Claudia Johnson always has had a knack for mathematics and statistics.
But even Johnson has trouble calculating the exact impact artificial intelligence and robotics will make on society. Her background qualifies her well to at least estimate.
“The opportunities through artificial intelligence and machine learning, particularly for security, are enormous,” Johnson says.
Johnson, an ISACA member and security specialist at Infoblox, spent about six years researching AI early in her career. She has continued to follow the field with great interest, saying she has come “full circle” given AI’s role in the cybersecurity space.
“Today I see machine learning making huge strides in IT security,” Johnson says. “One major advance in the world of today is that this approach is being combined with big data. This is an approach that will take us away from recognized, predictable threats and onto the plane of warding off zero days. The Infoblox Data Exfiltration detection algorithm based on machine learning and big data, for example, detects malicious activities where even next generation firewalls fail.”
After earning master’s and doctoral degrees – but ultimately tiring of academia – Johnson’s first job in the IT field was as a knowledge engineer at the Siemens Central Research division for artificial intelligence. Johnson found the material intriguing – especially as it pertained to how brains work and learning language – but noted that those involved in research today can leverage big data and other modern tools to accelerate their progress.
Johnson grew up in the United States – in the Seattle area – but has spent most of her adulthood in Germany, where she attained her Ph.D in Meteorology at Max-Planck-Institut. She briefly relocated to Australia for family reasons, and it was while there that fellow security professionals recommended that she join ISACA. Johnson is glad she did, calling it “a great way for me to further my security knowledge and network with other security colleagues.”
Although enthused about the potential of AI, Johnson shares a common concern that AI and robotics will displace a segment of the workforce.
“Robotics will change a lot of daily tasks,” Johnson says. “Entry level work like working at a cash register will disappear. Cleaning house, washing windows, will go down the same path. There will only be a privileged few who will still have well-paid jobs. What about the rest? How will they make ends meet?”
That sort of empathy is central to Johnson’s worldview. Upon returning to Munich from Australia last year, the flood of refugees who have entered Germany while she was away have made a profound impact on Johnson’s thoughts and priorities.
“Now that we as a family are back in central Europe, I would like to help with the refugee situation by volunteering,” says Johnson, who also counts hiking, bicycling and swimming among her interests. “A number of our personal friends are helping out – in small ways – and it is the small things that can add up.”
Johnson also is passionate about encouraging more women to enter the IT security realm.
“My current personal goal is to give back to the community, both in terms of social responsibility as well as IT security,” Johnson says.
Editor’s note: ISACA’s family of more than 140,000 members and certification holders consists of truly outstanding individuals who are making significant contributions to the profession and the world. Watch for more stories like Claudia’s coming soon, and contact [email protected] if you have a member story you’d like to share. If you are not a member, consider joining our community. View the ISACA Member Advantage here.
[ISACA Now Blog]