Attorney General Merrick Garland Discusses AI, National Security

The United States has an important lead in the development of artificial intelligence that is crucial to the country’s economy and national security, Attorney General Merrick B. Garland said at the American Bar Association’s 39th National Institute on White Collar Crime in San Francisco. “The Justice Department’s first job is to protect that lead and to protect our intellectual property,”… . According to Garland, “the Justice Department just will not tolerate theft of trade secrets in the area of artificial intelligence.”

From the ABA announcement:

During a fireside chat with Kenneth A. Polite Jr., former assistant attorney general for the U.S. Department of Justice’s Criminal Division, Garland announced that the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California had unsealed an indictment against a Chinese national who is charged with stealing AI-related intellectual property and trade secrets from Google.Garland said AI and other evolving technologies have “great promise and the risk of great harm … including algorithmic discrimination that AI can foster and the way in which it can accelerate the cyberattacks that are happening daily, even ‘minutely,’ on our companies, on our law firms, on our departments of the government and on our military.”
One of the most serious national security threats is the risk that “foreign maligned actors will use AI to increase the polarizations of this country and to attack our electoral system,” Garland said.
Despite the risks associated with AI, Garland said the technology allows the Justice Department to act more quickly on attacks on their computer systems.“ AI can make it possible for us to defend our systems even better than the machine-learning systems that we’re using,” he said, adding that the department has hired its first chief AI officer and plans to hire more Ph.D.-credentialed computer scientists to increase technology expertise in the agency.“ It’s the only way we’re going to up our game sufficiently to secure our country and to take advantage of AI,”‘ he said.


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