Industry Focus

What’s Next?

The growth of technology is everywhere. What’s next for the security industry? I think the next innovation poised to transform the security industry will be deep learning or artificial intelligence (AI), which is a system that learns by looking at masses of data.

Look at it this way: it is a child in grammar school, soaking up as much information as possible, and once digested, some of the most amazing things will take place.

Three decades ago, I interviewed an Air Force general at the Air Force Logistics Command at Wright Patterson Air Force Base, and he was all gung ho on AI. He predicted that before long, AI would be the normal accepted practice of gathering information, not the exception. He was right.

The key to future command control is speed, and that speed will come from automation, according to Gen. Stephen Wilson, Vice Chief of Staff of the Air Force.

The Air Force must look to the latest innovations in automation from industry and younger airmen to maintain its superiority across domains, he said.

“How do we sense the environment? How do we understand it? And how do we become able to [implement] effects on the globe across all domains...it’s about speed and speed will be helped by the automation,” said Wilson, speaking at the 2017 Defense One Summit.

Automation in the Air Force is being implemented both in its own right and as a step in the process of developing artificial intelligence (AI). Automation uses software algorithms, but it does not have the “learning” and predictive capacities of AI.

Deep learning and AI are pushing the boundaries for a wide range of uses, including physical security. There seem to be three factors, beginning with Big Data, which we have heard about on many occasions long before now. This includes multiples of sensors, including video cameras, where a mass of data is produced on a daily basis, and where systems can be trained effectively.

Second, there will always be an abundance of new algorithms, which train neural networks at a much quicker pace, and finally, we already know there is no shortage of computer hardware capable of understanding and processing calculations rapidly.

While this isn’t breaking news, I feel certain that attendees at the April ISC West will be entertained by the newest and latest trends in AI, deep learning and neural network computing. All these things are currently available on computers, embedded in edge devices and are in the cloud.

Wilson really nailed it when he said it is the younger airmen who bring this to the forefront. The leading role that the newest generation of airmen play will be in automating the Air Force.

“The young people are already [technologically empowered] … airmen will reach out and say ‘check out this app that I wrote’ or ‘this code that does this’ ‘I was doing this and it took a long time, and it was very labor intensive, so I wrote my own app that did this’ and that’s the fact of this innovation,” Wilson said. “It is a groundswell from the bottom that we’ve got to be able to unleash.”

This article originally appeared in the March 2018 issue of Security Today.

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