Women can succeed in overlapping fields of AI and cybersecurity still in early stage: Josephine Teo

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SINGAPORE - Women possess the skills to succeed in the overlapping fields of artificial intelligence (AI) and cyber security that are in their nascent stage, said Minister for Communications and Information, Mrs Josephine Teo on Saturday.

Speaking at the Ladies in Cyber Symposium organised by the Association of Information Security Professionals (AiSP) at Capital Tower, Mrs Teo said that while nefarious actors can use AI to break apart cyber security measures, AI can also be applied in threat containment and identifying suspicious patterns of behaviour.

AI itself is also subject to cyber risk, as it can be tampered with and produce undesirable output, she added.

She said that how the fields of AI and cybersecurity come together, is an exciting area that currently does not have clear answers.

“Because everything is still at the developmental stage, there is really no reason why a person applying their minds and willing to invest time and effort to acquire the skills cannot over time become very, very well established.

“But it takes effort, there is no easy way of getting it done. It takes hard work. It takes perseverence. It also takes curiousity and a sense of adventure. To my mind, these are attributes that women can be well suited to.”

Mrs Teo, who is also the minister in charge of cyber security and the Smart Nation initiative,  was speaking during a panel discussion that also featured Ensign InfoSecurity group chief executive Tammie Tham and Singapore Management University’s professor emeritus of finance (practice) Annie Koh.

Ms Sherin Lee, who is vice-president of the Association of Information Security Professionals (AiSP), moderated the session.

The theme for this year’s Ladies in Cyber Symposium - which is in its second year - was ‘Pioneering AI and Cybersecurity: Women Charting the Course’.

Ms Tham also highlighted how AI is used the “bad guys”, citing the example of how ChatGPT has been used to make phishing emails look more authentic.

But she also noted how AI, which has the ability to make sense of a vast amount of data, has the capability to tackle cyber attacks..

“Even though it is a mouse and cat race, it is very challenging and very interesting.” she said.

Ms Tham also encouraged girls and women in the audience to join the cyber security field.


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