The world we live in will only ever be as stable as the foundation it relies on to work. Unfortunately for us in this digital age, things couldn’t get any shakier. Technology has long been a double-edged sword for society – helping us take leaps and bounds forward while simultaneously increasing our vulnerability to chaos. This manifests most often in the form of cyber-attacks, hacks, and leaks targeted at important institutions everyone has a stake in. Many experts now believe that it’s not a question of ‘if’ your own personal data will become collateral damage, but ‘when’. There are many implications to consider for the economic and political fields as well. This article will explore the data integrity and resiliency shift for 2024, as well as the uncertain state of emerging technologies like Artificial Intelligence, the disruption that it’s caused, and what the future may look like for society as a whole.

AI Brings More Disruption to the Table

Although it’s been around for years, Artificial Intelligence (AI) has only more recently become a concern to the masses. The viral launch of ChatGPT in November 2022 brought this technology to the mainstream, where it’s since been leveraged by hundreds of millions of people to do both good and bad things. Just over a year down the road most places still have no laws governing the development and use of AI. That’s even despite several tech leaders – including OpenAI CEO Sam Altman – having made the unusual move of asking for regulation in the space.

The push to regulate AI is multifold but centers around a growing concern over uncontrolled development. That, and the fact that not even the people who train these models are completely sure of what they’re capable of. Bad actors are free to experiment with this world-changing technology knowing their victims won’t have ever seen as sophisticated of attacks before. The results are already showing in North America, where deepfake fraud rose by an estimated 1740% between 2022 and 2023. Today, more than 8 in 10 (82%) people are concerned about the use of AI by criminals to steal someone’s identity or financial information. We can surely expect the instances of these crimes to increase as AI continues to evolve and becomes more accessible to the public.

The United States’ 2024 Presidential Election will be the first to take place in a reality where videos and audio recordings can be easily doctored by a teenager in their parents’ basement. Misinformation has always been a problem, but luckily only to a degree that can be mitigated with digital literacy skills. Voters will need to become even more skeptical of what they see online as November 4th draws nearer.

Appreciating the Risks That Come with AI

AI has become extremely accessible to businesses and everyday consumers alike. Both are putting it to work to make things easier for themselves in some way, whether that’s reviewing candidates for a job or summarizing long articles. Despite this widespread adoption, though, a large majority of users of AI don’t actually know how it works. Companies tend to outsource the tools they use because developing their own in-house would be too costly or complex. It’s resulted in an entirely new market of infrastructure-as-a-service and AI-as-a-service providers who – again, unregulated – seek to sell their solutions to anyone who will buy them.

This becomes a concern when you consider what it takes to use any kind of software in today’s risk-run landscape. If Microsoft Teams and Facebook aren’t capable of protecting their platforms or data from compromise, small-time tech vendors don’t stand a chance. As the ecosystem grows, responsibility for the cybersecurity of new tools will fall on the businesses that sell them, while ownership of what comes from their use will need to come from those that use them.

Another worry everyone has about AI’s privacy is that most of us don’t actually know where the information we put in large language models goes. Industry leaders like OpenAI and Google are hard-pressed to keep the inner workings of their lucrative products a secret for as long as possible so competitors can’t replicate them. While these companies make it clear that they only use input data to further train AI, there’s no system in place to guarantee that. This is particularly concerning when you think about the types of things every day, unaware individuals use tools like ChatGPT for. Taxes, personal financial records, or confidential medical information could all be put into language models with no knowledge of where they end up.

The Geopolitical Implications of New Technology

Flip through a history book and you’ll see a common pattern among the world’s powers during times of prolific technological development; everyone wants it all to themselves. In a strategic bid for control, countries invest heavily in revolutionary industries hoping to gain an economic and military edge over their rivals. AI technology is no different, with the US, China, and Russia all vying to take the lead.

The consequences could be dire if one country were to gain exclusive access to advanced technology while another is left behind. We’ve already seen several instances of deepfakes being used to influence elections, and that’s only a taste of what’s to come.

It’s right to expect less and less international collaboration between nations with respect to AI development as things progress. The European Union is one of the very few places in the world to implement regulations on its use to date, but the United States will likely follow within the next couple of years with both user-targeted and national security-related policies.

Data localization, incident reporting, and supply-chain restrictions will all become more commonplace to protect data security and privacy, as well as to ensure that foreign powers aren’t able to access proprietary technology.

In the evolving landscape of data security and privacy, TeraDact stands as a beacon advocating for responsible AI utilization. As data localization, incident reporting, and supply-chain restrictions gain prominence to safeguard against unauthorized access and protect proprietary technology, TeraDact emphasizes the ethical implications of AI. Encouraging tough discussions and proactive measures, TeraDact recognizes the imperative need for responsible AI usage amid societal advancements. Check out our solutions today and access our data workshop for free.

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