NISS hosted the roundtable "Artificial Intelligence as a Transforming Force"

On October 12, the NISS hosted a roundtable "Artificial Intelligence as a Transforming Force" on the development of artificial intelligence (AI).

The event, which brought together more than 100 participants, was held jointly with the Expert Committee on the Development of Artificial Intelligence in Ukraine, with the support of the USAID project "Cyber Security of Critical Infrastructure of Ukraine".

Welcoming speeches were made by the Director of the National Institute for Strategic Studies Oleksandr Bogomolov and the Chairman of the Expert Committee on the Development of Artificial Intelligence in Ukraine Vitalii Honcharuk.

Oleksandr Bogomolov, Director of the NISS, emphasized that: “The National Institute for Strategic Studies traditionally tries to ask sharp questions and be at the forefront of the discussion. And today we are witnessing a kind of technological explosion that is changing reality. A number of emergent technologies, such as quantum computing, robotics, nanotechnology, big data - all these have a profound effect on us and all areas of activity. And of particular importance here are AI technologies that are already changing the economy and security. But it raises questions not only about the limits of technological development, but also about the impact of AI on purely humanitarian and even ethical issues. Today's event is our attempt to look at this problem comprehensively”.

In his welcoming speech, Vitalii Honcharuk, Chairman of the Expert Committee on the Development of Artificial Intelligence in Ukraine, pointed out that AI has already become a real element of geopolitics, especially in US-China relations, which spend billions on AI research. Both countries are building an ecosystem of research and management of AI technologies and this is the path that other countries, including Ukraine, will have to follow.

Dmytro Dubov, Head of the Information Security Department, Center for Security Studies, NISS presented the newly established Expert Council on Artificial Intelligence (AI) at the NISS Center for Security Studies, which is to take care of the new area of research.

During the first panel discussion “Artificial Intelligence as a Necessity for the Global Competitiveness of the Country in the Future”, moderated by Uliana Poltavets, Coordinator of the Expert Committee on the Development of Artificial Intelligence in Ukraine, the impact of AI on the economic, global and Ukrainian agendas, the current geopolitical competition between global players such as the United States and China; how new technologies change the labor market and shape a new technological reality were discussed. Uliana Poltavets presented an overview of the state of AI development in Ukraine and the main tasks in this area in the near future.

Matt Sheehan, fellow Asia Program at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, noted that there is extremely rapid progress in this area: “Look at 2015-2016. This is the real beginning not only of research, but also of practical implementation of these technologies. The progress is impressive. And the center of this explosion was the United States. But China is not far behind and has been actively involved in this issue. Currently, the main research is concentrated in the private sector or powerful research institutions - where there are funds for researchers or equipment. The private sector quickly realized the benefits of AI, so it became actively involved. But in the long run, it will also transform the public sector”.

Dmytro Natalukha, People's Deputy of Ukraine and Chairman of the Verkhovna Rada Committee on Economic Development, drew attention to the fact that the state still faces the challenge of how to treat this phenomenon strategically: “AI technologies are already de facto. It is already working, it is already being researched, it is already being used. Are any standards needed here? Probably it is necessary. But is it necessary to invent a bureaucratic superstructure to put a tick? I am not a adherent of this idea. But more than regulatory policy, we need a clear public policy with priorities and appropriate expenses. And the experience of countries like South Korea, which is already doing a lot in this direction, would be very useful.”

Nataliia Shapoval, Vice President for Political Studies at the Kyiv School of Economics, pointed out that Ukrainian business has a very significant potential in the field of AI development - both development and implementation “because without this we will not be able to be effective in the international arena.” In addition, we should remember that when we talk about the world experience of AI development (including the United States or China) then we are talking “not so much about service as about security functions. Therefore, Ukraine should pay close attention to the role of AI in national security in order to maintain the positions we have. “

“We have a certain crisis in mathematics education, which we can clearly see from the results of independent assessment. There is an objective crisis in the enrollment in natural sciences. For example, the specialty “physics” is rapidly losing popularity: there were about 5 thousand applications for admission 5 years ago, this year it is about 1100. Therefore, there is a big question about supporting mathematics education in schools”, said Dmytro Zavhorodnii, CEO of the Digital Transformation Directorate of the Ministry of Education and Science of Ukraine, pointing to the long-term challenges facing the state in developing human potential for AI research and development. He also noted the lack of opportunities to involve good IT professionals in the educational process, which schools cannot keep due to low salaries. However, there are no real opportunities to change the pay disparity between a schoolteacher or a university lecturer and an IT employee.

Deputy Minister of Digital Transformation Oleksandr Borniakov said in his speech that the Ministry is very serious about the development of AI and sees great prospects in this. In his opinion, one of the ways to improve the situation with AI research in Ukraine is to create conditions for large international companies to create AI research centers in Ukraine so that Ukrainian researchers can work in powerful international teams with good funding.

The second panel discussion, “Artificial Intelligence and National Security: Cybersecurity, Military Affairs, and Intelligence in the New Reality,” was moderated by Vitalii Honcharuk, and addressed the impact of AI on national security. He stressed that security and defense “is the number one area in the world that is undergoing major changes from the introduction of AI technology” and this is already changing the balance of power between countries.

In his speech, Valentyn Badrak, a military expert and director of the Center for Army Research, Conversion and Disarmament, stressed that all new types of weapons are equipped with AI technology and that it is increasingly difficult for people to compete with AI in managing complex systems that require immediate decisions. For example, with a high probability of AI in the foreseeable future can significantly affect the piloting of fighters, the control of remote-controlled vehicles (for example - unmanned armored personnel carriers). In his opinion, it is important to invest in new developments on a larger scale, even if they are unsuccessful or do not give a quick result - this is the experience that will help to be more effective in the future.

Yurii Husiev, CEO of the state concern Ukroboronprom, convinced that “wars of the future will be wars of technology. We already see this at exhibitions of military equipment. For example, a record number of automated platforms were presented at the last exhibition in Abu Dhabi. And not only flying, but also ground. We in the concern are working on the creation of an unmanned APC-4E “.  He also presented the main results of a study conducted by Ukroboronprom on the development and prospects for the use of AI technologies in the defense industry, which covers many aspects, including - cyber defense.

“Classic wars are now actively moving into the cyberspace, as it allows smaller players to effectively confront significantly larger ones. And AI technology is completely changing this confrontation, because the possibilities of asymmetric confrontation are growing. And these threats are not only purely technological. For example, deepfake technologies create new threats not only at the level of individuals, but disinformation threats on a national or geopolitical scale” - said Dr. Marcus Rogers, Professor/Assistant Dean for Cybersecurity Initiatives at Purdue University.

Oleksandr Potii, Deputy Chairman of the State Service of Special Communication and Information Protection of Ukraine, noted that in the field of Cybersecurity AI tools provide an opportunity to more effectively develop algorithms or processes for responding to cyber incidents, attacks and anomalous events in information systems: “Artificial intelligence can increase the effectiveness of those who attack and those who defend. There are now many cyber threats associated with the development of artificial intelligence. We should clearly respond to these challenges and prepare not only to confront them, but also to make them impossible in general.”


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Photo: NISS

Presentation of the Expert Council on Artificial Intelligence (AI) at the NISS Center for Security Studies:

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