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CyberPsychology - Man, Mind, Machine Relationships


Norfolk State University has created a new academic program offering an M.S. degree in CyberPsychology. They are not the only university developing programs in this new field. This field of study is also being offered at the Berlin Business School of Business and Innovation, Nottingham Trent University, University of Buckingham, New Jersey Institute of Technology and other universities around the world. What is the study of CyberPsychology?



According to the Norfolk State University description, CyberPsychology is the study of the influence of digital technology on our attitudes, behaviours, beliefs and interactions. This field of study sits at the intersection of people and technology. As the human race hurtles toward the brave new world of Artificial Intelligence, it is increasingly important for us to understand the psychological impact that new technologies have on human behaviour.


How Do They Do That? (What are Neural Networks)

A Neural Network is a method in Artificial Intelligence (AI) that teaches computers to process data in a way that is inspired by the human brain. This type of computing allows computers to learn from their mistakes and improve continuously. Therefore, an initial output will be analysed and improved upon with continuously greater accuracy. Image generation and complex problems are two fields where AI has growing influence.


One AI approach to image generation, for example, uses Generative Adversarial Networks. These networks consist of two neural networks: Generator Network and Discriminator Network. The first network generates new images and the second network evaluates whether the images are real or fake. The process is called adversarial training. The generator keeps getting better at creating real looking images and the discriminator keeps getting better at identifying real versus fake. Ultimately, the generated images are virtually indistinguishable from real images. The same approach can apply to solving problems, writing text and other computer operations.


How is this relevant to the field of CyberPsychology? The answer lies in the continuing ability of neural networks to create more life-like images, more human-like text and to solve complex problems in a more human-like fashion. In short, AI is blurring the line between digital and human interaction.


Applications

Artificial Intelligence networks are already important contributors in many fields. Some of the early adaptors include: education, arts, finance, health care, design and computer coding. These fields are seeing increased productivity, enhanced artistic development and breakthroughs in medical and pharmaceutical sciences.


While AI is providing many benefits to humankind, a major challenge is to understand, manage and defend against AI output generated by bad actors for ill intent. Unfortunately, AI also excels at creating more effective malware and more innovative methods of hacking networks.



Psychological Practices in the Digital World

Some of the social issues that the field of psychology attempts to address include depression, comparison/low self esteem, FOMO, social isolation, sleep deprivation, gambling, negative relationships and other addictive disorders. Every one of these issues is enabled and exacerbated by existing digital practices. Gambling, dating, entertainment, and images of distorted realities are all available on smartphones 24 hours a day, seven days a week. When the sophistication of neural networks becomes ubiquitous, many users will have great difficulty distinguishing what is real and what is digital generation.


That the field of CyberPsychology is growing so fast highlights the need for greater understanding of how humans interact with the digital world. AI image generation and text generation are establishing such human-like interactions. People are falling in love, giving money and changing their life routines based on computer interactions. They are also more easily falling prey to scams that drain bank accounts, steal passwords and breach confidential information stored in large computer networks.


Network Security Managers Beware

AI will be used against you. According to Surfshark, there were 41.6 million breaches in Q1 of 2023. Social engineering is a new and fast growing vulnerability leading to data leaks along with legacy standards such as recycled passwords, software vulnerabilities and physical theft of sensitive devices. Existing security tools are designed to help prevent known attack profiles. However, as the threat landscape expands with AI, new tools need to be deployed.


Review Your Network Security Profile

Now is the time to review and refresh your #security profile. A simple firewall at the ingress to the network is not enough. Fortunately, Network Critical has introduced INVIKTUS to help secure networks from unwanted attacks. New and innovative attacks using AI can be blocked. INVIKTUS is a deny-all, policy based, un-hackable system that is invisible to the network. There is no IP or MAC address. If hackers can not see it, they can not hack it. Only traffic that is pre-authorised by policy will pass. It does not matter how human-like a request is or how closely the request resembles legitimate traffic. If there is not an exact match with a pre-set policy, the traffic will be blocked. For more information on INVIKTUS or other Network Critical security, monitoring or performance solutions, go to www.networkcritical.com/solutions.


New innovations and technologies always create disruption, uncertainty and angst. The trick is to embrace the benefits brought by new technology and guard against the vulnerabilities that could wreak havoc on your world. For the networking world, that means constant vigilance is required to keep network infrastructure and information secure. In the real world, it means learning to understand the boundaries between the real world and the virtual world. The new field of CyberPsychology will help people manage these boundaries and thrive.







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