Ahoy shipmates! The US Navy is sailing into uncharted waters with the introduction of Amelia, their new conversational Artificial Intelligence (AI) tech-support tool. Designed to assist sailors in troubleshooting computer problems through text-based conversations, this cutting-edge technology aims to improve efficiency and speed up response times for tech-related issues. But as we chart Amelia’s course, it’s crucial to weigh anchor and consider the potential threats that could arise from foreign powers trying to exploit this innovative system.

First things first, let’s get the lowdown on Amelia. This AI-powered tool functions as a virtual assistant, helping sailors navigate the often choppy waters of tech support. By engaging in text-based conversations, Amelia can diagnose and offer solutions to common IT problems, making life easier for those on board and freeing up valuable time for other mission-critical tasks. Sounds shipshape, right?

However, as we set sail with Amelia, keeping an eye on the horizon for potential security risks is essential. Conversational AI technology like Amelia could be vulnerable to state-affiliated hacks targeting the Navy’s digital infrastructure. Imagine an adversary gaining control of Amelia and using it to spread disinformation or sabotage critical systems – that scenario could land us in some seriously hot water.

“Predominantly, we’ve had to have agents around who had knowledge of ‘how do I fix a specific issue,'” Travis Dawson, GDIT’s chief technology officer for the Navy and Marine Corps sector, said. “Well, that issue can be documented, right? And once it’s documented, we can go ahead and have that resolved via automation, without the human interaction.”


Take, for example, the 2018 cyberattack on the US Navy’s contractor, where hackers linked to the Chinese government stole massive amounts of sensitive data, including plans for advanced weaponry and military hardware. This breach highlights the real threat posed by foreign actors who are hell-bent on compromising our defenses and undermining our military capabilities.

So, what’s the likelihood of an attack on Amelia? Given the increasing sophistication of cyber threats and the high stakes involved, it’s safe to say that the risk is far from negligible. If our adversaries were to compromise Amelia, the consequences could be dire – from misdirecting sailors to causing widespread disruption within the Navy’s digital infrastructure.

“In the AI world, I will tell you, they get really sensitive when you call conversational AI a bot,” he said. “A bot has a back-ended script, right? So it’s only going to tell you the answer that it knows. If it doesn’t tell you, you sit at a dead end.”