Artificial intelligence (AI) will be central to emerging technologies such as quantum computing, biotechnology, and the military’s use of cyberspace, the UK military’s cyber chief said.
In an interview in Estonia, Head of Britain’s Strategic Command General Sir Patrick Sanders told The Telegraph that cracking AI allows the country to “master the mechanism to exploit and enhance technology” at the pace it needs.
“[I]t would be madness if the UK didn’t try to exploit these,” Sanders said, adding that of all new technologies, AI is “the one ring to rule them all.”
Sanders also added that AI allows for better decision-making and that its “real use” is to support humans and to be “under command of humans.”
“The idea of human-machine teaming implies you can team with a computer. There isn’t a team, the humans are in charge, but AI can relieve the human of the burden of pouring through gigabytes of data to spot a disturbance on the road where there wasn’t one before [if a roadside bomb had been planted, for example]. That ability to spot patterns and present that data to humans moves humans up the value chain,” Sanders said.
Debate on Ethics
Sanders also remarked that utilizing AI in everyday life raises ethical questions. “The ethics debate is important,” he said, adding that guarding against in-built programmers’ bias is essential.
“It is there to support humans and, ultimately, humans [must] have the whip hand,” Sanders said.
However, in terms of cyberattacks, ethical issues may present a problem for Britain.
Russia and China “are not bothered by ethics, they want efficiency and power,” Colonel Jaak Tarien, Director of the NATO Cooperative Cyber Defence Centre of Excellence, said. “Ten percent of collateral damage is acceptable [to them]. For us, zero percent is the desire. That makes it very expensive and complex for us.”