Is “Fake News” the harbinger of what will defeat our AI systems?

Deceptive data is all around us. While some of it is less harmful than others, deception in warfare has the potential to undermine all the technological improvements that are planned or have been already put into practice. The results have the potential to be life-threatening and could ultimately lead to the defeat of U.S. national security systems using artificial intelligence (AI) and to disrupt all of our commercial systems using AI.

Three concepts are useful for grasping the scale, scope, and character of what deception means in the context of military A.I. systems. First, Americans must confront the fact that information always has been and always will be weaponized. Second, deep fakes and the well-known explosion of fake news constitute just two versions of fake data. Focusing on those two subsets alone prevents decision-makers from appreciating the real threat posed by the exponential growth of active and passive deception across all types of data that feed national security systems. Third, creative solutions are required. We, as a society, need to understand the implications of this better because Russia, China, and Iran are working hard to exploit information and data.

About John Ferrari
John Ferrari (WG'96), is a nonresident senior fellow at the American Enterprise Institute (AEI), where his work focuses on the defense budget, defense reform and acquisition, and the US military. He is concurrently the chief financial officer at QOMPLX, a data analytics and cybersecurity firm.

Over his 32-year US Army career, Major General Ferrari, who is now retired, served as the director of program analysis and evaluation, the commanding general of the White Sands Missile Range, a deputy commander for programs at the NATO Training Mission in Afghanistan, and a strategic planner for the Combined Joint Task Force Seven in Iraq during Operation Iraqi Freedom. His Army service also includes working at the US Army Materiel Command, as a platoon leader and executive officer for the 2nd Cavalry Regiment in Germany during Desert Storm, and as a company commander and plans officer for the 3rd Cavalry Regiment.

Major General Ferrari has also worked as a branch chief for contingency operations for the Joint Chiefs of Staff at the US Department of Defense and as a program examiner at the Office of Management and Budget at the White House.

He has an MBA in finance and strategic management from the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania, an MA in national resource strategy and policy from the Industrial College of the Armed Forces (now called the Eisenhower School for National Security and Resource Strategy), and a BS in computer science from the United States Military Academy at West Point.

Thursday, June 23, 2022
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