This week, the Justice Department indicted a 22-year-old on charges of tampering with the water facility where he used to work. It's a stark reminder that while the power grid gets most of the attention, it's not the only piece of critical infrastructure that's vulnerable to potentially devastating attacks. We also took a look at YouTube's ongoing problems with moderating kid-focused content; a WIRED investigation found dozens of creepy thumbnails on videos for Minecraft and child-centric pursuits that were at or near the top of the platform's "Topic" pages. It's not quite as dire a situation as the so-called Elsagate controversy from a few years back, in which the YouTube Kids app was flooded with grotesque videos featuring popular children's characters performing unspeakable acts. But it still shows that YouTube has a lot of moderation work still ahead of it.
If you've ever wanted to know what it might be like to see Kim Jong-un let loose at karaoke, your wish has been granted, thanks to an app that lets users turn photographs of anyone – or anything remotely resembling a face – into uncanny AI-powered videos of them lip syncing famous songs. The app is called Wombo AI, and while the future of artificial intelligence and the ability to make fake videos of real people strikes fear into the hearts of many experts, some say that Wombo could help by raising awareness of "deepfakes". Wombo CEO Ben-Zion Benkhin said he came up with the idea "while smoking a joint with my roommate on the roof". The app launched in Canada in February and has since been downloaded on Apple's App store and Google Play more than 2m times. There are 15 songs users can choose from, including Michael Jackson's Thriller and the more recent Gunther's Ding Dong Song.
In July 1950, a small group of American soldiers called Task Force Smith were all that stood in the way of an advance of North Korean armor. The soldiers' only anti-armor weapons were bazookas left over from World War II. The soldiers of Task Force Smith quickly found themselves firing round after round of bazooka ammunition into advancing North Korean T-34s only to see them explode harmlessly on the heavily armored tanks. Within seven hours, 40 percent of Task Force Smith were killed or wounded, and the North Korean advance rolled on.1 The shortcomings of the bazooka were no surprise. However, budget cutbacks after World War II scuttled adoption of an improved design.
SAN FRANCISCO – The top diplomats of Japan, the United States and South Korea on Tuesday urged North Korea to refrain from military provocation and continue denuclearization talks, but ruled out any easing of crushing economic sanctions without progress in the stalled negotiations. Foreign Minister Toshimitsu Motegi held discussions with his U.S. and South Korean counterparts, Mike Pompeo and Kang Kyung-wha, in East Palo Alto, just outside San Francisco, two weeks after a deadline set by Pyongyang for progress by the end of 2019 passed. "We agreed on the importance of North Korea making positive efforts in talks with the United States rather than going through with provocative moves," Motegi told reporters. The statement appeared to contradict remarks in a New Year speech by South Korean President Moon Jae-in a day earlier in Seoul, where he said that he could seek exemptions of U.N. sanctions to bring about improved inter-Korean relations that he believes would help restart the deadlocked nuclear negotiations between Pyongyang and Washington. Moon has previously made similar comments, despite outside worries that any lifting of sanctions could undermine U.S.-led efforts to eliminate North Korea's nuclear arsenal.
According to the proposal, the purpose of the restrictions would be to bolster the U.S.'s national security -- after all, AI has many potential military uses, so why would the U.S. want to put that technology in the hands of nations such as China or North Korea? Silicon Valley opposes these AI export restrictions for a few reasons, according to the NYT's story. Perhaps most obviously, they could hurt American companies and help foreign ones. By limiting where companies such as Amazon and Google could sell their AI services, the restrictions would damage those companies' bottom lines. They'll also leave open a market gap that other nations, such as China, could fill.
Amazon has scrapped a "sexist" tool that used artificial intelligence to decide the best candidates to hire for jobs. Members of the team working on the system said it effectively taught itself that male candidates were preferable. The artificial intelligence software was created by a team at Amazon's Edinburgh office in 2014 as a way to automatically sort through CVs and select the most talented applicants. But the algorithm rapidly taught itself to favour male candidates over female ones, according to members of the team who spoke to Reuters. Amazon wage increase could result in lower pay for some employees Black Friday 2018: The best Amazon deals Will Amazon's deliver-on-demand smart homes be the future of housing? Will Amazon's deliver-on-demand smart homes be the future of housing?
On the heels of United States President Donald Trump's historic de-nuclearization summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, non-proliferation is once again a timely topic. Since the dawn of the nuclear age, keeping tabs on who has military-grade nuclear capabilities and materials has been a vital – and difficult – task. Thankfully, it's also one that may be getting easier, thanks to leaps forward in fields like data analysis, machine learning and artificial intelligence. Last month, Thomson Reuters Labs was invited to present at a workshop called "Applications of Innovative Tools and Technologies for Nonproliferation and Disarmament" held in Krems, Austria, for diplomats representing their countries at the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and other international organizations. The diplomatic workshop was preceded by a day-long session for technical participants at the Vienna Center for Disarmament and Non-Proliferation.
US President Donald Trump said he would consider inviting North Korea's Kim Jong-un to the White House if their summit in Singapore goes well. Mr Trump made the comment after meeting Japan's PM Shinzo Abe to discuss the 12 June summit. He said it was possible an agreement to end the Korean War could be reached, though he called that "the easy part" of the negotiations. "It's what happens after that that is really important," he told reporters. The US and its regional allies want to see North Korea give up its nuclear weapons but Mr Trump acknowledged that it "will take longer" than one meeting to realise that goal.
Now, financial markets are not likely to care too much about the developing "Korean Situation." The impact of geopolitics on markets is still limited because investors do not price in extreme "tail risks" yet. Humans are genetically programmed to be optimistic about life and investors are still "most of the time" human, not, let's say robots. Investors that react as pure humans to so-called tail risks could become less and less the case because of the venue of Artificial Intelligence (AI) into our lives, notwithstanding we should expect that only to happen at a relatively "still" slow progressing pace. I personally have no doubt that "Change Is Coming" because of "AI" where professionals and those who have the means to use it will come first.
The autonomous vehicle division of Google's parent company will start hauling cargo using self-driving trucks, capping a busy week for next-generation shipping technology. Waymo, the driverless vehicle unit of Alphabet, announced a pilot programme that will have self-driving big rigs transport cargo to the company's data centres in Georgia. Several companies are vying to dominate the nascent self-driving vehicle industry, believing the technology will reshape how humans and goods travel. Waymo has already extensively tested autonomous cars intended to ferry people around. "Now we're turning our attention to things as well", the company said in a blog post, noting that driverless trucks pose unique tech challenges.