We see so much material about espionage on television or in novels, we begin to think that we understand the game. It’s called spytainment. As entertaining as it all is, this spy craft trade is hard and dangerous work and it has become even more difficult as the digital revolution makes information more abundant, but also manipulable. There’s now artificial intelligence, quantum computing, social media and the Internet reshaping politics and societies. America’s intelligence agencies are many and not fully coordinated. Oversight from Congress is not sophisticated and generally interests the public only when there are abuses or failures, as in the run up to the 2003 Iraq War. As cyber threats mount, we will depend on good intelligence to block their impact on critical infrastructure. And these agencies that like to do their work in a clandestine fashion now must share more of the intelligence gathering duties with citizens who have technology at their fingertips that might actually provide great value. As in all fields, things are changing dramatically in this realm and it makes this moment in history perilous. Amy Zegart, a Stanford professor and author of ‘Spies, Lies and Algorithms’, joins us to explain what will be required of spy craft to ensure our safety going forward.
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