Security experts are drawing up new advice to protect the public from scams and fraud sparked by the ‘frightening’ advances in artificial intelligence.
The Minister of State with responsibility for cybersecurity Ossian Smyth has asked the National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) to publish the new advice in the coming weeks.
On Newstalk Breakfast this morning, Minister Smyth said artificial intelligence (AI) has become “really, really powerful” in a short space of time adding, “it has advanced a lot faster than we had expected it to happen.”
“You will have heard a lot about things like ChatGPT in the last few months,” he said.
“AI has become a lot more intelligent and it’s easy for somebody to mistake a computer for a person now.
“So, if you are conversing with somebody by text - which you often are - or by email, you really could be taken in by a computer pretending to be person.”
He said AI is now able to, “not just reason but also to empathise”.
“It is really manipulative and you can see it is able to do things like pass a degree or pass the bar exam to become a lawyer, you know, this kind of thing.
“So, it has really become very clever, very quickly and it could lead to a situation where you could be taken in – you know, those romance frauds for example or if you are buying a car online and somebody tricks you into sending them money.
“I think that, in the hands of the wrong person, really it is quite dangerous and it is important that we let people know.”
He noted that it is not just vulnerable people who are at risk.
“It could happen to you or me – it could happen to anybody,” he said.
“Even up to now, you could have been caught unaware or not concentrating but now you really could be completely deceived, no matter who you are.
“That’s why it is important to provide people with information on the clues that can help them to see whether something is an AI attack and to provide them with that kind of information.”
Minister Smyth said the information campaign is just one element of the Government response to the advances in AI – noting that the EU’s Artificial Intelligence Act would seek to regulate the technology in Europe.
He rejected claims the technology was moving too fast for regulation.
“There’s no point in saying that we shouldn’t even try to regulate AI,” he said.
“AI is owned, mostly, now by very large, well-funded public companies – we can regulate them and we can also set laws for how it is used by people.
“It is important to give people the information about how to be aware of the new threat that has emerged from very realistic simulations of human beings.”
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