Easy Cyber Knowledge Chapter 6: Future Cyber Predictions

Easy Cyber Knowledge By Alfred Rolington

Chapter 6: The Future of Cyber - Predictions

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The cyber changes are coming thick and fast and this new industrial revolution is changing many aspects of personal life, jobs, commerce, government and the military. Some even say that the electronics of tomorrow is aiming to change us as humans making us partially robotic and able to live much longer and that this will become a norm.

Today even the current electronics such as the Internet is now something many of us take for granted which our grandparents would not have believed 50/60 years ago. 

Anyone old enough to have experienced it now probably struggles to remember what it was like in times before we had the Internet. We’ve almost forgotten the slow, time-consuming time without mobiles when we used telephone boxes when and if they were available. The whole thing has made quite an advance and one that we may not have completely understood as these changes are gradually taking over the globe. What until recently for many in the West defined a country, its borders, language, culture, climate, education, politics, social engagement and national legal systems are now beginning to fuse and partly dissolve as electronic systems are challenging and dissolving many traditional barriers and of course some groups are trying to create some new ones. 

As global population increases and Internet connectivity improves this seems like a very obvious statement. What is less obvious is the rate at which it has grown and will continue to do so. 

In 2015 there were 2.1 billion people worldwide using the Internet. While there has been a fairly steady growth today there are 4.4 billion people using the Internet and the predictions are that there will be more than 7.5 billion Internet users by 2030. 
This would probably represent 90 percent of the projected world population of 8.5 billion, 6 years of age and older. Developing countries playing catch up will finally see their efforts come to fruition and the playing field is expected to be a lot more level in terms of connection speed.

Online inter-connection is changing the way some people consider their nationality and citizenship. 

For others where important issues divide society the cyber connectivity is increasing their radicalisation and making them want the social changes to happen faster and some would say now in news/blog time.Similar to earlier and other historical technological changes all of these movements are happening far quicker than most traditional governments and organisation’s structures can deal with. Certain societies cultures also find some of these changes unacceptable as with the recent US National Security Agency (NSA) revelations concerning their new methods of data collection. 

The NSA has been instrumental in implanting new software and computer surveillance to intercept and collect secret data in different parts of America and overseas. 

Much of this is being discussed and challenged within the constant cyberspace connection and engagement often through social media and Internet discussions set off by Whistleblowers like Assange and Snowden. Yet for current governments just over a decade ago cyber security was not considered a pressing priority. Fourteen years ago the only real areas of apparent electronic concern were for government, corporate and military computer networks and whether they would survive the millennium number change. 

At that time only a few, mainly western intelligence agencies and small parts of the military or commerce were processing and protecting electronic sensitive or intelligence material that was mission critical. 

These networks were physically and electronically walled off to a reasonable extent such that any unauthorised access could be stopped and monitored and the actual number of electronic attack incidents was very low. But 9/11 effects on the changes to intelligence that came soon after, both in the US and connected western countries, altered the data access boarders radically and allowed cross department and cross organisational access as never before as at the same time social networking was on the rise. 

Today, the cyber threat is not only a concern for government and the military but also for commercial organisations and individuals.

The attacks on infrastructure and the requirement to counter such cyberattacks has recently become far more pressing and continuous. Widespread online theft of everything from stored data, government intelligence to medical knowledge and commercial patents the imperative to protect has become increasingly important. Cyberattacks in the UK are currently costing commerce over 26 billion pounds annually and with the recent economic pressures and breakdowns hackers have been employed by governments for attack, propaganda and intelligence and by criminals to find new ways of stealing. 

From a personal perspective during the next decade we will be far more deeply engaged with individuals and organisations from across the world in all areas of our life, personally, commercially and quite certainly politically. 

This is partly because in the next ten years the planet’s interconnected Internet population will electronically grow using mobile devices from nearly 6 billion to over 40 billion by 2025. The cyber technology will become more specific to us as individuals such that even some of our thought processes will begin to alter, as our short and longer-term thinking is affected by what we currently and in future will expect from our electronic memory systems.

In the seventeenth century, for example, Descartes wondered whether a complex mechanical system of gears, pulleys, and tubes could possibly emulate thought. Two centuries later, the metaphor had become telephone systems, as it seemed possible that their connections could be likened to a neural network. Today, the dominant model is computational and is based on the digital computer.

Individuals in Western natiobs are currently continually using electronic cyber systems that link and interconnect them with the Internet, mobiles and social networks. According to the Rand Corporation 84% of the EU population uses the Internet daily. 
For governments and commercial organisations cyber systems interconnect critical systems from electric power to retail and banking. The issues are significant and becoming more critical to their operation and security. Sensors, actuators, and other means of connecting things in the physical world to electronic networks are proliferating at increasing rates. More than 12 billion devices around the world, including computers and smartphones, are connected to the Internet. 

The number of devices connected to networks, known as the Internet of Things (IoT) is expected to increase dramatically within the next decade, with estimates ranging from more than 50 billion devices to more than a trillion in a decade and a half. 

The McKinsey Global Institute estimates that half the impact of the mobile Internet through 2025 will arise in developing economies, where it will most likely be the means by which 3 billion new users connect to the Internet. Altogether, these applications could have economic impact of $15 trillion to $20 trillion annually by 2025. This has the potential to transform activities such as manufacturing, building infrastructure, providing health care, and managing supply chains by monitoring and optimising activities and assets at a very granular level. 

Any activity that touches multiple things or people across the value chain is a candidate for reimagining with the help of networked sensors and actuators.

In the coming decade instant access to knowledge and the efficiency of the Web will be applied more broadly and where the physical and digital worlds blend. Cyberspace is a core element of today’s global information space, more commonly known as the ‘cloud’ or the ‘big data’ age. More importantly, the preponderance has spilled over effects on the effectiveness and efficiency of the more ‘traditional’ commons: land, sea and air. Information technologies and space communication systems allow, inter alia, for more efficient land, sea and air activities via GPS and other geographic location systems. They represent the information infrastructures of global supply chain structures where Internet-based open networks allow sharing localisation data. 

In a defense context, the combination of space and cyberspace functionalities allows for seamless tactical and strategic communication, intelligence and space situational awareness. 

Therefore, it is feasible to argue that we are moving towards a position where the constant stream of technological and commercial developments allows for a seamless integration of Internet-based capabilities into cyber cloud systems that affect everything from governments, their military, intelligence agencies, police forces, to corporations and business worldwide. 

For instance, the days of government-sponsored or politically allied newspapers having a media monopoly are being eclipsed by the advent and adoption of social media. 

At the same time, our increasing use of the Internet and other digital technologies increases our vulnerability to cyber threats. 
Criminals are increasingly using cyber space to gain access to personal information, steal businesses’ intellectual property, and gain knowledge of sensitive government-held information for financial or political gain or other malicious purposes. 
And currently a number of media organisations around the world are reporting attacks on themselves and government systems, national infrastructure and businesses. 

These attacks have gained intelligence access to forthcoming media news and analysis stories that can be countered or used to effectively counter another view or purpose. 

Also the broader attacks can be seen as having resulted in access to commercially sensitive information, intellectual property and state or trade secrets. Some of these attacks have apparently been instigated from government level through corporates, organised crime groups, independent organisations like Anonymous and Wikileaks to terrorist groups and individual hackers.
We have therefore seen a global increase in ‘hactivism’. Hacktivists seek to gain control over computer systems or websites to manipulate them to promote a cause, make a political statement or disrupt services, for example, by overloading websites with botnet attacks, which can deny or prevent the legitimate use of the service.

Now let’s move to another method of connections that hackers will use to attack in the future The Internet of Things (IoT), but it also has a number of positives: 

IoT – The Internet of Things
The Internet of Things is a relatively new term and it is basically a system whereby other items than computers and phones connect with each other. Fridges, clocks and other appliances can be connected using this technology. 
You might wonder what advantage that has, but what about a fridge that can add cheese to your online grocery order because it knows exactly how little you have left? 

This is valuable, time-saving technology and it’s going to get better. Within a few years, it’s anticipated that this technology will also connect cars, wallets and health monitoring equipment. 

Anything that can be connected to the Internet eventually will be connected to the internet and it will soon become yet another technological breakthrough that we can’t believe we ever lived without.
We are the only planet we know of with the Internet and until proof of other life forms on other planets is verified in some way we will remain the only planet with the Internet. And so these electronic connections and machines will begin to change us as humans.

Future Electronic Expectations
Our engagement with robotics and such elements as wearable computers that can monitor human health and help to improve our memory and decision processes are no longer science fiction. As these new electronic consciousness systems will increasingly offer individuals new information, analysis and decisions to maintain and grow our memory, personal plans, commercial and political strategies for our future development.

We will create systems and robots, which are smarter than us. According to some futurists, computers will have the same level of intelligence as humans by 2045 or even earlier.

Using big data, computer programs (or artificial intelligence) will be capable of analysing massive amounts of information, identifying trends and using that knowledge to come up with solutions to the world’s biggest problems, such as hunger, diseases, climate change, overpopulation, et cetera.

Predicting the future will become extremely advanced and accurate. You might even be able to predict human behaviour. This could both positive and negative effects on society, education, commerce, politics and warfare. 

Our minds and bodies will be enhanced by prosthetics and implants giving us infallible functions and motorics. 
Technology could cure us of deadly injuries, replace our limbs and organs, or give us sensory abilities far beyond existing vision, hearing, and manipulation. These future systems will be enabled via robotics, augmented reality, neuroscience, 3D printing, programming, material design, etc.

Instead of being physically enhanced by technology, we will be living in symbiosis with super-intelligent systems. We will connect our brain directly to them, thus expanding who we are. 

Imagine being able to access a computer thousands or even millions of times more powerful than your own brain. Human and artificial intelligence have potential to create combined systems that are smarter than either alone.Instead of only connecting yourself to the cloud and using its resources, you will be able to upload your whole consciousness into the cloud or virtual reality. You could live out your wildest dreams and become immortal. The idea is that consciousness is the product of an individual’s neural activity, and if all of the “data” in a brain (memories, thought patterns, etc.) could be “copied” into a digital realm. That way life would prolong for infinity.

The way we work has changed throughout the history, from agriculture to the industrial revolution to knowledge workers. It is quite easy for machines and automation to replace recurring and routine tasks, such as assembling products, mowing a lawn, sending out emails, and even driving, doing surgery and research.

All our current positions will shift in the next few decades, we will have to learn new skills or even new professions. The positive thing is, people will have more time and energy for more creative and meaningful work. 

The final goal of artificial intelligence (AI), that a machine can have a type of general intelligence similar to a human’s, is one of the most ambitious ever proposed by science. 

In terms of difficulty, it is comparable to other great scientific goals, such as explaining the origin of life or the Universe, or discovering the structure of matter. In recent centuries, this interest in building intelligent machines has led to the invention of models or metaphors of the human brain and it has also created interest in moving humans to other destinations. Plans are already afoot to create Internet access on Mars for when people eventually settle there. This might be a lot further off than just 10 years, but it is a plan that NASA thinks needs to be made already. 

Once Mars has been colonised the idea is that it will be possible to send messages via the Internet to friends and family back home and to communicate regularly with robotic Earth. This will be achieved thanks to satellites orbiting the red planet and it is anticipated that it will take 24 minutes to transmit data one way.

Cyber Conclusions

And so as we have discussed in these chapters we are at the beginning of an electronic revolution that like earlier industrial revolutions will substantially alter and change our society. This process is probably best described as the 4th Industrial Revolution. This new revolution is taking place far quicker than previous revolutions and is already altering how our governments operate, work life, social life is changing and, so are us as individuals, the way we live and our engagement with others. 

This substantial transformation will involve the intergration of digital, physical and biological electronics which, radically alters our individual, national and global connections, our jobs, personal life and electronic systems.It will quickly develop by employing emerging technologies such as cognitive electronics, advanced analysis, nanotechnology, biotechnology, and quantum computing. 

The Web is changing our views of news, history, social and political data and it is significantly changing our understanding of global society.

It has already changed the ways we communicate and these days most of the world’s population prefer to email and text rather than phone, although a telephone is of course still used when necessary. 
This produces a specific relevant answer within seconds something that would have taken hours and probably days using a human analyst production process. This of course can also be used by legitimate analysts, but also hackers, and cyber criminals working for governments.
 
All forms of electronic connection, communication and attack have become digitised and radically transfigured into a new digital revolution, where different types of computers are becoming the new brain child of our culture. Just as the mechanisation of agriculture and then production took over the mussels and body of our workers so the computer begins to replace our brains.

New Knowledge for the Digital Age
This 4th Revolution employs deep data analysis with interconnections and links to Bio-technology, Artificial Intelligence, robotics and the Internet of Things all of which will significantly alter us as humans and the places we work and live and it has already changed crime and is changing warfare.

This new revolution is now something we must really engage with, whatever our age or experience. It is very important that you personally learn and change with the new environment and don’t get let behind as many in earlier industrial revolutions did.
 

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You Might Also Read: 
 

Easy Cyber Knowledge: Ch.1 Internet History (£):

Easy Cyber Knowledge Ch.2  Deep Web And The Dark Web (£):

Easy Cyber Knowlege Ch.3  Social Media & Social Change (£):

Easy Cyber Knowledge Ch.4   The Internet of Things (IoT) (£)

Easy Cyber Knowledge Ch.5 : Robotics AI And BioTech (£)

 

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