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10/10/2017
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Artificial Intelligence: Experts Talk Ethical, Security Concerns

Global leaders weigh the benefits and dangers of a future in which AI plays a greater role in business and security strategy.

CYBERSEC EUROPEAN CYBERSECURITY FORUM - Kraków, Poland - The future of artificial intelligence was a hot topic at the third annual CYBERSEC Cybersecurity Forum, where security professionals representing Poland, the Netherlands, Germany, and the United Kingdom discussed the pitfalls and potential of AI, and its role in the enterprise.

Is it too soon to have this discussion? Absolutely not, said Axel Petri, SVP for group security governance at Deutsche Telekom AG. "Now is the time to ask the questions we'll have answers for in ten, twenty years," he added. Cybersecurity supported by AI and machine learning can leverage data to generate more insight and fight fraud.

"You are able to use the workforce you have in a smarter and better way by using AI," he said. "How nice would it be if we could have a junior SOC analyst act as well as the smartest guy in the SOC, of which you currently have very few?"

Andrzej Zybertowicz, research fellow at Nicolaus Copernicus University and social adviser to the President of Poland, explained that while locally used artificial intelligence can increase cybersecurity, the effects are "potentially disastrous" on a global scale. It's time to discuss the broad risks of AI and regulations to avoid them, he said, and others agreed.

"The problem is, there are so many risks," said Noel Sharkey, professor of artificial intelligence and robotics at the University of Sheffield, who believes there are both opportunities and threats in the field. "There's not just one thing."

Sharkey presented an example in the medical field, where AI could help doctors research diseases. This is a good thing, he said, but what happens when the machine is right long enough and the doctor stops questioning it? Should a doctor automatically agree with a machine? What are the implications if they do, and the machine someday gets it wrong?

"What's core is making sure there's clear accountability, and being concerned with the types of controls we seek in AI," Sharkey continued. There is a need for deep learning, and deep reinforcement learning, as we seek AI applications in child care, elder care, transport, and agriculture. "Future-proofing" AI should consider its implications for human rights.

"Artificial intelligence transforms everything around us; every industry, our health, our education," explained Aleksandra Przegalinska-Skierkowska, assistant professor at Kozminski University and research fellow for Collective Intelligence at MIT. "Especially if we want autonomous vehicles or virtual agents, we need a code of conduct for them."

We are at a point when people have begun to reflect on issues related to machine ethics and morality, she added. Building a structure for ethical AI systems should be a collaborative effort, especially as more businesses generate connected products.

"From the perspective of a company selling digital services, we should put one very important thing at the center of our attention -- this is a customer using the AI," said Petri. "What we need is the trust of users in every technical system. If we don't have they trust, we don't have users."

The discussion of regulatory measures soon turned to threat actors who will break them. Almost every technology is dual-usage and can be weaponized, Zybertowicz pointed out. "We are here talking about rules, but we are dealing with a group of bad actors who don't play by the rules," said Petri. "The bad guys are innovating faster than the good guys."

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Kelly Sheridan is Associate Editor at Dark Reading. She started her career in business tech journalism at Insurance & Technology and most recently reported for InformationWeek, where she covered Microsoft and business IT. Sheridan earned her BA at Villanova University. View Full Bio

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