Hacking is inherently a creative process. It’s finding a vulnerability in a system: something the system allows, but is unintended and unanticipated by the system’s creators – something that follows the rules of the system but subverts its intent. Normally, we think of hacking as something done to computer systems, but we can extend this conceptualization to any system of rules. The tax code can be hacked; vulnerabilities are called “loopholes” and exploits are called “tax avoidance strategies.” Financial markets can be hacked. So can any system of laws, or democracy itself. This is a human endeavor, but we can imagine a world where AIs can be hackers. AIs are already finding new vulnerabilities in computer code and loopholes in contracts. We need to consider a world where hacks of our social, economic, and political systems are discovered at computer speeds, and then exploited at computer scale. Right now, our systems of “patching” these systems operate at human speeds, which won’t nearly be enough.
Bruce Schneier is an internationally renowned security technologist, called a “security guru” by The Economist. He is The New York Times best-selling author of 14 books—including Click Here to Kill Everybody—as well as hundreds of articles, essays, and academic papers. His influential newsletter “Crypto-Gram” and blog “Schneier on Security” are read by over 250,000 people. Schneier is a fellow at the Berkman-Klein Center for Internet and Society at Harvard University; a Lecturer in Public Policy at the Harvard Kennedy School; a board member of the Electronic Frontier Foundation, AccessNow, and the Tor Project; and an advisory board member of EPIC and VerifiedVoting.org. He is the Chief of Security Architecture at Inrupt, Inc.
Register in advance for Zoom participation information.