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The greatest fear in the world!

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Priyal George,Software Engineer

What are you most afraid of? Is it darkness? nightmares? Heights? Depths? Well this is a thought about what the greatest fear is in this technologically advanced world of ours in my point of view. Recently, we saw how the world stood still, helplessly, when the WannaCry ransomware made a worldwide cyberattack. The WannaCry ransomware attack of May 2017 was a worldwide cyberattack by WannaCry ransomeware cryptoworm, which targeted on computers running the Microsoft Windows operating system by encrypting data and demanding ransom payments in Bitcoin cryptocurrency. It is considered to be one of the biggest Cyberattack of all time. Various reports say that more than 150 countries were affected. Russia, United Kingdom, United States of America, China, India, Spain, Ukraine, Germany, Taiwan, etc are some of the worst affected countries. And we still have no confirmation on who’s behind this master planned attack. It could be a person or a group of Hackers. On those days world saw how dangerous Hackers are, how dangerous developers/coders can go.


Hacking is basically, identifying weakness in computer systems or networks to exploit its weaknesses to gain access and Hacker is the person who does so. History of Computer hacking began from early 20th century onwards. One of the notable hacking occurred in the 1930s when Enigma machine code was broken during the period of World War 2. That was good hacking because it really helped to defeat Germany in World war 2. The World has seen many famous hackers such as Gary McKinnon, Adrian Lamo, Jonathan James, LulzSec, Kevin Poulsen, etc which all are incredible coders who used their skills to acquire their dark desires. Most of them ended up in a lifelong incarceration. We have also heard of Edward Snowden, the famous American computer professional who is known for leaking classified information from National Security Agency(NSA) in 2013 without authorization. His actions even lead to bad friendship between countries.


Today the world is so much feared of Hacking. Even the great techies are afraid of hackers. A few months ago we saw a photo of Mark Zuckerberg which he posted on his wall celebrating as Instagram reaching 500 million users monthly. Immediately the photo became viral as media and crowd found something interesting in it. Interesting thing media found in photo was that Camera and Mic in laptop of Mr.Zuckerberg was covered with a Tape. The discussions in social media reached a conclusion that, even Facebook CEO did this to prevent hackers from spying on him! Well, we can’t blame Facebook billionaire might be teeny tiny bit paranoid.


We don’t know, or we can’t say who might be on the other side of camera, watching us, spying us .Who knows whether right at this moment, our system is being hacked? What if banks and our bank accounts get hacked? So yes, World Fears Hacking, but is that the greatest fear? Let's see.


Terrorists and their attacks are another greatest fear that the world has right now. What if these Terrorists are talented in hacking? It could lead to Cyberterrorism. Then things go worse. What will they be more interested in? Of course the Nuclear codes. If the nuclear codes end up in bad hands, then the result will be War and mass destruction. Of course, there are terrorists that are hackers, there have been incidents, but thank god they are not that talented.


Let's think higher. What must be the greatest fear of coders/developers/programmers? Well, many of the computer programmers are afraid of an Artificial Intelligence that performs the works of a computer programmer. Didn’t get it right? What if an Artificial intelligence will be able to perform the work specified, eg: if it is asked to create a website, app, with clients requirements given, it will create it for you. Then it will bring an imbalance to most of IT companies in World. Don’t need to worry, such kind of Artificial intelligence has never been created yet. And developers/coders, don’t you ever create such a thing, it's like digging our own grave!


Recently we heard a news that Facebook shut down one of its Artificial intelligence engine after the developers discovered that the AI had created its own unique language that humans can’t understand. Scientists and techies, including Elon Musk, Bill Gates, etc have warned that Artificial Intelligence could lead to tragic unforeseen consequences. Why is this scary? Think of SKYNET from Terminator or Ultron from Avengers. We know our entire world is wired and connected. An artificial intelligence will eventually figure that out and figure out how to collaborate and cooperate with other AI systems. What if the AI determine that mankind is a threat, or that mankind is an inefficient waste of resources – then results may be severe, and purely logical. I am not saying we need to pull the plug on all machine learning and artificial intelligence systems and return to a simpler, technologically unprogressive existence. But we do need to proceed with caution and greater care. We need to closely monitor and understand the evolution of the artificial intelligence, and always maintain some means of disabling it or shutting it down. If the AI is communicating using a language that only the AI knows, we may not even be able to determine why or how it does or what it does. Handling of AI must be done with extreme caution or it may even endanger the very existence of Mankind.


The World always wants to grow more advanced in technologies. but today world also has a fear regarding this technology growth, that we say as technophobia. We don’t know what is the future role of robots or artificial intelligence in our society, but it's up to us to ensure that the technology is used only for the betterment of humanity. AI, or hacking whatever it is, behind everything it is Computer Programmers. So the world needs to fear the actions of Computer programmers.