AI technology has all but become ubiquitous since its recent widespread popularity has proven a number of practical applications. Not only can AI be used for medical research, writing terrible screenplays, and deep-faking Tom Hanks‘ face to sell dental services, but there are also modern warfare applications that are being considered by the US Defense Department’s Cyber Crime Center (DC3). DC3 director Jude Sunderbruch stresses the importance of harnessing the technology to protect the US from international AI cyber conflicts that will give hackers an advantage if we don’t come up with the appropriate safe-guards in the context of cyber warfare.
No Terminators Fighting Each Other…Yet
The kind of AI warfare we’re talking about doesn’t necessarily mean that there will be killer robots running through a battlefield. In the short-term, the most practical application would involve using AI systems and machine learning for threat assessment, vulnerability analysis, and system testing. In other words, the US military will be able to stress test their own systems to protect our nation from hackers who are using the same technology to carry out social engineering attacks and advanced hacking methods.
Going On The Offense
While defensive measures need to be taken as other technologically driven nations explore how they could implement their own forms of AI warfare, offensive measures are being considered as well. The updated cybersecurity strategy that was released this past September asserts that we need to shift our focus to countries like China and Russia, as they will likely be using similar AI technology for their own cyber warfare attacks sooner than we may think.
Taking It Seriously
DC3’s efforts to make the US take the concept of AI warfare more seriously got a shot in the arm this past May. An unclassified fact sheet was transmitted to Congress during this time, and was influenced by the ongoing conflict between Russia and Ukraine. Fearing that advanced capabilities on the AI front can forever change how large-scale conventional conflicts play out, there is an apparent need for the US to be up to date with their own cyber-security measures.
The Private Sector
As scary as the concept of AI warfare sounds, DC3’s ongoing efforts will continue to push technological advancements into the future that will have some benefits in the civilian world. While there are some serious implications involving national security, it’s not outside the realm of possibility that the same technology could eventually be used in the private sector.
Just 3 months ago, the scattered spider hacking group made a name for themselves by breaching companies like MGM Resorts International and Caesars Entertainment, and holding the data hostage for a hefty ransom. As AI technology continues to get finessed in the context of offensive and defensive warfare, private companies that are at risk for cyber-criminal attacks could benefit from the safe-guards that the DC3 is currently exploring. With security in mind, we can only hope that this technology will be used in our best interest.
A Perfect Intelligence Gathering Tool
DC3 director Sunderbruch also recently went on record regarding data that could ebe recovered from damaged or destroyed hardware. In the context of AI warfare, this could potentially help intelligence agencies recover important information that was previously thought to have been wiped out.
AI technology has seen a startling amount of innovations in a very short amount of time. As we continue to press forward and develop AI for various applications involving warfare and cybersecurity, it’s in our best interest to make sure that it’s for the greater good.