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Artificial Intelligence and Virtual Terrorism

Artificial Intelligence (AI) broadly refers to the study and creation of information systems capable of performing tasks that resemble human problem-solving capabilities, using computer algorithms to do things that would normally require human intelligence — such as speech recognition, visual perception, and decision-making. Computers and software are naturally not self-aware, emotional, or intelligent the way human beings are. They are, rather, tools that carry out functionalities encoded in them, which are inherited from the intelligence of their human programmers.

IBM has applied AI to security in the form of its Watson “cognitive computing” platform. The company has taught Watson to read through vast quantities of security research, with some 60,000 security-related blog posts published every month and 10,000 reports being produced each year. The company has scores of customers using Watson as part of their security intelligence and analytics platform.

Some scientists who work in the AI field believe that AI robots will be living and working with us within the next decade. Autonomous animated avatars are already being created, such as “Baby X”, a virtual infant that learns through experience and can “feel” emotions. Adult avatars can be plugged into existing platforms like Watson, essentially putting a face on a chatbot. Within a decade, humans may well be interacting with lifelike emotionally responsive AI robots, very similar to the premise of the HBO series “Westworld” and the film “I, Robot”. However, before that becomes a reality robotics will need to catch up to AI technology.

As Stephen Hawking noted in 2014, “Whereas the short-term impact of AI depends on who controls it, the long-term impact depends on whether it can be controlled at all”. He believes we are on the cusp of the kinds of AI that were previously exclusive to science fiction films.

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