Jason Matheny, who served as President and CEO of RAND Corporation, asserted that the swift progression of artificial intelligence (AI) hastened global existential risks. During a keynote address at the 33rd Annual Review of the Field of National Security Law conference, Matheny underscored the democratization of perilous capabilities, citing the potential for a single individual with access to resources to craft a biological weapon capable of causing widespread harm. He called for robust legal tools to have addressed these risks, advocating for safety regulations, international coordination, and public control of general-purpose AIs. Matheny urged lawyers to play a crucial role in developing the necessary legal framework at the intersection of technology policy and national security law.
In navigating that complex landscape, Matheny noted that repurposing Cold War-era legal instruments, such as export controls and emergency powers, proved insufficient. He underscored the need for legal innovation to effectively confront emerging threats, encouraging lawyers to tackle the challenging task of determining the required legal tools and their responsible and ethical use in the face of evolving technological risks.