When will the first person be attacked by a rabid robot?
Will it be next year? Two years from now? Or another decade?
We can’t predict when it will happen, but we can guarantee it will happen.
As robots go mainstream with more intelligence and autonomy, it’s just a matter of time before hackers infect your lovable Baymax from Big Hero 6 with a virus that transforms it into a rabid robot trying to rip your head off.
As we try to replicate the beauty of the natural world, we cannot ignore the ugliness that comes with it, like viruses that hijack friendly Fido’s brain and turn him into a rabid beast ready to rip you to pieces. Already, with the rise of IOT we’ve turned fridges, lightbulbs and TVs into semi-intelligent beings just waiting to be transformed into cyber armies launching DDoS attacks right under our noses.
As we play god and create new man-made creatures with more and more capabilities, we need to look to nature for both the good and the bad this will bring into our lives. Today, intelligent machines are primarily immobile devices that can’t move far without human help, but as we imbue them with dexterity and flexibility, we have to expect new complications that arise with our innovations.
Today we treat information technology as fundamentally safe and outside of any regulatory framework, but we need to begin thinking of IT as needing to be regulated, especially as we embed intelligence into everyday items that are designed to last for a decade or more, or multiple IT lifetimes. Right now we buy items without having any insight into their security or long-term support plans.
Since we can’t stop the future, we need to plan for it as best we can and begin building regulatory safeguards into our systems and society to begin addressing issues before it’s too late.