Can Virtual Reality Make You More Secure under Terror Attack?
Terrorism has been terrifying. 9/11 attack in New York USA killed 2996 people,
train bomb in Madrid Spain killed 191 in 2004, and Russia school attack killed
385 in the same year, July 7 2005 attack killed 56 in London, UK, 2015 attack
killed 137 in Paris France, and 87 in Nice this year. The Christmas Market bomb in
Berlin Germany killed at least 12.
Source: Terrorist incidents worldwide, Wikipedia
If you look at the statistics over the past 50 years, the
casualty of terror attacks
has climbed to 40 thousands a year.
Shockingly, in these accidents victims concentrate in the capital cities, where
security measures were taken for granted!
Virtual Reality empowered by 5G Network
In the era of Internet and and wide-spread uses of broadband, do we really need
to risk our lives to "be there"? Facilitated by high-speed internet, virtual
reality (VR) renders something even more "realistic" than the reality. With VR,
you can experience something you couldn't in reality, such as be the Gladiator
in Rome. So, you could enjoy traveling experiences without travels. VR is not a
new technology, many major technology companies have bet on it these years and
some predicted that 2016 would be the "Year of Virtual Reality". Variants like
Augmented Reality and Mixed Reality have also been proposed. Venture capitals
have invested billions of dollars on conceptual products from Magic Leap, while
Oculus Rift from Facebook, Google Glasses, Microsoft HoloLens, have been realised
products as VR market leaders. VR technologies have been extremely helpful in
areas such as Remote Surgery and Distance Education. In terms of
telecommunications, 5G technology aims at "tactile internet", to enable
real-time communications among Internet of Things, so that a continuous gesture
could be replayed in another continent without a 50ms delay caused by the speed
of light. It relies on the client side to predict the next movement on the
basis of data received previously in a buffer. This can be achieved for time
series data in predicting airplane
trajectories in real-time
Is VR secure?
Coming back to our social problem: can VR solve terrorism by bringing security
to people through virtual tourism? For example, Google
Arts & Culture
is a mobile app for you to experience VR using the
Although attractive, there may be two profound factors to consider.
First of all, terrorists can promote their capability through training using
the VR. According to the investigation of 9/11 hijackers, they trained
themselves the skills, through flight simulators, to pilot the hijacked planes
into the Twin towers. With VR, many attack strategies could be simulated
without risking their lives. In the area of security, defender and offenders
are essentially playing the "cat and mouse" game, in which the upper hand is on
the side with deeper knowledge. Technology can be used by defenders, as well by
offenders. For individual citizens, however, virtual tourism could indeed
reduce the risk of exposure to such attacks.
Secondly, networking amplifies VR's capability. Once connected, network
attackers could gain control over your device to achieve something never
imaginable. Several Hollywood blockbusters such as Matrix, Source Code, Avatar,
have allowed us to have a feel about the potential harm of VR through special
effects. With the recent achievement of AI and deep learning, it is imaginable
that a "singularity" in which one could no longer tell the difference between
Human and Machine, or between Reality and Virtuality, will be
Security arguments need to be with us
Globalisation makes the World a connected village through Internet and the
Internet of Things. Invisible terror attacks have become the risks to our
society. It may not sound as loud as the timed bombs in a market full of
people, but it may cause a harm much harder to assess. An argument for security risks
is to be
made, for better or for worse! A research
project to assess these risks for our society
is extremely timely.
Happy Holidays, for virtual and for real happiness!
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