The Emergence of a New Wild West in Cyberspace

Still, scenario 1 is not simply "more of the same", according to the authors but "different in kind" because there will be a "gradual but definitive corrosion in trust". From the report: "Confidence or even hope that 'anyone' - whether governments, software companies, security companies, or researchers - will be able to 'fix' the problem is now gone, and the behaviors of typical internet users will change materially as a result."

Omega
The Omega scenario contemplates the rise of the algorithms. It is so called because it would involve creating the ultimate, or, omega algorithm. Presently, algorithms determine which information we feed our mind with on many occasions. The Google Search algorithms determine our search results, and Facebook's algorithms determine what we're shown in the feed. Increasingly, algorithms will also determine what we can (not) do. An application for a job or a mortgage can be denied based on an automated process. The Omega scenario considers a situation in which algorithms have become so powerful, that many processes and decisions are taken out of human hands and placed under the control of algorithms.

"With accelerated developments in machine learning, algorithms, and sensors that track human action and enable datasets to feed off one another, the internet of 2020 will have embedded within it profoundly powerful models capable of predicting—and manipulating—a surprising range of human behavior", the authors say.

For internet security the victorious omega algorithm would mean a shift from attacks on vulnerabilities in technology to targeting people. "For both attackers and defenders in the cybersecurity world, attention would shift decisively from infrastructure to people. It is common to hear in 2016 that 'people are the weakest link in security'. In this scenario, that statement becomes a fundamental truth in new and profound ways", states the report.
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