The CSS Blog Network

Beyond Killer Robots: How Artificial Intelligence Can Improve Resilience in Cyber Space

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This article was originally published by War on the Rocks on 6 September 2018.

Recently, one of us spent a week in China discussing the future of war with a group of American and Chinese academics. Everyone speculated about the role of artificial intelligence (AI), but, surprisingly, many Chinese participants equated AI almost exclusively with armies of killer robots.

Popular imagination and much of current AI scholarship tend to focus, understandably, on the more glamorous aspects of AI — the stuff of science fiction and the Terminator movies. While lethal and autonomous weapons have been a hot topic in recent years, this is only one aspect of war that will change as artificial intelligence becomes more sophisticated. As Michael Horowitz wrote in the Texas National Security Review, AI itself will not manifest just as a weapon; rather, it is an enabler that can support a broad spectrum of technologies. We agree: AI’s most substantial impacts are likely to fly under the radar in discussions about its potential. Therefore, a more holistic conversation should acknowledge AI’s potential effects in cyber space, not by facilitating cyber attacks, but rather by improving cyber security at scale through increased asset awareness and minimized source code vulnerabilities.

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Cybersecurity: The China Problem

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This article was originally published by Pacific Forum CSIS on 27 June 2018.

As China rolls out its 2016 cyber security law, its drive to develop national cyberspace sovereignty continues. China’s law outlines a rules-based view of privacy and emphasizes critical infrastructure and domestic collection of citizen data. With the second largest economy in the world and the largest number of internet users, China has a tough task attempting to establish a national framework for cyber security while fostering an innovative technology sector. China is now a rule maker in cyberspace and home to a number of very large and highly capable technology companies. However, China’s lofty goals in cyberspace and innovation are undercut by its behavior in other countries.

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Cyber War – And Nobody Will Come?

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This article was originally published by the ETH Zukunftsblog on 15 June 2018.

Myriam Dunn Cavelty calls for a realistic assessment of what state institutions can do to combat cyberattacks.

When a cyberattack has been orchestrated by a state actor, people may be tempted to call it “war”. After all, it’s an attack waged on national infrastructures by a foreign power. But the term “cyber war” has been used so often for dramatic effect that I don’t just want to warn against hype. It’s also time to dampen expectations regarding the scope of governmental intervention.

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