Guess the topic that produced the most S4x24 proposed sessions? AI, of course.

All of the proposed sessions were on how GenAI, and other AI, would help cyber attackers and defenders. We selected two of these (more info below the line). It’s important.

What also is important is how AI is changing the industrial control systems (ICS) that we are defending. 

How will the increased introduction of AI to ICS change the needs of our security controls and program? the consequences of an attacker with access? the attack surface? our safety and protection measure? the jobs of engineers and operators?

I searched for weeks to find someone who could explain how AI will change ICS so the S4 early adopter attendee can begin to answer these questions. It was much harder than I expected to find someone addressing this in real world details, not hand-waving future casting. And I found him.

Kence Anderson, author of the book Designing Autonomous AI, will give a day 1 keynote at #S4x24. He will also be signing 100 copies of his book at the Cabana Sessions. 

I highly recommend the book whether you attend S4x24 or not. The autonomous AI examples in the book are ICS based and detailed. Rock crushers, HVAC, aluminum smelting, robots, … Kence has 150 examples of autonomous AI in industrial environments to pick from in his career.

I’ll do a full book review after S4, but in brief: 5 Stars. 

You can go shallow and understand how autonomous AI fits in and improves our existing automated and human decision making in ICS. Or you can continue on in the book and understand how to create and train your autonomous AI brain.

Security needs to understand the systems and business it is securing.


A lot of the AI submitted sessions were at a high level with broad statements on how GenAI and other AI would change cybersecurity. We didn’t accept any of these because the attendee we build S4 for has already seen or even given many of these types of sessions. The talented submitters certainly would be a great addition to most OT security events.

We went back to these high level submissions with the question: can you provide two to three specific and deployed examples of what you would present? From the large list of submissions, only a small number had examples to share. We selected the following:

  • Clint Bodungen: AI In Production, Today! (Clint had many examples and is picking a couple to describe in Stage 2 detail)
  • Ian Fox: Pulling Data From Drawings Using AI 

I’m surprised there isn’t more. AI likely will creep into a slide or two of many of the other presentations. A lot of the AI talk in OT security appears to be at the hand-waving, big picture level. Or maybe some are doing cool, bleeding edge work they aren’t ready to share. I have no doubt this will change.