Artificial Intelligence- A risk or a revolution?

  • 11 Jan 2018

Technology controls many aspects of life and as we get smarter, so do our computers. As we move into 2018, the BCI continues to scan the horizon, and it looks likely that technology will take centre stage of the threat and risk landscape.

According to Gartner, the world’s leading research and advisory company, providing insight on technology trends, Artificial Intelligence (AI) is likely to be one of the hottest developments throughout the next 12 months and into the future. What risks does AI bring though?

Yes, it offers the opportunity for smarter working and smarter living, however its ability to make judgements and protect itself from vulnerabilities remains under-developed.

At the Las Vegas tech fair on the 8th January 2018, LG presented their artificial intelligence robot ‘Cloi’, designed to enhance kitchen accessibility. It didn’t go to plan, however. All 3 attempts to control the robot failed and LG were left red-faced. Even though smart robots and AI are already in place in many shopping centres, airports and home appliances, this failure is a perfect example of the vulnerabilities of Artificial Intelligence.

The red-faced outcomes of failure aren’t the only downfalls forecast by professionals. Professor Stephen Hawking, in an interview with the BBC noted the following; "The development of full artificial intelligence could spell the end of the human race."

Technology has the ability to develop itself and once given the ability to do so by humans, it’s predicted that it could advance at a much higher pace than humans themselves, reducing the need for human interaction entirely.

What does this mean for organizations?

Most organizations combine automated computer work with human input. Even though algorithms are used to perform data analysis or automated functions such as mass emails, a human is still required to initiate this automation. In 5 years’ time, will computers still need humans to initiate their actions or will they have the intelligence to know exactly when and how to perform a task?

Organizations must focus on two key aspects to protect themselves.

  • Firstly, the need for soft skills. Soft skills are the personality traits computers aren’t able to replicate. How much do an organization’s customers value speaking with a human? Do they trust services more if they know a human is protecting their data or verifying information?
  • Secondly, any action performed by a robot or computer is vulnerable to cyber attack or data breach and the protective measures required may not be developed quickly enough to protect the actions. What happens to an organization’s reputation and supply chain if a robot has failed and there’s no human to fix the problem?

It’s likely that over the coming years, we will see huge advancements in the use of AI and robots in the workplace, and it’s down to organizations to foresee these advancements and not only get excited about the possibilities these open up, but also plan for the possible threats which may be introduced as a result…

For more information on horizon scanning and the threats cyber related services bring, see the BCI’s Horizon Scan Report 2017.

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