Artificial intelligence, or AI, has become incredibly popular in the last few years. And current industry standards show that the relatively new technology will only become more popular in the years to come. But how safe will it be? Whenever a new technology takes over and becomes a societal standard, we must always ask ourselves this question. And almost every time that we ask it, we are never really sure of our answer. When the Internet first became relevant, nobody could have predicted how unsafe it is if not properly used. Will AI follow a similar path?

A recent report from Ericsson, a telecommunications company, found that several consumers fully expect their devices to be considered some form of a human being in the near future. Some experts believe that we will no longer need to know our devices, because our devices will know us.

So what does this mean for security? Think of it this way: You want to know the latest showtimes for a movie so you ask your smartphone to find showtimes at local theaters. Your phone then uses your actual location to provide an answer. Or you want to purchase a gift for someone through Amazon and you ask your computer to make the purchase using your credit card and other sensitive information which are already stored on your device. These are real-world activities that will only become more common. And these activities share vast amounts of data. And in order for AI to become more advanced and more lifelike, it will need to send and receive large amounts of sensitive information almost constantly.

This naturally leads to vulnerabilities in sharing information. Areas where users’ personal information can slip through the cracks and fall into the hands of cybercriminals.

So how can we protect ourselves?

Luckily, we may not have to. The very technology that may be putting us at risk could potentially prevent any risk in the first place.

AI can become so advanced that it may, and very likely will, be utilized in cyber security software. And with machine learning, these technologies can become even smarter and prevent attacks and hacks from happening before they even begin.

AI is looking to make big waves this year. While some may fear what it will expose and put at risk, just know that it is capable of doing far more good than harm.