Artificial intelligence


This week, we will briefly touch upon the topic of artificial intelligence, or AI, discuss what it is, why it is so important to the American empire and national security, and how the ancient Chamorro people of the Marianas can prepare themselves to be ready for future possible job and entrepreneurial opportunities at the intersection of warfare and technology. 

What is AI? Star Wars gone wild? 
AI is a constellation or universe of technologies, computer hardware and software, designed to solve specific tasks that reflect and are intended to resemble human cognitive processes to include decision making, reasoning, learning, and perceiving. 

AI has applications that reprogram itself to complete specific tasks called machine learning. Within the machine learning space, there are applications that take information to produce outcomes with increasing accuracy. This technology can be interpreted as an evolving manufactured ecosystem that attempts to some degree to self-develop and monitor without human intervention. 

This is both potentially dangerous and beneficial stuff. 

Why AI is important to the United States and our ancient Chamorro people
Part of the answer is found in a report released by the congressionally established National Security Commission on Artificial Intelligence, which outlined the national importance of AI and its application to all facets of American—and by implication, American colonial—society. The commission was established to assess how AI affects imperial competitiveness and technological advantage. 

AI is important because it has civilian and military applications that are used every day by every citizen, whether one resides on Saipan, Rota, in New York, Birmingham or elsewhere. If you are looking for a movie to watch or check out what time a restaurant or bar opens, or get vehicle maintenance service, or asking your iPhone a question, AI will be a part of the enabling infrastructure that will get you the answers to your questions. 

AI is now found everywhere and is used knowingly or unknowingly, again posing benefits and concerns to society. 

If Guam moves toward building a new hospital, AI will be an integral and ubiquitous part of how healthcare decisions are informed, how biotechnology is implemented, and how personal medical information and data are managed, distributed, protected, and delivered. AI will become more important as Guam continues to move toward technological solutions for future energy, food technology and security opportunities. Folks in the NMI will see a greater role of AI as the Commonwealth moves toward electric and eventually unmanned cars.

Cyber-attacks against the United States government and other facets of society occur every day. AI was the underbelly used to enable computer networks to find vulnerabilities recently when the government of Guam experienced a cyber-attack. These attacks may come in the form of data harvesting, targeted attacks on individual citizens, or AI enabled attacks on social media, intended to influence or harm the targets.  

The American national government is contemplating ways to aggressively deal with data protection, privacy, and security. Congress remains behind the curve on how to craft legislation to address ongoing technological change. Others worry that domestic data surveillance is out of control and has already compromised our privacy and protection. 

Why AI is important to the governments of Guam and the CNMI
Now is the time for the governments of Guam and the CNMI to consider creating a Marianas Artificial Intelligence, Security and Emerging Technologies Understanding advisory board to learn and more completely seek to comprehend the nature of AI, how it is currently used and how it presents opportunities and vulnerabilities to every aspect of Pacific island life. There is no reason why Guam and CNMI legislative committees overseeing technology cannot hold initial hearings to discuss AI. 

Future educational and career opportunities: Pay attention
Guam Community College is doing some work with its resources available to students in math and science tutoring and management information systems programming. The University of Guam has resources that can or will eventually be able to contribute toward providing AI jobs for young islanders who have math, engineering, nursing, education, biology, and Chamorro studies backgrounds. 

Guam institutions have opportunities to further partner with the Guam Department of Education, and the CNMI Public School System on the implications of AI. Marianas educational institutions would be well served to contemplate the establishment of emerging technology certificate programs to prepare Pacific Islanders for much needed and well-paid technology jobs. All Marianas institutions can also create opportunities to seek partnerships with major American companies and entities in Silicon Valley and elsewhere, intended to create AI related jobs and training. 

Lawmakers from Guam and the CNMI as well as the governors can contemplate creating national level digital annex risk management programs for all school age kids interested in future technical challenges that will provide good paying jobs while helping to secure America and its colonies. Science and technology partnerships with Taiwan and South Korea may also be something that can be operationalized for mutual benefit. 

The AI race is on, security threats increase
A most dangerous aspect of rapidly emerging AI enabled technology and networks is that nation state adversaries such as China and Russia may outpace the United States on this front over the next 10 to 15 years. This presents and will present fundamental risks and threats to the existing militarized resource base currently embedded and/or connected to Guam and the CNMI that may include risks tied to autonomous unmanned weapon system warfare and real future risks associated with crisis stability and human authorized employment of very dangerous nuclear weapons and networks through unmanned platforms. 

AI threatens to pose real challenges to traditional process identification and validation issues related to military targeting matters, creating risks to real-time battle assessment decisions that will need to be made in the future.  

Now is the time for our Chamorro Pacific Islander civilization to continue the broad conversation on issues of the military and national and colonial security to demystify and assess the importance of AI and what it means to all our families and friends in the 21st century. 

Rick Arriola Perez | Author
Rick Arriola Perez is a U.S. military veteran who has worked for the U.S. Department of Defense, the Bank of Hawaii, and the government of Guam. He holds several degrees including ones from UCLA and the U.S. Naval War College in Newport, R.I. Rick is passionate about national security and foreign affairs in the Pacific Asia region and runs a blogsite called Guam Affairs at For more information, contact Perez at

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