Nobody relishes the prospect of their creation being sabotaged or even destroyed by external influence. As a result, it's unsurprising that when technology capable of subverting machine learning models became available, it primarily caused frustration among machine learning developers.
However, as is the case with most other attacks on emerging technology, whether historical or not, it is becoming clear that adversarial attacks can be used to benefit machine learning. Additionally, they have the potential to bring researchers in the entire field of artificial intelligence to a new level of understanding of the mechanisms at work.
This article will discuss five significant reasons why you should not view adversarial machine learning as an all-consuming evil and should actively seek it out while working on a model with important real-world implications. The article's scope will include both technical and non-technical aspects of adversarial machine learning.
Adversarial Machine Learning is a term that refers to a type of machine learning that is adversarial.
Adversarial Machine Learning aims to generate the types of data instances (such as text or images) that cause the Machine Learning model to fail, either by providing a false prediction or by causing it to fall entirely. These examples are frequently designed to pass unnoticed by humans without raising suspicions, thereby exploiting the numerical representations of the data.
Typically, machine learning models are trained on the same statistical properties, and adversarial examples impair their performance by not adhering to these properties.
Several successful experiments targeting self-driving car recognition models are a well-known example of an adversarial attack. For example, researchers could completely fool the traffic sign recognition system into believing that the stop sign represented a speed limit using simple physical manipulations.
First Reason: Crash-Proof Model Design
In traditional software design, it is critical to creating a system that does not crash or behave unpredictably due to user input. When this type of input exists, it poses a significant threat to the system's security and sustainability. During large-scale development, a product is subjected to various input testing types before it is deemed safe for industrial use.
The system should either understand what to do with the input or ignore it completely.
However, this has largely remained unexplored in the field of machine learning. One of the primary reasons for this was an enormous number of out-of-sample possibilities in which the model is not expected to perform correctly by default. Due to the open nature of the input channels, the malicious example is fed without any mechanism for determining the potential usability of the input prior to the model.
The emergence of adversarial technologies, which are not difficult to produce at this point, brought the dream of strictly recognized-unrecognized models crashing down, resulting in the coining of a new term: "tricked to recognize." These developments beg the question of why machine learning input should be treated differently than other human-accessible input.
The availability of adversarial examples and the incorporation of technology capable of neutralizing them will also assist in dealing with unexpected out-of-sample inputs or attacks on the system, as the system will now know how to respond.
Second Reason: Recognize the Consequences
With the field of Artificial Intelligence growing in importance, opportunities to incorporate a new algorithm into specific decision-making processes continue to grow and become more ambitious. Simultaneously, the development pipeline is frequently still revolving around the chain of "gather data-train-test-deploy."
Have you ever met someone who desired to develop self-driving car software on their own? They collect data from car cameras, create an excellent model, install it on some prototypes, and presto, you have an autonomous vehicle capable of driving itself.
Contrary to popular belief, adversarial machine learning demonstrates why this is not true at scale or commercial applications. There are numerous frightening examples of fooling an automatic car's behavior with as few as a few carefully chosen stickers on a traffic sign or faking a medical diagnosis with a normal-looking image. Adversarial Machine Learning forces us to evaluate their decisions, significance, and resources necessary to protect them.
Third Reason: Establishing Customer Trust
Consider the last time you made a purchase using a payment system. At the time, did you believe it was safe or not? And, even if you had reservations, you were almost certainly concerned about the transaction's human component.
This is how technology earns its reputation for reliability. We usually have no reservations about conducting such operations because they have successfully resisted numerous threats over time. We are aware that it would take centuries to penetrate our most secure spheres of life, comprehend why this is the case, and establish a trust pact.
This sense of security and stability has lacked in the general field of Artificial Intelligence. Typically, the average customer is unaware of how accurate and secure the AI system is or why it makes such decisions. Demonstrating the system's stability can assist in persuading those potential clients who place a premium on security and performance stability.
Fourth Reason: Promoting the Growth of Explainability
Already ingrained in daily decision-making, models are widely trusted to act autonomously. Regrettably, this trust creates a new opportunity for dishonest users: subverting "only" a trusted black box to enter the desired decision!
This reason is directly related to the previous one. It refers to the fundamental principle of adversarial attacks: if you have a greater understanding of the system's nature, you have an advantage. Thus, white- or grey-box attacks are significantly more dangerous than black-box attacks, as attackers must recreate the system's configuration.
The desire to comprehend the rationale for them almost compels us to examine the model's decision-making process more closely. You can defend against an attack only if you understand its objective, which opens up a new avenue for developing Explainable machine learning. Examining the model as a white or black box becomes critical at this point, and more importantly, it enables us to comprehend what the model is doing on its own.
Fifth Reason: Data Science Requires White Hats
For an extended period, testing the security of any digital system was critical to ensuring that it was adequately protected against potential attacks. As a result, there are already numerous specialized algorithms for creating adversarial examples, with some of them becoming widely used, such as Ian Goodfellow's and others' Fast Sign Gradient Method.
With such a wide variety of possible adversarial methods, new counter-methods are constantly being developed and required. This results in an awareness of the models' vulnerability. However, staying one step ahead of breaching threats can be critical in areas with stricter security requirements. As a result, identifying model vulnerabilities and resolving them could become a new testing step in the model preparation process.
Adversarial machine learning enables us to comprehend why and how the model works by identifying how it can be fooled. As a result, we improve the models' stability in recognizing unexpected situations and attacks when acquiring adversarial examples, making them safer. Additionally, we can make them more dependable and understandable to customers. And who knows, perhaps adversarial security has a bright future as a massive subfield of cybersecurity?