Institute of National Security Studies (INSS), the premier think tank on national security established under the Ministry of Defence, organized a Round Table Discussion titled “Leveraging Artificial Intelligence for National Security: Opportunities and Challenges in Sri Lanka” on Wednesday, 12th of July 2023, from 1330hrs to 1530hrs (IST) via Zoom. The four esteemed Guest Speakers of the event were Mr. Haritha Thilakarathne, Consultant in Data and AI at Arinco, Australia, Dr. Chamila Talagala, Faculty Member, Charles Darwin University, Australia, Ms. Shammi Hewamadduma, Lead Information Security Engineer, Sri Lanka CERT and Mr. Viraj Attanayake, Vice President, Innovation and Informatics International Limited. The moderator for this informative and timely session was Rear Admiral Dimuthu Gunawardena RWP** RSP VSV USP nswc psc hdmc, Acting Director General, Director (Communications & Publications), of the Institute of National Security Studies. The audience comprised of ministry officials, academicians, researchers, representatives from Sri Lankan armed forces, think tanks and academia. The moderator commenced the proceedings along with the elaboration of the impact of Artificial Intelligence (AI) that has emerged in the new world era and mentioned the role in enhancing efficiency, productivity, and problem-solving capabilities across various industries, revolutionizing the way we work and live.
Commencing with Mr. Haritha Thilakarathne, who spoke on the topic of “Addressing Data Challenges and Privacy Concerns,” he portrayed a wide array of the importance of data and the main concerns that we need to consider while collecting data. These concerns include data minimization, transparency, anonymization, pseudonymization, data audit, and data security. Moving on to the second speaker, Dr. Chamila Talagala, he provided clear insights into the “Legal Framework of AI: Loopholes and Recommendations.” In his speech, he emphasized the significance of establishing a legal framework for AI, which would help regulate affairs, maximize benefits, prevent or minimize harms or drawbacks, and maintain peace, security, and order. Continuing with the third speaker, Ms. Shammi Hewamadduma, who discussed “Safeguarding National Infrastructure from AI-enabled Cyber Threats,” she explained the overall concept of national infrastructure, including facilities, systems, sites, information, people, networks, and processes necessary for a country to function. Additionally, she elaborated on how AI-enabled cyber threats can affect a country’s infrastructure facilities. Mr. Viraj Attanayake, as the fourth and final speaker, delivered a speech on “Enhancing National Security Capabilities through AI.” He highlighted how AI can help identify potential threats in real-time. Furthermore, he pointed out that autonomous drones and robotics equipped with AI capabilities can significantly enhance broader security as well.
Following up, several timely related questions under the discussed topic of concern were posed by the audience in the Q and A segment, where each speaker was directed with a question as per their topic of discussion. The speakers responded constructively along with adequate facts as well as realistic concerns of the current context. Finally, Ms Minoshi Perera, Research Assistant of the Institute of National Security Studies, delivered the Vote of thanks, marking the end of yet another insightful and engaging Round Table Discussion conducted under a timely theme of debate.