[op-ed snap] The rise of the bots

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Mains Paper 3: Science & Technology | Awareness in the fields of IT, Space, Computers, robotics, nano-technology, bio-technology

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: Web crawlers, Malicious bot, Artificial intelligence, Siri, Alexa, Cortana

Mains level: Rising level of automation and its effects on jobs as well as overall economy


Context

What are bots?

  1. A bot is a computer programme designed to work automatically
  2. It is mainly used to gather information on the Internet or perform repetitive jobs

Are they good or bad?

Like for every technology, there are two sides to bots as well

  • Positives
  1. Gathering information- Bots in such guises are called web crawlers
  2. Another good use is automatic interaction using instant messaging, instant relay chat or other web interfaces
  3. Dynamic interaction with websites is yet another way bots are used for positive purposes
  • Negatives
  1. Malicious bot- Self-propagating malware that infects its host and connects back to a central server(s)
  2. Malicious bots can gather passwords, log keystrokes, obtain financial information, relay spam, and exploit back doors opened by viruses and worms, among other things
  3. Bots have also come under scrutiny in relation to automated accounts on Twitter and Facebook

Use of ‘Good’ bots

  1. Artificial intelligence-based bots are increasingly being used by organizations and entities to provide customer care, and sales and marketing services
  2. Some popular examples of bots are Apple’s Siri, the Google Assistant, Amazon’s Alexa and Microsoft’s Cortana

How do you know your computer is infected?

Symptoms mentioned below may indicate that your system is infected

  1. Slow Internet
  2. Crashing of computer for no apparent reason
  3. Pop-up windows and advertisements appearing even when a web browser is not being used
  4. Friends and family receiving emails you did not send
  5. A fan going into “overdrive” when the device is idle
Cyber Security – CERTs, Policy, etc
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