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March 12, 2024

Artificial Intelligence, Extinction-Level Threat or Solution?

Written by the AIHC Education Department    

This article provides an overview of how the media and government are reacting to the potential of artificial intelligence (AI) and potential threats associated with this advanced technology.  Please read other AI articles published by the American Institute of Healthcare Compliance regarding how AI can advance quality of care, how AI is regulated, use of AI and HIPAA privacy/security, to name a few topics.

A Government-Commissioned Report Released February 2024

The U.S. State Department commissioned the first-ever assessment of proliferation and security risk from weaponized and misaligned AI. In February 2024, Gladstone AI, a four-person company which runs technical briefings on AI for government employees, completed that assessment. It includes an analysis of catastrophic AI risks, and a first-of-its-kind, government-wide Action Plan for what we can do about them entitled “An Action Plan to Increase the Safety and Security of Advanced AI.”

According to Time in a March 11, 2024 exclusive, U.S. Must Move ‘Decisively’ to Avert ‘Extinction-Level’ Threat From AI, the Gladstone AI report recommends a threshold should be set by a new federal AI agency which would require AI companies to obtain government permission to train and deploy new models above a certain lower threshold.

We can argue that there needs to be some type of controls to guide artificial intelligence, but hopefully the government will dive deeper, and quickly seek additional recommendations.  The government commission for this report from Gladstone AI was made in 2022.  According to the Time article, “The rise of advanced AI and AGI [artificial general intelligence] has the potential to destabilize global security in ways reminiscent of the introduction of nuclear weapons. AGI is a hypothetical technology that could perform most tasks at or above the level of a human. Such systems do not currently exist, but the leading AI labs are working toward them and many expect AGI to arrive within the next five years or less.”

As technology advances, so do cyber criminals 

When it comes to cyberattacks and cyber extortion (ransomware attacks), health care organization continue to suffer as prime targets and continue to struggle to recover after an attack.  

Threat actors (cyber criminals or extortionists) are leveraging AI to their advantage, which can be used as a potent weapon.  According to the National Cyber Security Centre (United Kingdom), artificial intelligence (AI) is expected to increase the global ransomware threat over the next two years. “AI enables relatively unskilled threat actors to carry out more effective access and information-gathering operations. This enhanced access, combined with the improved targeting of victims afforded by AI, will contribute to the global ransomware threat in the next two years.

Using AI to Secure Healthcare Data

Government agencies are harnessing the power of AI for threat intelligence and defense. This involves using AI algorithms to analyze vast datasets, identify potential threats, and predict cyberattacks before they occur.  For now, health care organizations and business associates can access cybersecurity guidance through various agencies.

America’s cyber defense agency CISA (Cybersecurity & Infrastructure Security Agency).  CISA provides information on AI under Cybersecurity Best Practices on their website: https://www.cisa.gov/ai.

Artificial Intelligence, Cybersecurity and the Health Sector July 13, 2023 from the Office of Information Security and Health Sector Cybersecurity Coordination Center.  This PPT addresses:

  • What is artificial intelligence?
  • How does it work?
  • What does it mean for cybersecurity, especially for healthcare?
  • What can be done to remain secure, given AI-enhanced cyberthreats?

AIHC recommends training healthcare executives, managers and key workforce members in HIPAA privacy and security – training online available at: https://aihc-assn.org/courses/hipaa-privacy-security-course/

AIHC is a Licensing/Certification Partner with the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS)


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