UK spy chief warns: ‘Our foes are pouring money into AI & quantum computing’
(ZDNet) In his first public speech since taking the role of “C” in October 2020, Richard Moore, chief of the UK Secret Intelligence Service (MI6), discussed the challenges posed by the rapid evolution in AI and quantum technology.
“While developments in computing like AI and quantum computing can provide society which what he described as “revolutionary advances,” Moore warned that they also lead to additional security threats which MI6 will need to face.
“Others would speak to you about the benefits of these new discoveries — and they are myriad — but I’m paid to look at the threat side of the ledger. MI6 deals with the world as it is, not as we’d like it to be — and the digital attack surface that criminals, terrorists and hostile states seek to exploit against us is growing exponentially,” he said, in a speech at the International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS).
Moore warned that China, Russia and Iran are the most significant nation-state threats to the UK who could exploit technology to meet their aims. He elaborated: “Our adversaries are pouring money and ambition into mastering artificial intelligence, quantum computing and synthetic biology because they know that mastering these technologies will give them leverage.”
But while MI6 has traditionally worked in the shadows, now it’s stepping out of them in order to ensure it has access to have the people required to help solve the problems faced by new technologies. “We can’t match the scale and resources of the global tech industry, so shouldn’t try. Instead, we should seek their help. Through the National Security Strategic Investment Fund, we are opening up our mission problems to those with talent in organisations that wouldn’t normally work with national security. Unlike Q in the Bond movies, we cannot do it all in-house,” said Moore.