back to article Department of Homeland Security bets on AI to help handle China

In an address at the Council on Foreign Relations on Friday, secretary of the US Department of Homeland Security Alejandro Mayorkas announced the department has created a task force to look for AI tools that can detect and defend against threats to national security – including those posed by China. "Beijing has the capability …

  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Further off-the-wall thought

    but this time serious: suppose that young people have a fledgling system of ethics; that all develop a philosophy; that the more intelligent are more likely to develop a more insightful system; that only a minority, a rounding error of possibly neurologically-damaged people develop lifelong ‘criminal’ ethics - say ‘my own gain is all that matters’ – but that, in youth, there is a marked tendency to selfish motivation, in natural progression from the infant that doesn’t credit others with individuality through to the well-rounded adult capable of self-sacrifice.

    Thus the intelligent teenager is capable of audacious thinking and actions, along with zealous idealism, but naive, unrestrained by the wisdom of long experience. That the intelligent young adult will be disproportionately prone to criminality borne of the innate rebelliousness of raging hormones and the simplistic assuredness of all morality being reducible to ‘right’ and ‘wrong’, ‘black’ and ‘white’, ‘1’ and ‘0’.

    That this tendency is what is reinforced by maladjusted adults – for example, in recruiting to this, that or the other extremist organization. And that this is all amply illustrated by older, wiser heads that decry their badly-misspent youth – those that live long enough.

    I know that, had I the education, had I, as a teenager, known of how the NSA/GCHQ/Five Eyes would spy on me and everyone else (had they the ability at the time), I’d likely have used my talents for highly-criminal purposes. I almost did anyway.

    Essentially, teenagers and young adults are the resource that maintains organised crime and extremism. Some, of lower intellect, are more overtly pawns, influenced by whoever gets to them first: which might be who they associate with when ‘out on the town’, or, equally, Government rhetoric and/or the local religious institution; so in the lesser brains there’ll be a steady supply of ‘soldiers’, whether in the Mafiosi sense, the ‘Onward Christian’/ISIS sense, or the literal, Armed Forces sense; and these are the majority, and whom the State and the Church actively seek to sway. But the arguments with which they do so turn off the more-intelligent. To the switched-on teenager their rhetoric ‘proves’ State and Church fools and liars; and the fact they spy on them is the icing on the cake.

    Meanwhile, criminal organisations are the ones who actively encourage the disaffected. When you don’t have decades of experience to, let us say, understand that they’re all liars and cheats, that they’ll all sell you down the river at the end, that they’re all in it for themselves, it isn’t really a difficult choice, when the State and the Church treat you as a matter of policy as little better than a simpleton, palpably lie to you, and are ‘fun’ only if what you like doing is drilling and being shouted at. Then you meet people who treat you with respect, celebrate your cleverness and enthusiastically encourage you to use it. Give you primo drugs.

    This has always been the case – with the exception of modern times being that what I as a teenager imagined in my paranoid fantasies has turned out to be true. It is, I suppose you could say, logistically necessary that State, Church, and Organised Crime recruitment overwhelmingly target those of average intellect; but all require exceptional minds to pass leadership onto and only Organised Crime also cultivates those (who aren’t already in the fold). Witness the persistent failure to sufficiently reward the ‘backroom boys and girls’. This is because the morality of our 'leaders' is a pose; not necessarily understood even by them, for self-knowledge is a rarity, but because the best way to fake sincerity is to suppress the self-knowledge that would expose it and make the portayal hollow.

    Extreme dystopian scenarios, to my mind, include not just being spied on as a matter of course by my own side, but extraordinary rendition, waterboarding, Guantanamo Bay, dodgy dossiers, world leaders praying while instigating war, Arms for Hostages. Arms Fairs. MK Ultra. Not to mention what I knew at the time but, being just a kid, couldn’t appreciate the enormity of, such as Viet Nam and Watergate.

    Mostly what I knew back then was my country would destroy my future for smoking a joint, which I did in the absolute certainty that the ‘War on Drugs’ was bullshit and which, therefore, strongly disposed me to also try cocaine, among others. This, of course, continues unabated in Britain (and seems to be ramping back up, post-Brexit).

    There is nothing new in State/Church rhetoric.

    The whole lot of them can fuck off.

    1. xyz Silver badge

      Re: Further off-the-wall thought

      So that's what chatGPT output is like.

      1. amanfromMars 1 Silver badge

        Re: Further off-the-wall thought

        So that's what chatGPT output is like. ... xyz

        No, xyz, that’s what Future Newspeak Thought Output is like ...... and one would be a useful fool [and there’s an epic oxymoron if ever there was one] to neither suspect nor imagine its enthusiastic holders enabled and working together separately and apart towards a great common goal for otherworldly purposes ..... and even AI Singularity.

        What say you, Noitsgonesorry? Anything more other than just a reiteration of “The whole lot of them can fuck off.” ..... for the truth is they really don’t know what to do about everything, and thus are more to be pitied rather than scorned, for they can do nothing themselves about anything relative to everything, and now there be other beings telling them that there are others now able to freely do anything, and the resultant actions cannot be stopped by them, ... they have to be accepted, and endured if unpleasant and survivable or enjoyed whenever remarkable.

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    AI to help handle China

    I must have read it in numerous sci-stories, more than once, including the sorry ending. But hey, in real life it's gonna be allright, right?!

    1. Paul Crawford Silver badge

      Re: AI to help handle China

      Holy Quarrel

  3. VoiceOfTruth Silver badge

    Infrastructure technology

    If the USA runs its infrastructure on bug-ridden/full-of-backdoors American products while shutting out competition it can hardly complain if it gets compromised. Of course, what is good for the goose... Europe should get rid of American products in its infrastructure too. Goodbye full-of-holes Cisco for one.

  4. amanfromMars 1 Silver badge

    Will Nation Speak Peace unto Nation Whenever Already Too Late for Even InterNational AIdDevelopment

    "As we do this, we will ensure that our use of AI is rigorously tested to avoid bias and disparate impact, and is clearly explainable to the people we serve," said the secretary, to which The Register wishes the department good luck.

    :-) Ouch :-) ... I wonder what the US Department of Homeland Security and its fledgling Artificial Intelligence Task Force [yes, yet another Task Force with wannabe Commanders and Controllers to suck on the drained teat of government and amaze everyone with its inherent inefficiencies and systemic incompetencies] will think of that El Reg kick in the toothless head, should there actually be anything in such a vessel to wake up/damage/be worried about disturbing.

    And what is it about Uncle Sam, always being so too late to the party to be considered a viable leader of anything, anywhere, at any time in space and in the future with novel forces and alienating sources previously completely unknown recognising their own overwhelming advantage in every conceivable command and control field.

    Can you imagine their US Department of Defense/National Defense Industrial Association response and reply to this very recent communiqué [0659 Zulu 24 April 2023] in reply to the worries and concerns, vulnerabilities and opportunities expressed in the news shared within Evolving Threats Require New Approaches to Defending Installations ....

    FTAO ..... Whomever IT and AI may be of terrific concern.

    Gen. Kenneth Wilsbach, Commander of Pacific Air Forces, Hi,

    As impressive and commendable as your vision and expectations for defensive attack command and control installations/operations/missions and semi-autonomous hardware arsenals/traditional kinetic explosive ordnance may be, the Agile Combat Employment concept, in common with any and all other grand imaginative forays into future centric endeavour and alien enterprise, is destined to not reach anywhere close to its full almighty potential without prime movers and shakers exemplars employed as drivers able to remotely mentor and monitor from an Overviewing Space Platform, inspired and leading command and control personnel in what will be highly ACTive fields of novel hostile engagement in which both friend and foe alike will encounter the extremely well rewarded [as in limitlessly discretely remunerated for sensitive proprietary intellectual property/almighty disruptive and destructive advanced intelligence ahead of its time] private and pirate contractor, with the very best of them able to adjust and reconfigure their operations and goals to be also attractive to government funds/funders.

    Such is the Changed and Conflicted Nature of Postmodern War Warefare and the Warrior Class as IT and AI's takeover and makeover of the franchise expands and extends its roles into newly available avenues of NEUKlearer Power and HyperRadioProACTive Energy .... and offers them to any and all interesting and interested in IT and AI competition and/or opposition.

    Does the US Air Force, or the wider US Department of Defense have any such leading exemplars on their payroll? Does the US realise that such pioneers can easily already be in the pay of others more au fait with these now rapidly emerging changed times and novel conditions and thus they would be more following behind rather than leading ahead with IT and AI in Global Command and Control Head Quarters ?

    The bottom line is, great systems are all very well, but without stellar systems administrators [Per Ardua ad Astra Master Pilots] they are just as piles of horrendously expensive junk.

  5. Michael Wojcik Silver badge

    There was no failure of imagination

    avoid falling victim to "failures of imagination" – like the US did prior to the 9/11 terrorist attacks

    This is one of the most annoying, if not particularly pernicious, myths surrounding 9/11. There was no "failure of imagination". The attacks were not only entirely foreseeable but a direct evolution of earlier aircraft hijackings and other attacks such as the 1993 WTC bombing. It was anticipated by the pilot episode of The Lone Gunmen (2001), which revolved around a plot to hijack an airliner and crash it into the WTC, FFS. It had not only been imagined two years earlier, but put in a widely-seen spinoff of a popular television show. That's about as successful as imagination gets.

    The 9/11 attacks partially succeeded because US intelligence operations had moved too heavily away from HUMINT to SIGINT, and because practices were poor, particularly around inter-agency coordination. (Whether the DHS boondoggle has improved that is still an open question. Personally I think the DHS is a mistake, but it's very difficult to evaluate these things with any accuracy.)

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