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The AI Column: Time For A Moral Reckoning Down In Silicon Valley
The recent revelation that China’s security services had successfully compromised the servers of thousands of leading tech' firms cloud computing platforms has sent shockwaves through the tech world. The hardware hack may have compromised some of the most sensitive computer systems used by the military and intelligence services. While the scope and sophistication of the operations were alarming, it was no surprise to some in national security circles.
This reckoning was a long time coming.
For years, China has leveraged its intelligence services to engage in large-scale theft of intellectual property from firms around the world. Counter-intelligence experts say that Silicon Valley is now a prime battleground for Chinese spies and spy catchers.
While the tech giants have grumbled, their complaints have been measured. China has the world’s largest population and will soon boast of the largest economy. No multinational corporation wants to antagonize what will soon be the largest market on Earth. While cheap labor initially drew American firms there, the prospect of keeping a foothold in this market kept them there.
The emerging field of artificial intelligence may change this landscape further. China has declared that they want to lead the world AI and have made huge investments to that end. Some of their leading scientists were taught in the U.S. and many of their start-ups are funded by American venture capital.
While the AI race has been compared to the space race of the 1960s, this competition will include private tech firms like Apple and Google, who spend more on research and development than government agencies like DARPA. Leveraging the investments made by China and getting access to their massive data troves could give these firms a critical edge. But this help comes at a price.
No firm has seen this new price more than Google. The ink was hardly dry on their new ethical statement before it revealed that they were working on a secret project to assist the Chinese government with a new search engine. China’s internet is heavily censored and its government operates the most intrusive electronic surveillance regime in history.
At the same time, Human Rights Watch released a report of mass incarceration of Chinese oppression political dissidents and religious minorities. HRW estimates the government has imprisoned as many as a million people in these camps. While Google isn’t building these camps, they may be helping the government decide whom to put in them.
Before the revelations about the Chinese hardware hacking, firms could tell themselves they were pursuing the best interests of their shareholders by looking the other way at China’s malfeasance. Some small start-ups likely decided they might as well work in China, since someone there was going to steal their work anyway.
But the day of reckoning has arrived. These firms have to decide if they want to protect their secrets, the US government’s secrets and their customers or sell them to the highest bidder. The consequence of these decisions will affect us all.
“Mal Ware” is a veteran of the AI racket so salty that his Twitter account has been verified since 2002. Opinions expressed are his own.
The Marine lieutenant colonel who was removed from command of 1st Reconnaissance Battalion in May is accused of lying to investigators looking into allegations of misconduct, according to a copy of his charge sheet provided to Task & Purpose on Monday.
President Donald Trump just can't stop telling stories about former Defense Secretary James Mattis. This time, the president claims Mattis said U.S. troops were so perilously low on ammunition that it would be better to hold off launching a military operation.
"You know, when I came here, three years ago almost, Gen. Mattis told me, 'Sir, we're very low on ammunition,'" Trump recalled on Monday at the White House. "I said, 'That's a horrible thing to say.' I'm not blaming him. I'm not blaming anybody. But that's what he told me because we were in a position with a certain country, I won't say which one; we may have had conflict. And he said to me: 'Sir, if you could, delay it because we're very low on ammunition.'
"And I said: You know what, general, I never want to hear that again from another general," Trump continued. "No president should ever, ever hear that statement: 'We're low on ammunition.'"
This 400-pound feral hog is one of more than 1,200 that have invaded a Texas Air Force base since 2016
At least one Air Force base is waging a slow battle against feral hogs — and way, way more than 30-50 of them.
A Texas trapper announced on Monday that his company had removed roughly 1,200 feral hogs from Joint Base San Antonio property at the behest of the service since 2016.
In a move that could see President Donald Trump set foot on North Korean soil again, Kim Jong Un has invited the U.S. leader to Pyongyang, a South Korean newspaper reported Monday, as the North's Foreign Ministry said it expected stalled nuclear talks to resume "in a few weeks."
A letter from Kim, the second Trump received from the North Korean leader last month, was passed to the U.S. president during the third week of August and came ahead of the North's launch of short-range projectiles on Sept. 10, the South's Joongang Ilbo newspaper reported, citing multiple people familiar with the matter.
In the letter, Kim expressed his willingness to meet the U.S. leader for another summit — a stance that echoed Trump's own remarks just days earlier.
Constant deployments broke the Air Force's B-1 fleet. Now the service is facing a major bomber shortfall
On April 14, 2018, two B-1B Lancer bombers fired off payloads of Joint Air-to-Surface Standoff Missiles against weapons storage plants in western Syria, part of a shock-and-awe response to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's use of chemical weapons against his citizens that also included strikes from Navy destroyers and submarines.
In all, the two bombers fired 19 JASSMs, successfully eliminating their targets. But the moment would ultimately be one of the last — and certainly most publicized — strategic strikes for the aircraft before operations began to wind down for the entire fleet.
A few months after the Syria strike, Air Force Global Strike Command commander Gen. Tim Ray called the bombers back home. Ray had crunched the data, and determined the non-nuclear B-1 was pushing its capabilities limit. Between 2006 and 2016, the B-1 was the sole bomber tasked continuously in the Middle East. The assignment was spread over three Lancer squadrons that spent one year at home, then six month deployed — back and forth for a decade.
The constant deployments broke the B-1 fleet. It's no longer a question of if, but when the Air Force and Congress will send the aircraft to the Boneyard. But Air Force officials are still arguing the B-1 has value to offer, especially since it's all the service really has until newer bombers hit the flight line in the mid-2020s.