In the News

February 19, 2020: Intelligence Matters, “Tech Expert Ben Buchanan on the Links Between Artificial Intelligence and National Security.” “There’s a case to be made that AI will help to solve some of the central problems of authoritarian regimes,” says CSET CyberAI Director Ben Buchanan. “We need to think quite seriously about how to combat this and use this technology for democratic purposes.”

February 19, 2020: Axios China, “China’s military-civil fusion challenge.” “Higher ranks of Chinese military are now very interested in 5G and other emerging technologies and see real military potential,” says CSET Visiting Researcher Lorand Laskai.

February 13, 2020: The Epoch Times, “China’s AI Spending Difficult to Compare, Harder to Assess, Says Institute for Defense Analyses.” A recent CSET report concludes that “China’s government probably isn’t dramatically outspending the U.S. government on AI R&D,” in contravention of popular notions of Chinese AI spending.

February 10, 2020: MIT Political Science, “Benjamin Chang: Might technology tip the scales?” CSET’s Ben Chang reflects on the AI comparative advantage between the United States and China. “There’s an assumption that AI is the means by which China will leapfrog the US in military power. But I think this is wrong.” 

February 10, 2020: The New York Times, “China’s Lavish Funds Lured U.S. Scientists. What Did It Get in Return?” CSET’s Bill Hannas and Elsa Kania weigh in on technology transfer and China’s Thousand Talents program, which numbers at least 10,000 scholars. 

February 5, 2020: Axios, “FBI’s China tightrope.” In the debut edition of the Axios China newsletter, Remco Zwetsloot recommends improving disclosure & transparency practices across government agencies and other institutions to avoid problems with coercion & theft.

February 4, 2020: Washington Post, Is the U.S. losing top tech talent — and global competitiveness?” Many have sounded the alarm over the loss of U.S.-educated talent to other countries—especially China. Is the perceived brain drain real? A CSET research team finds little evidence of U.S. talent loss.

January 30, 2020: Army Mad Scientist Podcast, The Convergence with Margarita Konaev.” Margarita Konaev weighs in on the future military environment on “The Convergence” podcast, drawing from her experience in emerging technologies, military applications of artificial intelligence, and urban warfare in the Middle East, Russia, and Eurasia.

January 30, 2020: Wall Street Journal, Foreign Brains Help America Compete.” CSET research shows more than 80 percent of international students receiving Ph.D.s in artificial intelligence remain in the U.S. for at least five years. That’s good, write Remco Zwetsloot and Zach Arnold, because America’s tech sector relies on foreign-born talent.

January 28, 2020: FedScoop, Esper takes aim at DOD ‘culture,’ risk aversion.” “The U.S. depends on high-skilled immigration to attract and retain the world’s best talent in science and engineering,” said CSET Founding Director Jason Matheny at an event on emerging technology and defense.

January 28, 2020: Defense One, Spies Like AI: The Future of Artificial Intelligence for the US Intelligence Community.” Current AI methods are brittle and vulnerable to attack, says CSET Founding Director Jason Matheny. AI models need to be made more secure to avoid pitfalls like trojan attacks that mislead systems. 

January 28, 2020: Defense One, Great Powers Must Talk to Each Other About AI.” “As American strategy reorients toward strategic competition, critical considerations of surety, security and reliability around AI/ML applications should not be cast aside,” write Andrew Imbrie and Elsa Kania.

January 14, 2020: War on the Rocks, The AI Literacy Gap Hobbling American Officialdom.” Artificial intelligence poses unique challenges in a complex policy landscape. Programs in AI education for congressional staff—like the one piloted by CSET’s Ben Buchanan—could help national security professionals navigate this landscape.

January 11, 2020: Axios, The stakes of a swift U.S.-China decoupling.” Talent from overseas is essential to U.S. AI research & development, says Remco Zwetsloot. Policies that might restrict that talent flow should be carefully considered to avoid reducing the current U.S. advantage.

January 2, 2020: MIT Technology Review, Hackers will be the weapon of choice for governments in 2020.” “Over two decades, the international arena of digital competition has become ever more aggressive,” writes CyberAI Director Ben Buchanan in his forthcoming book, The Hacker and the State.

December 31, 2019: The Diplomat, Elsa B. Kania on Artificial Intelligence and Great Power Competition.” CSET’s Elsa Kania spoke with The Diplomat on AI’s potential, military uses, and the fallacy of an AI “arms race.” “The future trajectory of these emerging capabilities remain to be seen, yet AI has become a new direction of military competition in the pursuit of operational advantage.”

December 31, 2019: The Diplomat, U.S.-China Tech Wars: China’s Immigration Disadvantage.” CSET’s Remco Zwetsloot and Dahlia Peterson examine the U.S. advantage over China in recruiting overseas talent to work in emerging tech. They describe deep-rooted reasons for the differences – and the way the United States can maintain its edge.

December 21, 2019: Marketplace Public Radio, “Chinese surveillance companies on U.S. blacklist still using Silicon Valley components.Western tech companies and investors “really must take a hard look at what they are doing” in connection with China’s surveillance efforts and human rights, CSET’s Dahlia Peterson notes in this story.

December 17, 2019: IISS, “Mapping the terrain: AI governance and the future of power.” The adoption of artificial intelligence will transform the global economy and international politics. Andrew Imbrie explores the different ways AI may develop in the future and how governance structures will need to adapt accordingly.

December 17, 2019: Axios, “A threat to American AI talent.” A recent CSET report concludes that 80% of international students remain in the U.S. after graduation. Yet recent events threaten the U.S. AI talent advantage, including a potential end to the OPT program. “This would be a really bad development for the U.S. from an AI competitiveness perspective,” says lead author Remco Zwetsloot.

December 12, 2019: Wired, “China’s AI Unicorns Can Spot Faces. Now They Need New Tricks.” The largest problem Chinese AI companies face “may be the dawning realization on investors that, although it seems promising, in most areas AI just isn’t ready for the big time,” says CSET’s Helen Toner.

December 9, 2019: The Register, “Homeland Security backs off on scanning US citizens, Amazon ups AI ante, and more.” The article references CSET’s new issue brief on Chinese public AI R&D spending, which finds that China isn’t spending as much as it says it is on AI R&D.

December 6, 2019: Computing, “China is not dramatically outspending the US government on AI research.” The recent reports of China spending tens of billions of dollars on artificial intelligence research are possibly overblown, according to a new issue brief from CSET researchers Zachary Arnold and Ashwin Acharya.

December 6, 2019: Federal News Network, “AI could enhance cyber threats, university researchers say.” CSET’s Ben Buchanan joined Federal Drive to discuss the new project he’s spearheading, CyberAI. It will examine the intersection of cybersecurity and artificial intelligence.

December 6, 2019: The Hoya, “CSET Receives $2 Million Grant To Fund New CyberAI Project.” Thanks to a generous grant from the Hewlett Foundation, CSET is launching a new project, CyberAI, to be led by Ben Buchanan. “The project will examine the potential risks artificial intelligence may cause in cyberspace and national security.”

December 6, 2019: South China Morning Post, “Beijing’s hopes for AI dominance may rest on how many US-educated Chinese want to return home.” While China enjoys a number of great universities and companies, especially in certain AI subfields, “many people remain hesitant to move to China due to the political environment, quality of life concerns & workplace issues,” says Remco Zwetsloot. 

December 5, 2019: MIT Technology Review, “Yes, China is probably outspending the US in AI—but not on defense.” The article references a recent CSET report by Zachary Arnold and Ashwin Acharya. “The researchers have high confidence that their analysis at least confirms that China’s spending is nowhere near existing claims.”

December 4, 2019: South China Morning Post, “China may be spending far less on AI research than previously thought, US think tank says.” “Reports of China’s expenditure on AI may be overblown,” finds a recent CSET report by Zachary Arnold and Ashwin Acharya. China “has probably not been dramatically outspending the US government on AI R&D since it unveiled the national plan.”

December 2, 2019: Fortune, “Arguing About Artificial Intelligence Killing Jobs.” The article references research by Zachary Arnold and Ashwin Acharya on Chinese public AI R&D spending, which concluded that “Chinese spending in 2018 was on the same order of magnitude as U.S. planned spending for FY 2020.”

November 26, 2019: Morning Consult, “Immigration and the Future of US A.I. The Forbes AI 50 list “shows that foreign talent is critical to AI innovation—and that for now, the United States can still attract talent from around the world,” write CSET’s Remco Zwetsloot, Tina Huang and Zachary Arnold.

November 22, 2019: South China Morning Post, “China’s reliance on US-origin platforms for deep learning raises questions about country’s AI push.” “China clearly wants to lead the world when it comes to AI,” says CSET’s Helen Toner. “It’s hard to imagine China being seen as a world leader if the open-source frameworks are so US-dominated.” 

November 18, 2019: Defense One, “Misguided Immigration Policies Are Endangering America’s AI Edge.” “Without immigration reforms, America’s days as the world’s AI leader may be numbered,” says CSET’s Zachary Arnold. “Foreign-born talent fuels the U.S. AI sector at every level.”

November 11, 2019: Syracuse University News, “Newly Renamed Syracuse University Institute for Security Policy and Law Expands Mission Toward Emerging Technologies, Intelligence Community.” The article references a research and production partnership with CSET. As part of the $500,000 funding, Syracuse University Institute for Security Policy and Law will assist CSET in investigating the legal, policy and security impacts of emerging technology. Judge Baker is the grant’s principal investigator.

November 8, 2019: CIO, “Interim AI report offers mix of ambitious and practical recommendations.” The article referenced CSET recommendations on semiconductor manufacturing equipment export controls.

November 6, 2019: Federal News Network, “Federal CIO Kent: AI pilots beginning to scale up but interagency collaboration needed.” Of the challenges to rolling out AI tools, CSET Founding Director Jason Matheny said, “you can get a tank that is covered with a sort of form of digital camouflage… that causes a machine learning classifier to think that it’s a school bus.”

November 6, 2019: South China Morning Post, “How AI and human rights have been dragged into the US-China tech war, threatening wider split.” When it comes to blacklisting Chinese AI companies engaged in human rights violations, “the US is on strong moral ground,” says Helen Toner, CSET’s Director of Strategy.

November 4, 2019: BBC World Service In the Balance, “Outsmarting AI.” Helen Toner, Director of Strategy at CSET, joined Dame Wendy Hall, Jaan Tallinn and Ed Butler to talk about threats intelligent machines might pose to humans.

November 3, 2019: The Georgetown Voice, “Ethical AI Standards for DoD Unveiled at Georgetown.” CSET is mentioned as a new research center launched within the SFS to study and advise policymakers on the intersection of AI and national security.

November 2, 2019: Axios, “AI is Getting Caught Up in Politics.” Tarun Chhabra, Senior Fellow at CSET, spoke with Axios about the asymmetry between the U.S. and Chinese approaches to funding emerging technology. “[T]he Chinese Communist Party’s whole technology worldview is driven, not merely charged, by the imperative of consolidating social control and emerging dominant in geopolitical competition,” he said.

October 30, 2019: The Cipher Brief, “The Future of AI and Cybersecurity.” “These three areas—adversarial learning, cyber offense, and cyber defense—deserve a lot more attention, and quickly,” writes CSET Senior Faculty Fellow Ben Buchanan. “Policymakers have begun to consider these important issues, but the conversation must continue.”

October 29, 2019: DigiChina, “AI Policy and China – Realities of State-Led Development.” CSET’s Helen Toner, Lorand Laskai and Jeff Ding contributed to a special report by DigiChina, a joint Stanford University and New America project.

October 29, 2019: War on the Rocks, “With AI, We’ll See Faster Fights, but Longer Wars.” Rita Konaev, Research Fellow at CSET, writes, “AI’s potential to improve wartime decision-making through real-time actionable intelligence can help reduce the risk of casualties, fratricide, and collateral damage in urban warfare.”

October 29, 2019: The Europe Desk Podcast, “Making the words sing: Andrew Imbrie on speechwriting and rhetoric.” “Speechwriting isn’t just mimicking someone’s words,” said CSET Senior Fellow Andrew Imbrie of his experience as Secretary John Kerry’s speechwriter. “It’s also capturing the way they approach an issue.”

October 15, 2019: National Journal, “Fight Over Censorship, Human Rights Further Frays Tech Ties Between U.S. and China.” When it comes to U.S. efforts to link Chinese human rights violations and trade, China will likely act as though “what’s going on is the U.S. trying to quash their successful companies,” said Helen Toner, CSET’s Director of Strategy.

October 8, 2019: Air University Press, Artificial Intelligence, China, Russia, and the Global Order: Technological, Political, Global, and Creative Perspectives. Nonresident Research Fellows Elsa Kania, Jeff Ding, and Benjamin Chang contributed chapters to Air University’s recent publication.

October 8, 2019: Philanthropy News Digest, “Public Interest Technology University Network Receives $3.1 Million. Georgetown’s Ethics Lab and CSET were awarded $86,000 from the Public Interest Technology University Network. The grant will support innovative, replicable workshops on artificial intelligence to train future leaders in tech policy. 

October 1, 2019: The Wall Street Journal, “China Brings Out the Big Guns for National Day.” China’s recent military parade “illustrates the PLA’s embrace of unmanned operations as critical elements of future combat across all domains of warfare,” said CSET Nonresident Research Fellow Elsa Kania.

September 25, 2019: The Cipher Brief, “China’s Access to Foreign AI Technology.” CSET’s lead analyst, William Hannas, spoke to The Cipher Brief about his new report, China’s Access to Foreign AI Technology. “There is no sustained effort within the U.S. government to combat China’s predations because the problem is misconstrued as one of pure espionage,” he said.

September 24, 2019: ChinaAI Podcast, “AI Talent Policy with Remco Zwetsloot.” CSET Nonresident Research Fellow Jeff Ding launched his new podcast, ChinaAI Pod, with an inaugural episode featuring CSET Research Fellow Remco Zwetsloot. “The key thing that draws talent to and keeps talent in the U.S.,” said Zwetsloot, “is the robustness of its AI ecosystem.”

September 19, 2019: South China Morning Post, “A magnet for overseas talent, US might lose AI race if restrictive immigration policies remain, says report.” The article covered CSET’s new report Strengthening the U.S. AI Workforce, which discusses the extent to which the U.S. AI workforce is reliant on immigration. 

September 17, 2019: NextGov, “Guidance on Federal AI Regulations Coming Shortly, Federal CTO Says.” Jason Matheny, Founding Director at CSET, spoke to NextGov about the importance of developing standards and creating frameworks for evaluating AI. “NIST and other organizations … have historically played an important role in being that testbed. We need to do the same thing for AI,” he said.

September 14, 2019: Axios, “The U.S.’s handicap in the AI talent race.” Remco Zwetsloot, Research Fellow at CSET, spoke with Axios about how immigration restrictions could hurt the U.S. advantage in AI. “Tightening immigration policies is inconsistent with wanting to lead in AI,” said Zwetsloot.

September 10, 2019: C4ISRNET, “The 3 major security threats to AI.” Less than one percent of AI research and development funding is going towards security, said Jason Matheny, Founding Director of CSET. He argues that more money needs to go into AI systems to protect them from three major types of attacks: adversarial examples, trojans and model inversion. 

September 3, 2019: Defense One, “Welcome to the New Phase of US-China Tech Competition.” Lorand Laskai, Visiting Researcher at CSET, and co-author Ashley Feng of the Center for a New American Security explore how U.S.-China economic and technological decoupling are taking place in a number of ways. 

August 6, 2019: Coda, “Western academia helps build China’s automated racism.” Lorand Laskai, Visiting Researcher at CSET, says that the security of the collective may be valued over the rights of the individual when it comes to China’s approach to AI ethics.

August 2, 2019: C4ISRNET, “National Security Commission sets dates for its big AI report.” Jason Matheny, Founding Director at CSET, is mentioned as the leader of one of four working groups set out by the AI Commission, focused on “international competitiveness and cooperation in AI.”

August 1, 2019: War on the Rocks,Artificial Intelligence meets bureaucratic politics.” Andrew Imbrie, Senior Fellow at CSET writes that “the integration of new technologies depends on something more fundamental: bureaucratic politics.” He looks at the ways in which bureaucratic politics will impact the U.S.’s adoption of AI, and what the challenges and enablers of adoptions of AI implementation may look like in China.

July 31, 2019: War on the Rocks,Russian AI-enabled combat: Coming to a city near you?” Rita Konaev, Research Fellow at CSET writes with Samuel Bendett that “when it comes to military applications of artificial intelligence, overlooking Russia is a mistake.” In this article, they analyze Russia’s current and potential future technological advances in autonomous systems and information warfare.

July 10, 2019: South China Morning Post,Chinese maker of drones wins US clearance for new high-security models.” Lorand Laskai, Visiting Researcher at CSET says the developments with China’s DJI Technologies show that “despite the hand-wringing over US-China tech decoupling, workable solutions to data security concerns are possible … the real question is whether these arrangements will be able to withstand the growing distrust between the United States and China.”

July 7, 2019: The New York Times, “As New Zealand Fights Online Hate, the Internet’s Darkest Corners Resist.” “The internet is a very complex and rough environment, and governments, especially small governments, don’t have as many cards as they would like to play,” said CSET Senior Faculty Fellow Ben Buchanan, a cybersecurity expert who teaches at Georgetown University.

June 27, 2019: FedScoop, “Key to AI development is investing in the right things, former IARPA director says.” “Our ability to attract and retain the world’s best and brightest computer scientists and electrical engineers is something we have greatly benefited from,” said Jason Matheny, Director of CSET, as well as “our ability to maintain friendships with other countries.”

June 25, 2019: Nextgov, “Artificial Intelligence is Too Dumb to Fully Police Online Extremism, Experts Say.” CSET’s Ben Buchanan was one of several witnesses who testified in front of the House Homeland Security Committee subpanel on the possibilities and limitations of AI and counterterrorism. He described the “substantial limitations” facing machine-learning content moderators today. 

June 20, 2019: National Security Podcast, “Battlefield Singularity, AI pixie dust, and the future of war.” “There is a level of hype and exuberance in conversations about artificial intelligence, particularly in China and the United States today, that may be exaggerated relative to the actual capabilities and limitations of AI today,” said CSET’s Elsa Kania. 

June 19, 2019: Foreign Affairs, “Why Blacklisting Huawei Could Backfire,” CSET’s Lorand Laskai explains in Foreign Affairs how U.S. restrictions on Chinese technology, including the products of Huawei, could wind up spurring on China’s efforts at self-reliance in innovation.

June 10, 2019:  C4ISRNET, “Will China win the military AI race on the back of commercial technology? “We can think of AI as next wave of software improvements,” suggested Helen Toner, Director of Strategy at Georgetown University’s Center for Security and Emerging Technology. Without a clear inflection point for when AI transitions from capable software to a unique capability, many of the changes will in nature and implementation resemble software upgrades.

June 8, 2019: The Straits-Times, “With China in rear-view mirror, US lawmakers worry about maintaining lead in AI.” Thanks to testimony by CSET experts, the June 7 USCC hearing prompted considerable discussion of the relative advantages of China and the United States in developing their AI capabilities.

June 7, 2019: U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission Hearing on “Technology, Trade, and Military-Civil Fusion: China’s Pursuit of Artificial Intelligence, New Materials, and New Energy.” CSET’s Helen Toner, Jeff Ding, and Elsa Kania testified as part of Panel 1: U.S.-China Competition in Artificial Intelligence: Policy, Industry, and Strategy

May 24, 2019: NBC News, “U.S. and China tech have played nice for decades. Now, a fork in the road.” “We should be clear-eyed about what is going on in China, especially with regard to human rights abuses, but we should not be hysterical about the level of security threat that China poses,” said Helen Toner, director of strategy at Georgetown University’s Center for Security and Emerging Technology. “If the U.S. can act wisely and place its values front and center, it’s likely we can reach a new equilibrium that serves our interests,” Toner said. “Fear and hype tend to damage the U.S. rather than serve it.”

May 14, 2019: NPR, “Stopping Key Tech Exports To China Could Backfire, Researchers And Firms Say.” Last year, the Commerce Department proposed categories of “emerging technology” for export controls. “The problem is that these categories are exceptionally broad, denoting large buckets of technologies that are often layered into a diverse set of applications, most with no relevance to national security,” says CSET’s Lorand Laskai.

April 25, 2019:  Financial Times, “US export controls are no guarantee against China’s AI advantage.” “The US is exceptional in being a country where the best and brightest from all around the globe really want to come here and work and research here and contribute their talents to US companies and US labs,” said CSET’s Helen Toner. “Supporting that will help the US retain its advantage over the longer term.”

February 28, 2019: Washington Post, “Georgetown launches think tank on security and emerging technology.” “AI and other emerging technologies will deliver profound benefits to society, but they will also introduce new risks,” said CSET’s founding director, Jason Matheny. “Technologists don’t always consider the details of policy, and policymakers don’t always consider the details of technology.”