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AI: UVA receives research funding, companies encouraged to ensure security, responsibility

Artificial intelligence
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Federal funding will provide UVA and Norfolk State University with more than $1.8 million to research and develop artificial intelligence capabilities to fight cyberattacks.

Researchers will work as part of a nationwide team, and collaborate with teams at 10 other universities and 20 private industry partners to find revolutionary methods to counter cyberattacks in which AI-enabled intelligent security agents will cooperate with humans to build more resilient networks.

“Addressing the cybersecurity threats that our nation faces requires constant adaptation and innovation, and utilizing AI to counter these threats is an incredibly exciting use-case for this emerging technology,” Sen. Warner of Virginia, who is chair of the Senate Intelligence Committee, said. “This funding will allow teams at the University of Virginia and Norfolk State to do groundbreaking research on ways AI can help safeguard against cyberattacks. I congratulate UVA and NSU on receiving this funding, and I can’t wait to see what they discover and develop.”

UVA will receive $845,000 and Norfolk State will receive $975,000 from the National Science Foundation, the Department of Homeland Security and IBM. Investments are designed to build a diverse AI workforce across the United States.

Last week, Warner sent letters to CEOs of AI companies encouraging them to prioritize security, combat bias and responsibly roll out new technologies. He expressed concerns in his letters about the potential risks posed by the rapid and unchecked development AI technology.

“[W]ith the increasing use of AI across large swaths of our economy, and the possibility for large language models to be steadily integrated into a range of existing systems, from healthcare to finance sectors, I see an urgent need to underscore the importance of putting security at the forefront of your work,” Warner wrote. “Beyond industry commitments, however, it is also clear that some level of regulation is necessary in this field.”

His letters highlighted several specific security risks associated with AI, including data supply chain security and data poisoning attacks, and expressed his concerns about algorithmic bias, trustworthiness and potential misuse or malicious use of AI systems.

The letters, sent to the CEOs of OpenAI, Scale AI, Meta, Google, Apple, Stability AI, Midjourney, Anthropic, Percipient.ai, and Microsoft, include a series of questions for companies developing large-scale AI models to answer, aimed at ensuring that they are taking appropriate measures to address these security risks.

Rebecca Barnabi

Rebecca Barnabi

Rebecca J. Barnabi is the national editor of Augusta Free Press. A graduate of the University of Mary Washington, she began her journalism career at The Fredericksburg Free-Lance Star. In 2013, she was awarded first place for feature writing in the Maryland, Delaware, District of Columbia Awards Program, and was honored by the Virginia School Boards Association’s 2019 Media Honor Roll Program for her coverage of Waynesboro Schools. Her background in newspapers includes writing about features, local government, education and the arts.