Inspector Clouseau and the next weapon of mass destruction…

Do you remember the Pink Panther movies starring Peter Sellers as the bumbling and hilarious Inspector Clouseau? Hopefully you do, but if not You Tube will help. Inspector Clouseau is a wonderful movie character magnificently brought to life by a great comic actor. The Inspector is, of course, just that; a character in movies from an age (the 1970s) when the technology we take for granted today was absent from most people’s lives. However, recent events suggest to the Badger that one or more Inspector Clouseaus may have materialised in the real world!

Recent events that exposed the Salisbury nerve agent culprits, the catching of foreign parties red handed trying to hack the OPCW, the disappearance of a Saudi national from a consulate in Turkey, and the quiet disappearance of the Head of Interpol on a trip to China, have all shown the power of modern information technology in bringing matters to public attention that perpetrators might otherwise prefer to keep quiet. The alleged perpetrators are now working through the handling of their embarrassments on the world stage, but the thuggery that’s been exposed is shocking for most normal people and just underlines danger that pervades modern times. The alleged perpetrators appear to be from organisations fully aware of the power and use of modern technology, and yet their operations appear to have been conducted oblivious to how the technology at their target site could speedily put them on the defensive and open to ridicule in the aftermath!

That’s why the Badger wonders if Inspector Clouseaus have materialised in the real world. Surely, a Clouseau must have been involved in whatever planning of these operations took place? If technology savvy perpetrators can be so obviously on the back foot when challenged with technology-based evidence from media investigators, then Clouseau-like bungling seems a higher than average probability!

What the Badger finds particularly disquieting is the thought that Clouseaus could soon wield tools categorised as ‘weaponised Artificial Intelligence’. If that happens it should fill us all with dread, especially given the backdrop of recent events. The topic of Weaponised Artificial Intelligence – in its very broadest sense – could turn out to be the next ‘Weapon of Mass Destruction’, and so should get more public profile than it does.

There’s no doubt that we live in times of rapid, global, political, social, governmental policy and technological change and upheaval. The Badger concludes, rather sanguinely given it’s grey and raining outside, that we all face two big challenges. The first is controlling the tyrannical tendencies and egos of global leaders, and the second is ensuring Inspector Clouseau remains just a character in the movies! Unsurprisingly there doesn’t seem to be much progress on either of these so far…

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