The Role of Artificial Intelligence
Artificial Intelligence (AI) is clearly going to play a huge role, not just in the future of the Intelligence Services, but technology and society in general. To a large degree this has already started and other examples of exponential technological growth such as facial recognition and biometric data gathering are already widely used.
Recent well publicised critics of these developments, have used emotive and sometimes extremely concerning examples of how the use of these technologies mark the end of the "private generation', instead giving rise to a big brother style of governance where individual privacy is destroyed. Of course, we cannot predict the future with 100% certainty and although the objective of governments, agencies and corporate firms is aimed at increasing the probability of predicting exponential growth, it is nonetheless an understandably difficult task.
In many fields, especially for example, the analysis of human patterns of behaviour or financial markets and their various fields of technical analysis, past performance is often used as a guide to predict future performance. Certainly from a mathematical or statistical perspective alone there is weighty evidence to support this approach. However, others argue that where exponential technology is concerned, past performance by definition, precludes any meaningful role in predicting the future. This is open to debate and depends on where the argument is pitched. Our opinion is that all past behaviour can be used regardless, it is how this data is utilised that is the more salient point
Before moving on to the scientific focus of this subject which is after all the main concern here, it might be worth putting rest to some ideological or sociological concerns. Or, at least open an alternative view. If mankind has taught us anything (apart from, in the words of Mr Corleone et al, anyone can be assassinated), it is that people always find a way and, more pertinently, they find a way to freedom, ergo privacy. Of course, AI and other technologies will continue to pressure public privacy, and here the alliteration is not suggestive of apathy or distain as Larkin might have pondered. It will continue to do so. Equally, people will circumvent control in favour of finding ways of preserving their privacy and overcome the hurdles as and when they occur. That is human nature. The decision we have to face at any point in time (or the immediate future) is which is the lesser of two evils? Without wanting to sound flippant or devalue the importance of the argument, is privacy good to a person if they are dead or imprisoned? How about a race of people? Whist there are individuals prepared to sacrifice the lives of innocent people in the name of their extreme views or even just in the name of profitability and criminal activity, then the success of countering those people comes at a price.
So, although the likes of Mr Assange may have ideological and well meaning motives, the Intelligence Services are understandably more concerned with REALISTS not IDEALISTS. That being the case, the Intelligence Services can only deal with problems that are put in front of them, using methods that are made available to them, to achieve their objectives. The bottom line is, Mr Snowden and Mr Assange are critical and express their arguments, how? It might be more prudent to simply reflect on the fact, that they can. They are fortunate in that respect and whilst they fight their battles according to redefined rules, countless millions before them have not had that luxury. It is not the role of the Intelligence Services to help shape public opinion or represent a political stance as they are apolitical organisations. For that reason, let us consider the specific role Artificial Intelligence does and will play in the area of Intelligence.
Where to start?
With so much information where do we begin? Comments from Elon Musk and Professor Stephen Hawking are pessimistic, often using highly emotive language and predictions of catastrophic events (potentially) which seem to await the human race. As the articles on this site have so far stressed, Measurement is a vital part in harnessing the power of Exponential Technological growth, in our view. Without knowing were we are at any given point in time, how can we know how far we have come and therefore, with some idea of trajectory, where could we be heading. This view is not without its critics. Using linear models of prediction, some would say, is either completely different or nearly impossible when examining exponential growth, by very definition. So, is there any point? Well, as the author of this site, I come to this subject not as a qualified scientist awash with PHD's or years of laboratory experience. Whilst my angle is to take a holistic approach, some may well simply say that taking a holistic approach is a failure associated with someone who has no specific expertise, rather a jack of all trades and master of none. A fair argument, and maybe true and those that can't do, invariably lead.
IN FOCUS - LUTY 2019 - MI6 I NEURODIVERSITY
Critics of Artificial Intelligence have pontificated over the possible effects on privacy issues and ultimately control for many years. In this article we cover two key areas to assess if these fears have any substance. The first concerns the definition of AI. Without precise definitions we cannot accurately plot its effects on society, business, industry, science etc. Where does AI begin and where do they draw the line? Secondly, growth in technology over recent years has been exponential and continues at an almost relentless pace. As this continues, one could easily argue that the limitations of the human brain mean we alone cannot monitor the pace of this growth or indeed control it. The emergence of advanced AI in order to do so is both a necessity and a concern. It is easy to see why the sceptics and doomsday merchants are becoming increasingly vocal.
This article explores the potential for accurate measurement to define an index, built on current standards, for a universally accepted relative scale which can be applied (used) by intelligence agencies specifically, to determine a nation's current AI ranking and its trajectory. This variable along with others could contribute to the overall measurement and rates of change of exponential technological growth within each area.
Whilst others come close and have delivered interesting results, what measurement could be developed specifically with the Intelligence services in mind? For example, many other scales exist that look to rank a nation such as geo-political models based on variables such as a country's culture, technology, or economic factors. What if one exists for the AI scale of the the G20 or G7 (more pertinently)? Can clues as to the actual pace of AI development in one country be gained from flows into the public domain or retail market? Take Huawei as an example. Of course there was a time until relatively recently where the firm was the ultimate imitator and to some extent this was reflected in the quality of their hardware. This has changed and one need merely look at the technology the firm is making available to the retail market in the form of all sorts of devices such as flexi-screen mobile phones and the NB-IoT technology, to physically see a growth in their IT capabilities, and therefore that of China too. So where are they with AI and in an area that is undoubtedly secretive and well protected, how does one find a meaningful AI scale? There are ways of course, but if nothing else, research on identifiable and easily available data (using our own processes as a "control"), may find a correlation. That being the case, one can then envisage a situation where an AI scale for the top 7 nations is not there to simply rank in terms of position, but to have significant numerical values produced a regular intervals to detect signs of change...warnings if you will. Equally, and with the financial services mantra in mind that "past performance is not always an accurate predictor of future events", one can still look at where a nation has been and follow its trail to see where it is heading. These are all possible, useful variables, which when added and weighted appropriately might give us what we want and indeed, calm the 'doomsday merchants' with evidence of accurate measurements that could allay their fears.
In simple terms, whilst national rankings in these sorts of things do generally stay in the same order eg, US first, then the UK, Japan, China etc, an accurate numerical AI ranking would be very useful indeed e.g. USA 62.9, China 41.3 in 2019, USA 59.3 China 48.2 in 2022 etc etc. Here the rate of change in AI is of interest and represents one part of the growth in technology. This will lead to accurate measurements of exponential growth and a universally accepted standard that can be relevant to the Intelligence services specifically. How this is achieved would be considered sensitive, but they would naturally include factors specific to the intelligence community.
So, MI6, CIA et al...if you're not already doing this and developing 'intelligence specific' standards of measurement, then please crack on. Time, by definition, is passing quickly in the Exponential Intelligence universe. Read more.