We are losing the cybersecurity war, and it’s not because our equipment isn’t high-tech enough. The real reason is both simpler and more difficult to solve: our technical employees lack the people and leadership skills needed to communicate effectively.
Technical teams often lack the inner confidence to innovate outside the status quo. And time is of the essence because every day, artificial intelligence (AI) is getting better and better. More factories and businesses are automating their processes and replacing human beings with machines.
The ability to communicate and collaborate with one another is our biggest advantage as humans, yet the very people working in technical positions tend to have the weakest people skills. If technical people don’t become better communicators quickly, they’re doomed to be replaced.
How AI Outperforms Humans
Even though AI hasn’t yet taken over the cybersecurity industry, it’s well on its way. And it’s quickly catching up to or exceeding human performance in other areas.
Processes that are either technical or don’t require human interaction, or both, will slowly but surely become automated. Machines are more efficient and cost effective than humans, not to mention safer. A machine won’t have an accident on the conveyor belt or cause an accident on the DC Beltway, unless of course, the machines or driverless cars are hacked. Machines won’t get tired after twelve hours of surgery and will be able to review medical imaging more granularly in order to detect cancers and other diseases.
Machines and computers will automate away a lot of jobs humans have today. It’s only a matter of time. The window of time for surviving (not thriving) in life with limited people skills is quickly shrinking.
AI’s Impact on Cybersecurity
As I mentioned, AI hasn’t replaced cybersecurity professionals yet, but the process is beginning. In what ways is AI already impacting cybersecurity?
There are many different software programs to assist with penetration testing and malware defenses, all powered by AI. Technology is making this aspect of cybersecurity easier and less human dependent—the gap between man and machine is tightening every day.
At some point, the gap is going to close completely, and technology will surpass humans. We used to calculate math by hand; now most of us are completely dependent on a calculator. Spreadsheets are the same way. Can you imagine doing business without them? Well, we used to. Right now, many of us live our lives independent of AI (for the most part), but eventually, that will change.
In cybersecurity, technology is only going to get better, and if you’re a technical person, there’s a good chance a machine and automation is coming for your job.
Job Security in the Age of AI
So what can technical people do to improve their job security, even as AI inches closer?
Developing your people skills is critical, now more than ever. Machines can’t replace jobs that require compassion, expressions of gratitude, and other qualities that make us human. AI is going to take over technical and process-oriented jobs, but human-facing jobs will remain because a machine can’t replace the human soul, at least not yet.
People skills are going to be even more valuable tomorrow than they are today, so invest in yourself. Make a conscious effort to be more empathetic, to communicate clearly, and to collaborate effectively with your technical peers. These skills will be key to outperforming AI in the cybersecurity field—it will be what differentiates us and gives us strength.
Most importantly to you as a professional, if you can develop a skill set that doesn’t compete with AI, you can thrive alongside it, not be replaced by it.
The following is adapted from The Smartest Person in the Room by Christian Espinosa. Have you read?
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