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Threat of Novel Tech Featured in Annual US Intelligence Report

MAR 18, 2024
Snowballing advances in AI and biotechnology are a major focus of the report.
Jacob Taylor headshot
Senior Editor for Science Policy, FYI American Institute of Physics
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The seal of the Office of the Director of National Intelligence.

(ODNI)

Several science and technology developments pose growing and unpredictable national security threats to the U.S., according to the annual threat assessment report released last week by the Office of the Director of National Intelligence.

“New technologies – particularly in the fields of AI and biotechnology – are being developed and are proliferating at a rate that makes it challenging for companies and governments to shape norms regarding civil liberties, privacy, and ethics,” the report states.

The report conveys concern that these technologies could expand access to weapons of mass destruction and rapidly produce “asymmetric threats.” The report also warns of the potential that China could establish a technological lead over the U.S. that translates into economic and eventually military superiority.

“Countries, such as China and the United States, that lead biotechnological breakthroughs in fields such as precision medicine, synthetic biology, big data, and biomimetic materials, will not only drive industry growth, but also international competition and will exert substantial influence over the global economy for generations,” the authors write.

They also state that China “now rivals the United States in DNA-sequencing equipment and some foundational research,” and that by 2030 the country “probably will achieve world-class status in all but a few space technology areas.”

This news brief originally appeared in FYI’s newsletter for the week of March 18.

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