WASHINGTON – President Donald Trump invited Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif to the White House last month at the height of tensions between the two countries, The New Yorker magazine reported. The invitation, extended by Sen. Rand Paul with permission from the president, was turned down for now, The New Yorker reported Friday. Zarif said it was up to Tehran to decide on accepting it. Neither the White House nor the State Department responded to requests for comment on the report, which quoted U.S. and Iranian sources and what the magazine called a well-placed diplomat. Zarif told the magazine he would not want a White House meeting that yielded just a photo op and a two page statement afterwards, The New Yorker said.
One of China's fastest growing robotic startups is ramping up its international expansion, even as Trump's tariffs force the company to dial back on its US ambitions. Geek Plus Robotics automates supply chains by replacing warehouse workers with bots. The Beijing-based company recently raised more than 100 million dollars and expects to more than double that at its next funding round. China correspondent Tom Mackenzie spoke exclusively to the company's founder and CEO in Beijing about the firm' plans.
TEHRAN - Iran said Tuesday it will further free itself from the 2015 nuclear deal in defiance of new American sanctions as U.S. President Donald Trump warned the Islamic republic of "overwhelming" retaliation for any attacks. Tensions between Iran and the U.S. have spiraled since last year when Trump withdrew the United States from the deal under which Tehran was to curb its nuclear program in exchange for relief from economic sanctions. The two arch-rivals have been locked in an escalating war of words since Iran shot down a U.S. surveillance drone in what it said was its own airspace, a claim the US vehemently denies. On Monday, Washington stepped up pressure by blacklisting Iran's supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and top military chiefs, saying it would also sanction Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif later in the week. Tehran was defiant on Tuesday, saying the new US sanctions against Iran showed Washington was "lying" about an offer of talks.
TEHRAN - Iran said on Sunday a "spy drone" had encroached its airspace in May, about a month before it downed an American drone as part of a series of escalatory incidents between Tehran and Washington. Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif tweeted a map saying the U.S.-made MQ9 Reaper drone -- also widely used for carrying out military strikes -- had entered his country's airspace on May 26. Iran shot down a U.S. Global Hawk drone Thursday, saying it had violated its airspace near the strategic Strait of Hormuz -- a claim the United States denies. U.S. President Donald Trump called off a planned retaliatory military strike Friday, saying the response would not have been "proportionate," with Tehran warning any attack would see Washington's interests across the Middle East go up in flames. On Sunday U.S. national security adviser John Bolton cautioned Iran against misinterpreting the last-minute cancellation.
Artificial intelligence (AI) stands to have a transformative impact on international trade. Already, specific applications in areas such as data analytics and translation services are reducing barriers to trade. At the same time, there are challenges in the development of AI that international trade rules could address. General AI refers to systems that can self-learn from experience with "humanlike breadth" and surpass human performance on tasks. General AI raises broad existential concerns, but remains a technology in the distant future.
The great power nations that master the use of artificial intelligence are likely to gain a tremendous military and economic benefits from the technology. The United States benefitted greatly from a relatively fast adoption of the internet, and many of its most powerful companies today are the global giants of the internet age. I believe these to be fatal assumptions. The decade ahead will make it clear that the United States must, as it has in the past, earn its prosperity and its technological leadership – something that many Americans now take completely for granted. This will involve a focus on the competitiveness of the US economy – and a willingness to continually earn its place in the international order.
The U.S. and China are locked in an increasingly heated struggle for superpower status. Many perceived this confrontation initially only through the lenses of a trade war. However, the ZTE "saga" already indicated the issue was broader and involved a battle for supremacy over 21st century technologies and, relatedly, for international power (see When AI Started Creating AI – Artificial Intelligence and Computing Power, 7 May 2018). The technological battle increasingly looks like a fight to the death, with the offensive against Huawei, aiming notably to protect future 5G networks (Cassell Bryan-Low, Colin Packham, David Lague, Steve Stecklow And Jack Stubbs, "The China Challenge: the 5G Fight", Reuters Investigates, 21 May 2019). For Huawei and China, as well as for the world, consequences are far reaching, as, after Google "stopping Huawei's Android license", and an Intel and Qualcomm ban, the British chip designer ARM, held notably by Japanese Softbank, now stops relations with Huawei (Paul Sandle, "ARM supply halt deals fresh blow to Chinese tech giant Huawei", Reuters, 22 May 2019; "DealBook Briefing: The Huawei Backlash Goes Global", The New York Times, 23 May 2019; Tom Warren, "Huawei's Android And Windows Alternatives Are Destined For Failure", The Verge, 23 May 2019). The highly possible coming American move against Chinese Hikvision, one of the largest world producers of video surveillance systems involving notably "artificial intelligence, speech monitoring and genetic testing" would only further confirm the American offensive (Doina Chiacu, Stella Qi, "Trump says'dangerous' Huawei could be included in U.S.-China trade deal", Reuters, 23 May 2019; Ana Swanson and Edward Wong, "Trump Administration Could Blacklist China's Hikvision, a Surveillance Firm", The New York Times, 21 May 2019). China, for its part, answers to both the trade war and the technological fight with an ideologically martial mobilisation of its population along the lines of "People's War", "The Long March", and changing TV scheduling to broadcast war films (Iris Zhao and Alan Weedon, "Chinese television suddenly switches scheduling to anti-American films amid US-China trade war", ABC News, 20 May 2019; Michael Martina, David Lawder, "Prepare for difficult times, China's Xi urges as trade war simmers", Reuters, 22 May 2019). This highlights how much is as stake for the Middle Kingdom, as we explained previously ( Sensor and Actuator (4): Artificial Intelligence, the Long March towards Advanced Robots and Geopolitics).
TEHRAN - Iran has quadrupled its production of low-enriched uranium amid tensions with the U.S. over Tehran's unraveling nuclear accord, two semi-official news agencies reported Monday, an announcement just after President Donald Trump warned Iran it would face its "official end" if it threatened America again. While the reports said the production is of uranium enriched only to the 3.67 percent limit set by the 2015 nuclear deal that Tehran reached with world powers, it means that Iran soon will go beyond the stockpile limitations established by the accord. This follows days of heightened tensions sparked by the Trump administration's deployment of bombers and an aircraft carrier to the Persian Gulf over still-unspecified threats from Iran. While Trump's dueling approach of flattery and threats has become a hallmark of his foreign policy, the risks have only grown in dealing with Iran, where mistrust between Tehran and Washington stretch back four decades. So far this month, officials in the United Arab Emirates alleged that four oil tankers sustained damage in a sabotage attack; Yemeni rebels allied with Iran launched a drone attack on an oil pipeline in Saudi Arabia; and U.S. diplomats relayed a warning that commercial airlines could be misidentified by Iran and attacked, something dismissed by Tehran.
Here's what you need to know in business news. The city's Board of Supervisors voted on Tuesday to prohibit the use of facial recognition technology within city limits. It's a somewhat symbolic move: The police there don't currently use the stuff, and the places where it is in use -- seaports and airports -- are under federal jurisdiction and therefore unaffected by the new regulation. The major television networks tried to sell their fall advertising slots in an annual pageant known as the upfronts. In a week of star-studded presentations, skits and boozy mingling, representatives of major advertisers flocked to New York to see what the networks have in store.