AI is here. And there’s no doubt about the fact that it’s changing the world we live in by the day. You know things are serious when the government gets involved, which is exactly what has happened with President Biden’s latest initiative with the Pentagon. A new pilot for the use of Artificial Intelligence in cyber defense will probe the nation’s technological capabilities while exploring potential ways AI can be used to America’s advantage. This article will explain what we know about it so far.

What Is It?

Signed on October 30th, 2023, the executive order for Safe, Secure, and Trustworthy Artificial Intelligence (14110) is aimed at bolstering the United States military’s readiness when it comes to the use of AI for cyber defense.

It calls for research into how America – or its adversaries – could employ this emerging technology in national defense, as well as the production of guidelines for its development across government agencies.

The White House acknowledges that AI can pose risks such as unconscious discrimination and unsafe decision-making. However, it believes that if done correctly artificial intelligence could also provide the security and defense forces with vast amounts of data and insights they wouldn’t otherwise have access to.

What Does It Do?

The efforts this new executive order initiates are part of a greater Pentagon program known as ‘Replicator’. Unveiled in late August, it was created in response to what US officials consider concerningly rapid development in adversarial countries. China, for instance, is already very ahead of the game concerning Artificial Intelligence, while its military invests in AI-enabled robotics, drone technologies, and autonomous weapons systems.

Replicator would promote a more competitive environment in the US, helping security forces keep up with technological development around the world. The logic is that by investing in the right technology now, the country will be better able to defend itself down the road.

Replicator is essentially a research program that will contribute to the existing pool of knowledge surrounding AI and its role in national security. It spans a longer timeframe of 18 to 24 months compared to the roughly six-month project that Biden’s executive order calls for.

Who’s Involved?

Multiple government agencies and departments will be involved in the launch of this new project, namely the Pentagon, the Department of Defense, and the Department of Homeland Security.

In the next six months, the chief of the Pentagon must produce a report that identifies ways America can fill gaps in its defense forces’ current AI talent gap. A lack of qualified – and more importantly, trustworthy – individuals to develop this technology is one of the biggest pain points hindering progress.

Officials want recommendations for addressing challenges in the DoD’s ability to hire certain noncitizens so that they can contribute to the development and utilization of AI technologies for national security.

“Limited Access Authorization” at department labs would restrict foreigners from accessing sensitive information while allowing the US government to take advantage of their lucrative skills.

Those with particularly valuable skill sets may be kept in the country for longer through retention programs, which both the DoD and DHS are to pursue as part of this greater project. It falls under the appropriate use of enlistment authority under 10 U.S.C. 504(b)(2) to secure the talent necessary to protect America’s national security.

Biden’s executive order effectively calls all relevant stakeholders to the table in an effort to spur collaboration and create a unified strategy to leverage AI in the defense of the United States. White House officials are even involved, having been tasked with managing the creation of a national security memorandum that determines how everything will interact.

Why Now?

It’s worth mentioning that although AI technology only really popularized with the public in late 2022 when ChatGPT was released, it’s existed for far longer. In fact, the US military is reported to have used AI in its work as far back as 1991. With an unprecedented amount of money and research pouring into it today, now’s the perfect time to put development on hyperdrive.

External factors play a role as well. Many other countries are very far ahead in both their development and regulation of Artificial Intelligence – if those things can go hand in hand. Russia’s use of AI decision-making in its invasion of Ukraine has caused concern among US lawmakers and created a precedent for other nations to follow. Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) recently put AI into military practice by drilling ‘Fuji assaults’ that coordinate broad boat, plane, tank, and drone attacks on adversaries. China, North Korea, and other countries are all said to be investing heavily in the development and usage of Artificial Intelligence for military purposes.

The Implications

While it’s arguably late, the US’ new approach to AI for cyber defense is a step in the right direction. It crucially acknowledges that technology will play an increasingly important role in the military and must be managed carefully to ensure America’s security.

The order assures that the US government is not only investing in the right technologies but also taking measures to protect its citizens from potential AI threats. It also emphasizes the importance of collaboration between different departments and private entities when it comes to implementing these new technologies – something that’s critical for any successful mission.

It’s important to recognize that Biden’s executive order is just one piece in America’s push for AI advancement. Alongside initiatives like the Replicator program, the nation is investing in AI’s future. As investment, talent, and time converge, the executive order lays the foundation for America’s AI leadership. This vision is shared by TeraDact, committed to safeguarding and advancing data technologies with our suite of products.

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