I think the recent article in the New York Times about the boom in ‘artificial intelligence’ in Silicon Valley made many people think hard about the future of cybersecurity – both the near and distant future.
I reckon questions like these will have been pondered on:
- Where’s the maniacal preoccupation with ‘AI’, which now only exists in the fantasies of futurologists going to lead to?
- How many more billions will investors put into ventures which, at best, will ‘invent’ what was invented decades ago, at worst – will turn out to be nothing more than inflated marketing… dummies?
- What are the real opportunities for the development of machine learning cybersecurity technologies?
- And what will be the role of humans experts in this brave new world?
Sometimes when I hang around with A.I. enthusiasts here in the valley, I feel like an atheist at a convention of evangelicals.
Jerry Kaplan, computer scientist, author, futurist and serial entrepreneur (inc. co-founder of Symantec)
What’s going on now in the field of ‘AI’ resembles a soap bubble. And we all know what happens to soap bubbles eventually if they keep getting blown up by the circus clowns (no pun intended!): they burst.
Now, of course, without bold steps and risky investments a fantastical future will never become a reality. But the problem today is that along with this wave of widespread enthusiasm for ‘AI’ (remember, AI today doesn’t exist; thus the inverted commas), startup-shell-companies have started to appear.
A few start-ups? What’s the big deal, you might ask.
The big deal is that these shell-startups are attracting not millions but billions of dollars in investment – by riding the new wave of euphoria surrounding ‘AI’ machine learning. Thing is, machine learning has been around for decades: it was first defined in 1959, got going in the 70s, flourished in the 90s, and is still flourishing! Fast forward to today and this ‘new’ technology is re-termed ‘artificial intelligence’; it adopts an aura of cutting-edge science; it gets to have the glossiest brochures; it gets to have the most glamorously sophisticated marketing campaigns. And all of that is aimed at the ever-present human weakness for belief in miracles – and in conspiracy theories about so-called ‘traditional’ technologies. And sadly, the cybersecurity field hasn’t escaped this new ‘AI’ bubble…
Read on: Too much AI will kill you…