Our biggest undeclared war right now doesn't involve nuclear programs or any of the other technologies that usually take up headlines when it comes to this topic. In fact, our biggest war right now takes place on a completely different battlefield-Cyberspace. Cyberspace operations can be used to achieve strategic information warfare goals; an offensive cyberattack, for example, may be used to create psychological effects in a target population. There is a war on in cyberspace. Cyberspace is entirely human-made and has been designed, created, maintained, owned, and operated both by public and private stakeholders across nations. It is continually changing in response to technology transformation.
There are a number of direct applications of AI relevant for national security purposes, both in the United States and elsewhere. Kevin Kelly notes that in the private sector "the business plans of the next 10,000 startups are easy to forecast: Take X and add AI."1 There is similarly a broad range of applications for AI in national security. Included below are some examples in cybersecurity, information security, economic and financial tools of statecraft, defense, intelligence, homeland security, diplomacy, and development. This is not intended as a comprehensive list of all possible uses of AI in these fields.
Today's security threats have expanded in scope and seriousness. There can now be millions -- or even billions -- of dollars at risk when information security isn't handled properly. Before the internet era, geopolitical tensions drove traditional espionage, and periodically erupted into warfare. Nowadays, cyberspace not only houses a treasure-trove of commercially and politically sensitive information, but can also provide access to control systems for critical civil and military infrastructure. So it's no surprise to find nation-state cyber activity high on the agendas of governments.
Serial cybersecurity entrepreneur Shlomo Kramer said in a 2005 interview that cybersecurity is "a bit like Alice in Wonderland" where you run as fast as you can only to stay in place. In 2020, to paraphrase the second part of the Red Queen's observation (actually from Through the Looking Glass), if you wish to stay ahead of cyber criminals, you must run twice--or ten times--as fast as that. The 141 predictions listed here reveal the state-of-mind of key participants in the cybersecurity defense industry and highlight all that's hot today. The future is murky, but we know for sure that on January 1, 2020, the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA) will go into effect; that the U.S. presidential election will take place on November 3, 2020; and that on October 1, 2020, if you "wish to fly on commercial aircrafts or access federal facilities" in the U.S., you must have a REAL ID compliant card. Other than these known events, the crystal balls of the participants in this survey warn us ...