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The Hidden Moral Pitfalls Of Google, China, and Artificial Intelligence
Google recently announced it would be pulling out of a high profile DARPA Artificial Intelligence (AI) program called MAVEN citing ethics concerns and a petition from 4,000 of its employees.
This decision came just before The Economist ran a cover story detailing the Chinese government’s brutal oppression of the Uyghur population in the Zinjang province of western China. Uyghurs are a Muslim Turkic minority, ethnically and religiously distinct from the ruling Han Chinese. The Chinese government has turned the province into a technologically enabled police state, with invasive monitoring of all forms of communication, biometric identity controls, and novel applications of machine learning and artificial intelligence.
In December, Google announced it would be opening a new AI research center in China, expanding its existing presence in the country. China was an attractive option for AI research because it is a huge market and its lack of privacy laws could give its software engineers access to the world’s largest data sets. “I believe AI and its benefits have no borders” said Dr. Fei-Fei Li, Chief Scientist at Google Cloud. Google has also said that they will not allow their technology to be used for weapons or surveillance that would violate “internationally accepted norms.” Despite ending the MAVEN contract, it is continuing to pursue defense work.
The concern is that so much AI research could be considered dual use. A machine learning technique that is used to detect cancer can be repurposed for an improved Google Glass device with the rapid facial recognition that Chinese security services have been pursuing. There are no “internationally accepted norms” about privacy. The most damning of Edward Snowden’s revelations was not that the government was breaking the law, but that the law allowed so much. The Supreme Court will soon announce a decision that will have broad implications on how much privacy US law should allow, but the matter is hardly settled anywhere.
Whatever Google decides, other AI firms will have to make similar decisions about what they build and who they build it for. Huge sums of money are being thrown at any firm that does or claims to do AI. With China’s non-existent intellectual property laws, any firm that does business with or in China could be unwittingly supporting the most advanced surveillance state in the world. Or, they could be training the software engineers who will. Greed and naivety can be a dangerous combination.
“Mal Ware” is the nom de guerre of a veteran of the AI racket.
Little girls everywhere will soon have the chance to play with a set of classic little green Army soldiers that actually reflect the presence of women in the armed forces.
U.S. military officials may have abandoned their dreams of powered armor straight out of Starship Troopers, but the futuristic components of America's first prototype combat exoskeleton could eventually end up in the arsenals of both U.S. special operations forces and conventional troops.
SEOUL (Reuters) - U.S. Secretary of Defense Mark Esper pressed South Korea on Friday to pay more for the cost of stationing U.S. troops in the country and to maintain an intelligence-sharing pact with its other Asian ally, Japan, that Seoul is about to let lapse.
Speaking after a high-level defense policy meeting with his South Korean counterpart, Jeong Kyeong-doo, Esper also said the two countries must be flexible with their joint military drills to back diplomatic efforts to end North Korea's nuclear program.
But he stopped short of announcing any new reduction in military exercises that North Korea has sharply condemned.
Russia established an air base in the Syrian city where withdrawing US troops were pelted with potatoes
MOSCOW (Reuters) - Russia landed attack helicopters and troops at a sprawling air base in northern Syria vacated by U.S. forces, the Russian Defence Ministry's Zvezda TV channel said on Friday.
On Thursday, Zvezda said Russia had set up a helicopter base at an airport in the northeastern Syrian city of Qamishli, a move designed to increase Moscow's control over events on the ground there.
Qamishli is the same city where Syrian citizens pelted U.S. troops and armored vehicles with potatoes after President Donald Trump vowed to pull U.S. troops from Syria.
U.S. Army weapons officials are testing an experimental drone armed with a multi-shot, 40mm grenade launcher to destroy enemy targets hiding behind cover.