Friday, April 15, 2016

Rise of the (bad) machines

Skynet.  If you've ever seen any of the "Terminator" series of movies, you know that it's the advanced artificial intelligence system that becomes self-aware, leading to a nuclear Armageddon and a post-apocalyptic world dominated by killer robots.

Pure science fiction, and if you talk to leading AI researchers, you'll find out that we're a long way off from sentient machines taking over the world, but there are a number of situations today where the machines have "gone bad", or more accurately, are being used by criminal human elements to perpetrate their plans.

Take this article, that provides some surprising research:

"According to research from Distil Networks, almost 60% of 2014’s web traffic consisted of automated bits of code, 23% of which exist to do dirty work for fraudsters and hackers."

2014 was apparently also the first year in which automated web traffic outpaced human traffic.  Here's another interesting tidbit from the same article:

"In 2013, less than a percentage point of mobile traffic was bad bots. In 2014, that figure skyrocketed to between 6-8%."

Can you imagine the consequences if the proportion of infected mobile devices reached the same level as PCs?

Let's hope that mobile manufacturers can keep pace in the digital arms race.

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