Deep Tech


It only sounds like science fiction

Come Ye Masters Technocrats of War

Think the deadliest agent is a soldier? Think again. As the theater of war moves from the front line to online, the deadliest agent may be a computer scientist. In a newly-published report by the Brookings Institute, military expert O’hanlon warns that the future of war is likely to include robotic swarm attacks and intelligent malware which can “continually adjust tactics to the defenses encountered.” AI isn’t the only threat, though. According to the US National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine, threats from quantum computing like cracking conventional encryption will evolve faster than defenses. In the past, defense planners were sure that the nuclear situation was unlikely to change. That was true until nuclear weapons became vulnerable to cyber attack. Think this is all just a bit of overblown warmongering? The market doesn’t. The laser defense eyewear market alone is expected to exceed $900M by 2023–the same year the US Army plans to deploy its first laser weapons.

Fitter, happier, more productive

Researchers have trained the machine-learning algorithms that power mobile voice/face-ID to spot early stages of depression and to recommend treatment options–with up to 80% accuracy. The researchers hope that it could help people to get treatment, and some have lauded the boon for mental health. Some experts point out that millennials might even prefer to speak with an intelligent chatbot than a human clinician. And machine learning has already been used to diagnose paralyzing illnesses. But others have expressed concern of the growing surveillance capabilities of cell phones and the potential for weaponization by Big Brother or Big Tech. But don’t worry about prosecution for criminal drug evasion just yet—researchers have been able to predict depression using simple location, audio, & motion data since 2014.

Hyperion Blockchain Mapping

Blockchain technology may outlive the sinking cryptocurrencies it helped to build thanks to new uses like blockchain-based maps. Almost all of the 2 million currently-available map apps are based on either Google Maps or China’s Baidu, and they all use GPS. Experts say that block-chain mapping could help correct some of the many security flaws inherent in GPS technology. Developers like Hyperion want to disrupt that centralized monopoly with decentralized, self-governing, interactive blockchain maps that can track everything from Amazon shipments to air luggage. Researchers boast that these maps could be easily used for spatial verification and could also help to further commercialize location. Security experts warn that protecting public safety and privacy will be more difficult with the proliferation of drone delivery services, like Google’s Project Wing. Blockchain cartography could help protect public safety by creating a universal location protocol for drones. Unfortunately, the technology’s bias reflects that of its developers, who are mostly young, male, and white.

In Soviet Russia, Computer Hacks You! Russia Interference in Net Neutrality

One of the FCC’s own commissioners has publicly accused the agency of hiding the truth about Russian interference in the net neutrality repeal. The statement comes as US news outlets have sued the FCC for blocking journalist investigations into the millions of fake comments that plagued last year’s public process phase of the repeal. This week, FCC Chair Ajit Pai admitted that half a million of the fraudulent comments were submitted from Russian email addresses. Consumer protection groups have long warned of big tech’s biases and the need for greater transparency. Google’s CEO, Sundar Pichai, is set to testify before the House Judiciary Committee next week.


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