It’s easy to assume that every technological leap is a beneficial leap forward. Sure, cutting-edge technology tends to make our lives better in many areas. However, particularly in the fast-paced world of tech innovation today, the benefits of emerging technologies are not without risk. Without proper governance and safety measures, individuals, companies and society at large may be vulnerable to security threats, financial turmoil, as well as health and safety risks.
Identity Theft Risks
Technological advances in artificial intelligence has given rise to the development of several cloud-enabled AI applications, such as the iPhone’s Siri, Google Now for Android and Alexa on Amazon’s Echo device. The problem is, AI apps that access and manage your personal information can be remotely hacked by identity thieves. This has been proven by security researchers at Zhejiang University in China, where a team figured out how to hack voice recognition systems using inaudible ultrasonic frequencies.
AI is popping up everywhere on personal devices, from laptops and phones to smart cars and smart speakers such as Google Home. With the increased risk of identity theft, identity theft protection has also become increasingly accessible, including protection technologies that operate within the at-risk devices themselves. These securely monitor your personal and financial information to detect fraud, alert you in the case of identity theft and help recover stolen data.
Besides risks to consumers, certain emerging technologies also present a threat to employees, companies and entire industries, due to impacts on the global economy. For example, self-driving cars and trucks have already begun to affect the vehicle industry, as car manufacturers prepare for a future of self-driven vehicles and car insurance companies brace a decline in consumer demand for insurance.
The emergence of AI and robots that can replace human jobs implies that many people will lose their jobs. Unemployment rates could potentially skyrocket, endangering social stability. Moreover, widespread consumer income loss could affect the economy’s health.
Many companies are increasingly drawn to 3D printing because of the speed of production this new technology offers. However, outsourcing the manufacturing of a product to a 3D printing facility makes it difficult to oversee defects that may cause injury or illness in consumers. Workers in 3D printing facilities also face safety risks because of their exposure to toxins, including ultrafine metal and other nanoparticles along with volatile organic compounds that cause health damage when inhaled. Many of these toxins are cancer-causing and can get permanently lodged in the respiratory tract and do ongoing damage to the lungs and nervous system.
Another danger that comes with 3D printing is that criminals can obtain illegal, unregistered weapons using plastic filament capable of firing small arms ammunition. This poses a problem for law enforcement and overall hazard for society.
When it comes to cloud-enabled AI, third-party protection and management platforms are an important solution for individuals and companies. AI also needs to be monitored and audited to ensure proper use and management of confidential data. With advances in machine learning, it’s especially critical to have adequate oversight of AI to prevent them from writing new code that overwrites security requirements. Within companies and enterprises using AI and cloud technology, education about malware and cybersecurity protocols is critical to ensure endpoint security.
When it comes to the threat of job loss, employees at risk are obligated to begin preparing for potential income loss. Employees can also work toward expanding their skillset in a way that reduces the risk of being replaced by automation.
Plan for Change
The year 2018 is seeing significant progress in new technology. No matter how exciting and innovative, new technology must be developed alongside risk assessment and adequate governance to ensure economic health and human safety aren’t compromised in the process.
Author: Andy Quayle
Andy was born in the Isle of Man and currently lives in Pittsburgh.
Known globally as a willing source for tech news and views, Andy takes great pride in consultation and education.
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