According to F-Secure VP of Artificial Intelligence, Matti Aksela, there’s a common misconception that ‘advanced’ AI should mimic human intelligence.

People’s expectations that ‘advanced’ machine intelligence simply mimics human intelligence is limiting our understanding of what AI can and should do. Instead of building AI to function as though it were human, we should be exploring ways to unlock the unique potential of machine intelligence, and how that can augment what people do,” he says.

This is the thinking behind F-Secure’s Project Blackfin, a new research project that has been developed by

Taking its inspiration from patterns of collective behaviour found in nature, the project uses techniques such as swarm intelligence – which works in a similar way to how ant colonies or schools of fish behave – to power fleets of distributed, autonomous, adaptive machine-learning agents.

Instead of receiving instructions from a single, centralized AI model, these agents will communicate and work together to achieve common goals.

This enables agents to protect systems based on what they observe from their local hosts and networks (localisation), with protection further augmented by observations and emergent behaviors learned from across different organizations and industries (globalisation). Importantly, local agents are able to gain insights from vast information networks without requiring them to share full data sets.

“Essentially, you’ll have a colony of fast local AIs adapting to their own environment while working together – instead of one big AI making decisions for everyone,” Aksela explains.

The benefits are twofold:

  • performance of an organization’s IT estate is enhanced because the approach saves on resources
  • organizations avoid sharing confidential, potentially sensitive information via the cloud or product telemetry.

The project has already seen some early success. On-device intelligence (ODI) mechanisms developed by Project Blackfin have been incorporated into F-Secure’s breach detection solutions, for example.

Even beyond the security applications, F-Secure’s Chief Research Officer Mikko Hypponen foresees that this approach will challenge the way people think about AI.

“Looking beyond detecting breaches and attacks, we can envision these fleets of AI agents monitoring the overall health, efficiency, and usefulness of computer networks, or even systems like power grids or self-driving cars,” says Hypponen. “But most of all, I think this research can help us see AI as something more than just a threat to our jobs and livelihoods.”

More information on Project Blackfin is available here.

Posted by Teresa Cottam

Teresa is the Chief Analyst at Omnisperience and has over 25 years' experience in the telecoms and technology markets. She is an expert on SME and enterprise telecoms, and has considerable vertical market expertise. Her research focus lies in helping B2B telecoms firms become more commercially successful by better understanding and meeting their customers' needs. She is a judge of the GSMA Global Mobile Awards (GloMo's) for customer experience and enterprise innovation, and for the UK Cloud awards. You can follow her on Twitter @teresacottam

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