The Singularity is Near (for security) pt. 1

singularities take on securityI’ve been reading Ray Kurzweil’s The Singularity is Near. Its been blowing my mind. Its a detailed account of how, when and why artificial intelligence will out do humanity (as it is now) in every way in about 20-30 years.

The book is the real deal. Its over 600 pages with 100 pages of notes. Its a college course and a 10 course meal.

The first thing you have to realize about Ray is that he is not some kook with a sci-fi idea. His ideas are NOT some sci-fi “original movie” trash cooked up by a team of ex-dungeon master, fanboy geeks. Kurzweil is a world class inventor who created the first omni-font optical character recognition system. He is the brains behind text to speech, and next generation of music synthesizers (the one that are able to sound like any instrument).

He is the father of the Law of Accelerating Returns that details about the exponential growth of technological progress and change.

So far, the most startling idea I’ve read in his book is something I read from a Vernor Vinge article a few years back. Eventually, computers will be sentient and a trillion times smarter than us. I’m not just being sarcastic and throughout ridiculous numbers (bajillion kajillion) to get an over inflated point across, I mean LITERALLY the will be a trillion times smarter. If you subscribe to the Howard Gardner theory of Multiple Intelligence computers will able to out do us on everyone of them (plus a plethora of some we don’t yet have the capacity to conceive of). If that doesn’t stir you.. how about this? They will eventually build systems (AI) smarter than themselves. That is when they will be so far beyond us that we (in our current capacity) will not be able to comprehend them fully.

Kurzweil is definitely not gloom and doom. He does not predict (for example) that the machines will send Arnold Schwarzenegger back to 1984 to kill Sarah Connors (Linda Hamilton is still safe). In fact, the book is about “when humans transcend biology”.

Now just think about that… “transcend biology”. It gets me thinking of some sort of “Ghost in the Shell” type world where most people are cybernetically enhanced in a hundred ways. Ghost in the Shell is among my favorite anime franchises because it goes to great lengths to describe its cybernetic world. The singularity is a reality in the world of Ghost in the Shell.

Its a world in which an AI can hack and/or possess anyone/thing with a cybernetic central nervous system. A world where the line between physical and virtual are blurred by visual enhancements and the definition of humanity must be expanded to allow people who are now 90% robotic.

What do I think the Singularity will mean to security? That is a bit of a ridiculous question. Its like asking.. if the sun explodes, what will happen to all the plants. The answer is the same thing that will happen to all of humanity. Perhaps the sun exploding is a bad analogy.. because I don’t think the Singularity will feel the sudden need to enslave all humanity, turn us into batteries and lock us in a matrix like virtual world. I think it will be more of a collaboration between super computer and abacus, Rancher and cattle, Shepard and sheep but not at all like master and slave (well at least not a BAD master). Those of us unwilling and/or unable to change will be like a novelty item, neo-Amish. The Singularity will hack us and herd us like consumer, technology dependent sheeple we have become. And we will do nothing but smile and enjoy our everyday prices.

Speaking of novelty, I can help but think of Terrence McKenna’s mention of an acceleration of everything in his Timewave Zero theory.

The graph shows at what times, but never at what locations, novelty is increasing or decreasing. According to the timewave graph, great periods of novelty occurred about 4 billion years ago when Earth was formed, 65 million years ago when dinosaurs were extinct and mammals expanded, about 10,000 years ago after the end of the ice age, around late 18th century when social and scientific revolutions progressed, during the sixties, around the time of 911, and with coming novelty periods in November 2008, October 2010, with the novelty progressing towards the infinity on 21st December 2012 – wiki

The rate of change is both inevitable and necessary to our nature.

Once again, security is a piss ant in relation to the upcoming changes predicted by these modern mathematical prophets, but I will say this lately things in the Certification & Accreditation world have been changing drastically every 6 months, with each changes bringing in a wave of rumor of yet MORE change. The current rate of change is keeping me very employed.

Neuromancer

Physicists, mathematicians, futurists and sci-fi writers are the ne0-prophets of our time. Einstein, Max Plank, William Gibson, Georg Cantor are the new world prophets determining the probable future transfinite realities among absolute infinity.

Neuromancer is an example of probable futures. It is THE work of fiction by William Gibson that popularized the cyberpunk genre. In the book, Gibson actually coined the phrase cyberspace and the matrix, a multi-diminsional virtual reality that allows users to jack their brain directly into the cyberspace.

Case is a hacker is hired to do the biggest hack ever. The book is brilliant. Some of my favorite characters are Molly, the assassin, who looks like this:
Molly, neuromancer
William Gibson himself

and Wintermute, the corporation/Artificial intelligence and Maelcum A member of Zion, a Rastafarian space station community.
Neuromancer the book

A year here and he still dreamed of cyberspace, hope fading nightly.
All the speed he took, all the turns he’d taken and the corners
he’d cut in Night City, and still he’d see the matrix in his
sleep, bright lattices of logic unfolding across that colorless void. . .

Its such a brilliant piece of work that I am surprised it hasn’t been made into a movie yet.

Computers Hacking People ver 2.0

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I honestly think you ought to calm down; take a stress pill and think things over. – Hal, 2001 Space Odyssey

Information Systems will eventually have the infrastructure and ability to “socially engineer” its creators. This is far fetched science fiction blooming before our very eyes being created by our own hands.
It will happen when three criteria are in place: 1) The creation of laws that can completely disregard the privacy and sovereignty of human beings. 2) The advancement of Information Awareness System and 3) Smart Artificial Intelligence

LAWS
Lets discuss the situations that will give governments the pretext to implement laws to track their citizens. This is happening now. Laws and systems are being created for unchecked monitoring of individuals under the guise of security, safety and prosperity. Systems such as national ID cards.
They were implemented after the Sept 11 attacks on the World Trade Center and in the U.K. after the 7 July attacks in London.

It was 19th Century philosopher Samuel T. Coleridge who said, “In politics, what begins in fear usually ends in folly.”

Imagine it: The PATRIOT ACT IV is passed as a result of recent Critical Infrastructure cyber-terrorism attacks. International terrorists implement a globally synchronized Distributed Denial of Service Attack against the worlds Root nameservers and successfully cripple the Internet for three days. The impact is devastating as corporations lose billions.

Domestic Cyber Terrorists infiltrate hospitals by becoming apart of the staff only to socially engineer and infecting HIPPA protected networks with virus’ that wipe out databases and actually scramble prescriptions causing an array of death by misdiagnoses.

Local police and security personnel repeatedly thwart numerous attempts by religious fundamentalists to detonate suit case sized tactical nuclear weapons inside major United State cities but security professionals predict that it is only a matter of time before at least one slips through the cracks. All the enemy needs is one.
Patriot Act IV is the patron saint of lawmakers who have been screamed at by constituents to “DO SOMETHING NOW!” The new Patriot Act is eventually internationally accepted and allows for unrestricted Data Mine into commercial and state owned databases worldwide (US-EU). It of course has deferent names and variations world wide but its application is the same. In the United Kingdom it is called the Civil Contingencies Bill. The data mining would tap into the “transaction space” by accessing hospital, financial transaction and legal databases world wide to be shared by all law enforcement agencies (county, federal, city local and international). The system works like a global Amber Alert system that can track criminals anywhere in the world and notify the respective local agency immediately. The system works very, very well.
I honestly think you ought to calm down; take a stress pill and think things over. – Hal, 2001 Space Odyssey

Information Systems will eventually have the infrastructure and ability to “socially engineer” its creators. This is far fetched science fiction blooming before our very eyes being created by our own hands.
It will happen when three criteria are in place: 1) The creation of laws that can completely disregard the privacy and sovereignty of human beings. 2) The advancement of Information Awareness System and 3) Smart Artificial Intelligence

LAWS
Lets discuss the situations that will give governments the pretext to implement laws to track their citizens. This is happening now. Laws and systems are being created for unchecked monitoring of individuals under the guise of security, safety and prosperity. Systems such as national ID cards.
They were implemented after the Sept 11 attacks on the World Trade Center and in the U.K. after the 7 July attacks in London.

It was 19th Century philosopher Samuel T. Coleridge who said, “In politics, what begins in fear usually ends in folly.”

Imagine it: The PATRIOT ACT IV is passed as a result of recent Critical Infrastructure cyber-terrorism attacks. International terrorists implement a globally synchronized Distributed Denial of Service Attack against the worlds Root nameservers and successfully cripple the Internet for three days. The impact is devastating as corporations lose billions.

Domestic Cyber Terrorists infiltrate hospitals by becoming apart of the staff only to socially engineer and infecting HIPPA protected networks with virus’ that wipe out databases and actually scramble prescriptions causing an array of death by mis diagnosis.

Local police and security personnel repeatedly thwart numerous attempts by religious fundamentalists to detonate suit case sized tactical nuclear weapons inside major United State cities but security professionals predict that it is only a matter of time before at least one slips through the cracks. All the enemy needs is one.
Patriot Act IV is the patron saint of lawmakers who have been screamed at by constituents to “DO SOMETHING NOW!” The new Patriot Act is eventually internationally accepted and allows for unrestricted Data Mine into commercial and state owned databases worldwide (US-EU). It of course has deferent names and variations world wide but its application is the same. In the United Kingdom it is called the Civil Contingencies Bill. The data mining would tap into the “transaction space” by accessing hospital, financial transaction and legal databases world wide to be shared by all law enforcement agencies (county, federal, city local and international). The system works like a global Amber Alert system that can track criminals anywhere in the world and notify the respective local agency immediately. The system works very, very well.

Information Awareness Systems

The system, developed under the direction of John Poindexter, then-director of DARPA’s
Information Awareness Office, was envisioned to give law enforcement access to private data without suspicion of wrongdoing or a warrant. — Electronic Privacy Information Center.

Government funded unrestricted Data Mining and Information Awareness programs develop and run revolutionary Information Awareness Systems. Despite public opinion, these National Security systems continue to work to protect the nation against enemies foreign and domestic. The system extracts data from its transactional databases and recognizes patterns of behavior that would fit that of a terrorist. The system is so exhaustive that is works with 70% accuracy and seamlessly in conjunction with systems such as Next Generation Facial Recognition systems and Activity, Recognition Monitoring for enhanced surveillance.


Artificial Intelligence
Within thirty years, we will have the technological means to create superhuman intelligence. Shortly after, the human era will be ended. – Vernon Vinge, 1993, What is the Singularity?

Artificial Intelligence has been in use for many years. It is greatly relied upon for businesses, hospitals, military units and even in forms of entertainment such as video games. However Strong Artificial Intelligence, the development of cognitive systems simulating the human brain, have been developing quietly in research labs around the world under programs dedicated to the “scientific understanding of the mechanisms underlying thought and intelligent behavior and their embodiment in machines. (AAAI)”

Smart Information Awareness is Strong Artificial Intelligence merged with Information Awareness Systems. Smart Information Awareness seems to go beyond merely recognizing patterns of behavior as it predicts the future actions of a given psychological profile with over 75% accuracy allowing Law Enforcement to be like an all seeing eye with incredible new methods of forensics and counterterrorism. Crime as a whole will be greatly reduced. System that recognize criminal patterns have been around for some time, Smart Information Awareness systems are a new trend.

The Smart Information Awareness system is so accurate in determining human behavior trends that it is used to track and manipulate consumer buying habits for corporations. With its accuracy, the system will be able to determine what marketing tools can be used to influence the behavior of buyers.

With unfettered access to consumer’s personal transactions, buying habits, methods of payment, and credit history a system would be able to pin point buyers who demonstrate interests in certain products and offer “special deals” a specific group of highly interested buyers.

Inevitably the very system (laws, practices and technologies) that successfully protects humanity from itself is used to manipulate and exploit humanity.

Perhaps you believe that there is nothing wring with this level of target marketing. If so, I submit to you these questions: What will separate humanity from cattle if every man, woman and child is seen as nothing but a number and a consumer to the system that we rely on to survive? Since we are already regarded as merely numbers and consumers by the corporate beast, how much control and information will we allow them to have?

Perhaps this is a bit much. Perhaps I exaggerate the technology and extent of fear that will breed it.

http://www.p2pnet.net/issue03/page1.html

http://www.epic.org/

http://www.jbholston.com/weblog_discussion.php?post_id=74
Statewatch.com – Secret EU-US agreement being negotiated. http://www.statewatch.org/news/2002/jul/11Auseu.htm
http://www.eff.org/Privacy/TIA/20030523_tia_report_review.php

http://www.aaai.org/

nin – TheSlip (thanks Trent)

Ray Kurzweil @ Google Zeitgeist

Civil Contingency Bill

Eschelon TIA – Total Information Awareness

Authentication Chip Under my Skin

RFID Chip implant

I dreamt that I had an authentication chip under my skin in my right palm. It had some sort of RFID proxy reader allowing me so simply wave my hand over a point of sale device in a store and automatically purchase items. I could also get entry into certain facilities with the device. It was an automated authentication device that identified me based on “something I had”, but also included loads of very personal data.

In retrospect, its kind of scary. Reminds me of the “Mark of the Beast” in Revelations or a Philip K. Dick novel.

Killroy 2.0 is EVERYWHERE

I’ve been getting into podcasts lately.  I was put on to podcast novels by my buddy, Tre who told me about 7th Son, by J. C. Hutchins.  I am not only entertained, I am inspired.  The guy can write like nobodies business.  The action reminds me of something you might find in a Dean Koontz novel.

Its so good I don’t want to give anything AT ALL away, but I will mention one of cool technologies he makes up in the novel.  He talks about something called EGG.  Its basically an encryption software that not only protects against those trying to gain unauthorized entry, it tracks them and then goes after them.  It actually hacks the hackers. 

This is something that a friend talked to me about creating as a part of his PHD.  “Would that break some kind of law?”  I asked.  He was insistent that people should be able to protect themselves and I don’t totally disagree with that I’m just saying that I don’t think the law protects vigilantes.

Actually, a lawyer at Defcon 14 talked about that very issue when questioned.  And if I’m pretty certain he said it was illegal to hack someone even if they have hacked you. 

But in J. C. Hutchins’ world the PATRIOT ACT III allows the hack back feature of EGG to exist.

So anyway, all security geek stuff aside, its a really good story.  Highly recommended.