Mastercard introduces AI-powered cybersecurity

Cybersecurity remains one of the hottest topics around. While browsing today’s media I noted one article said that cyber attacks rose by 250% during the pandemic. Apparently it was the perfect time for scammers and hackers to wield their weapons.

This may be one of the things that prompted Mastercard to launch Cyber Secure, “a first-of-its-kind, AI-powered suite of tools that allows banks to assess cyber risk across their ecosystem and prevent potential breaches.”

 

It all comes down to the fact that the digital economy is expanding rapidly and is more complex. Alongside this positive news, comes the less appealing revelation that the growth creates a vulnerability that some are delighted to take advantage of.  For example,it is estimated that one business will fall victim to a ransomware attack every 11 seconds by next year.

 

Ajay Bhalla, president, Cyber & Intelligence, Mastercard said:

“The world today faces a $5.2 trillion cyber breach problem. This is one of the biggest threats to consumer trust. At Mastercard, we aim to stay ahead of fraudsters and to continually evolve and enhance our protection of cyber environments for our bank and merchant customers. With Cyber Secure, we have a suite of AI-powered cyber capabilities that allows us to do just that, ensuring trust across every experience, for businesses and consumers.” 

 

Cyber Secure will enable banks “to continuously monitor and track their cyber posture,” writes Polly Harrison. It will allow banks to be more proactive in managing and preventing data compromise, as well as protecting the integrity of the payment ecosystem and consumer data. It should also, of course, prevent financial loss caused by attacks.

Mastercard has based its new product on the AI capapbilities of RickRecon, which it purchased in 2020. It uses advanced AI for risk assessment, which evaluates multiple public and proprietary data sources and checks it against 40 security and infrastructure criteria.

Harrison writes, “In 2019, Mastercard saved stakeholders $20bn of fraud through its AI-enabled cyber systems,” so it is to be hoped that Cyber Secure prevents even more theft in 2021 and beyond.

Will AI be superior to humans? Elon Musk thinks so!

Elon Musk, the maverick entrepreneur behind Tesla and SpaceX has made yet another of his predictions. He says that Artificial Intelligence (AI) will be superior to humans in five years.

His prediction is also a warning. Musk has been outspoken about the dangers of AI in the past: in 2018 he claimed AI could become “an immortal dictator from which we would never escape” and even said he thought the technology was more dangerous than nuclear weapons.

Ryan Daws writing for AI News, refers to a recent New York Times interview given by Musk in which he said current trends in AI suggested it would “overtake” humans by 2025. Musk then added, ““that doesn’t mean that everything goes to hell in five years. It just means that things get unstable or weird.” Well, we’ve already experienced that in 2020 and it had nothing to do with AI.

Ray Kurzweil, an eminent futurist has previously estimated that machine intelligence overtaking human intelligence would occur around 2045.

It is ironic perhaps that Musk’s companies are all heavy users of AI, but as Daws says, it isn’t the case that Musk is against the technology: he simply thinks it should be more regulated – an ethical AI if you like.

Indeed, Musk formed OpenAI in 2015 to research and promote ethical artificial intelligence, although he left it in 2018 due to internal disagreements. In February this year, he said that OpenAI should be more “open” and that all organisations “developing advanced AI should be regulated, including Tesla.”

AI and fake news

It was interesting to read in Daws’ article that OpenAI had developed a text generator but decided not to release it, citing its dangers in a word that is already really struggling with the surge in fake news. However, two graduates created something similar, claiming it “allows everyone to have an important conversation about security, and researchers to help secure against future potential abuses.”

Now OPenAI has allowed a select band of researchers to try out its AI text tech. Called GPT-3, it has been grabbing attention due to the “incredible things it can achieve with limited input.” For example, one researcher tweeted: “Playing with GPT-3 feels like seeing the future. I’ve gotten it to write songs, stories, press releases, guitar tabs, interviews, essays, technical manuals. It’s shockingly good.”

That all sounds very exciting, although song writers and PR agencies may not feel the same level of thrill about it, until they discover how much easier it makes their work. Will human intelligence be overtaken by 2025? It’s more likely that Musk’s prediction is simply attention grabbing, something that he excels at. Perhaps he’s wondering if AI might overtake his ability to stay in the headlines?

The practical uses of AI and 5G

There has been, and continues to be, a lot of talk about the advantages of artificial intelligence (AI) and 5G. Not everyone is convinced, and there is a swathe of people who fear both technologies, although often for different reasons. Perhaps they would be more convinced about their benefits if they grasped the practical uses.

Smart automation is one of them. Automation’s aim is to reduce human error, as well as maximise productivity. In the case of ‘smart automation’, AI provides the ‘smarts’ by analyzing a series of tasks and streamlining them. By combining this with 5G, mobile service providers would be able to “offer simpler activations, higher performance and the rapid deployment of new services, according to Will Townsend and Moor Insights. This would increase revenues and provide an enhanced user experience, thanks to more reliable network connections.

Townsend also believes that AI would “enable network operators to move from reactive to proactive issue resolution.” The technology would allow them to evaluate huge amounts of data when troubleshooting any network anomalies, while “5G should enable networks to better handle these predictive functions’ complexity and support significantly more connected devices.” Townsend also thinks, “one of the most significant impacts of AI in mobile networks will be the reduction of subscriber churn.” That is interesting, as building and retaining a customer base is critical for telecoms companies.

Both AI and 5G will undoubtedly speed up digital transformation in businesses. The need for this has become more apparent in 2020, with legions of employees working from home. As a result, the networks have been under significant pressure “from a scalability, reliability and security perspective.” What has ensued is connectivity infrastructure providers are embracing AIOps for its potential to supercharge DevOps and SecOps.

Lastly, AI and 5G in both the consumer and enterprise markets will vastly transform the user experience. For example, “AI has the potential to reduce the number of subscriber service choices, presenting the most relevant ones based on past behaviour,” Townsend says. This will in turn build greater loyalty among subscribers, as well as more monetization opportunities for the operator.

In conclusion, there is a great deal of synergy between AI and 5G. It will mean mobile networks are not simple the means of access to data. AI promises to also “improve new device provisioning, deliver high application and connectivity performance, accelerate digital transformation and provide exceptional user experiences.” As Townsend says: it’s a win-win for everyone.

How AI could have saved our sanity in the US election

I’m not quite sure where you would have to live to have avoided the US elections this week. The trailer for it has been running for months, and the polls hyped a clear Democrat win. As we wait for the final count, with no Blue landslide in sight, there must be so many people scratching their heads, wondering why it is that political pollsters always seem to get it so wrong.

Mark Minevich’s article in Forbes takes a look at the issue, and starts by asking why do countries still use antiquated voting systems, which one of the candidates constantly insists is fraudulent, but only if the votes are going against him mind!

As he points out, Artificial Intelligence (AI) offers us the means to “make every election day going forward safe, efficient, and most importantly, secure.” It would remove the long lines of voters waiting to cast their vote, and no dependence on mail-in votes. Instead we would have instant results that are 100% accurate.

Several AI products are already available that could have been deployed, such as FiscalNote. Its AI platform is primarily use for policy insights. It could be leveraged, Minevich says,  “for voter education where a voter communicates the kinds of policy that will affect them and their families.”

With voter education also in mind, iSIdeWith is another AI tool that “gives citizens an opportunity to better educate themselves on which candidate more aligns with their personal views.” With citizens assaulted by so many news stories, and it being harder to separate the truth from disinformation, it is hard to know what to believe. This platform could assist with helping voters decide on what is fact and what aligns with the world they want to vote for.

Foreign interference has been a theme in the US news since the 2016 election. However, scholars at New Jersey Institute of Technology, Princeton University and New York University have developed an AI tool that “can predict when inflammatory social media posts are coming from foreign Internet trolls.” This is ideal for social media platforms seeking “to weed out and eliminate foreign trolls attempting to provide disinformation to potential voters,” as Minevich says.

And then there is the voting itself and the count: a slow process in the US. KCore uses AI to predict elections worldwide. It analyses “real-time social media to give a quicker and remarkably accurate method of predicting election trends.” This could be used to predict voter turnout, thus ensuring election officials are properly prepared, and the count is more efficient.

There are several other AI platforms available that are ready to be used in the election sphere. Minevich believes that if these tools were in place, we’d see much higher turnouts and more people engaged with the democratic process. Society and the state would benefit from better voter education that leads to greater engagement. Perhaps the USA will get its voting system right next time by using AI, although its pollsters will still probably provide them with false hope or a feeling of sinking depression in the run-up.