Why IT Specialists are Worried About the Rise of Intelligent Machines

They are all around us and we still really haven’t noticed them, intelligent machines. They are chatting with us, doing research, making art, planning military strategies, controlling a lot of our transportation and sorting out what we get to read in the news.

New global research shows rapid adoption of intelligent machines used for

automating and optimising business and IT processes. 92% of IT professionals

surveyed recognise the technology is now central to the success of their

business, but 68% acknowledge it raises new concerns about network security,

access and controls

A survey carried out by the analyst firm Freeform Dynamics, examines how IT decision makers react to machines with decision making and learning capabilities it also examines the attitude towards the fast-paced adoption of intelligent machines and systems.

The report looks at the positive impacts already being observed in the commercial world and the potential barriers to mainstream adoption over the coming decade.

According to the research, investment in intelligent business systems and

automation is well underway across the globe. Top current application

deployment areas cited by respondents include digital customer engagement

systems (55%), process automation and workflow systems (52%), and automated

risk monitoring and management solutions (50%). The research further reveals


•         45% have adopted intelligent IoT (Internet of Things) platforms and services, with 34% saying these technologies are on the agenda

•         42% are utilising autonomous apps and bots, and 32% say they plan to do so

•         45% are using cognitive computing and inference engines and a further 30% are looking to deploy in the near future

•         40% are using complex event processing (CEP) technology and a further 34% plan to soon

Despite the speed of adoption, the study reveals that IT decision makers are finding it difficult to assess the full extent of the risks, challenges and

threats posed by intelligent business systems. Security concerns (33%), funding constraints (30%) and lack of knowledge (24%) were all identified as

areas of worry and named as primary obstacles to adoption and use. To give just one example, a fifth of respondents (20%) said increased ‘noise’ on

the network is making it harder to detect malicious activity, with automated/bot access to APIs causing system/application issues and creating

unexpected security exposures.

When questioned further, more than two-thirds (68%) of respondents confessed their current network security and access management capabilities were

already inadequate or needed strengthening to cope with new intelligent machines, while 72% revealed network traffic monitoring and analysis

capabilities also required reinforcing. 72% of respondents said the same applied to their file and document level security and access management

systems and protocols. Looking to the future, the survey revealed IT professionals were also concerned about how to counter the potential impact

of intelligent systems activity – including external third party bots, agents and internet-connected ‘things’ – on enterprise networks and


Although businesses are exploiting the advantages of using intelligent services, they are also aware of the unpredictable dangers they might become vulnerable to.

Retailers that have invested in marketing solutions underpinned by machine learning are gaining significant advantage over their competitors. Logistics companies using intelligent planning and optimisation systems are similarly benefiting, and so on in other sectors. Intelligent systems are being adopted at a very fast pace and everyone will be exposed to the possible risks, regardless if they have directly invested in such technology or not.

The research also highlighted the impact of intelligent systems is being felt right now in the enterprise environment, with IT professionals braced for

further challenges:

•         A quarter expected fully autonomous self-learning robots to be functioning independently within a business setting in less than three years, with a further third saying this will happen within 10 years

•         Rogue decision-making resulting in direct commercial damage and an over reliance on machines, ultimately leading to complacency were cited as current or future concerns that need addressing; one fifth of respondents confirm a lack of human oversight and de-skilling, to the point where no one in the IT team understands the logic or processes underpinning systems, is a problem today

•         76% believe these solutions will remove drudgery from IT operations, while just 32% are concerned intelligent systems may eventually put them out of a job

It is just the beginning of the AI journey, everyday organisations are getting more comfortable in handing over more and more of their workload and decision making processes to intelligent machines. We are already struggling to keep up with new technologies that introduced into our life on a daily basis and even specialists do not really know how artificial intelligence will affect our systems and consequently our lives. We are rushing into a future where we do not have a Plan A, let alone a Plan b

(With input from realwire.com)

The full report entitled “Intelligent Systems in Action: The Rise of the

Machines Has Already Begun,” together with an infographic, is available for

download here