Ralph Echemendia

Ein Kommentar vom Ethical Hacker zu Künstlicher Intelligenz.

We have defined a term for human understanding known as Natural Intelligence (NI) but truly we are ultimately shaped by our environment, our upbringing, shaped by our experiences and therefore we are a product of such. One could argue that we are all artificially intelligent. Intelligence is not information; intelligence comes from our analysis of information. We now live in a world with less or almost no physical boundaries to access information; one no longer has to go to a library to find knowledge. We now have tools to analyze information in ways we never thought possible. This is what we have decided to call Machine Learning or Artificial Intelligence. These terms are applied when a machine mimics „cognitive“ functions that humans associate with other human minds, such as „learning“ and „problem solving“. Basically any computational device that observes its environment and can then operate in ways that maximize its chance of successfully achieving its goals.

Ralph Echemendia
The Ethical Hacker

As a computer hacker I use a different term for this. I simply call it next-level-automation, because that is really what it is. We have been automating everything we can do with computers since their existence. In fact I have a real problem with this idea that AI/ML is going to take over the world like we have seen in the Matrix or Terminator. Truth is that computers as far as hardware is concerned are stupid machines. They do exactly whet they are told by the programming language(s) that rule them. Most are commanded by something called assembly. An assembly language is a programming language that can be used to directly tell the computer hardware what to do. It’s almost exactly like the machine code that a computer can understand, except that it uses words (ADD) in place of numbers (1’s and 0’s). A computer cannot really understand an assembly program directly. However, it can easily change the program into machine code by replacing the words of the program with the numbers that they stand for. This is called an assembler. Hackers find flaws and often bypass the logic of higher level programming languages to get down to this level and tell the machine exactly what to do. All AI/ML languages are higher-level languages, not usually assemblers. Even if it were at that level it ultimately still is based on the logic of the (human) programmer(s) who created it and therefor will always have flaws.

Hackers and the cyber security industry have already weaponized AI and used it to automate attacks or as we professionals call it “testing”.We are using it to help mitigate them as well. In fact it was a couple of years ago in 2016 when a team of hackers code named Mayhem won the all-machine hacking competition in Las Vegas at DEFCON. Since then hacking machines have evolved with exploit-automation tools like Team Shellphish’s “angr”. Interestingly enough while these machines can work all day and night they lack the creativity, intuition and boldness that allows the human to more often do what the AI can not. Then there is the hacking of AI itself, meaning not the automation of attack but exploiting it’s vulnerabilities. Say a hacker identifies that an AI engine is their path and reverse engineers it’s logic to use it for their purpose and motives.

We humans have a way of being able to tell when something does not feel right. That “feeling” is something currently not possible to put into a computer. We, the humans are also the ones who can truly determine what impact it has to the business. A computer can not determine this. At the end of the day, it’s the human behind the tech that makes the tech either work for us or against us. NOT AI.So don’t be afraid of AI. Technology is a tool, a hammer to a builder or a torch to a welder. These tools can be used to create or destroy. But it’s the human behind it that makes that decision.

Dieser Kommentar ist in unserer Februar-Ausgabe 2018 „Künstliche Intelligenz“ erschienen.

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