Deep Instinct co-founder and Chief Technology Officer Eli David says the day when a computer is as smart as a human, or smarter, may be a lot closer than many think.

AI programs, “are on an accelerating path of growth in their capabilities. In the near future, they will reach near human or superhuman capabilities,” David told me in an interview.

As AI gets smarter, it’s crucial to stay ahead of criminals and terrorists. Deep Instinct’s computer protection software includes an artificial neural network — a computer system that mimics the connections in a human brain. It’s urgently needed. David says there are more than 1 million malwares, including slight mutations, created every day.

“My friends at Google GOOGL -2.34% and Facebook FB -1.78% said this kind of detection … cannot be implemented on any other kind of network,” than a neural network,” David said. His team spent more than a year working with graphics processor maker Nvidia to build its product on Nvidia’s Cuda computing platform.

Alphabet GOOGL -2.34%-owned Google bought DeepMind, a U.K.-based research company, in 2014 for more than $500 million. Google and DeepMind, along with Amazon, Facebook, IBM IBM -0.40% and Microsoft MSFT -1.76% are founders of Partnership on AI. The group’s goal is “harnessing AI to contribute to solutions for some of humanity’s most challenging problems,” including cybersecurity. DeepMind showed its power by beating South Korean Lee Se-Dol, one of the greatest modern players, at the ancient game of Go in March.

Google CEO Sundar Pichai said Google is becoming an “AI-first” company. In an April 27 earning call he said, “we continue to set the pace in machine learning and AI research.”

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