Cybersecurity will be the pressing ‘issue of this decade’, IBM’s Arvind Krishna says – The Economic Times

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Synopsis–Value lies in the data and people are going to come after that data, IBM Chairman Arvind Krishna says ahead of the IBM Think Conference that starts Tuesday.

Bengaluru:Cybersecurity will be the pressing “issue of this decade,” warned Arvind Krishna, the India-born chairman of IBM on Tuesday, with cyberattacks set to worsen in the coming years as hackers eye valuable data hosted on computers and enterprise servers.

“It is where the value lies. Value lies in the data and people are going to come after that data,” Krishna told a roundtable ahead of the IBM Think Conference that began on Tuesday.

On Sunday, the United States had to invoke emergency powers following a ransomware attack on oil supplier Colonial Pipeline which disrupted nearly half the gas supplies to the East Coast. Hacker group DarkSide claimed the hacking into its IT systems was to make money and not create problems for society.

“As the oil attack shows, we have known for years that infrastructure is going to be attacked,” Krishna said.

The United States, he said, should launch a national cyber security programme and that public private investments should be at the same level as it took “to put a man on the moon”. IBM was willing to partner this effort, he added.

Krishna said India was looking at a national initiative to build semiconductors in the country, similar to China and European nations.

IBM last week unveiled a 2-nanometre chip, which consumes a quarter of the power of the current generation of chips and is working with Samsung and Intel to manufacture them.

“What excites me the most about two nanometres are two things: 1/4th the energy (consumption) of current 7-nanometre technologies and you get much better density packed in 50 billion transistors on a typical chip. With this, we can get so much power and we can unlock all the big dreams about AI, as well as computation on this new chip,” he said.

IBM also released a study on the adoption of AI for business, which talked of the imperative to embed AI into business processes during the pandemic.

Of the IT professionals surveyed, 43% said that their companies had accelerated rollout of AI. Nearly half of global IT professionals surveyed said they evaluate AI providers in large part on their ability to automate processes.

Over half (53%) of Indian IT professionals reported that their company had accelerated rollouts of AI due to the pandemic. Indian IT professionals (43%) were most likely to say that the Covid-19 pandemic had increased their focus on security and threats, it showed.

IBM would focus on building AI for enterprises and not focus on consumer AI, Krishna said.

“I think consumer companies are doing great with AI, whether it’s photograph recognition, which is recognizing faces inside somebody’s photograph, whether it’s speech to text and so on. Our focus is going to be an enterprise,” he said. “By learning from small amounts of data, worrying about the natural language processing, worrying about how I can train an engine on questions around the Covid-19 vaccination – that’s where we see a lot of benefit for our clients.”

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