The cybersecurity industry is currently dealing with a shortage of qualified security workers, predicted to be 1.8 million workers in 2022. This thesis investigates the potential of artificial intelligence to take over cybersecurity work. Security tasks are derived from NIST SP800-181. Criteria are formulated on whether artificial intelligence can perform a certain task. It is assessed whether a task cannot, partially or fully be outsourced to artificial intelligence. 22.1% of security tasks could be fully outsourced and 37.1% of the tasks could be partially outsourced to artificial intelligence. Translating this to impact on specific work roles, 19 of the 52 work roles are mostly non-outsourceable, whereas only 4 roles are mostly outsourceable. The roles of which the majority could be outsourced to artificial intelligence are ‘System Testing and Evaluation Specialist’, ‘Technical Support Specialist’, ‘Cyber Defense Analyst’ and ‘Cyber Defense Forensics Analyst’. The macro-economic impact of outsourcing work roles is assessed for the United States of America. Assuming a similar shortage for each role globally, an extrapolation is made to discern potential impact on the total cybersecurity skills gap in the context of various scenarios of artificial intelligence adoption over time. If 100% AI adoption were to occur by 2022 for all of the tasks named fully or partially outsourceable in this research, 45% of the global cybersecurity skills gap or over 800,000 jobs in 2022 could be outsourced to artificial intelligence. The results are put into context of more work being created because of the implementation and security needs of artificial intelligence and the results are validated by looking at the extent other new technologies have created technological unemployment.

 

Keywords: NIST SP800-181, NICE Cybersecurity Workforce Framework, artificial intelligence, technological unemployment, cybersecurity skills gap

 

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