It won’t be long before we consider embodied AI as a form of “life” – and that will have a variety of paradigm-shifting, somewhat irritating, and potentially hilarious impacts on the daily lives of infosec and privacy pros.
InfoSec Management- As though prioritizing patches isn’t hard enough, how much worse will it be when the unpatched machine can stalk over to your desk, fold its arms, raise an eyebrow, and ask why its vulnerability is still waiting for a fix?
Right now, artificial intelligence (AI) is just a tool — a tool we’re barely using — but science-fiction always has its way. We already carry the “Hitchiker’s Guide to the Galaxy” in our pockets; soon enough we’ll be throwing build-day parties for our robot co-workers.
And it won’t be long before we consider embodied AI as a form of “life.” Robots will be granted certain rights and held to certain responsibilities. And that will have a variety of paradigm-shifting, somewhat irritating, and potentially hilarious impacts on the daily lives of cybersecurity and privacy professionals.
When trying to define “life,” scientists use qualifications such as autonomy, a need for energy, or an ability to replicate, make decisions, and adapt to an environment. An embodied, self-replicating neural network that uses electricity, performs automated functions, and learns from its mistakes is certainly well on its way to fulfilling these requirements.
You can quibble over how much of this is truly “autonomous” and how much is “programmed,” but really you’d just be retreading the same “nature vs. nurture” territory that sociologists have trod for years: How much of what we do is a product of how we’re built, and how much is a product of what we’re taught?
Regardless, humans are likely to imbue certain embodied robots with the “concept of “life.” Example: In 1984, tragedy struck, right in the middle of Saturday morning cartoons. Rosie, The Jetsons’ sassy robot housekeeper, swallowed a faulty lugnut, turning the orderly Rosie into an out-of-control shoplifter. But did the Jetsons reboot, reformat, or replace the used basic economy model robot? No. The family planned an intervention.
“Now, we’ve got to handle this with sympathy and understanding,” said Jane. “She may need professional help,” said George. And once her hardware was completely wrecked, the whole family huddled in the robot hospital anxiously, while the robot surgeons lamented,”Oh my, this is an old one. How will we ever find original parts?”
Good news: Rosie came out OK.