Britain’s Secret Intelligence Service boss Richard Moore has said MI6 will have to become “more open to stay secret” and work with tech companies to counter threats posed by China and Russia who seek to gain advantage by mastering artificial intelligence and other emerging technologies.
Unlike Q in the Bond movies, MI6 cannot develop the tools it needs in-house to counter hybrid physical and virtual threats.
Artificial Intelligence (AI), quantum computing and digital technology have combined to completely transform the way human intelligence is gathered by spies, presenting MI6 with major challenges in the digital age.
Biometric data and facial recognition, for example, have made it far harder for intelligence officers to assume false identities in hostile countries without being recognised and exposed.
Moore is calling upon the private sector to work with MI6 to protect the UK from threats of national security from ‘The Big Four’ – China, Russia, Iran and international terrorism.
Technology has long been vital to MI6 from methods now considered to be old fashioned such as the chemistry that enabled secret writing technologies in the early days, to the wireless and secure speech technologies we developed during the Second World War.