I know we’re all extremely worried about weaponized robots, Artificial Intelligence, and the coming technological singularity, but now a new threat looms on the (event) horizon. Cyber security experts are warning that soon sex robots could be hijacked by hackers and used to cause harm or even kill people.
“Hackers can hack into a robot or a robotic device and have full control of the connections, arms, legs and other attached tools like in some cases knives or welding devices,” Nicholas Patterson, a cybersecurity lecturer at Deakin University in Melbourne, Australia, told the Star.
It all began, funnily enough, with he world’s first “teledildonic butt plug” that could conceivably be “controlled from anywhere.” As a joke, someone hacked into its non-protected Bluetooth security protocol and started vibrating it.
That lead to the realization that most sex toys that manufacturers have launched in recent years connect to smartphones and computers via WiFi and Bluetooth in order to allow users to control them remotely and download software updates.
However, security experts warn that these companies very often treat cybersecurity as an afterthought.
Ergo, this terrifying statement:
“Often these sex robots can be upwards of 200 pounds and very strong. Once a robot is hacked, the hacker has full control and can issue instructions to the robot. The last thing you want is for a hacker to have control over one of these robots. Once hacked they could absolutely be used to perform physical actions for an advantageous scenario or to cause damage.”
Last year, experts wrote a commentary for the scientific journal Nature that outlined a scenario in which rogue artificial intelligence hijacked a brain-computer interface. In such a situation, a person’s thoughts, decisions and emotions could be taken over by AI and manipulated against the person’s will.
A hypothetical example of how such a scenario might play out, according to the authors of the piece, would be if a paralyzed man using a brain-computer interface took a dislike to someone. That could be misinterpreted as a command to harm that person even if no direct order is given.
This cannot end well.
Newsweek ended their frankly terrifying article on the subject with this, which I didn’t fully understand but feel I ought to include:
“Technological developments mean that we are on a path to a world in which it will be possible to decode people’s mental processes and directly manipulate the brain mechanisms underlying their intentions, emotions and decisions; where individuals can communicate with others simply by thinking; and where powerful computational systems linked directly to people’s brains facilitate their interactions with the world such that their mental and physical abilities are greatly enhanced,” the researchers wrote.
“The possible clinical and societal benefits of neurotechnologies are vast. To reap them, we must guide their development in a way that respects, protects and enables what is best in humanity.”