something goes wrong. For example, a drone flies into another country’s airway by accident. The article talks about the deployment method that would be used initially if AI were to be utilized in the military. AI would be deployed on back office and non-critical uses until reliability improves. Artificial Intelligence in the military will be worked on by elite technological professionals because of the simple fact that it can go really wrong really fast. Weapons are so powerful today, that one wrong coordinate or one programming error could end really bad for everyone. It should be implemented into the military slowly. The AI will continue to advance and become more reliable over time until it can eventually lead the way for the important missions. This is definitely something that Congress should fund for the military and just in general. Implementing AI into the job world would be a lot easier than the military simply because the AI technology in jobs would be much less dangerous than the military. The education system would have to be reformed in order to prepare children for ultimately working with the advanced technology. Training Americans to be more proficient with AI will lead to more success and efficiency in the economy.
    Artificial Intelligence is the future of our world and the sooner we adapt, the better. Countries like China have already caught on and are far more advanced than the United States in the AI department. Advancements in AI in the military and the workforce could propel the Unites States right back on pace to hold the number one world power.

  3. In the United States of America today, we rely heavily on our two-party system. In the past, there were issues in which republicans or democrats voted with the other party’s majority. It is sad to say now that those events are few and far between. Both sides of the political spectrum are as polarized as they have been in decades. Some even argue that now both parties are as polarized as they have ever been. Regardless, there are some issues that are too important to play politics. One of these issues is the looming issue of AI development. Two representatives of the house, Republican Will Hurd and Democrat Robin Kelly, both collectively showed their concerns regarding the United States’ development of AI in contrast to their competition in China. AI, or artificial intelligence, is a key aspect in the future of society. I believe that in 20 years, every technological invention that we interact with will have some sort of connection to an artificial intelligence system. For the United States, ensuring that we stay ahead of all competition in AI development is paramount both to protect the nation from outside threats and make sure we remain the biggest economy in the world. Personally, I believe that AI development is one of the most important issues for the future of the world. Over time, AI will become more effective whether the United States invests in it or not. Therefore we need to stay ahead of the competition. In the near future, I can see companies like Microsoft and Google making substantial amounts of money with AI development. Also, I can foresee an issue like this bringing people together. People may disagree on abortion, border security, and gun control, but it’s hard to argue this issue. Regardless of what you believe, whether you are a democrat or a republican, everyone’s main goal should be realizing the constantly forward-moving direction of this country and the citizens in it. The increasing focus of AI development to me shows no real downsides. Also, I feel like the development of the nation’s AI is something that people on the far left and far right can’t disagree with. I truly am happy to see democrats and republicans working together for a common cause. Because of my age and lack of life experience, I don’t really remember a time where Washington lawmakers acted not as democrats or republicans, but as Americans. However, it is refreshing and delighting to see a change. I am looking forward to the great strides the nation can make with the improvement of its AI capabilities.

  4. Before reading this article, I had the pleasure of watching the movie X-men: First Class with my roommate, as we wanted to celebrate being done with classes for the day. The climax of the movie takes place in Cuba during the Cuban Missile Crisis, and serves as an alternative history of those events. In it, the Soviets and the Americans are both manipulated into moving their missiles into Turkey and Cuba by a nefarious group of mutants. I bring this up because I saw an immediate parallel to the article by Tom Simonite on bipartisan support for AI research and development to win an “arms race” in the study of AI.

    The article makes heavy and overt references to the Cold War and Cold War era fears, which goes back into the idea of the “arms race” happening over AI technologies. Similarly, the movie also goes into these same terrors, only using the existence of mutants as the thing both sides ultimately fear and covet. Mutants in the X-men universe are born into a world that hates and fears them. Mr. Simonite briefly discusses the possibility of future stigma against AI and those who work on it, citing technological unemployment as a potential reason to fear AI. Adding to these similarities, both mutants and AI are sought to be controlled by the forces of the world, such as China, Russia and America. Ultimately, these comparisons serve as an entertaining thought experiment musing on power and those who seek it out in various forms, whether it be AI or something more fantastical. But even more than that, I wanted to see if those similarities would also pan out in the “conclusion.” The thing is, in the comics and movies, the X-men’s future is far from perfect. Some would call it apocalyptic. Because of these countries warring over mutant powers and abilities, the world falls into ruin and is taken over by a variety of mutant hunting robots. What is particularly striking is these robots were built as fast as possible in order to respond to mutants, without giving these robots any safety checks or control over them, leading to that apocalypse scenario. Mr. Simonite discusses how a lack of oversight on AI could lead to actions committed by AI that would not be desirable to humans. If the AI arms race does further develop, we as a species can only hope that proper oversight and human safety is more of a priority than simply beating the other guys in a race.

  5. The very nature of how warfare and politics occur on a global scale is changing. From a nuclear arms race in the latter half of the 20th century we have found ourselves in a new sort of digital arms race in the 21st. This race utilizes the best and brightest minds of digital technology in order to build computing devices that are able to maximize military efficiency. But those planners aren’t alone, there is AI being built to assist at this very moment. Artificial intelligence works as an extra layer of military digital defence in the modern age, working constantly to defend and uncover potential cases of forein malware and strategizing to better react to enemy military maneuvers. This article works to discuss how the US has revamped its interest in AI development through bipartisan congressional support and what effect that may have on the future of US warfare.
    The legal issue that the development of AI represents is one of justifiable retaliation; that being, whether a country is warranted in taking a military response to a non-military action. As an example, when Russia politically annexed the Crimean peninsula in Ukraine the actions that Ukraine took after that point can be scrutinized. If they responded with military action in response to a nonmilitary threat it is generally seen as a violation of international law. How this issue applies to AI is similar to how it affects digital terrorism: how much digital action prompts a non-digital response. AI exacerbates this issue because it’s not a human reacting to decisions made by other humans, as military technology improves AI will be responding to other AI. It is in this mutual AI standoff where several legal issues are to be asked, if an AI is investigating and collecting intelligence on how to shut off a power grid is that a likely symbol that the AI would take that action and how should the defending country’s AI respond. It becomes an issue that the 80’s movie WarGames discussed fairly well, AIs having control over all aspects of military command are a dangerous and potentially apocalyptic concern.
    The other legal issue that this article alludes to is the ‘technology theft’ of US digital properties by the Chinese government and their associated entities. While that discussion gets into a fascinating conversation about the rights to ideas and where the line should be drawn, I find it more interesting to discuss it as an economic case. When Chinese entities actively steal concepts and ideas from US digital brands they are essentially minimizing that entire stage of R&D in favor of utilizing corporate espionage. With that massive hurdle of development out of the way Chinese companies can work more on refinement, marketing, and distribution which allows them to produce more appealing products to a much wider market quicker. This economic standpoint is marginally blocked by the congressional blocking of chips that specifically are used for AI but other products will still leak out and be used for that massive profit margins, continuing to grow the Chinese economy for the long digital cold war ahead.

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