For all of human history, people have spied on one another. To find out what others are doing or planning to do, people have surveilled, monitored, and eavesdropped—using tools that constantly improved but never displaced their human masters. Artificial intelligence (AI) and autonomous systems are changing all of that. In the future, machines will spy on machines in order to know what other machines are doing or are planning to do. Intelligence work will still consist of stealing and protecting secrets, but how those secrets are collected, analyzed, and disseminated will be fundamentally different.
The U.S. intelligence community must embrace the RIA and prepare for a future dominated by AI—or else risk losing its competitive edge.
Military futurists have recognized a similar sea change, and some have dubbed the rise of AI and autonomous weapons systems a “revolution in military affairs.” Its analog in intelligence can be understood as a “revolution in intelligence affairs.” Through the coming RIA, machines will become more than just tools for information collection and analysis. They will become intelligence consumers, decision-makers, and even targets of other machine intelligence operations. The ultimate concern of these machines will still be the political, social, economic, and military relations of human beings—but machine-driven intelligence will operate at such speed, scale, and complexity that human-driven intelligence will no longer be able to keep up. There is no stopping the RIA. The forces of technological innovation and competition have already unleashed it on the world. Instead, the U.S. intelligence community must embrace the RIA and prepare for a future dominated by AI—or else risk losing its competitive edge.
Read the full article in Foreign Affairs.
More from CNAS
CommentaryBeyond TikTok: Preparing for Future Digital Threats
By the end of September, the American social media landscape will undergo a profound transformation, and we cannot yet map this new terrain. President Donald Trump’s executive...
By Kara Frederick, Chris Estep & Megan Lamberth
TranscriptTranscript from Russian Advances in Military Automation and AI
On Thursday, June 4, the CNAS Technology and National Security Program hosted a virtual discussion on Russian advances in military automation and AI featuring Samuel Bendett, ...
By Samuel Bendett & Martijn Rasser
CommentaryThe Militarization of Artificial Intelligence
Militaries are racing to adopt artificial intelligence (AI) with the aim of gaining military advantage over competitors. And yet, there is little understanding of AI’s long-te...
By Paul Scharre
TranscriptTranscript from Emerging Concepts in Joint Command and Control
On Wednesday, May 20, 2020, the CNAS Technology and National Security Program hosted a virtual panel discussion on emerging concepts in joint command and control featuring Hon...
By Robert O. Work, Chris Dougherty & Paul Scharre