Autonomous Hacking Bots: Menace or Savior?

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We live in an age where what used to be the figment of science fiction is now a reality, changing the way people go about their daily lives. Advances in artificial intelligence and machine learning are the new frontier, and their inception creates just as many risks as opportunities. In the conduct of statecraft, the machine-on-machine paradigm is not confined to conventional weapons, but also the beginnings of a new mode of conflict on the virtual plains of cyberspace. In the near future, computer algorithms will compete with each other, attempting to detect and patch vulnerabilities within their own systems while exploiting those in the networks of adversaries.

The maxim of cybersecurity professionals has long been that adversaries have the advantage—the advantage of time, numerous lines of attack, and the need to find only one lapse in security. So how will the dawn of autonomous hacking affect both cyber defenses and offensively orientated operations? Will artificially intelligent bots capable of learning on the fly better harden networks or will they act as devastating tools in the arsenal of nefarious actors?

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