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Chris Cummiskey, former Acting Undersecretary at the Department of Homeland Security and CEO of Cummiskey Strategic Solutions, discusses threats from emerging technologies identified by the Homeland Security Advisory Council as areas that need further investigation, including artificial intelligence, unmanned aerial systems and biogenetics

Federal agencies are tracking the use of emerging technologies, such as artificial intelligence, as possible vulnerabilities. Chris Cummiskey, former Acting Undersecretary at the Department of Homeland Security, spoke with Government Matters’ Francis Rose on the changing threat landscape and strategic neutralization of emerging threats.

The Homeland Security Advisory Council (HSAC) has studied emerging threats in technology and identified several categories to study more closely. These categories include artificial intelligence, unmanned aerial systems (UAS), 3D printing, and others. Cummiskey identifies “deep fake” technology, payload delivery, 3D printing and genetic mutation as examples of potential adversarial tactics. Artificial intelligence “deep fakes,” widely used on social media during the 2016 election, distort images and videos to deceive an audience. Payload delivery by way of UAS technology could be used to deliver explosives into large crowds. 3D printing is a potential threat to developing metal weapons. Under the biogenetic arena, genetic mutation poses a threat to humans through the mutations of livestock.

As more is learned about emerging technologies, the government is able to better assess and deploy countermeasures based on the threat landscape, Cummiskey explained. “It’s this notion of, ‘what is the risk to the American people?’ and then prioritizing that. When you look at the national risk assessments, they can have as many as 55 major categories, but you really need to prioritize that.”

Cummiskey points to DoD’s Joint Artificial Intelligence Center as the lead in having a system of examination and analysis when identifying next steps in countermeasures. “One of the recommendations is for DHS and others to centralize that thinking and have a conversation that will be inclusive of their different mission sets,” said Cummiskey.

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