Belfer Center Report Examines Potential Uses of AI Tech in National Security

A new study conducted by Harvard Kennedy School’s Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs has concluded that the impact of autonomous robots and other artificial intelligence technologies on national security could match that of nuclear weapons, Wired reported Wednesday.

Belfer Center produced the report “Artificial Intelligence and National Security” as per the Intelligence Advanced Research Projects Activity’s request.

AI-related developments are expected to boost military innovation and that private and government investments in AI platforms could help the U.S. maintain its military edge, according to the report.

“Even if all progress in basic AI research and development were to stop, we would still have five or 10 years of applied research,” said Greg Allen, co-author of the study and a fellow at the Center for New American Security.

Allen co-authored the study with Taniel Chan, former financial and economic analyst at Goldman Sachs.

The report noted that AI could help the U.S. build up cyber defense through application of automation to detection of security vulnerabilities.

The Harvard study also offered several recommendations on how to shape U.S. national security policies on AI technologies and one of them is to maintain U.S. technological superiority through “AI-focused war-games” that seek to identify novel military platforms.

The Defense Department, National Security Council and the State Department should identify AI applications that should be restricted with international treaties in an effort to address catastrophic risks, the report added.

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