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Security Leaders Break Silence On AI Risks In Silicon Valley

Britain’s head of MI5 Ken McCallum warns, ‘We all need to be aware, and respond before it’s too late’

From left to right: Australian Security Intelligence Organisation Director-General Mike Burgess, Canadian Security Intelligence Service Director David Vigneault, FBI Director Christopher Wray, New Zealand Security Intelligence Service Director-General of Security and Chief Executive Andrew Hampton, and MI5 Director General Ken McCallum pose for a group photo during the Emerging Technology and Securing Innovation Summit in Palo Alto, California, on October 16, 2023

Britain’s head of MI5, the nation’s security service has made a public appearance alongside security leaders from the US, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand to raise concerns about the growing risks of artificial intelligence.

Ken McCallum was recently in Silicon Valley, California, to attend the inaugural Emerging Technology and Securing Innovation Security Summit in Palo Alto alongside members of The Five Eyes intelligence alliance.

Before the summit, which saw business leaders, entrepreneurs, and academics with the top security chiefs from five nations gather, McCallum said in an FBI press release, “The UK is seeing a sharp rise in aggressive attempts by other states to steal competitive advantage. It’s the same across all five of our countries.”

During the summit, he joined his Five Eyes counterparts, including FBI Director Christopher Wray, to warn companies of all sizes about the threats they face, mainly from China. “The stakes are now incredibly high on emerging technologies; states which lead the way in areas like artificial intelligence, quantum computing and synthetic biology will have the power to shape all our futures,” said McCallum. 

Raising awareness 

The primary reason that led to these intelligence officials stepping into the public eye is to raise awareness, especially among smaller businesses that might not be aware of the risks they face. The five governments have issued a shared set of five principles aimed at assisting companies in safeguarding their innovations. 

FBI director Christopher Wray said, “Emerging technologies are essential to our economic and national security, and America’s role as a leading economic power, but they also present new and evolving threats.”

The organisations are also expected to have in-depth discussions with leaders from the private sector to explore ways of enhancing and broadening public-private partnerships, all to improve the protection of innovation and the security of the five nations and their citizens.

“The Summit is an unprecedented response to an unprecedented threat,” said Australia’s Intelligence chief, Mike Burgess. “The fact the Five Eyes security services are gathering in Silicon Valley speaks to the nature of the threat and our collective resolve to counter it.”

Established in 1946, the Five Eyes alliance allows the five nations (Australia, United States, United Kingdom, New Zealand and Canada) to share intelligence more effectively and coordinate their domestic and international security efforts better.

Written By

Isa Muhammad is a writer and video game journalist covering many aspects of entertainment media including the film industry. He's steadily writing his way to the sharp end of journalism and enjoys staying informed. If he's not reading, playing video games or catching up on his favourite TV series, then he's probably writing about them.

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