Artificial Intelligence (AI) is a very hot topic at the moment, even though there is also some debate over how many of these systems are actually ‘intelligent’ rather than just able to carry out very complex processes.
Whatever the terminology, we have got to a point where machines can take on certain roles in the security sphere and inevitably (and understandably) questions are being asked about how this could affect jobs.
My answer is always the same – machines still can’t replace people for complex tasks (and in fact, you wouldn’t want them to, especially where there are ethical decisions to be made), but when it comes to repetitive and potentially monotonous tasks they are a perfect addition to the ‘team’!
An Automated Assistant
Arguably, technology is at its best when it enables people to reach their full potential. This is the case in many sectors (such as retail sales and customer service for instance) and is especially true for security. However, the human element is crucial when it comes to safeguarding people.
Think of these systems as an assistant, one which is very well suited to certain tasks but needs someone with experience and expertise to oversee it. A good example is video surveillance – the average human can’t properly concentrate on a CCTV feed for more than a few minutes before they start to miss activities. A machine does this very well, but we haven’t reached a stage where they can properly investigate and make suitable decisions on the action required.
The use of automated assistants is already evident if you look. For instance, many sales websites will pop up a message asking if you need help as you browse goods or services. Whilst this will often lead you to chat with a human sales operative, the initial process is carried out by automated AI chatbots.
Often you would be hard pushed to know the difference (which is deliberate), but this approach allows the human team to concentrate on the more complicated task of advising customers.
Change Can Be for The Better
One certainty is that greater automation will change the nature of work for some security operatives as their duties will undoubtedly evolve. This may involve upskilling teams so they can deal with more complex issues and use new technology.
For example, technical support teams may at present spend a lot of time answering calls on specific issues and helping the end-user with their everyday enquiries. But if an AI system can answer a large percentage of these questions, it allows the human team to concentrate on more complex or unusual queries.
These people could be trained to look at data silos for relationships, trying to find efficiencies, things they weren’t able to do in the past because they didn’t have the time. They can investigate trends and find long-term solutions rather than ‘firefighting’ individual requests for help on a continual basis.
From a security provider’s point of view, there are other potential benefits as well. Rather than making people redundant, it makes far more sense to utilise their security experience, skills and intelligence to offer greater insights into security data. This adds value to end-user clients and could be sold as an additional service and revenue stream, fostering an even closer supplier/customer relationship.
Empowering the Workforce
AI can be deployed right across the security sector, empowering security teams in many types of role. From systems that enable security staff on a door to recognise known criminals or suspects, to AI systems looking at the power and resource efficiencies of a large business across multiple sites/locations/countries - there is huge scope to ensure security is far more efficient, reliable and cost-effective.
A key thing to remember is that people need to be trained and upskilled to ensure they make the most of this new technology and don’t lose their relevance to it. As with most advances in technology, people can adapt quickly and reap the benefits of AI assistance to help them reach their increased potential.