Not to be left behind by Russia and China in the race for new age technologies, the UK’s MI6 is also keen on artificial intelligence (AI) and quantum engineering. The Secret Intelligence Service acknowledged that technology could revolutionize geopolitics over the next 10 years.
Richard Moore, MI6 chief, says the agency has to “become more open to stay secret” in a world of destabilizing technological changes. In his first public speech since becoming the head of the Secret Intelligence Service, in October 2020, Moore will say the disruptive potential of AI and other rapidly developing technologies is a white-hot focus for MI6.
“According to some assessments, we may experience more technological progress in the next 10 years than in the last century, with a disruptive impact equal to the industrial revolution. As a society, we have yet to internalize this stark fact and its potential impact on global geopolitics.”
Moore, as per AP, will say that adversaries are pouring money and ambition into mastering AI, quantum computing and synthetic biology because they know that mastering these technologies will give them leverage. “To keep up, British spies are now pursuing partnerships with the tech community to help develop world-class technologies to solve our biggest mission problems.” He highlighted that advances in data science in general will have attractions for malign actors, both nation-state and trans-national terrorist groups.
The spy chief described working in the private sector as a sea change for an organization enmeshed in secrecy. Moore lists China, Russia, Iran and international terrorism as the ‘Big Four’ priorities for the West’s intelligence world.
As one of Britain’s three intelligence agencies, along with the Security Service (MI5) and GCHQ, MI6’s role has always been to acquire secrets from overseas targets to help protect Britain’s national security. Today, MI6 is a founding member of the UK’s unified cyber command which counters state threats, terrorists and criminals and supports military operations.