The US Department of Homeland Security is assembling a task force to explore how artificial intelligence (AI) can be used to defend the country from threats. 

Alegandro Mayorkas, secretary of the US Department of Homeland Security, addressed the Council on Foreign Relations on Friday. 

Mayorkas said: “Our department will lead in the responsible use of AI to secure the homeland. As we do this, we will ensure that our use of AI is rigorously tested to avoid bias and disparate impact and is clearly explainable to the people we serve.”

The announcement comes as generative AI tools like OpenAI’s ChatGPT and Google’s Bard have seen widespread adoption. 

While some industry experts have voice concerns about the technology developing too fast – the announcement shows that the US is embracing AI’s potential benefits. 

The DHS AI task force also shines a light on the ever-growing race between the West and China to harness the most powerful AI hardware, which culminated in chip export sanctions late last year.

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Mayorkas highlighted the threats posed by China, stating: “Beijing has the capability and the intent to undermine our interests at home and abroad and is leveraging every instrument of its national power to do so, from its increasingly aggressive presence in the South China Sea to the overseas police stations used to harass and intimidate dissenters.”

According to Mayoraks, AI could be used in DHS systems to help spot illegal fentanyl shipments in the US and help stop the import of chemicals used in the drug.

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