While this reality has become more tangible in recent years through consumer technology, such as Amazon's Alexa or Apple's Siri, the applications of AI software are already widespread, ranging from credit card fraud detection at VISA to payload scheduling operations at NASA to insider trading surveillance on the NASDAQ. Broadly defined as the imitation of human cognition by a machine, recent interest in AI has been driven by advances in machine learning, in which computer algorithms learn from data without human direction.1 Most sophisticated processes that involve some form of prediction generated from a large data set use this type of AI, including image recognition, web-search, speech-to-text language processing, and e-commerce product recommendations.2 AI is increasingly incorporated into devices that consumers keep with them at all times, such as smartphones, and powers consumer technologies on the horizon, such as self-driving cars. And there is anticipation that these advances will continue to accelerate: a recent survey of leading AI researchers predicted that, within the next 10 years, AI will outperform humans in transcribing speech, translating languages, and driving a truck.3
Blockchain technology and artificial intelligence, two cutting-edge technologies, have the potential to change the face of healthcare as we know it by improving the quality and reducing costs through improved efficiencies. Most of us are at least somewhat familiar with artificial intelligence primarily through virtual assistants such as Siri and Alexa. Artificial intelligence automates repetitive learning and discovery through data after initially being set up by a human being. As many people also know, you have to be fairly specific when asking Siri and Alexa any questions -- the question must be posed in the right way -- to get the answer you are looking for. As an example, our interactions with Alexa, Siri, Google Search and Google Photos are based on deep learning.
Lawmakers, child development experts, and privacy advocates are expressing concerns about two new Amazon products targeting children, questioning whether they prod kids to be too dependent on technology and potentially jeopardize their privacy. In a letter to Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos on Friday, two members of the bipartisan Congressional Privacy Caucus raised concerns about Amazon's smart speaker Echo Dot Kids and a companion service called FreeTime Unlimited that lets kids access a children's version of Alexa, Amazon's voice-controlled digital assistant. "While these types of artificial intelligence and voice recognition technology offer potentially new educational and entertainment opportunities, Americans' privacy, particularly children's privacy, must be paramount," wrote Senator Ed Markey (D-Massachusetts) and Representative Joe Barton (R-Texas), both cofounders of the privacy caucus. The letter includes a dozen questions, including requests for details about how audio of children's interactions is recorded and saved, parental control over deleting recordings, a list of third parties with access to the data, whether data will be used for marketing purposes, and Amazon's intentions on maintaining a profile on kids who use these products. Echo Dot Kids is the latest in a wave of products from dominant tech players targeting children, including Facebook's communications app Messenger Kids and Google's YouTube Kids, both of which have been criticized by child health experts concerned about privacy and developmental issues.
Over the last two years, academic researchers have identified various methods that they can transmit hidden commands that are undetectable by the human ear to Apple's Siri, Amazon's Alexa, and Google's Assistant. According to a new report from The New York Times, scientific researchers have been able "to secretly activate the artificial intelligence systems on smartphones and smart speakers, making them dial phone numbers or open websites." This could, perhaps, allow cybercriminals to unlock smart-home doors, control a Tesla car via the App, access users' online bank accounts, load malicious browser-based cryptocurrency mining websites, and or access all sort of personal information. In 2017, Statista projected around 223 million people in the U.S. would be using a smartphone device, which accounts for roughly 84 percent of all mobile users. Of these 223 million smartphones users, around 108 million Americans are using the Android Operating System, and some 90 million are using Apple's iOS (operating system).
"All you have to do is look at the attacks that have taken place recently--WannaCry, NotPetya and others--and see how quickly the industry and government is coming out and assigning responsibility to nation states such as North Korea, Russia and Iran," said Dmitri Alperovitch, chief technology officer at CrowdStrike Inc., a cybersecurity company that has investigated a number of state-sponsored hacks. The White House and other countries took roughly six months to blame North Korea and Russia for the WannaCry and NotPetya attacks, respectively, while it took about three years for U.S. authorities to indict a North Korean hacker for the 2014 attack against Sony . Forensic systems are gathering and analyzing vast amounts of data from digital databases and registries to glean clues about an attacker's infrastructure. These clues, which may include obfuscation techniques and domain names used for hacking, can add up to what amounts to a unique footprint, said Chris Bell, chief executive of Diskin Advanced Technologies, a startup that uses machine learning to attribute cyberattacks. Additionally, the increasing amount of data related to cyberattacks--including virus signatures, the time of day the attack took place, IP addresses and domain names--makes it easier for investigators to track organized hacking groups and draw conclusions about them.