Intentional Harm: Prepare for an Onslaught of AI-Enabled Crime
“The degree to which this diversity criminal acts may be enhanced by use of AI depends significantly on how embedded they are in a computational environment: robotics is rapidly advancing, but AI is better suited to participate in a bank fraud than a pub brawl. This preference for the digital rather than the physical world is a weak defence though as contemporary society is profoundly dependent on complex computational networks.”
AI-Enabled Future Of Crime Report
The field of AI ethics has received much (very worthy) attention of late. Once an obscure topic relegated to the sidelines of both tech and ethics conversations, the subject is now at the heart of a lively dialogue among the media, politicians, and even the general public. Everyone now has a perspective on how new technologies can harm human lives, and this can only have a preventative effect in the longterm.
But whether it’s algorithmic bias, intrusive surveillance technology, or social engineering by coercive online platforms, the current discourse tends to center on the overzealous, questionable or destructive use of new tech, rather than outright criminality. Yet it would be foolish to discount the very real prospect of AI being systematically weaponized for unequivocally criminal purposes.
As AI technology refines and multiplies, so do the methods of would-be attackers and fraudsters. And as our world becomes more networked, the attack surface grows and grows.
In short, it is a very exciting time to be a technically-minded crook.
Last month, researchers at University College, London (UCL) in the UK published a paper that grapples with the length and breadth of what they call “AI-enabled future crime.” Building on workshops that convened a diverse group of stakeholders from security, academia, public policy and the private sector, the study tries to understand and rank the various criminal threats posed by AI technologies.
In essence, the project seeks to understand where new bogeymen may lurk. Here’s a rundown of those they deem the worst.
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