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.
Benjamin Franklin nailed it when he said, "Fatigue is the best pillow." True story, Benny. There's nothing like pushing your body so far past exhaustion that you'd willingly, even longingly, take a nap on a concrete slab.
U.S. Coast Guard Petty Officer 2nd Class Karl Munson pilots a 26-foot boat while Petty Officer 2nd Class Gabriel Diaz keeps an eye on a boarding team who is inspecting a 79-foot shrimp boat in the Gulf of Mexico, off the coast of New Orleans, La., on April 27, 2005
Radio transmissions to the U.S. Coast Guard are usually calls for help from boaters, but one captain got on the radio recently just to say thanks to the men and women who are currently working without pay.
DOVER AIR FORCE BASE, Del (Reuters) - U.S. President Donald Trump traveled to Dover Air Force Base in Delaware on Saturday to receive the remains of four Americans killed in a suicide bombing in northern Syria.
Trump, locked in a battle with congressional Democrats that has led to a nearly month-long partial government shutdown, announced his trip via a pre-dawn tweet, saying he was going "to be with the families of 4 very special people who lost their lives in service to our Country!"
Former President George W. Bush is calling for an end to the partial government shutdown, which is about to hit the one-month mark and is currently the longest shutdown in US history.
In an appeal made on Instagram, the 43rd president called on "leaders on both sides to put politics aside, come together, and end this shutdown." The caption was posted with an image of him and former First Lady Laura Bush giving pizza to their Secret Service detail.