US Intelligence Agencies Experiment With AI Spies to Replace Human Counterparts

It was only a matter of time until governments started to use artificial intelligence for “less legal” means. In fact, it is certainly possible US-based intelligence agencies will deploy AI agents to take over most of the mundane tasks. Espionage has become “boring,” according to Robert Cardillo of the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency. This seems to herald an era in which AI spies will take over from their human counterparts.

The World of AI Spies is Quite Frightening

On paper, it makes a lot of sense for intelligence agencies to embrace artificial intelligence. After all, AI can take over a lot of tasks currently requiring a human to complete. At the same time, this also raises a lot of security concerns. Intelligence agencies do not always operate just within the confines of the law. No one can guarantee an AI would behave differently, as they are coded by humans, after all.

Robert Cardillo feels espionage has become a boring and mundane job these days. A lot of his employees do little more than stare at TV monitors to ensure there are no threats to national security. An AI could do the same job and not require sleep, breaks, food, or social interaction to remain focused. Cardillo feels properly developed algorithms would be able to analyze information more efficiently.

Moreover, artificial intelligence is a lot better at pattern recognition compared to human spies. This is especially true when it comes to sifting through tons of image and video material to identify abnormalities or other things that stand out. Making the right observation is pertinent to maintaining national security at all times, and an AI-based solution would probably yield much better results in the long run.

In fact, Cardillo has a team working on machine-learning technology in the intelligence sector. It is a bit unclear how and when this technology will be implemented, as no specifics were revealed at this time. It was only a matter of time until intelligence agencies started showing an interest in this technology, though. Silicon Valley-based companies have been experimenting with AI technology for some time now.

Moreover, other US-based agencies are working on similar projects. DARPA, IARPA, and other undisclosed agencies are – allegedly – all working on AI research up to a certain degree. The CIA has a venture arm actively supporting efforts to apply artificial intelligence analysis to satellite imagery. That is quite an intriguing development, to say the least.

It is only a matter of time until some human spies will be replaced by AI counterparts. Whether or not that will be a good thing is anybody’s guess right now. Rest assured privacy advocates will have some strong opinions on this matter. It has proven virtually impossible to keep human spies in check at times. Without proper regulation, AI spies could run rampant and invade everyone’s privacy. It will be interesting to see how this particular sector evolves in the coming years.

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