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How YouTube was recommending kids’ videos to pedophiles

YouTube’s recommendation engine is an artificial-intelligence-based system designed to automatically push users videos that stand a good chance of keeping them on the platform longer. It’s been in the news a lot this year. In January, for instance, YouTube tweaked its system in response to criticism that the recommendation engine led users to conspiracy videos … Continued
airplane on tarmac

Krypton 85 monitoring: Solution to clandestine reprocessing

One of the many obstacles to reaching an arms-control agreement with North Korea revolves around the risk that undeclared, clandestine nuclear facilities might exist in that country, which—if they remain undetected—would allow the Kim Jong-un regime to maintain and continue its military nuclear ambitions. It is therefore very important that any agreed-upon denuclearization of the … Continued

What would Russia nuke?

  Last week, Reuters reported that a Russian television broadcast had identified five targets in the United States that Moscow would strike if nuclear war broke out. Although a spokesman for Russian President Vladimir Putin denied naming specific sites, the broadcast appeared on Russian state TV and included a video narrated by Dmitry Kiselyov, who … Continued
A satellite image of China's demonstration plutonium reprocessing plant.

Pinpointing China’s new plutonium reprocessing plant

In 2015, China began construction on a new plutonium reprocessing facility. Until now, it’s exact location had not been publicly identified.

Tech workers revolt

Employees of Google, Microsoft, Amazon, and other tech companies are getting vocal about not wanting their work weaponized.

How to respond to science-denial trolls

The subject of climate change always attracts online attacks. Here are a few ways to keep online discussion safe and civil. 

No, we don’t need a “Manhattan Project” to fight the coronavirus pandemic

Comparing today’s coronavirus response with a 75-year-old secret government project probably won’t be a call to action for young people.
An AI system described the Wu-Tang Clan as a baseball players.

How to make AI less racist

A prominent dataset of images that researchers used to train artificial intelligence (AI) algorithms to recognize objects was taken down after a scholarly paper revealed that some of the categories it contained were labeled with offensive terms for women and minorities. The story highlights how bias can creep into the AI development cycle at various points.
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Hiroshima and Nagasaki: The many retrospectives

A look at the many attempts, past and present, to put the atomic bombings into perspective
Great Wall of China, partial silhouette

US-China rivalry: When great power competition endangers global science

Science won’t be able to solve global issues without US-China scientific collaboration.

North Korea from 30,000 feet

The first publicly available overhead imagery that suggested North Korea was constructing a new nuclear reactor at its Yongbyon complex appeared on November 4, 2010. Charles L. Pritchard, a former special envoy for negotiations with North Korea and the president of the Korea Economic Institute, along with a delegation from the institute provided the first confirmation of this construction after a visit to Yongbyon that week.
Tiananmen Square.

Censorship 101: China’s young censors first have to learn about forbidden topics 

Li Chengzhi, a young college graduate in Chengdu, China, shows up to each of his work shifts at a bright new office in “the heart of a high-tech” part of town. But Li’s job isn’t to harness the power of new technology to change the world–it’s to maintain the status quo. Li is one of … Continued
Boris Johnson

How to trash confidence in a COVID-19 vaccine: Brexit edition

Brexit politics, tabloids, corporate dissembling—and French President Emmanuel Macron—almost tanked confidence in a COVID-19 vaccine.
A forest test plot, where snow was removed to see the effects of the lack of this insulating blanket. (Image courtesy of Pamela Templer.)

Shorter, warmer winters, less snow. What next? Q&A with biologist Pamela Templer

Decades of data collected at the nation’s experimental forests show that the winters are getting shorter and warmer, meaning that there will be less snow to protect the microfauna and microflora below. To find out what this could mean for New England’s forests, biologist Pamela Templer of Boston University and her team have been conducting experiments to see what climate change has in store for the future of the forest floor.

Follow the Bulletin on your news app

Find us in your news app!  Want to easily read, like, and share Bulletin content via email or social media? You can follow us on Apple News, Google News, and now on the popular Flipboard app to stay in the know. ​In 2009, the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists became one of the first major print publications to go all-digital; in 2018, we … Continued
3D rendering of a quantum processor. Credit: Shutterstock

Approaching Y2Q and barely a peep (or tweet) from the government

Every time you exchange data online, whether you are purchasing an item with a credit card or providing personal information for an application, you enter a tacit agreement with the service provider about the protection of your information. However, you probably don’t think about what specific measures the provider will take to secure your data … Continued

Technology helped fake news. Now technology needs to stop it

Technology needs to partner with psychology to effectively counter the spread of misinformation.

Who’ll want artificially intelligent weapons? ISIS, democracies, or autocracies?

If you’re a dictator who can’t trust your own people in the military, you can still trust a machine to do your dirty work.

Countries have more than 100 laws on the books to combat misinformation. How well do they work?

Since 2015, there has been a huge increase in laws that ostensibly seek to counter misinformation. Since the pandemic began, this trend has only accelerated.
Credit: Matt Field. Based in part on photo by Morio CC SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons.

China is rapidly developing its military AI capabilities

China may lag behind the US military on metrics like the number of aircraft carriers it has, but it may be able to seize a “leapfrog opportunity” and invest in newer, cheaper weapons that could make carriers obsolete. That’s one conclusion in a new report about China’s well-funded, ambitious goal of becoming a world leader … Continued