Directors,
Foundational Research Grants,
Strategy

Helen Toner

Director of Strategy and Foundational Research Grants Print Bio

Helen Toner is the Director of Strategy and Foundational Research Grants at Georgetown’s Center for Security and Emerging Technology (CSET). She previously worked as a Senior Research Analyst at Open Philanthropy, where she advised policymakers and grantmakers on AI policy and strategy. Between working at Open Philanthropy and joining CSET, Helen lived in Beijing, studying the Chinese AI ecosystem as a Research Affiliate of Oxford University’s Center for the Governance of AI. Helen has written for Foreign Affairs and other outlets on the national security implications of AI and machine learning for China and the United States, as well as testifying before the U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission. Helen holds an MA in Security Studies from Georgetown, as well as a BSc in Chemical Engineering and a Diploma in Languages from the University of Melbourne.

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In an article published by The Economist that discusses the recent bilateral meetings between China and the United States, CSET Director of Strategy and Foundational Research Grants, Helen Toner, provided her expert insights. Read More

CSET's Director of Strategy and Foundational Research Grants Helen Toner delivered a talk at TED2024 on the importance of developing smart AI policy, even in the face of uncertainty. Read More

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In EqualAI's podcast 'In AI We Trust?', Helen Toner discusses key AI issues like China's policies, AI in warfare, and regulation challenges. Read More

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Large language models (LLMs), the technology that powers generative artificial intelligence (AI) products like ChatGPT or Google Gemini, are often thought of as chatbots that predict the next word. But that isn't the full story… Read More

Large language models (LLMs), the technology that powers generative artificial intelligence (AI) products like ChatGPT or Google Gemini, are often thought of as chatbots that predict the next word. But that isn't the full story… Read More

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CSET's Helen Toner provided her expert insights with Bloomberg about the competition between the United States and China in the development of artificial intelligence (AI) technology. Read More

Recent advances in general-purpose artificial intelligence systems have sparked interest in where the frontier of the field might move next—and what policymakers can do to manage emerging risks. This blog post summarizes key takeaways from… Read More

Analysis

Skating to Where the Puck Is Going

October 2023

AI capabilities are evolving quickly and pose novel—and likely significant—risks. In these rapidly changing conditions, how can policymakers effectively anticipate and manage risks from the most advanced and capable AI systems at the frontier of… Read More

Analysis

Decoding Intentions

October 2023

How can policymakers credibly reveal and assess intentions in the field of artificial intelligence? Policymakers can send credible signals of their intent by making pledges or committing to undertaking certain actions for which they will… Read More

This data brief uses procurement records published by the U.S. Department of Defense and China’s People’s Liberation Army between April and November of 2020 to assess, and, where appropriate, compare what each military is buying… Read More

How can we measure the reliability of machine learning systems? And do these measures really help us predict real world performance? A recent study by the Stanford Intelligent Systems Laboratory, supported by CSET funding, provides… Read More

During her interview with ABC News Live, CSET's Helen Toner delved into the significant growth of Artificial Intelligence, with a particular emphasis on its impact within the realm of National Security. Read More

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Director of Strategy Helen Toner explored China's tech standards in China File. Read More

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Privacy is Power

January 2022

In an opinion piece for Foreign Affairs, a team of CSET authors alongside coauthors make the case for the use of privacy-enhancing technologies to protect personal privacy. Read More

This paper is the fourth installment in a series on “AI safety,” an area of machine learning research that aims to identify causes of unintended behavior in machine learning systems and develop tools to ensure… Read More

In their op-ed for Scientific American, Husanjot Chahal and Helen Toner argue how small data can assist AI breakthroughs. Read More

Analysis

Small Data’s Big AI Potential

September 2021

Conventional wisdom suggests that cutting-edge artificial intelligence is dependent on large volumes of data. An overemphasis on “big data” ignores the existence—and underestimates the potential—of several AI approaches that do not require massive labeled datasets. Read More

As modern machine learning systems become more widely used, the potential costs of malfunctions grow. This policy brief describes how trends we already see today—both in newly deployed artificial intelligence systems and in older technologies—show… Read More

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This paper is the second installment in a series on “AI safety,” an area of machine learning research that aims to identify causes of unintended behavior in machine learning systems and develop tools to ensure… Read More

This paper is the first installment in a series on “AI safety,” an area of machine learning research that aims to identify causes of unintended behavior in machine learning systems and develop tools to ensure… Read More

"When it comes to high-stakes settings," write Jacob Steinhardt and CSET's Helen Toner, "machine learning is a risky choice." Their piece in Brookings TechStream offers rules of thumb for assessing risk of failure in ML. Read More

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CSET’s Helen Toner, Jeff Ding, and Elsa Kania testified before the U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission on U.S.-China Competition in Artificial Intelligence: Policy, Industry, and Strategy. Read More

CSET Director of Strategy Helen Toner testified before the U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission at a hearing on "Technology, Trade, and Military-Civil Fusion: China’s Pursuit of Artificial Intelligence, New Materials, and New Energy."… Read More