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Google CEO Sundar Pichai. Credit: © World Economic Forum / Manuel Lopez CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

Google’s day of reckoning

Compared to other Silicon Valley titans, Google has long appeared to be a bit player in the controversies over misinformation, hate speech, and user privacy that have plagued the likes of Facebook and Twitter, especially in the wake of the 2016 US presidential election. That may change Tuesday as Google CEO Sundar Pichai takes part … Continued

Google funds climate deniers

Publicly, it calls for climate action. Privately, Google contributes to some of the most notorious climate-deniers in Washington. (Incidentally, the company removed “Don’t be evil” from its code of conduct in April 2018.)

1945-1998 Bulletin backfile available via Google Books

As of December 9, 2008, 53 years of Bulletin content is now available online for free at Google Books. This archive begins with the first issue of the magazine--originally published in December 1945--and includes every year thereafter until 1998.

Google CEO Sundar Pichai.

Information overload: The promise and risk of quantum computing

Google announced a breakthrough in quantum computing, a perennially just-over-the-horizon technology that promises to dramatically increase the speed at which computers can complete complex tasks. While the technology promises to unlock vast new areas of knowledge, it carries with it national security and other risks.

Artificial intelligence: a detailed explainer, with a human point of view

Is artificial intelligence, AI, a threat to our way of life, or a blessing? AI seeks to replicate and maybe replace what human intelligence does best: make complex decisions. Currently, human decision-making processes may include some means of AI as support or backup. But AI could also be “let out of the box” to act … Continued
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Trumping The Manchurian Candidate. Again.

Political pundits have been making many references lately to The Manchurian Candidate, but few seem to know the origins of the phrase.

Artificial intelligence and national security

From Harvard University's Belfer Center, this study of artificial intelligence and its likely security implications is an outstanding one-stop primer on the subject.

Don’t fear the robot car bomb

The incentives and practicalities make it unlikely that robotic car bombs will be a near-term threat.

Is the cyber threat a weapon of mass destruction?

Google's surprise announcement of "a highly sophisticated and targeted attack" on its systems--a case of computer-aided espionage--has also raised the specter of offensive warfare. Defense News quotes Adm. Robert Willard of U.S.

A pandemic of bad science

Compared to public health crises of the recent past, there has been a distinct change in how science is communicated to the public. Experts no longer control the narrative through trusted outlets, and, accurate or not, social media allows anyone to craft their own narrative about science and publish it to an audience of millions.

A failure of governmental candor: The fire at the contaminated Santa Susana Field Laboratory

Nearly six weeks after the Woolsey Fire—and after numerous requests from the community, news media, and legislators—California regulators finally issued an “interim summary” report about the measurements that formed the basis for the claims that no contamination was released from the Santa Susana Field Laboratory site. But that report includes few actual measurements of smoke emitted by the fire, and the data that are in the report raise more concerns than they allay.
The Sea Hunter, an autonomous ship.

Killer robots reconsidered: Could AI weapons actually cut collateral damage?

Although activists are calling for an international ban on lethal autonomous weapons, incorporating AI into weapons systems may make them more accurate and result in fewer civilian casualties during war.

Nuclear Roundup: 1/8/2018

A daily roundup of quality nuclear policy news. North Korea Nikki Haley on Trump’s ‘nuclear button’ tweet: He must ‘keep Kim on his toes’ Threat of North Korean weapons testing lingers over talks with the South Ban Ki-moon calls Trump’s North Korea tweets ‘a message from the international community’ Mike Pompeo doubts talks between North … Continued
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Playing at nuclear war

Just in time for holiday shopping comes nuclear virtual reality, in the form of video games, documentaries, emergency simulations, and so-called disaster tourism.

Practical nuclear questions for the presidential candidates, and the psychology of doom

The 2016 presidential race is unusual in many ways, but a silver lining of sorts has emerged: For the first time since Lyndon Johnson’s famous “Daisy” political ad during the 1964 presidential campaign, the control that the president of the United States wields over the US nuclear arsenal is under serious discussion. In his introduction … Continued

The dirty parts of the computing world

The Cloud is surprisingly poisonous, a fact that few people outside of big data centers seem to be aware of. And that’s before the energy hog known as Bitcoin came along.

An existential discussion: What is the probability of nuclear war?

“Father of the internet” Vinton Cerf and “father of public key cryptography” Martin Hellman agree that the US needs to understand the risk of nuclear war. However, they disagree about the best means for understanding that risk. In side-by-side opinion pieces, Cerf and Hellman present their opposing views.
Cardboard cutouts of Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg stood outside the US Capitol on April 10, 2018, placed there by the advocacy group Avaaz to call attention to fake accounts spreading disinformation on Facebook. Credit: Kevin Wolf/AP images for AVAAZ

Why Facebook, YouTube, and Twitter are bad for the climate

Willingly or not, giant social-media platforms spread climate misinformation and undercut climate science.

Contemplating a third nuclear test in North Korea

Shortly after its failed April 13 rocket launch, North Korea was widely expected to conduct its third underground nuclear test. Such a test would have fit the pattern of the first two nuclear tests, both of which followed failed rocket launches and international condemnation. And Pyongyang has compelling technical, military, and political reasons to conduct a third nuclear test that would demonstrate it can miniaturize nuclear warheads to fit on a missile, making its nuclear arsenal more threatening.
US Advanced Hypersonic Weapon test

Hypersonic missiles: Three questions every reader should ask

Coverage of hypersonic weapons by major news outlets has ranged from uncritical to downright fawning. Coverage of hypersonic weapons by major news outlets has ranged from uncritical to downright fawning. Here are some questions that every informed reader should be asking.