Where’s the AI?: In the last edition of policy.ai, we discussed the European politicians who said they’d been hoodwinked by someone using deepfake technology to impersonate Leonid Volkov, a Russian opposition leader. As The Verge reported soon after, the prank appears to have been much less high tech: Using makeup, dim lighting and a low-quality camera, the Russian pranksters say they managed to pull off a passing Volkov impression without the aid of algorithmic trickery. This isn’t the first time a seemingly incorrect deepfake accusation has been at the center of a public story. In 2018, for instance, many speculated that a video of Gabon’s president was a deepfake meant to cover up serious health problems. While experts never turned up evidence that the video had been altered, that didn’t stop the rumors from spreading widely online. As observers noted at the time, actual AI alteration isn’t necessary to sow confusion — just the existence of the technology is enough to create doubt and set off rumors.
SecDef Austin Highlights Importance of Emerging Tech: In his first major speech as Secretary of Defense, Lloyd Austin emphasized the central role emerging technologies — including AI — will play in maintaining deterrence against potential adversaries. Austin’s remarks came during the change of command ceremony for the U.S. Indo-Pacific Command, the combatant command responsible for both China and India. After a brief introduction, he quickly turned to the impacts of new technologies. “The way we’ll fight the next major war is going to look very different from the way we fought the last one,” Austin said. “In this young century, we need to understand faster, decide faster, and act faster. Our new computing power isn’t an academic exercise. This is about real-world, real-time advantages — about fully grasping a situation moving at the speed of war.” The secretary’s message was echoed later that day by Deputy Secretary Kathleen Hicks and adapted into an op-ed published in The Washington Post last week.
In Translation CSET’s translations of significant foreign language documents on AI
China’s 14th Five-Year Plan:Outline of the People’s Republic of China 14th Five-Year Plan for National Economic and Social Development and Long-Range Objectives for 2035. This document is China’s 14th Five-Year Plan, covering 2021-2025, as passed by the Chinese parliament, the National People’s Congress, in March 2021. Although the Five-Year Plan contains relatively few quantitative targets, it details a vast array of near-term PRC economic, trade, S&T, defense, political, social, cultural, environmental, and other policy priorities. The 14th Five-Year Plan differs from past plans in that it also includes a short section on “long-range objectives” for 2035. Note that although this document is an “outline,” the PRC government has labeled the longest and most authoritative full versions of previous five-year plans it released as “outlines” as well.
PRC Cybersecurity Competitions:Notice on Regulating the Promotion of Cybersecurity Competitions. This regulation, issued in 2018, requires personnel involved in major PRC government or military projects to obtain police approval before participating in overseas cybersecurity competitions. The regulation also compels competitors to disclose national security- and stability-related vulnerabilities they discover during competitions to the police.
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Policy Communications Analyst: CSET is currently seeking applications for a Policy Communications Analyst to help advance our written and visual products by advising researchers on report clarity, narrative flow, cogency, presentation effectiveness and parsimony.
Georgetown’s Walsh School of Foreign Service, the home institution for CSET, is hiring for the Gracias Family Chair in Security and Emerging Technology. This two-year, non-tenure-track, rank-open position will have teaching and administrative responsibilities in the Security Studies Program, with potential for affiliations with CSET and the Science, Technology and International Affairs Program. The successful candidate will have experience focused on security and emerging technology, with a particular focus on AI and its implications for national and international security. Applications received by May 16 will receive full consideration.
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