MarketScale Software & Technology 02/01/2019: Can AI Tell Naughty from Nice?


In the futuristic movie Minority Report starring Tom Cruise, the protagonist (played by Cruise) is able to see actions before they happen through a complex system of dreams and technology. This obviously leans strongly towards the fiction side of the science fiction genre, but the movie raises the question of what you would do if you could see a person’s actions before they committed them.

What Ben Taylor at ZIFF is trying to accomplish is to utilize AI to determine a person’s motives. Essentially, can AI tell naughty from nice? We asked him on this week’s episode of the MarketScale Software & Technology podcast.

Who Spilled the Milk?

Can AI learn to determine the intention behind actions? That’s what Ben Taylor, Co-Founder and Chief AI Officer for ZIFF Inc., was interested in finding out. He utilized cameras to help him capture the actions of his particularly mischievous child and used AI to try to determine the intent behind their actions.

This might sound like a humorous endeavor, but the ramifications could be wide-reaching. “The main crux of this is actionable review of video data and you need AI to do that,” Taylor says. Imagine having a system of security cameras that could utilize AI to evaluate the actions of those captured on film to determine which ones had nefarious intentions and which ones were innocent. It’s an interesting concept.

One of the biggest challenges facing the project according to Taylor is eliminating false positives. He says he wants people to be able to trust the results they’re getting from the program.

The Crisis Facing Cybersecurity

As more and more of our lives exist online and in the IoT, the need has grown for qualified workers in the cybersecurity field. Unfortunately, those needs are going unmet due to a lack of well-trained potential employees. In MarketScale’s recent article on the topic, it is projected that there will be 3.5 million cybersecurity jobs left unfilled by the year 2021.

Joining this week’s episode of the podcast is MarketScale’s Chief Digital Editor Geoff Short to expound on the topic. “You would expect to see an emphasis across universities to increase cybersecurity programs,” says Short. However, this isn’t happening as universities struggle to market these programs as attractive for incoming students.

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