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Wednesday, May 22, 2024

Calculating AI’s Threat to National Security: Insights from a Government Insider

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In Short:

Biosecurity expert Jason Matheny highlights the increasing risk of biorisks, which include natural and intentional biological attacks. The cost and technology required to create synthetic viruses have decreased significantly, making biosecurity a major concern. The potential for individuals or groups to use biology as a weapon is a growing threat, especially with advancements in AI technology potentially lowering the barrier to entry for carrying out a biological attack.


Addressing Biorisks: A Deep Dive into Potential Threats

In the realm of public health and national security, the concept of “biorisk” has garnered significant attention. The synthesis of the first virus from scratch in 2002 marked a pivotal moment, raising concerns about the potential misuse of biological engineering. This realization prompted a shift towards enhancing biosecurity measures and detecting biological weapons programs.

Despite advancements in vaccine development, there remains a concerning vulnerability to engineered and natural pandemics. The evolving landscape of biorisks poses challenges in mitigating threats and ensuring societal resilience.

Over the years, the cost associated with synthesizing viruses has decreased significantly, while the expense of manufacturing vaccines has risen. This shift indicates a concerning defense-offense asymmetry that raises alarm bells.

Potential Adversaries in Biorisks

Nature presents an ongoing threat through the evolution of viral pandemics. The economic toll of the Covid pandemic underscores the imperative of investing in preventive measures for future crises. Additionally, intentional biological attacks pose a distinct risk, as demonstrated by past incidents like Aum Shinrikyo’s biological weapons program.

The accessibility of tools and materials necessary for biological attacks raises concerns about the potential misuse of advanced technology. The emergence of AI capabilities has further complicated the landscape, potentially facilitating the acquisition of bioengineering knowledge by malicious actors.

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