Richard Clarke was appointed by President Clinton as the first National Coordinator for Security, Infrastructure Protection, and Counterterrorism in May 1998 and continued in that position under George W. Bush. He joined Ian Punnett (Twitter) on Saturday's program to discuss the latest in artificial intelligence (AI) and cyber security. He commented on the story about a former Google employee who was convinced an AI program was sentient, and defined what sentience could mean for an AI program, explaining "I tend to think sentience is a spectrum... and I think artificial intelligence is going to be on the spectrum too." Clarke pointed out we already have AI programs making decisions every time anyone uses a credit card and an AI must decide if a transaction is legitimate or fraudulent. "There are AI programs making decisions today that effect all of us," he added.
For the last several years AI has been contributing to cyber security as well, Clarke continued. There are defensive AI programs which examine network/login activity to determine if access should be granted, he explained. According to Clarke, the defense department is seeking hackers to create offensive AI programs. "AIs are really good at attacking because they can scan a network from the outside, they see what vulnerabilities are... and then they have a tool kit of all the known hacking tools and they just run through them at very fast speeds until they work," he revealed. Clarke expressed his desire to see a company give a live computer network over to an AI defense program and allow that AI to make all decisions regarding the security of that network. He also talked about artificial general intelligence, which would be software that could think on its own and do anything with what is connected to it. There is a debate among computer scientists about whether or not this is achievable, and Clarke tackles this topic in his recent book, Artificial Intelligencia.
Heatwave & Cattle Deaths
In the first hour, former TV weatherman Scott Stevens commented on the thousands of cattle in feedlots in southwestern Kansas that have reportedly died of heat stress due to soaring temperatures there. "Weather is probably not the cause we're looking for," Stevens suggested, noting cows are incredibly resilient animals. The cattle would have experienced similar temperatures before, and there were hotter places such as Texas, Arizona, and New Mexico, where no widespread cattle deaths were reported, he continued. These deaths across such a small geographical area should send up red flags, Stevens noted. "I dare you to find a cattleman to say that this was weather," he said.