For two days, experts in cybersecurity, artificial intelligence and more met up to discuss the relationship between humans and AI and what the future holds in what is one of the largest European conferences on this topic, the ITBN, held in Budapest.
Not only were representatives of multiple security companies present, but we also saw presentations given by social psychologists or ethologists, who tried to help us better understand the difficulties the world has with understanding AIs and creating a relationship with this type of technology.
Among the speakers we found Dr. Rand Hindi, data scientist, security experts Mikko Hyppönen, Thierry Karsenti, Peter Kosinar, or László Gombás, or social psychologist Zsuzsanna Szvetelsky with the Hungarian Academy of Science, and ethologist Vilmos Csányi, as well as cyber secret expert Arthur Keleti. Let’s not forget, of course, that the conference kicked off with a screening of “Kill Command,” a movie about AI-led military robots rebelling against humanity, which led to actor Bentley Kalu being present during the keynote talks on both days.
The topics discussed throughout the two-day conference are as challenging as they are interesting. The way artificial intelligence influences the world today was one of the main things discussed by many of the speakers, while the extent AI can and will be involved in our daily lives in the years to come was another.
Can AI eventually become the gatekeeper of our Internet security? Will we ever be able to completely trust it to fend off new cyber attacks? Well, unfortunately, without human input that doesn’t seem to be a possibility, at least not according to ITBN speakers. While machine learning is a great way to train security systems to fend off attacks that are familiar to experts, that have been flagged as malicious, AIs can’t exactly learn how new threats look when they haven’t been encountered before.
It was also interesting to hear about how artificial intelligence and cyber security are influenced by the “era of exponential technologies.” What does this mean? It means that in the past few years the amount of data generated by humans has grown at an extremely rapid rate. At the same time, storing data has become easier and you no longer need giant servers to hold everything that’s being generated each day by Internet users worldwide. It’s also worth the mention that storage solutions are getting cheaper and cheaper, too.
This combination makes artificial intelligence research easier and cheaper, as computers are also becoming increasingly powerful. In turn, this will only encourage more programmers to try their hand at developing useful AIs. On the downside, there are also going to be black hat hackers working on their own AIs for criminal purposes, so that’s something the world needs to prepare for.
Another widely discussed topic was the GDRP, or the General Data Protection Regulation, which is regulation passed by the European Parliament, the Council of the European Union and the European Commission. This new regulation has been around for about a year, but it needs to be implemented by May 2018, affecting all companies that collect and store data of European citizens. The GDRP not only imposes numerous rules regarding how data is stored, accessed and used, but also makes sure that any breach of the regulations brings with it steep sanctions, including fines up to $20 million Euro for things like failing to notify users of a data breach, for instance. The general consensus among tech experts has been that this is one of the best pieces of legislation passed in terms of protecting Internet users and their privacy and data, even if it does require a lot more work from companies.
Overall, the 2017 ITBN conference was a success, with over 2,000 people attending the two-day event that hosted about 80 programs covering numerous interesting topics that had everyone considering all aspects of the artificial intelligence field and the relation AIs have with humans.