U.K. spy agency GCHQ uses, or will use, AI to track worldwide criminal networks, fight against cyberattacks, and identify state-backed disinformation campaigns, according to a new report. In "Ethics of AI: Pioneering a New National Security," GCHQ explained how it can apply AI techniques to boost national security and protect the U.K. from outside threats.
- In the report, the government agency argues that AI could improve both the speed and quality of decision-making using the vast amount of data it has gleaned over the years.
- GCHQ’s director Jeremy Fleming acknowledged both the "great opportunity" from the AI revolution, as well as "significant ethical challenges." On the positive side, it allows agency analysts to "manage vast volumes of complex data" and make decisions in complex subjects, from "protecting children to improving cybersecurity," he said.
- More dialogue is needed about how to use AI transparently and fairly, without infringing on people's privacy, the report acknowledged. It notes that GCHQ plans to launch an industry AI Lab, support the AI research-based Alan Turing Institute, and mentor AI startup clusters around the country.
- Multiple reports noted that the paper could be a way for the agency "to reassure the public on the use of their data." It comes as more governments worldwide are planning or drafting guidelines for how to ethically regulate AI.
- In November, the U.S. Office of Management and Budget issued guidance to federal agencies on when and how to regulate the private sector's use of AI, which could set the stage for future federal guidelines.