Connecting physical objects and processes to the cyber world offers us capabilities that exponentially exceed the expectations of science fiction writers and futurists of past generations. But it also introduces disquieting possibilities. Those possibilities reach beyond cyberspace to threaten the physical world in which we live and – potentially – our own physical well-being.
AI will encroach further into tasks previously done by humans. That is certain. It will do so not only in mundane, repetitive work, but also in highly specialized knowledge skills. The key to thriving in an AI-enabled environment is for leaders to grow in the human qualities AI can only mimic and not master. Motivating, mentoring, creativity, empathy and making genuine human connections with others – no matter their background – will be sorely needed to complement the computational and efficiency advancements AI will bring.
Stuxnet was the first true cyber-kinetic weapon, designed to cripple the Iranian – and perhaps also the North Korean – nuclear weapon programs. It succeeded in slowing the Iranian program, although it was discovered before it could deal the program a fatal blow. Its significance goes far beyond what it did. It marks a clear turning point in the military history and in cybersecurity. Its developers hoped for a weapon that could destroy strategic targets without civilian damage possible in traditional warfare. Instead, it opened the door to cyberattacks that can deliver widespread disruption to the very civilian populations it was designed to protect. Stuxnet has, years ago, disappeared from the digital world. Its unintended release beyond its target, though, made its code readily available to other nations, cybercriminals and terrorist groups, providing them with a wealth of advanced techniques to incorporate into their own malicious cyber efforts. Its impact on the future cannot overstated.
Technologies that could change the world have been a popular topic for the past half century. True, the predictions that everyone would drive flying cars have not materialized, but what has materialized would astound those who offered such predictions 50 years ago. And where emerging technologies are headed is even more stunning. Seven technologies, in my opinion, are poised for explosive growth in 2018. And what they can accomplish this year and beyond is not even the most significant disruption that I see them causing.
Digitization will continue to grow in the maritime industry and, with it, the threat of cyberattacks. The industry’s historic willingness to accept the risks that the open seas offer and meet them head-on when they occur should not also be its approach to cybersecurity. The stakes are high, with attackers employing increasingly ingenious strategies to achieve massive paydays from the vessels – and their companies – that leave unneeded vulnerabilities open to them. And not only are massive amounts of money at state, but also people’s lives and well-being. As digitization of the maritime industry grows, attention to cybersecurity must grow with it.
The inherent threat the evolution of our living places - Our species has moved out of the trees onto the savanna – just to build concrete trees instead, in the form of cities. Although this may be a nutshell view of human history, the movement towards making our living places habitable is taking a new turn. We no longer live just in the physical world, we now live also in the cyber-physical, and this transforms how we live, work, and play in the form of the ‘smart city’ built on our own data.
As physical objects and processes are increasingly being monitored or controlled by connected computational devices such as Industrial Control Systems (ICS) or Internet of Things (IoT), those physical objects and processes become hackable in the same way as the embedded devices controlling them. Ignoring the reality of vulnerabilities will not restrict them to the realm of fiction. The threats are real. Many have already occurred. Only by recognizing the new challenges that our connected world poses and coming together to address them will we be able to make our leap into this new way of life secure and safe, and get the fullest benefits from it.
AI's effect on the workplace will not be limited merely to repetitive, production line-type jobs. Increasingly, it also enters the realm of highly trained knowledge workers. It will also affect those who manage workers currently employed in such jobs. AI likely will reshape jobs all the way up to the C-level offices. That doesn't mean, though, that managers and executives will no longer be needed. They simply need to prepare themselves for shifts in their work responsibilities.
Where AI, robots, IoT and the so-called Fourth Industrial Revolution are taking us, and how we should prepare for it are some of the hottest topics being discussed today. Perhaps the most striking thing about these discussions is how different people’s conclusions are.
Marin Ivezic -
Personal privacy is something that once lost, may be difficult to pull back. If we have innocently signed away our data privacy rights because of trust in the status quo, there are no guarantees that our personal data will not be used against ourselves or our family members. The smart city train has already left the station. In a world where the population is increasing and resources are finite, we need to find smarter ways of living together. Smart technologies hold the key to making this happen but we need to proceed with caution and build a layer of respectful trust and privacy in our smart places.
The phrase 'smart city' conjures up a vision of a Metropolis like urban jungle. A jungle that is made up of intelligent structures, buildings that know when we enter and leave, traffic that flows easily, and always available parking spaces. A place where the city knows what we want, before we want it, and gets it right every time. This utopian vision of a future is actually fast becoming a reality… But as this brave new world opens up opportunities for business, it also reveals vulnerabilities for the individuals within the smart city too, including their own personal privacy. The smart city is built not only on traditional bricks and mortar but on data too. These data are integral to both the intelligence behind the smart city and our own place in an increasingly digital world. Privacy is one of those things that once lost, is difficult to regain. Are our smart cities leaders taking care, not just to provide efficient, clean living, but to take care of our privacy too?
Marin Ivezic -
"We're building a robot the size of the world, and most people don't even realize it." This is how Bruce Schneier described the Internet of Things in a nutshell… The "things" in our Internet of Things are frighteningly exposed… So, why isn't there more discussion about IoT hacks outside of the cybersecurity community? While the headlines are dominated by news of cyberattacks on retailers, there’s been surprisingly little buzz about this huge threat to what’s increasingly becoming the Internet of Everything… Why doesn't a government somewhere evaluate these frameworks, consult with experts, and draft regulations? If there's one thing everyone agrees on, it's the need for some sort of global standard to adopt. Ideally, industry leaders will come together to create the framework our growing internet of things desperately needs. The successful development and adoption of this network depends on it.