Gustaf Dalén medal 2020 awarded Staffan Truvé

The 2020 Gustaf Dalén Medal is awarded to Staffan Truvé. The Chalmers alumni founded Recorded future, which uses AI to predict criminals' attacks and cyber threats.

Staffan Truvé.The 53d medal goes to Staffan Truvé, civil engineer and technology doctor at Chalmers. In recent years he has been involved in building the company Recorded Future.

“It feels exciting, honorable and surprising. I told a friend that such a medal I thought you got when approaching death, and he replied ‘maybe you do’," says Staffan Truvé, laughing.

He himself thinks that the reason he got the priize is his versatility.
“There are several reasons why you get the medal, that you researched, led research or built a company based on it - and I have actually done all three things. I have worked extensively in the border between research and entrepreneurship, and also helped others to bring their research results to businesses”.

Since 2007, Staffan Truvé has been running Recorded Future, the security company he started with his two partners Christopher Ahlberg and Erik Wistrand with whom he also ran his former company Spotfire.

Creates digital twin of the world
Briefly, Recorded Future engages in intelligence activities to deal with cyber threats, primarily with the help of artificial intelligence.
“You could say that we are building a digital twin of the world, a representation of everything that happens. This applies specially to threatening things, physical as well as natural disasters, but mainly cyber threats. Who plans attacks, in what way? We scan what is written online and see what is being talked about”.

“If we see, for example, that new criminal approaches are being discussed in criminal forums, we can help our customers stay ahead of the evil forces. We can also calculate which IP addresses that probably will behave badly in a few days and prepare customers for it instead of allowing them to only react reactively”.

Recorded Future mainly has large companies, companies that work with sensitive information and authorities as customers. The policy is that to work with clients from democracies in the western world.
“We act as an intelligence service for those who cannot afford or have the opportunity to have their own. Cyberhot strikes similarly to everyone”.

Increased activity during the coronavirus outbreak
During the spring, when the corona virus caused an emergency worldwide, the company was able to see its consequences.
“We found early references in Chinese that talked about a strange viral lung disease, but it was not significant enough to flag for then. What we see right now is that criminals are good at exploiting unusual situations and that coronary-related things are the new way to fool people. Various attempts are made to access sensitive information. Lots of phishing sites (which are trying to access passwords) allude to corona, and when more people work at home it becomes more common with ransomware attacks (locking the computer and demanding "ransom money")”, says Staffan Truvé.

He believes that municipalities and authorities have become more aware of the cyber threats that exist.
“When the digitization that was predicted to take ten years instead took ten days, you also become aware of more threats”.

Development rather than leaps within AI
When it comes to artificial intelligence, Staffan Truvé does not currently see any major leaps soon, rather a continuous development.
“I think the next big thing with AI is that it becomes more oriented towards social issues and being able to handle them with the help of large amounts of data. Today, AI is focused on automating routing shrimp that does not require as much ‘deep’ intelligence, such as driving a car”.

“I think it's exciting when AI can beat us, often in niche areas: games like chess and go. If you make use of AI in research, for example in medicine and materials, I think AI can be better than humans in certain ways.

Not alarmed by horror scenarios around AI
However, Staffan Truvé is not worried by the horror scenario that says artificial intelligence can one day take over the world.
“I think it will be a long time before we get AI that is better at things than us in general. I'm not worried if you look at how stupid they actually are and how little has happened on that front anyway. For example, it is more difficult for AI to replace a nurse than a senior physician. The physical things are more difficult than pure information processing”.

“What is worrying in this case is whether the social transformation leads to high unemployment, or that only one elite works. Historically, we have found new jobs when we automate things, but we do not know if we will this time”.

The Chalmers Alumni Association has awarded the Gustaf Dalén Medal to honor the Nobel Laureate and Chalmers Engineer of the same name since 1950. The medal will go to an alumnus for "deserving activities based on Chalmers competence areas". It will be awarded to Staffan Truvé later in the year.

Text: Erik Krång

Published: Mon 08 Jun 2020.