Latanya Sweeney is a professor of government and technology in residence at Harvard University's Department of Government, editor-in-chief of Technology Science and the founding director of the Technology Science Initiative and the Data Privacy Lab at the Institute for Quantitative Social Science at Harvard. Max Weiss is a senior at Harvard University and the student who implemented the Deepfake Text experiment. As federal agencies take increasingly stringent actions to try to limit the spread of the novel coronavirus pandemic within the U.S., how can individual Americans and U.S. companies affected by these rules weigh in with their opinions and experiences? Because many of the new rules, such as travel restrictions and increased surveillance, require expansions of federal power beyond normal circumstances, our laws require the federal government to post these rules publicly and allow the public to contribute their comments to the proposed rules online. But are federal public comment websites -- a vital institution for American democracy -- secure in this time of crisis?
As the use and power of artificial intelligence increases, the risk for AI to become the hacker, rather than the victim also grows, according to a new report. The problem is two-fold, wrote Bruce Schneier, a fellow at the Berkman Center for Internet and Society at Harvard University, in "The Coming AI Hackers," a recent report from Harvard's Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs. "One, AI systems will be used to hack us. And two, AI systems will themselves become hackers: finding vulnerabilities in all sorts of social, economic, and political systems, and then exploiting them at an unprecedented speed, scale, and scope," Schneier said. We risk a future of AI systems hacking other AI systems, with humans being little more than collateral damage." He pointed to several public-sector examples where this threat is already becoming apparent. In one, researchers used a text-generation program to submit 1,000 comments to a request for input on a Medicaid issue, effectively fooling Medicaid.gov They interact normally but occasionally make a politically charged post. "Persona bots will break the'notice-and-comment' rulemaking process by flooding government agencies with fake comments," Schneier said, potentially affecting public opinion. "It's not that being persuaded by an AI is fundamentally more damaging than being persuaded by another human, it's that AIs will be able to do it at computer speed and scale." Governments tend to use AI to make their processes more efficient. For instance, in the United Kingdom, a Stanford University student built a bot to automatically determine eligibility and fill out applications for services such as government housing. AI is also used to inform military targeting decisions, the report added. "As AI systems get more capable, society will cede more -- and more important -- decisions to them," Schneier said. "They already influence social outcomes; in the future they might explicitly decide them.
What New York Times contributing editor and writer Bari Weiss recently called the "civil war" within the Times has just claimed another victim: Bari Weiss. In a scathing open letter to publisher A. G. Sulzberger that instantly went viral on Twitter and other social media, Weiss asserted that she was resigning to protest the paper's failure to defend her against internal and external bullying; senior editors' abandonment of the paper's ostensible commitment to publishing news and opinion that stray from an ideological orthodoxy; and the capitulation of many Times reporters and senior editors to the prevailing intolerance of far-left mobs on Twitter, which she called the paper's "ultimate editor." Weiss was apparently stripped of her role as editor, and not immediately offered another position; the implication that she was no longer welcome was clear. "The paper of record is, more and more, the record of those living in a distant galaxy, one whose concerns are profoundly removed from the lives of most people," she wrote. "Nowadays, standing up for principle at the paper does not win plaudits. It puts a target on your back."
There were some raised eyebrows as financial ratings agency Weiss Ratings released a report grading over 70 cryptocurrencies and digital assets. Notably, well-known names like Bitcoin, Litecoin and Dash received only "C " grades, while Ethereum and EOS received a "B" -- the highest grade on Weiss' list.
Weiss says she faced ridicule from social media mobs; Fox News media analyst Howard Kurtz, host of'Media Buzz,' reports. President Trump declared Wednesday that The New York Times is "under siege" after a top editor and columnist quit claiming bullying by colleagues -- but Democratic challenger Joe Biden has not yet weighed in on what is rapidly becoming a media world firestorm. The @nytimes is under siege," Trump tweeted. "The real reason is that it has become Fake News. They never covered me correctly -- they blew it." He added: "People are fleeing, a total mess!" The president's tweet comes after Times opinion columnist and editor Bari Weiss announced that she was leaving, saying she was bullied by colleagues in an "illiberal environment," weeks after she first declared there was a "civil war" inside the paper. Weiss published a scathing resignation letter that she sent to Times Publisher A.G. Sulzberger, saying she doesn't understand how toxic behavior is allowed inside the newsroom, and "showing up for work as a centrist at an American newspaper should not require bravery." In her resignation letter, Weiss noted that her own "forays into Wrongthink" have made her the subject of "constant bullying by colleagues" who disagree with her views. "They have called me a Nazi and a racist," she wrote. "I have learned to brush off comments about how I'm'writing about the Jews again.'