Technology is transformative, driving innovations that have a profound impact on our lives. From enhancing healthcare security to pushing the boundaries of visual AI tools and achieving remarkable milestones in medical science, these topics showcase the significant role technology plays in shaping our world. To find out more read further…..
A recent report from the privacy commissioner’s office has shed light on the inadequate IT security of Newfoundland and Labrador’s healthcare system, which was exposed during a ransomware attack and data theft incident in 2021. What were some of the key findings from this report?
So, this 115 page report detailed how the IT security of Newfoundland and Labrador’s healthcare system was found to be lacking prior to this cyber attack and data theft in 2021. The report highlights the absence or inadequate implementation of “what they are classifiing” as internationally recognized cyber security measures, leaving personal health information and personal information of many Newfoundlanders vulnerable to attack.
The vulnerabilities were known within the healthcare system, but it seems like there was insufficient steps taken to address them promptly. In March 2022, the government said the attack cost it $16 million, including $5 million for victim credit monitoring services. In that same report, for the first time — 18 months after the attack — the government acknowledged that it was the Hive ransomware hacking group responsible. The province said it could only disclose this information then because the Hive hacking group had been taken down by the authorities.
The ultimate blame is attributed to the province, along with three district health authorities, and the provincial Centre for Health Information. And so, based on this report there seems to be much more room for improvement in terms of security.
What recommendations does the report make?
The report suggests that the majority of the province’s population may have had their personal information or personal health information compromised by these cyber attackers. The government’s delayed acknowledgment of the attack being a ransomware cyber attack is criticized, and the report calls for stronger leadership and prioritization of cybersecurity within the healthcare system. It also emphasizes the importance of implementing robust defense systems to identify and respond to common cyber attack techniques.
Finally, the report recommends updating notification policies to promptly inform the public in the event of a ransomware attack, and the establishment of a provincial health chief privacy officer to ensure privacy best practices are followed.
All of these steps will certianly make sure our privacy is more secure going forward. The big takeaway here is the critical need for updated cybersecurity measures in the healthcare industry. Without it we are left vunerable to the ever-attacking nature of bad actors looking to steal our personal information.
Amidst the ongoing advancements in chatbots, the realm of visual AI tools is continuously pushing boundaries. One such breakthrough is a new AI modelling tool called DragGAN made waves on social media over the weekend, and for good reason. The idea is that you can reshape any image you upload to your liking using just a device connected to the Internet? Can you comment on how this type of AI works?
DragGAN is not about you standard digital tools of brushes, and layers that professionals would use to alter images. Instead, it is about letting you click in strategic places in a photo to create points. Then executing your “intent” as you drag your point. The tool itself doesn’t appear yet to be available to the masses, but I was lucky to have access to it along with watching some of the videos circulating on social media showing how quickly a photo can be altered by simply dragging the cursor around and clicking on a few buttons.
The demo videos posted on social media show how the tool can help change the expressions, stance, orientation, actions, and dimensions of any subject in any photo. The possibilities here are pretty mind blowing. One of the videos shows a dog being made stockier, having it open its mouth, and having its demeanour and size adjusted by simple dragging points. You can change the shape of a car or someone’s clothes with minimal effort. This new generative AI tool can create some pretty impressive effects that almost anyone could master.
So, what might be potential future implications and drawbacks to consider?
I think Michael Harvey, Privacy Commissioner, said it right when he spoke to Linda Swain on an interview that was aired previously, that this form of genrative AI can easy add to all the misinformation and fake content already online. As AI tools like this one become more sophisticated and accessible, there is a concern that it could contribute to the spread of misinformation and fake content. By easily altering images, it becomes increasingly challenging to discern genuine from manipulated visuals, leading to potential consequences in journalism, politics, and social media.
You also have issues of privacy and unauthorized use: The ability to reshape images with such ease raises privacy concerns. Individuals’ images could be manipulated without their consent, leading to unauthorized use or even deepfake scenarios where people’s faces are superimposed onto different bodies or in compromising situations. This could have severe repercussions on personal privacy, reputation, and trust.
Finally, in a remarkable medical milestone, a man who had been paralyzed for 12 years has accomplished the extraordinary feat of walking again, courtesy of cutting-edge brain and spine implants. Could you elaborate on the mechanics behind this technology and discuss the potential implications it holds for individuals facing paralysis or mobility difficulties?
Yeah, for sure. The implants, known as a “brain-spine interface,” create a direct neurological connection between the person’s brain and spine, allowing thoughts to be translated into digital commands that move the legs and feet. This achievement, marks a significant medical breakthrough. With these implants, people who are paralyzed have the ability to regain control over leg movements, enabling them to stand, walk, and climb stairs.
The surgeries that are involved include implanting disc-shaped devices in the brain and spinal cord, which are connected to sensors and a processing unit. While the system is still experimental and not widely available, it holds enormous implications for individuals with mobility difficulties and paralysis and it underscores the transformative power of medical advancements and provides a glimpse into a future where paralysis may no longer be an insurmountable obstacle.