Rus­sia Sees Ar­ti­fi­cial In­tel­li­gence as Key to World Dom­i­na­tion

The Jewish Voice - - INTERNATIONAL - By: Jeff Seldin

The dig­i­tal arms race be­tween the United States and Rus­sia ap­pears to be ac­cel­er­at­ing, fu­eled in part by new com­ments by Rus­sian Pres­i­dent Vladimir Putin.

Putin, speak­ing to a group of Rus­sian stu­dents Fri­day, called ar­ti­fi­cial in­tel­li­gence "not only Rus­sia's fu­ture" but "the fu­ture of the whole of mankind."

"The one who be­comes the leader in this sphere will be the ruler of the world," he said. "There are colos­sal op­por­tu­ni­ties and threats that are dif­fi­cult to pre­dict now."

Dig­i­tal do­main

Top U.S. in­tel­li­gence of­fi­cials have been warn­ing of a "per­pet­ual con­test" be­tween the United States and Rus­sia, with much of it play­ing out in the dig­i­tal do­main.

The De­fense In­tel­li­gence Agency in par­tic­u­lar has sought to max­i­mize its abil­ity to make use of ar­ti­fi­cial in­tel­li­gence, or AI, reach­ing out to pri­vate in­dus­try and academia to help main­tain the U.S. ad­van­tage.

Rus­sia and China are seen as key com­peti­tors in the dig­i­tal space and have been work­ing on how to ap­ply tech­nolo­gies, such as ar­ti­fi­cial in­tel­li­gence and quan­tum com­put­ing, to their war-fight­ing doc­trines.

"They've got their heads wrapped around the idea that 21st cen­tury war­fare is as much cog­ni­tive as it is ki­netic," out­go­ing DIA Di­rec­tor Lt. Gen. Vin­cent Ste­wart told a small group of re­porters from VOA and other or­ga­ni­za­tions last month.

Top of­fi­cials, both in gov­ern­ment and in the pri­vate sec­tor, have long been will­ing to dis­cuss the im­pact of ar­ti­fi­cial in­tel­li­gence and other tech­no­log­i­cal ad­vances.

But some an­a­lysts see Putin's will­ing­ness to address the is­sue pub­licly as telling.

"[It's] rare that you have a head of state dis­cussing these is­sues," said Frank Cil­luffo, di­rec­tor of the Cen­ter for Cy­ber and Home­land Se­cu­rity at Ge­orge Wash­ing­ton Univer­sity. "He is send­ing a mes­sage."

And Cil­luffo hopes the U.S. is pay­ing at­ten­tion.

"A big space race is on, and it's a race we can't af­ford to lose," he said.


Many ex­perts say the U.S. still main­tains an ad­van­tage over Rus­sia in ar­ti­fi­cial in­tel­li­gence and quan­tum com­put­ing. Still, as Rus­sia, China and other coun­tries seek ad­di­tional break­throughs in how to ap­ply such tech­nol­ogy, the stakes are high.

"It com­pletely changes the game of war­fare," said David Kennedy, who served with the U.S. Na­tional Se­cu­rity Agency and with the Marine Corps' elec-

tronic war­fare unit.

"It's no longer go­ing to be about who has the most bombs or who has the bet­ter bombs," he said. "It's go­ing to be who can ap­ply these prin­ci­ples to re­spond faster to fight a war and win a war."

And Kennedy, now chief ex­ec­u­tive of­fi­cer at Trust­edSec, an in­for­ma­tion tech­nol­ogy se­cu­rity con­sult­ing firm, sees Rus­sia gain­ing.

"They ex­plore all op­tions, and they have a sub­stan­tial bud­get for it," he said, not­ing that Moscow may have an ad­van­tage in how to ap­ply the tech­nol­ogy since it is will­ing to side­step pri­vacy and eth­i­cal con­cerns that the U.S. and even China have tried to address.

China, too, is mak­ing sig­nif­i­cant gains. But un­like Rus­sia, China has fo­cused more on quan­tum com­put­ing, launch­ing a quan­tum satel­lite into space last year.

Rus­sian Pres­i­dent Vladimir Putin is pic­tured at a meet­ing with stu­dents in Yaroslavl, Rus­sia, Sept. 1, 2017. Putin said that who­ever reaches a break­through in de­vel­op­ing ar­ti­fi­cial in­tel­li­gence will come to dom­i­nate the world.

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