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Young climate activists, artificial intelligence experts and 25 reasons for hope

A lot of news stories focus on the risks of emerging technologies, Wired, instead, chose to celebrate on 25 people and groups it says are "racing to save the world."

Artificial intelligence eats chess computers for lunch

Once upon a time, kids, the world’s strongest chess player had a beating heart.

Is breaking up big tech the solution to online hate or election meddling?

Presidential candidates, a Facebook co-founder, and others are considering whether the US government should use antitrust law to break up big tech companies. University of Chicago law professor and antitrust expert Randy Picker has some reservations.
Thermometer

COVID-19 to have negligible impact on climate crisis

The emissions reductions caused by the pandemic are not going to help us much on their own
A screen shot of the AMY1 gene from Arabidopsis thaliana, a small flowering plant widely used as a model organism in plant biology. (US government photo)

How to protect the world from ultra-targeted biological weapons

As genomic technologies develop and converge with AI, machine learning, automation, affective computing, and robotics, they will create the possibility of biological weapons that target particular groups of people, even individuals. Managing these technological advances will require new governance structures with cross-sectoral expertise.
How emerging technology is shaping the future of intelligence.

Quantum espionage

Author Garrett Graff interviews journalist and spy novelist David Ignatius on how emerging technology is shaping the future of intelligence.

Too late to counter missile proliferation?

Missiles are a critical component of a country’s nuclear weapons arsenal, which is one reason why concern over missile proliferation is widespread among policy experts. Yet, there is no consensus on how to respond to the WMD missile challenge.

Will splashy philanthropy cause the biosecurity field to focus on the wrong risks?

The Open Philanthropy Project is a generous funder of organizations doing work on biosecurity risks. But is the group training its substantial financial firepower on a narrow band of risks that aren't likely to occur? As the organization focuses on risks with global catastrophic consequences, is it skewing the focus of the biosecurity field away from more probable, if more mundane, concerns?

David Sanger on the perfect weapon

The longtime New York Times national security reporter talks about his new history of cyberwar, why we need a public debate, and how cyberattacks make nuclear war more likely.

Mind the climate gap

New pledges to reduce emissions and fund climate action are not enough to stave off danger. Not even close. Here’s what’s really needed.

Putting the cost of going green in context

Editor's note: The following column was coauthored by Benjamin Urquhart, a research associate at Harvard University's Center for the Environment, and Mark Winkler, a PhD student at Harvard's School of Engineering and Applied Sciences.

Alan Miller: How the News Literacy Project teaches schoolchildren (and adults) to dismiss and debunk internet disinformation

In this interview, Alan Miller explains how the News Literacy Project came to be and what he thinks needs to happen if the worst impacts of the disinformation tsunami that has swamped the internet in recent years are to be mitigated.

JAIC: Pentagon debuts artificial intelligence hub

The Defense Department is initiating a whole new approach to artificial intelligence, and maybe even to technology development and procurement. But in the long run, the new program’s most important implications may concern ethics and safety.

The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists announces the complete John A. Simpson Archive

The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists is pleased to announce the creation of the complete John A. Simpson Archive, a searchable archive of the Bulletin containing every issue published since our founding in 1945. The archive is named in honor of John Alexander Simpson, a key Bulletin founder and longtime member of its Board of … Continued

Nuclear Notebook: Indian nuclear forces, 2020

We estimate that India currently operates eight nuclear-capable systems: two aircraft, four land-based ballistic missiles, and two sea-based ballistic missiles. At least three more systems are in development, of which several are nearing completion and will soon be combat-ready. Beijing is now in range of Indian ballistic missiles.
By the end of 1943, the US Navy had installed 120 electromechanical Bombe machines like the one above, which were used to decipher secret messages encrypted by German Enigma machines, including messages from German U-boats. Built for the Navy by the Dayton company National Cash Register, the US Bombe was an improved version of the British Bombe, which was itself based on a Polish design. Credit: National Security Agency

Keeping classified information secret in a world of quantum computing

The “race” for quantum supremacy against China is significantly overstated. Analysts should redirect attention to protecting classified information against future attacks by quantum computers, a more pressing and manageable problem.
sun rising over power lines in California

Cut emissions, save 317,000 people: What a nationwide clean electricity standard could do

Adopting a proposed federal standard that calls for 80 percent of the nation’s electrical power to be composed of renewables by 2030 would swiftly cut planet-heating emissions and save hundreds of thousands of lives from deadly air pollution, says new report.
The Sycamore processor

Quantum supremacy: not a Jason Bourne movie

In a development at the edge of scientific advance and journalistic descriptive capabilities, a group of Google researchers say they have achieved the science fiction-sounding feat known as “quantum supremacy.” In a paper published in Nature, members of Google’s AI Quantum team describe their successful efforts to create a computer that capitalizes on the laws … Continued

Silicon Valley defense contracts will really hit ‘em where it hurts

Won't someone please think of the shareholders? The tech industry’s controversial defense contracts may soon cost them.

Cyberwarfare ethics, or how Facebook could accidentally make its engineers into targets

If they participate in military cyberoperations—intentionally or not—could employees at Facebook, Google, Apple, Microsoft, and many other tech firms be considered “civilians directly participating in hostilities” and therefore legitimate targets of war?