RoboBusiness Speaker Q&A: Abishur Prakash

Featured Session
July 25, 2017

RoboBusiness reached out to Abishur to share some of his thoughts leading up to his session at RoboBusiness. Abishur will be speaking in the session Robotics and IoT Security Concerns, which will focus on the challenges of keeping robot controls and data secure against the threat of potential hackings or security breaches. 

What got you interested in robotics and artificial intelligence, and how is it connected to what you're now doing?

My work revolves around understanding how new technologies will transform world affairs and what this means for a business or government. Of all the different technologies, from embryo editing to biotechnology to space mining, the two most important are robotics and artificial intelligence. Their impact on the world has not been fully understood, and that means their ability to bring huge transformation and disruption continues to rise.

Which emerging technology or application excites you the most?

The use of artificial intelligence in foreign policy decision making. I went in depth about this in my new book, Next Geopolitics: The Future of World Affairs (Technology). As governments deploy AI in trade, security, diplomacy and other avenues, it is going to change how countries behave with each other and how nations grow their power.

What are the biggest barriers to continued growth of the autonomous systems market?

Policy. Ironically, lack of policy is also the biggest catalyst to the growth of this market. Because every government is approaching robotics and AI differently, and because many of the advances, such as those coming from the defense industry, require federal policy if not international policy, how every nation approaches robotics and AI regulation will have a huge impact on whether these technologies can take off. Take a look at the recent ban on self-driving cars by India to protect jobs (and likely social, political stability) and you have an understanding of the kind of radical steps government are going to take to control the trajectory of robotics and AI.

Where do you expect robotics and AI use to grow the most in the next five years, and why?

It depends on what kind of robotics and AI growth. If we are talking about major advances then Japan, Germany, the United Kingdom, South Korea all fit the bill. If we are taking deployment of robotics and AI, then Asia-Pacific is where the action is going to be for the next decade, specifically in countries like China and India. Other kinds of growth, like frugal robotics and AI, will take off in Asia, but at the same time in Africa, the Middle East and South America. It is impossible to say there is one region or country where robotics and AI will take off faster than everyone else as each geography is developing its own niche within the robotics landscape.

What do you think your session offers to the robotics developer and end-user community?

An understanding about the convergence of robotics, policy and cyber security, themes which have been isolated until now. We need to ensure that as more and more robots enter mainstream society, and as robots become more advanced in the factory, there are protocols in place to protect these machines from being hacked. We need to move beyond thinking of hacking as stealing data and understand that if someone hacks a self-driving car, their intention isn’t to steal data but to create danger. Without policy and cyber security, these scenarios will become real.

What are you most looking forward to about being at RoboBusiness?

Learning about what’s on the mind of robotics companies and policy makers when it comes to the global ramifications of the most important technology sector in the world: robotics.

 

Session Details

Robotics and IoT Security Concerns - The latest generation of robots and AI is always connected, ensuring a flow of data, payment information, and greater intelligence. However, that infrastructure needs to be secured, as do control systems. Drones, surgical robots, and self-driving cars should be able to communicate with one another, but they also need to be hardened against hackers and IP thieves and ruggedized for varied users.