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Disruptive technology

Project Maven brings AI to the fight against ISIS

A crash Defense Department program designed to deliver AI technologies to a combat theater within six months is a smashing success so far. But is the Pentagon ready for the enormous challenges that lie at the intersection of military power and artificial intelligence?
An after-picture of the Urakami Tenshudo (Catholic Church) in Nagasaki, which was destroyed in 1945 by the fission of about one kilogram of plutonium. Credit: Public domain image accessed via Wikimedia Commons.

Plutonium programs in East Asia and Idaho will challenge the Biden administration

The separation of plutonium by civilian reprocessing has far exceeded plutonium use in breeder and light-water reactor fuel with the result being a global stockpile of over 300 tons of civilian but weapon-usable plutonium. By the International Atomic Energy Agency’s metric, this is enough for almost 40,000 Nagasaki bombs.

An atomic idea: The Exploratorium

Physicist Frank Oppenheimer’s pioneering science museum, the Exploratorium, encourages visitors to think differently about the natural world. 

Dawn of a new Armageddon

A personal essay on the meaning of a ballistic missile alert issued in Hawaii in January 2018, at the height of nuclear tensions between the United States and North Korea.
California State Senator Robert Hertzberg. Photo credit: Christopher Michel

The California lawmaker who wants to call a bot a bot

State Senator Robert Hertzberg is zeroing in on data privacy, blockchain, and automated social media accounts.

Artificial intelligence beyond the superpowers

Much of the debate over how artificial intelligence (AI) will affect geopolitics focuses on the emerging arms race between Washington and Beijing, as well as investments by major military powers like Russia. And to be sure, breakthroughs are happening at a rapid pace in the United States and China. But while an arms race between … Continued

Is China seeking “quantum surprise?”

Will quantum technologies revolutionize the military landscape? China seems intent on finding out.

The defensive nature of China’s “underground great wall”

There has been a lot of prominent discussion lately (in the Washington Post and Wall Street Journal, among other places) about the size of China's nuclear arsenal, based on a study by Georgetown University professor Phillip Karber, "Strategic Implications of China's Underground
A scientist works at a biosafety level 4 lab.

Natural spillover or research lab leak? Why a credible investigation is needed to determine the origin of the coronavirus pandemic

Could the COVID-19 pandemic have started with a lab accident? While the matter has become heavily politicized, a credible investigation could help clear things up.
The Trump administration put Chinese firm Huawei on a list that could make it difficult to do business in the United States. Credit: Brücke-Osteuropa via Wikimedia Commons.

The 10-minute interview: Joy Dantong Ma on why Trump is targeting Huawei

So the administration says it has its sights on Huawei because its equipment poses a national security threat. Joy Dantong Ma, a China expert at the Paulson Institute, a think tank focused on the US-China relationship, told the Bulletin there may be other reasons for the moves against Huawei.

U.S. nuclear double standards

As seen from Pakistan, U.S. nuclear weapons policies present troubling trends; an exclusive interview with the irreverent Brig. Gen. Atta M. Iqhman.

Trump orders some sort of vague action in the AI arms race

Through an executive order, President Donald Trump launched the American AI Initiative, further underscoring the importance of a group of technologies that are reshaping everything from medical diagnoses to war-fighting. The administration didn’t give many specifics in the order published Monday evening or details about funding for its various elements such as efforts to increase … Continued
Nina Pham is discharged from the hospital.

Outbreaks of lethal diseases happen regularly. The US government just cut funding for the hospitals that deal with them

After cases of Ebola begin showing up in the United States in 2014, the US government created a tiered system of hospitals to deal with the virus and other serious infectious diseases. Despite the fact that outbreaks of lethal diseases--like the coronavirus that's spreading in Wuhan, China--are common, the US government has stopped funding dozens of specialized hospitals across the country meant to deal with them.
B-52 bombers in the Arizona desert,

Arms control 2.0? With open source tools, desktop sleuths can go where governments won’t

The steady undermining of arms control agreements provides an opportunity to rethink how governments and citizens promote transparency and military cooperation using 21st century technologies.

Sea of sarin: North Korea’s chemical deterrent

If the United States attempted a preemptive strike against North Korea’s nuclear capabilities, Pyongyang might turn Seoul into a “sea of sarin.” Are chemical weapons North Korea’s greatest deterrent?

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The Chinese city of Urumqi in Xinjiang. Credit: Alexander Flühmann via Wikimedia Commons. CC BY-SA 3.0.

Ultrasounds and blood draws: An account of Chinese government oppression of the Uighurs

One Uighur student studying in the United States returned home to Xinjiang, a region of China that's home to millions of largely Muslim Uighurs. He was quickly arrested, detained for close to a month, and subjected to biometric scans--all part of China's increasingly pervasive surveillance and oppression of the Uighurs.

Energy.gov: Where information goes to die

We live in an Information Age. Never before have we had so much data at our fingertips, thanks to digitization and the Internet. But information is only useful if it is accessible, searchable, and intelligible.

Tech entanglement—China, the United States, and artificial intelligence

US enterprises can benefit from collaborating with China on AI. But they also risk being exploited by the Chinese Communist Party.
Sharon Squassoni interviews Rose Gottemoeller

Bulletin’s sold-out event attracts global audience for conversations on man-made risks

Nearly 300 international guests joined the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists’ recent sold-out Conversations Before Midnight marquee event. The Nov. 9 virtual experience provided participants direct access to more than two dozen leading analysts and policy makers in nuclear risk, climate change, disruptive technologies, and biosecurity for an evening of small-group discussions.  “Conversations Before Midnight … Continued