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Should Criminologists Study Artificial Intelligence?

Should Criminologists Study Artificial Intelligence?

by Guest AuthorJanuary 9, 2017

The latest news points to the fact that cybercrime is quickly overtaking physical crime, and by some reports, cybercrime is now in the lead. From last year’s hack of the cheater’s website, Ashley Madison, to this year’s hack of the DNC emails that are being blamed on Russia, cybercrime is at an all-time high and it is going to get even worse by all estimates.

Not only will there be human cyber thieves and hackers, but at the rate Artificial Intelligence, AI, is growing, soon those cybercriminals will be machines and not people at all. With all of the attention being diverted to cyber criminals, it might be a very good time to earn your criminology degree online. Who knows, you could be the first to write a defense against AI hacks and attacks!

What Has Criminology to Do with AI Hacks?

You may be wondering what criminology has to do with AI attacks since it is a machine that will be ‘devising’ ways to crack such things as Captchas or synthesizing voices to sound like a person on the other end of a phone line. These synthesized ‘voices’ are actually quite good and they are getting so close to the original they are modeled after that it is becoming almost impossible to discern if you are speaking to a machine or the person!

Now then, what has criminology to do with AI hacks and/or attacks since criminology is the study of how and why crimes are perpetrated. It is rather like the psychology of crime. Bear in mind that the machine was programmed by a human and because of this, many of the machine’s thought patterns will be similar – at first, at least.

Once You Have ‘Caught’ the Criminal…

This leads to the second, and to some the very most important question of all. When you’ve caught a machine hacking a mainframe to do ill, who do you prosecute? Of course you would go after the person who owns the computer and programmed it to hack other systems, but what if (and this is a very big what if) the machine began teaching itself and the programmer never meant for it to actually hack anything? What if AI becomes so advanced that a simple AI cyber security program morphs into a hack and begins pulling data it was never told to retrieve? It may sound like science fiction, but it is a very real possibility and thus, a very real danger.

If you are looking to get your criminal justice degree online, you might wish to consider focusing on studying criminology or criminal justice. More and more crimes are perpetrated online as opposed to in the physical realm and it is only a small step into the future to assume AI will be involved within this generation. Serious students of criminology may wish to begin investigating the harm artificial intelligence can do. They may also want to begin thinking about cyber security developed with a computer’s ‘brain’ in mind. It does sound a bit farfetched, but so did every other great invention in the past. Are you prepared for what the future holds?

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