The CIA Is Partnering Up On A New AI Project

( Last week, the University of Florida announced that it would be working with the CIA on an artificial intelligence project to prevent malicious cyberattacks.

According to a university news release, researchers from the Florida Institute for National Security entered into an agreement with the CIA to study how artificial intelligence and machine learning applications (AIML) may be used to both detect and deter cyber-intrusions into computer networks.

Damon Woodard, the director of the Florida Institute for National Security said the collaboration with the CIA “will accelerate our ability to understand and expand” its research into AIML and cybersecurity.

Woodard said one particular area of research in which little work has been done is reinforcement learning which attempts to mimic human learning through trial and error. Researchers will explore this technology to see if this method of machine learning can apply to cybersecurity problems.

According to the Identity Theft Resource Center, there were 1,603 cyber-related data breaches last year alone. That is nearly 500 more than the previous year. Likewise, ransomware attacks are also on the rise, doubling in each of the previous two years.

Woodard said the hope is the research done at the Florida Institute of National Security will revolutionize cybersecurity and provide technologies that can better protect data while strengthening security for both the government and the private sector.

Launched in May, the Florida Institute for National Security hopes to take a leading role in multidisciplinary research on national security through partnerships with the tech industry and the government.

According to Woodard, there is a major benefit to working with the CIA “because they present interesting constraints in cybersecurity.” Researchers will be dealing with “worst-case scenarios” that will prepare them for everything “from low-quality data to low-resolution images.”

Woodward said that level of research will allow them “to reach our full capacity for understanding potential shortcomings.”