What is Artificial Intelligence

Although there is much debate over what constitutes ‘true’ artificial intelligence, the concept features a combination of machine and deep learning to allow a machine to perform tasks previously actioned by humans, providing custom outputs dependant on the data it receives. Beyond this, the definition of artificial intelligence becomes somewhat more existential. Does intelligence refer to the ability to perform a function and learn from itself in the process, or does it require a more self-actualising persona with the ability to engage in the more critical and emotional thought processes seen in humans and other intelligent species?

Regardless of the arguments surrounding its true definition, the concept of artificial intelligence has been present in technology in some capacity since the 1950s and has only grown in popularity as technologies expanded over the years.

Artificial intelligence can be categorised into two factions: weak AI, and strong AI.

Weak AI

Weak AI, also known as narrow AI, is a term used to describe AI that serves a singular purpose, or multiple purposes that are similarly linked. Contrary to what its name would suggest, weak AI is anything but. The developments that have been made in this field have created amazing results for intelligent and adaptable automation, the term ‘weak’ merely denotes its limitations. In the simplest of terms, a weak AI would be able to get you from A to B and handle any discrepancy as it was presented, whereas a strong AI would be able to plan for the future and consider factors outside of the immediate data it is receiving.

We use weak AI in our day-to-day life in the form of Siri, Alexa, and any other voice recognition software. Weak AI also serves a purpose within cyber security as it can monitor and adapt to security situations, whilst remaining within the confines of its purpose.

Strong AI

Strong AI constitutes of Artificial General Intelligence and Artificial Super Intelligence. Although still mostly a theoretical concept, it is thought that with the proper developments these forms of AI will be advanced enough to be capable of a human thought process, with a self-aware consciousness and the ability to think creatively with higher levels of problem-solving. The concept of strong AI poses an ethical debate due to the nature of its aspired sentience – similar to the way that dolphins are considered sentient by some sources, artificial intelligence poses a plethora of queries regarding the moral and ethical standing of creating an artificial life form capable of such cognisant function.

AI Within Cybersecurity

As stated above, the concept of ‘strong’ AI is still predominantly theoretical – but the functions performed by weak AI grow in strength every day. Because artificial intelligence is capable of learning over time it can perform with great success within the ever-changing landscape of cybersecurity.

The sheer quantity of data that cybersecurity specialists face during the day can be mitigated with the implementation of AI. Since AI never gets tired, you never have to worry about human error and can operate with full network visibility at all hours – leaving the security team able to deal with the more pressing matters and responding to threats as and when the artificial intelligence security system alerts them.

In a cyber environment where threats can come at any time via varying means, implementing a layer of artificial intelligence can quickly and effectively bolster the precautions in place and result in a significantly higher level of cyber protection.