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DARPA Will Stage an AI Fight in Las Vegas For DEF CON (yahoo.com) 89

An anonymous Slashdot reader writes: "A bunch of computers will try to hack each other in Vegas for a $2 million prize," reports Tech Insider calling it a "historic battle" that will coincide with "two of the biggest hacking conferences, Blackhat USA and DEFCON". DARPA will supply seven teams with a supercomputer. Their challenge? Create an autonomous A.I. system that can "hunt for security vulnerabilities that hackers can exploit to attack a computer, create a fix that patches that vulnerability and distribute that patch -- all without any human interference."

"The idea here is to start a technology revolution," said Mike Walker, DARPA's manager for the Cyber Grand Challenge contest. Yahoo Tech notes that it takes an average of 312 days before security vulnerabilities are discovered -- and 24 days to patch it. "if all goes well, the CGC could mean a future where you don't have to worry about viruses or hackers attacking your computer, smartphone or your other connected devices. At a national level, this technology could help prevent large-scale attacks against things like power plants, water supplies and air-traffic infrastructure.

It's being billed as "the world's first all-machine hacking tournament," with a prize of $2 million for the winner, while the second and third place tem will win $1 million and $750,000.
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DARPA Will Stage an AI Fight in Las Vegas For DEF CON

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  • The media likes to throw around the term A.I. a lot these days and, unless I'm gravely mistaken, we have nothing even close to resembling one.
    I'm probably wrong, but I'm of the opinion that a full blown A.I. is a fully sentient being capable of making its own decisions and rivaling / exceeding its creators in just about everything we're capable of.

    Writing scripts and programs are fine. Just call them out for what they are.

    Artificial Intelligence it is not.

    That is all.

    • by Minupla ( 62455 ) <minupla@gmail. c o m> on Sunday July 17, 2016 @08:57PM (#52530693) Homepage Journal

      The term AI has become synonymous with "something we'll see in 30 years".

      AIs can drive cars and pick people out of pictures and even go back through my google photos album and match my 7 yr old with her baby picture (regardless if it does this by inferring that I only have one kid and therefore this is probably it or through facial recognition or some combination of the two, it's a nifty trick.), and beat a world class human at not only Chess but Go. My 13 yr old self, fresh out of reading Neuromancer would have told you we'd need an AI for that.

      Now that we've reached there AI has receded into the future.

      I saw the presentation last year DC about what they're attempting to accomplish. They want to write code that without human assistance can analyze a binary, (a neat trick by itself with the halting problem) for weaknesses, develop a patch for them, and at the same time attack its opponents and circumvent their fixes.

      The real trick will be tho, the winner from the AI contest goes against the human's at Defcon on CTF. The money is heavily against the AI, but even if it places a good showing, it'll

      The other issue is that people mistakenly assume that AI means Human-Level intellect (and usually greater-then human, since most of us couldn't beat a wold class Go player.

      It's also separate from consciousness.

      A computer that's as smart as a barn owl is artificially intelligent (and would probably be a scary good drone pilot).

      Min

      • The term AI has become synonymous with "something we'll see in 30 years".

        You mean we could say producing electricity using nuclear fusion is AI? :-)

      • can analyze a binary,

        Isn't that what automated code testing does? I attended a sales demo once and the people were showing all the types of bugs that it could catch. This was twenty years ago and hope that it would be much better by now.

      • by robi5 ( 1261542 )

        > AIs can drive cars

        I agree with the contents of your post but it's AI, not "AIs". People who heard of AI earlier than the last 2-3 years use it in singular, so it gives a noob appearance.

        • by mwvdlee ( 775178 )

          Then what do you call several independantly developed AI systems, like we currently have driving around in test cars?

        • by Minupla ( 62455 )

          I realize I'm coming back to this thread late (was travelling, sorry), but in tech writing class we learned that the best practice was to use the pluralization that would apply if we had spelled out the acronym. So in this case "Artificial Intelligences can drive cars" would be the natural sounding construction instead of "Artificial Intelligence can drive cars" where I am referring to multiple separate code bases operating in independent instantiations, as opposed to one central AI coordinating all cars,

    • Think this is stupid? Read this bit and think very carefully about it:

      Create an autonomous A.I. system that can "hunt for security vulnerabilities that hackers can exploit to attack a computer, create a fix that patches that vulnerability and distribute that patch -- all without any human interference.

      Yahoo Tech notes that it takes an average of 312 days before security vulnerabilities are discovered -- and 24 days to patch it. "if all goes well, the CGC could mean a future where you don't have to wo

      • by ceoyoyo ( 59147 )

        Yahoo's "hope" seems pretty optimistic all right. I'd think they'd be more interested in the finding the vulnerability bit anyway. Run it on your code before you make it live and fix the bugs yourself if you have to.

        They probably decided they needed to explain why a major tech company was sponsoring develop of automated cracking tools though.

    • by ceoyoyo ( 59147 )

      Your definition isn't the one commonly in use. Most people would say "human-level AI" or at least "hard AI" to talk about what you describe.

      From https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/... [wikipedia.org]:

      Artificial intelligence (AI) is intelligence exhibited by machines. In computer science, an ideal "intelligent" machine is a flexible rational agent that perceives its environment and takes actions that maximize its chance of success at some goal.[1] Colloquially, the term "artificial intelligence" is applied when a machine mimics

  • by subk ( 551165 )
    Sounds like something out of a William Gibson novel. Go ahead, put it out there. Somebody's gonna own it and teach it to spread backdoors.
  • by onyxruby ( 118189 ) <`onyxruby' `at' `comcast.net'> on Sunday July 17, 2016 @08:54PM (#52530675)

    Bot's have been battling like this for many years. A decade ago I was taking agents and using them to create self healing networks when I traveled as a consultant. I picked up and used a number of tricks used by botnet operators. I took the logic used to keep a botnet up and running and used that on corporate networks.

    I automated the works, and did so with nothing more than a set of scripts and set of agents. You could well argue the result was black hat botnets battling corp botnets. I have got to imagine that I was far from the first to build something like this. Without doubt blackhat botnets have battled blackhat botnets for control for many years.

    Where's the innovation, using a supercomputer?

    • by subk ( 551165 )
      Do blackhat botnets patch themselves after getting attacked?
    • by rtb61 ( 674572 )

      Technically speaking, to increase security the innovation is to go backwards. Basically taking all the flexibility out of computer systems and tying a lot more to hardware and not software. Basically computer hardware components that are only capable of carrying out the original designed function and nothing else, absolutely nothing else, zero flexibility and any function not necessary to the designed function is not there. Any flexibility in the system, any unnecessary functions still resident in the syst

    • by phantomfive ( 622387 ) on Sunday July 17, 2016 @09:58PM (#52531033) Journal

      Where's the innovation, using a supercomputer?

      If your system is so good, why don't you submit it and win the competition? Seems like a good way to win an easy $million

      • If your system is so good, why don't you submit it and win the competition? Seems like a good way to win an easy $million

        Because he's defensive, not offensive. Questions like this that make it clear that you haven't read the comment are offensive, also.

  • the CGC could mean a future where you don't have to worry about viruses or hackers attacking your computer, smartphone or your other connected devices. At a national level, this technology could help prevent large-scale attacks against things like power plants, water supplies and air-traffic infrastructure.

    Um, this assumes that one side can always maintain an advantage, amiright? Otherwise it just sounds like a really fast game of cat and mouse.

    • Um, this assumes that one side can always maintain an advantage, amiright? Otherwise it just sounds like a really fast game of cat and mouse.

      Correct, and they are right about it. Hacking is not combat; if there is no vulnerability in the code then it doesn't matter how much of a genius one is, you can't find what isn't there. If done right, security AI could eliminate all software vulnerabilities and leave only physical access or social engineering as attack vectors. And this sort of task would be ideal for AI, as it does not need any creativity beyond analyzing the logic of a program for the presence of certain well-defined traits.

    • The other omission is attackers don't need a software flaw to attack a computer, all they need is a human user who wants to watch online movies, pay a mysterious invoice, find out why their package had a problem, avoid trouble with the tax authorities, ad infinitum.
  • We aren't even close to any kind of A.I. Of course the AI nutters will shout "Chess and Go playing computers!" and "Siri!" but neither of those things are A.I. And "deep learning" isn't a thing, just a buzzword. It isn't learning it all. I doubt we will ever acheieve anything even close to A.I. With digital computers almost at a dead end in terms of increased processor capability we won't see very many breakthroughs in the near future.
    • by Anonymous Coward

      You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.

      artificial intelligence
      noun: the theory and development of computer systems able to perform tasks that normally require human intelligence, such as visual perception, speech recognition, decision-making, and translation between languages.

      Perhaps you mean:

      Strong AI
      Strong AI is a term used to describe a certain mindset of artificial intelligence development. Strong AI's goal is todevelop artificial intelligence to the point where the ma
      • I wrote a program in high school to translate between languages, It was written in BASIC and did an OK job, at least as far as my homework went
    • by ceoyoyo ( 59147 )

      Slashdot. It used to be the home of tech geeks. Now it's at least half luddites. Sad.

    • by mwvdlee ( 775178 )

      Some people insist on defining "AI" as whatever they think some intangible thing their brains can do is.
      If you could make a perfectly accurate and fully functional physical reproduction of a human brain, including all the inputs and outputs, they still wouldn't consider it an AI because it's still missing something these people refuse to define in any measurable way.

  • They clearly haven't thought this out because when you give them a supercomputer the first thing they are going to do is try to play Crysis at Maximum Detail and spend the rest of the time tweaking settings to try and get a stable framerate. ;)

  • what a joke. (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Gravis Zero ( 934156 ) on Sunday July 17, 2016 @09:20PM (#52530843)

    the prize might as well be a lollipop of your favorite flavor because a program that can find and create vulnerabilities like they want are effectively money printing machines. you would be better of setting up an online store and hocking off exploits indefinitely.

  • At least you might end up with a good movie script.

  • Word on the street- DefCon is cancelled

  • by lapm ( 750202 )
    Do you really want punch of AI on lose hacking anything and everything, when theres enough trouble with people already doing so...

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