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IBM’s unveiling this week of research that demonstrates the capacity for artificial intelligence to weaponise hacking tools, sent shivers around the newly swelled ranks of data protection officers and CISOs everywhere. According to this report in Silicon UK by Tom Jowitt, IBM’s DeepLocker (which sounds ominous already) is a litany of highly targeted and evasive attacks powered by AI. Presented at the notorious Black Hat conference in Vegas – the Cyber Security industry’s coolest, if not its biggest conference – DeepLocker unleashes its malicious action as soon as the AI model identifies the target through indicators like facial recognition, geolocation and voice recognition, according to IBM’s statement.

The fact that the malware programmes demonstrated can remain dormant until they reach a specific target, makes them potentially very hard to stop. The onus will be very much on the cyber security industry to innovate with artificial intelligence at the same pace that the hackers do and IBM’s efforts underscore the benefits of “white hat” hacking which seeks to probe vulnerabilities and identify them before the bad guys do so they can be fixed.

This story resurfaces the debate about how AI can be ethically controlled and used for the benefit of as many people as possible, as opposed to its harm. Where will AI fall on the hedonistic scale? Pleasure or pain? It’s too early to say.

Samsung Bets Big on AI and 5G

An organisation more intent on creating AI developments for the consumer is Samsung, and the Korean tech giant committed £17 billion in AI and 5G R&D. As reported here by Hasan Chowdhury in the Telegraph, as part of the investment, Samsung will be upping its army of AI researchers to over 1,000. As per a previous announcement, 400 of those will be located at its new lab in Cambridge (England, not Massachusetts). After seeing a slump in profits in its tech arm, Samsung is clearly taking a bullish approach to rectifying that over the long term.

This announcement does bring into focus a conversation about consumer-focused artificial intelligence and the extent to which they will rely on high quality connectivity to function optimally. 5G-ready devices and mobile networks will clearly have a major role in ensuring that connectivity is fit for purpose.

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Around Whitehall:

Prime Minister hails investment in Edinburgh’s Bayes Centre

Theresa May spoke at the Edinburgh and South East Scotland City Deal and hailed the government’s investment in data analytics in the region in the shape of the Bayes Centre. The centre will provide shared working spaces for applied data science and artificial intelligence research teams.

It is one of five hubs across the city that will use data technology to support research and development activity in sectors of the future, from fin-tech and robotics to bio tech and health sciences.

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