Hackers targeting the 2018 midterm elections are seeking new and even more daring ways to invade election systems. The most dangerous tool yet may be one science fiction aficionados would recognize: Artificial Intelligence, or AI. This presents the latest stage of a new reality where two parties (hackers and governments) are putting in maximum effort to surpass each other, each in turn taking on the roles of defense and offense, and a new generation of “artificial” players on this field may help determine the balance of power on the web.
Lately, in an attempt to combat these hackers, Google, has put in place new Artificial Intelligence-based systems designed to detect and monitor the activities of both parties. Usually allied with the American government’s anti-hacker efforts, Google realized early on that its cybersecurity efforts were reliant on governments, including foreign governments. This quickly made its security planning more complex and the need to manage threats from even state actors, like Russia’s now famous Unit 26165 behind Vladimir Putin’s election hacking campaign.
The amazingly sophisticated tools Google and its allies have developed require massive investments in cyber-security. The new tools are at the absolute cutting edge of technology. The importance of artificial intelligence is explained by Teslarati author Astro Jane here:
“You may have heard of the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) at CERN in Switzerland, i.e., the giant, nearly 17-mile long particle smasher infamously feared to be attempting to create black holes on purpose. The end of the world aside, the data gathered by all the LHC’s experiments is huge and overwhelming. So overwhelming, in fact, that CERN physicists are now turning to computer scientists to implement AI for data sorting and reconstruction. Combine the power of AI with the theory that a solar system-sized collider could reveal the inner workings of the big bang, and there you have it. The answer to life, the universe, and everything, brought to you by artificial intelligence.”
But it has turned out that no matter how big the investment in cyber-security is, hackers are able to quickly frustrate these efforts using newer tactics also based on AI. Some artificial intelligence is now on the side of the good guys, and some are on the side of the bad.
A video posted recently by CBS News, and produced by the major US defense contractor, Raytheon, covers this new paradigm with journalist Dan Patterson in an interview with Google’s Mark Risser, an expert in spatial statistics, environmental statistics and Bayesian modeling who is a Career-Track Research Scientist at the Lawrence Berkeley National Lab.
Here is the video which lasts about seven and half minutes. Take a look: