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Futurologist at GSS London

Introduced by Nigel Churton MBE (the immediate past Master of the Worshipful Company of Security Professionals), Ian Pearson will be discussing the threats to security at Global Security Summit London (, which runs in the capital on October 10 and 11, 2012. For more about Ian Pearson visit



Pearson is a futurologist at Futurizon GmbH, and this conference session – which runs under the banner ‘The Worshipful Company of Security Professionals Keynote: Future Security Threats’ – will explore tomorrow’s security threats, among them miniaturisation and artificial intelligence.


Ian Pearson says: “Most IT security managers and directors are comfortable dealing with hacking and viruses and so on. They’re also beginning to get used to people bringing in their own kit without the possibility of any disruption to the host organisation’s security systems. That said, the evolution of miniaturisation will soon enable ‘smart dust’ to exist. That ‘smart dust’ is on the threshold of human vision, and can easily waft in through air conditioning systems. This will be possible by the end of this decade. A decade after that, smart bacteria will also become a very real problem. These bacteria will be able to settle on surfaces anywhere, including our clothes or in the air we breathe, and can spy on us in far greater detail than anything possible today.”


Pearson also talks of artificial intelligence, which is also likely to realise problems for security professionals. He says: “So far, we have seen little more than simple adaptive viruses, but future artificial intelligence will have super human levels of intelligence so will be able to outwit most human-developed security. Linking artificial intelligence into smart bacteria is the ultimate nightmare, and will allow hacking into our bodies and nervous systems as well as conventional IT solutions. Few IT security professionals today have degrees in neuroscience, but they will surely be needed for some of them by 2025-2030.”


As part of the free education on offer at Global Security Summit London 2012, Ian Pearson will be covering a number of these issues during his presentation on Thursday, October 11.


Peter French, a past Master of The Worshipful Company of Security Professionals adds: “As both a charitable Trust and Livery company, we’re pleased to support Global Security Summit London. We are the dedicated charity for the security sector, and the Livery is committed to providing education, ongoing support and encouraging honourable practice and standards of excellence. The future of security and future security threats are issues that commerce should be aware of and business management educated on. One of The Worshipful Company’s prime objectives is toencourage education in matters relating to the profession and practice of security. On that basis, a well-rounded understanding and greater overall knowledge of future threats is imperative to our security practitioner community.”


Working buildings


An event for security professionals, IT directors, facilities and building managers, Global Security Summit London joins forces with The FM Event (, which is the UK’s longest-running facilities event, as well as Building Services: The CIBSE Conference & Exhibition ( and Energy Solutions ( (a energy management event) to form UBM Live’s Working Buildings Series.  


The Working Buildings Series runs on October 10 and 11 at the Olympia Exhibition and Conference Centre in London. To register for your free Global Security Summit London visitor pass or for further information (including the full education programme and speaker line-up), visit the website:, follow on Twitter (@GSS_London) or join the LinkedIn Group.   


GSS London organisers say that fully-qualified security professionals who have undertaken the most up-to-date and intense training, are on top of their Continuing Professional Development and who regularly attend conferences and exhibitions for the latest teachings from the security world can be forgiven for thinking that they’re fully in tune with all of the security issues.  


However, a consideration that must always be at the forefront of any security professional’s thinking is that of tomorrow – in other words future security and future security threats.


Past, present and future 


In the 20th century security issues were generally broken down into two categories: war/military and law enforcement/crime. During the last decade of the 20th century, though, this all changed. UK-based law enforcement and security specialists operational in and around the City of London were already acutely aware of the terrorist threat posed by Irish Republicans on the mainland. Indeed, a substantial programme of investment was put in place, manifesting itself in the famous ‘Ring of Steel’ around the City. This featured the introduction of many more CCTV cameras as well as a heightened physical policing presence.


However, it was the 9/11 attacks – and, subsequently, the 7/7 episode in London – that brought matters even more sharply into focus. Using the 9/11 terrorist attacks in the United States as the main tipping point for evolution, Michael Chertoff (former US Secretary of Homeland Security) explained that the concept of security then became much broader. This was mainly due to the scale of the international/transnational attack and its debilitating effects permeating around the world.  Alongside the advancement of terrorism, the digital landscape has also changed dramatically across the past decade.  


Future security threats


While digital innovations have developed over the years, so too has the increasing scale of IT security threats and, in turn, system vulnerabilities.  As electronic devices continue to get smaller, faster, more efficient and less detectable, so our security systems are placed at greater risk. 


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