Just Thinkin’ About Robots, IoT and AI – Insights by Guy Higgins
Cyber security continues to receive intense scrutiny (and some severe criticism), and I’ve been thinking about that. As many Noble Readers know, I take the view that everything in the real world is connected, to some degree, with everything else in the real world. Ergo, cyber security must, to some degree, be connected to robots, the Internet of Things (IoT) and artificial Intelligence (AI). These three thrusts (robots, IoT and AI) also get a great deal of press and most of that press is gushingly positive. And much of the press that isn’t gushingly positive is focused on socio-economic concerns (will all jobs be replaced by computers or robots?). Do we, as leaders, need to understand and provide some focus on the cyber-security aspects of robots, IoT and AI? I think that the answer is a resounding yes!
Let’s look at robots, the IoT and AI:
Robots – Isaac Asimov, in his 1942 novel, Runaround, postulated his Three Laws of Robotics. Intriguingly, the robotics community, today, recognizes these fictional laws and (I will boldly assert) has built more complicated (and possibly better) laws, which appear to be traceable to Dr. Asimov’s originals. Dr. Asimov’s first law is, “A robot may not injure a human being or, through inaction, allow a human being to come to harm.” We have already seen incidents in which self-driving cars have injured or killed pedestrians – obviously, we haven’t eliminated the potential for our robots (and a self-driving car is a robot) even without any ill-intended hacking. Ill-intended hackers can seize control of any robot and use it for non-intended purposes.
IoT – the Internet of Things has enormous potential for improved productivity and reduced costs, but every single component in the IoT must be secure. The security failure of any component of an IoT chain opens the entire chain to those ill-intentioned hackers. Equally daunting, the failure to update IoT components as new security vulnerabilities are found or new security initiatives deployed opens the entire chain to those hackers.
AI – Artificial Intelligence software should include cyber-security code – from the very beginning, and since both robots and the IoT do and will continue to leverage AI, that means that AI cyber security is a sine qua non. (This does not mean that robot and IoT software doesn’t need its own cyber security – and that security must be compatible with the AI cyber security. This could make your head hurt)
Should our cyber security folk be knowledgeable/expert in these areas? Certainly in the security aspects of them. As leaders, what do we need to know? We need to understand enough to ask the hard questions and understand whether or not the answers make sense.
Cyber security is important – and it’s important everywhere and getting more so.