Research

CSET produces evidence-driven analysis in a variety of forms, from informative graphics and translations to expert testimony and published reports. Our key areas of inquiry are the foundations of AI — such as talent, data and computational power — as well as how it can be used in cybersecurity and other national security settings. We also do research focusing on the policy tools that can be used to shape AI’s development and use.

Report

Automating Cyber Attacks

Ben Buchanan John Bansemer Dakota Cary Jack Lucas Micah Musser
| November 2020

Based on an in-depth analysis of artificial intelligence and machine learning systems, the authors consider the future of applying such systems to cyber attacks, and what strategies attackers are likely or less likely to use. As nuanced, complex, and overhyped as machine learning is, they argue, it remains too important to ignore.

Cybersecurity


Data, algorithms and models


Hardware and compute


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Analysis

Automating Cyber Attacks

Ben Buchanan John Bansemer Dakota Cary Jack Lucas Micah Musser
| November 2020

Based on an in-depth analysis of artificial intelligence and machine learning systems, the authors consider the future of applying such systems to cyber attacks, and what strategies attackers are likely or less likely to use. As nuanced, complex, and overhyped as machine learning is, they argue, it remains too important to ignore.

China has built a surveillance state that has increasingly incorporated AI-enabled technologies. Their use during the COVID-19 pandemic has softened the image of China’s surveillance system, presenting unique challenges to preventing the spread of such technologies around the globe. This policy brief outlines core actions the United States and its allies can take to combat the spread of surveillance systems that threaten basic human rights.

The United States has long used export controls to prevent the proliferation of advanced semiconductors and the inputs necessary to produce them. With Beijing building up its own chipmaking industry, the United States has begun tightening restrictions on exports of semiconductor manufacturing equipment to China. This brief provides an overview of U.S. semiconductor export control policies and analyzes the impacts of those policies on U.S.-China trade.

Analysis

Future Indices

Michael Page Catherine Aiken Dewey Murdick
| October 19, 2020

Foretell is CSET's crowd forecasting pilot project focused on technology and security policy. It connects historical and forecast data on near-term events with the big-picture questions that are most relevant to policymakers. This issue brief uses recent forecast data to illustrate Foretell’s methodology.

National security leaders view AI as a priority technology for defending the United States. This two-part analysis is intended to help policymakers better understand the scope and implications of U.S. military investment in autonomy and AI. It focuses on the range of autonomous and AI-enabled technologies the Pentagon is developing, the military capabilities these applications promise to deliver, and the impact that such advances could have on key strategic issues.

This brief examines how the Pentagon’s investments in autonomy and AI may affect its military capabilities and strategic interests. It proposes that DOD invest in improving its understanding of trust in human-machine teams and leverage existing AI technologies to enhance military readiness and endurance. In the long term, investments in reliable, trustworthy, and resilient AI systems are critical for ensuring sustained military, technological, and strategic advantages.

The Pentagon has a wide range of research and development programs using autonomy and AI in unmanned vehicles and systems, information processing, decision support, targeting functions, and other areas. This policy brief delves into the details of DOD’s science and technology program to assess trends in funding, key areas of focus, and gaps in investment that could stymie the development and fielding of AI systems in operational settings.

Analysis

U.S. Military Investments in Autonomy and AI: Executive Summary

Margarita Konaev
| October 2020

Today’s research and development investments will set the course for artificial intelligence in national security in the coming years. This Executive Summary presents key findings and recommendations from CSET’s two-part analysis of U.S. military investments in autonomy and AI, including our assessment of DOD’s research priorities, trends and gaps, as well as ways to ensure U.S. military leadership in AI in the short and the long term.

Analysis

Estimating the Number of Chinese STEM Students in the United States

Jacob Feldgoise Remco Zwetsloot
| October 2020

In recent years, concern has grown about the risks of Chinese nationals studying science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) subjects at U.S. universities. This data brief estimates the number of Chinese students in the United States in detail, according to their fields of study and degree level. Among its findings: Chinese nationals comprise 16 percent of all graduate STEM students and 2 percent of undergraduate STEM students, lower proportions than were previously suggested in U.S. government reports.

Analysis

Russian AI Research 2010-2018

Margarita Konaev James Dunham
| October 2020

Over the last decade, Moscow has boosted funding of universities and implemented reforms in order to make Russia a global leader in AI. As part of that effort, Russian researchers have expanded their English-language publication output, a key—if imperfect—measure of the country’s innovation and impact. Between 2010 and 2018, the number of English-language publications by Russian scientists in AI-related fields increased six-fold.