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Feds Hiring AI Experts To Crack Down On Child Abuse, Drugs

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) will hire 50 artificial intelligence experts this year to help it halt child abuse, counter fentanyl production and assess damage from natural disasters, as it seeks to increase use of the technology. The agency, tasked with securing U.S. borders, announced the hiring effort at an event in Mountain View, Calif. headlined by Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas and Chief Artificial Intelligence Officer Eric Hysen, Reuters reports “Government needs the support and expertise of our country’s foremost AI experts to help ensure our continued ability to harness this technology responsibly, safeguard against its malicious use, and advance our critical homeland security mission,” Mayorkas said. The agency said the experts would provide expertise in cybersecurity, data science and software engineering.

The plan is part of the Biden administration's nascent efforts to harness the potential benefits of AI while reining in the biggest threats it poses after Europe has made much more significant progress. Generative AI, which can create text, photos and videos in response to open-ended prompts, has spurred excitement as well as fears it could make some jobs obsolete and upend elections by making it difficult to distinguish between fact and false information. Officials highlighted ways that AI is already helping DHS crack down on illegal drug imports by using a machine learning model to identify suspicious patterns in vehicles crossing the border, leading to 240 drug seizures. The agency is using a machine learning model to enhance older images, allowing it to identify 300 previously unknown victims of sexual exploitation as well as some perpetrators.


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