The rogue robot is a familiar sci-fi trope: images of a compromised machine waving its arms and shouting ‘Warning! Does not compute!’ as explosions shake the polystyrene set. But what if that rogue robot were an industrial machine in an automotive, electronics, avionics, or pharmaceuticals factory? What if it were an entire smart facility?
The question chimes with the ongoing tabloid obsession with Terminators, malignant AIs, and job-stealing robots; it seems designed to stoke public fears about the rise of machine automation, a process that has been ongoing since the Eighteenth Century. And it comes – inevitably – from an enterprise cybersecurity provider with something to sell, Trend Micro.
The company has produced a detailed, 45-page report, Rogue Automation: Vulnerable and Malicious Code in Industrial Programming which at least grounds the issue in something prosaic and machine readable.
Ironically, the media’s concerns are often rooted in a binary view