The rise of artificial intelligence (AI) tools is poised to yield greater workplace efficiency and has the potential to boost security even as bad actors look to exploit those tools.

Jeetu Patel, executive vice president and general manager for security and collaboration at Cisco, told FOX Business that ChatGPT’s launch served as a “catalytic moment for AI” and explained that he sees several areas in which AI can boost productivity without necessarily eliminating jobs, such as cybersecurity.

He noted that talent is scarce in the cybersecurity space, with “about 3 to 4 million jobs that go unfilled every year,” and explained AI’s ability to serve as a force multiplier to improve the efficiency and dexterity of security professionals could tip the scales against bad actors.

“For the past 30 years, the common narrative has been that the adversary, the bad folks, have the advantage. Why is that? Because they have to be right once – you have to be right every single time in defending, so they have an inherent advantage,” he explained. 

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Cisco Jeetu Patel

Cisco Executive Vice President and General Manager, Security & Collaboration, Jeetu Patel speaks during a keynote address at Cisco Live! at the Michelob ULTRA Arena on June 7, 2023 in Las Vegas. (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images / Getty Images)

“I think this is the first time, at least in my career in the past 30 years, that I see a light at the end of the tunnel and a very, very strong hope that the scales will tip in favor of the defender rather than the adversary, and that’s because of the data advantage,” Patel said. 

“We will be able to far better predict an event before it happens and be able to respond, remediate and recover from that event in near-real time because of the automation that AI can provide.”

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Software development is another area where Patel sees significant potential benefits from AI tools. 

“Some programmers using ChatGPT as an aid or an assistant to write better code, to write more code, be able to do it faster – all of those aspects,” Patel said. “So that’s going to be an area you’ll continue to see some improvements, and you’ll see software companies be able to innovate faster hopefully as a result of that.”

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Cisco’s Jeetu Patel told FOX Business that cybersecurity and software development are areas where AI can help businesses facing a talent shortage. (Photo Illustration by Omar Marques/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images / Getty Images)

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He added that he thinks AI is not likely to eliminate software development jobs in the near term because there is a shortage of talented workers in the space at present.

“I think we’re a ways away from that happening because AI is very good at tasks, but not jobs yet – I mean they’ll eventually get good at that,” he added. “But we have such a shortage of skilled developers and there’s far more of an appetite of people wanting more technology than what we have capacity to go out and build that I think it makes a lot more sense to continue to just keep making people productive.”

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Software developers using AI tools like ChatGPT will be more efficient to help offset a talent shortage in the sector, Jeetu Patel said. ((Photo by Jaap Arriens/NurPhoto via Getty Images) / Getty Images)

Patel went on to say that over the long term, AI tools will evolve to the point where they can provide new insights that translate to real-world innovations instead of simply relaying information that is already part of humanity’s knowledge base.

“The most fascinating part about this is I think right now, people think about these systems as aggregation of human knowledge. The knowledge is finite – it’s the corpus of knowledge that was have in humanity and then what this system does is it aggregates and serves up the right knowledge,” Patel said. “I think that’s a very short-term view of AI.” 

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“The longer-term view of AI is it’s actually going to create original insights that didn’t exist in the human corpus of knowledge. We might have cures for cancer that didn’t exist today that we will be able to find because of AI – because not only will it be able to correlate, but to come up with original insights that we had never thought about,” he explained.

“That to me shows both the potential of this technology but also shows the danger if it gets in the wrong hands, and you just have to make sure that those things are very thoughtfully looked at as you move forward,” Patel added.

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