Elon Musk summons the A.I. demon

Back in 2014, Silicon Valley's most popular billionaire, Elon Musk, had, in his characteristically visionary way, a dire warning for the public about "our biggest existential threat": "With artificial intelligence we are summoning the demon," Musk said. "You know all those stories where there’s the guy with the pentagram and the holy water, and he's … Continue reading Elon Musk summons the A.I. demon

Fuzzy math, the ISIS brand, and America’s foreign military presence

Earlier this month, NBC News published a "heat map" leaked from the National Counterterrorism Center that purported to show that the Islamic State extremist group has expanded to "fully operational" status in 18 countries and is spreading to several others. Writing in The Hill this week, however, counterterrorism researcher Anhvinh Doanvo argues that it is … Continue reading Fuzzy math, the ISIS brand, and America’s foreign military presence

Micro-drones pose increasing privacy threat, but media coverage dissipates

A leading market research firm announced Monday that it expects the global drone market to pass $4 billion annually by 2025. It has been clear for some time that we are entering an era of increasingly pervasive unmanned aerial vehicles, but as the rise of insect-sized micro-drones looms, it appears little is being done to … Continue reading Micro-drones pose increasing privacy threat, but media coverage dissipates

DNC Leaks Lead to Dueling Conspiracy Theories

In the wake of last month's revelations of favoritism towards Hillary Clinton over Bernie Sanders within the Democratic National Committee, which led to the resignation of former DNC chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz, paranoia has been percolating. On August 12, the Washington Post featured two articles about conspiracy theories, one by Post "global opinions" columnist Josh … Continue reading DNC Leaks Lead to Dueling Conspiracy Theories

A billion more in arms for Saudi intervention in Yemen civil war

Less than a month after the release of the infamous "28 pages" of a congressional 9/11 investigation that had been withheld for over a decade, which dealt with alleged ties between the government of Saudi Arabia and some of the hijackers, the Pentagon and State Department announced a new arms sale totaling more than $1 … Continue reading A billion more in arms for Saudi intervention in Yemen civil war

Drone strike ‘playbook’ shows govt. rationalizing extrajudicial killing

Just over a month after releasing its first numbers on drone strike deaths, including a figure of between 64 and 116 civilians killed that critics have said is vastly underestimated, the Obama administration late last week released a redacted version of its "playbook" outlining the requirements for "lethal action" against suspected terrorists, along with guidelines … Continue reading Drone strike ‘playbook’ shows govt. rationalizing extrajudicial killing

Libya campaign underscores lack of US military oversight, accountability

Following this week's announcement of a new U.S. bombing campaign in Libya, several opinion pieces have been written denouncing President Obama's decision to allow the airstrikes without further authorization from Congress, as well as Congress' inaction on explicitly authorizing force against Islamic State extremists. "Just five years after bombing Libya to dispose of Muammar Gaddafi, … Continue reading Libya campaign underscores lack of US military oversight, accountability

Pentagon withholds aid over Pakistan failure to stop formerly US-backed insurgents

The Washington Post reported on Wednesday that the Pentagon has decided to withhold $300 million in military aid to Pakistan for failing to take "sufficient action against the Haqqani network, a Taliban affiliate blamed for attacks on U.S. and allied personnel in Afghanistan." The article goes on to give some background on the organization, which … Continue reading Pentagon withholds aid over Pakistan failure to stop formerly US-backed insurgents

ISIS “caliphate” collapse won’t bring end to War on Terror

The news media has recently focused much attention on the supposedly imminent collapse of the "caliphate" of the Islamic State extremist group (a.k.a. ISIS, ISIL or Daesh) in the main area it has controlled in the past couple of years in Iraq and Syria. Developments elsewhere, however, show that ISIS and the broader Islamist extremism … Continue reading ISIS “caliphate” collapse won’t bring end to War on Terror

Skepticism of gene editing doesn’t stop human trials from moving forward

This month, scientists in China will begin the first ever experiments on humans using the cutting-edge gene-editing tool known as CRISPR. But as these researchers break barriers in biotech, a new in-depth survey from the Pew Research Center shows the public is deeply suspicious of various high-tech biomedical "enhancements" under development. The Pew report focused … Continue reading Skepticism of gene editing doesn’t stop human trials from moving forward