We are just a couple weeks away from the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) Cyber Grand Challenge. The contest will take place August 4 in Las Vegas and pits the seven remaining finalist teams against each in a game of hacker capture the flag. Only there won't be any contestants actively participating. Each team has built A.I. that will compete autonomously. It's part of an initiative from DARPA to develop new strategies for countering cyber warfare.
But Tesla CEO Elon Musk isn't into it. Late Thursday night he tweeted that "It's all fun & games until..." and then he linked to the Skynet Wikipedia page. That's the vicious, time-traveling A.I. network in the Terminator series that sets out to kill all humans. At a minimum, there's a tongue-in-cheek aspect to Musk's tweet, but this isn't the first time he's raised concerns about the destructive possibilities of A.I. that turns against humans.
It sounds like something out of a science-fiction film — and it's been the fodder for countless — but these are real fears there. The Cyber Grand Challenge started under the premise that humans simply aren't able to learn, adapt, and react fast enough to the growing cybersecurity concerns as we find ourselves deeper and deeper into the "internet of things." This challenge asks teams to create A.I. that learns and hunts out bugs itself, hoping that maybe someday the A.I. would be able to keep up with hackers around the world.