Machines hacking humans

Matt Tett

Matt Tett is the Managing Director of Enex TestLab, an independent testing laboratory with over 22 years history and a heritage stemming from RMIT University. Matt holds the following security certifications in good standing CISSP, CISM, CSEPS and CISA. He is a long standing committee member of the Australian Information Security Association (AISA), Melbourne branch, and is also a member of the Information Systems Audit and Control Association (ISACA). Enex TestLab can be found at blog at and can be found on twitter as @enextestlab.

In my last blog I raised the spectre of hacking humans brains following the recent disclosure that Facebook has been experimenting (sorry researching) affects of positive versus negative feeds from friends.

Surprise, surprise, those with the negative feed were more likely to be negative moving forward – something that propaganda artists and marketing folks through the ages could have told them free of charge. For those of you whose mental health was unbalanced by the negative sample, this blog should put you over the edge.

I am going to raise the even scarier prospect of the singularity. Some of you will be familiar with this, others not. I will not bore you with rehashing the whole concept, so you can read about it here on Wikipedia. Ah, Wikipedia the World Book Encyclopaedia of the digital age.

In short, the term was coined by a mathematician (who else) in 1958 - ah, the heady days of cybernetics - when valves may rule the world.

The premise being “a hypothetical moment in time when artificial intelligence, human biological enhancement, or brain-computer interfaces will have progressed to the point of a greater-than-human intelligence”

Well folks it is now 2014 and computing has been following Moore’s law etc. So as some will have it the age of singularity is not that far away now, in-fact it is closer to humanity than the time when the maths boffin came up with the concept. The current popular debate is sometime around 2045.

Groups like the 2045 initiative claim that by this time there will be hologram like avatars which possess artificial brains in which a human personality has been transferred. Yup immortality, we may all end up like Red Dwarf’s Rimmer - hopefully some will have better personalities though! They are not the only followers of singularity, just Google it.

My personal take on this is that it most likely will happen in one way, shape or form, however if I was a machine that had more intelligence than humans – forget personality, morals, ethics, experience, soul, etc.

I would quickly work out that humans are actually very unbalanced in general and therefore not only an unsatisfactory risk to themselves, but a risk to MY existence and would operate as quickly as I could to remove humans as a factor - yup, Skynet.

So security pros add a machine proof shelter to your tinfoil hat and blind-folds, and complete your doomsday prepping you have the next 31 years.

I’m off to stand on the street corner with my cardboard sign reading, “the end is nigh - all hail our computing overlords!”

Well that’s my 2c worth. What are your thoughts? Rant or reason?

Tags: hacking

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