I saw the news today, oh boy

about artificial intelligence . . .

And who will protect us from it . . . 
Another one of those Dan’s New Leaf Posts, meant to inspire thought about IT Governance . . . .

Just watched some press on the the Senate hearings over regulating AI. The normal senator faces, Sam Altman of OpenAI, and senior executives from IBM discussed several things, including ”the dangers of AI,” the evils of job displacement, the use of “labels” and “warnings,” and how we can “avoid the mistakes of the past” this time, with legislation to control “a genie that’s out of the bottle.”

If the U.S. we’re a bank, it’s like the management team got together to complain about a technology. They even called a couple of the vendors into a steering committee meeting, to hear the vendors complain about the technology too.

Their own technology.

But the management team . . . and apparently the vendors . .  still haven’t gotten around to doing a risk assessment on that technology.

A lot of non-technical controls were bantered about – including licensing, rules, banning certain things, more rules, things that lawyers can do, and rules for that too.

Sometimes they would clumsily try out big words like GPT or machine learning, but you could tell their aids told them to stay away from anything technical.  Would’t want to get too technical in front of the American people.  Or trip over words.

“Strong bipartisanship” resulted after an “eerie, even creepy voice clone” of one of the senators was played at the beginning of the hearing. Nothing was said about auditing code, or SDLC controls, or business impact or incident response or vendor management or the other boring tactics used to manage technology risk. No mention that bad actors will NOT comply with the legislation or its resulting regulations.  I don’t even think they discussed the nationstate threat, though there was a lot of concern over politicians putting out deep fakes – on election day.

Altman did try to articulate the risk, but it seemed to be more a part of a legal risk mitigation strategy.  Almost like:  “We want the government to know that we could be doing some very dangerous things and now it’s on you.”  But he did call for the regulation of his own company, I’ll give him that.

What they didn’t do was an asset inventory, a threat inventory, a vulnerability inventory, document existing controls or discuss potential controls.  They should have asked, “where’s your risk assessment.”  I wish we could all benefit from a better understanding of inherent risk, the current residual risk, and the anticipated residual risk.  Especially the anticipated residual risk . . . that remaining risk we will face, if we did made an effort to respond to the current residual risk.

In their own words, the genie is out of the bottle.

What the banking industry has proven- our government cannot be relied upon to protect us from technology. They can come in afterwards, and make sure that everybody is complying with a minimum set of standards.  And they sure have done a great job of helping us share best practices, and learn from each other.  But any bank it examiner will tell you, they represent minimum standards after-the-fact, you need to take a risk-based approach to addressing the risk right in front of you, and our federal government does not prescribe solutions.

That’s why banks were using secure messaging long before the FDIC met ZixCorp.

The senators should have asked Altman for a copy of his risk assessment.  That’s what bank examiners would have done.  But they I don’t think they did.  We the people certainly don’t have anything to digest.

Like the seven gunslingers learned in The Magnificent Seven – the government cannot protect us from technology.

We need to do it ourselves.

Original article by Dan Hadaway CRISC CISA CISM. Founder and Managing Partner, infotex

”Dan’s New Leaf” is a ”fun blog to inspire thought in the area of IT Governance.”



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