the intrepid Whitney Webb on US coronavirus Techno-Tyrranny


‘Techno-Tyranny: How the U.S. National Security State is Using Coronavirus to Fulfill an Orwellian Vision’, Whitney Webb, May 16, 2020, strategic-culture.org.  (CC w/ attribution)  Given that this tome of an exposé (about 5700 words) is CC, and that the puzzle pieces are so inter-related, I’ll post it all, and thank Ms. Webb profusely for it.  I’ve added a few more bolds to hers.  The graphics from the pdf didn’t come through, but Webb’s text explains them.

“Last year, a U.S. government body dedicated to examining how artificial intelligence can “address the national security and defense needs of the United States” discussed in detail the “structural” changes that the American economy and society must undergo in order to ensure a technological advantage over China, according to a recent document acquired through a FOIA request [124 pg. pdf ]. This document suggests that the U.S. follow China’s lead and even surpass them in many aspects related to AI-driven technologies, particularly their use of mass surveillance.

This perspective clearly clashes with the public rhetoric of prominent U.S. government officials and politicians on China, who have labeled the Chinese government’s technology investments and export of its surveillance systems and other technologies as a major “threat” to Americans’ “way of life.”

In addition, many of the steps for the implementation of such a program in the U.S., as laid out in this newly available document, are currently being promoted and implemented as part of the government’s response to the current coronavirus (Covid-19) crisis. This likely due to the fact that many members of this same body have considerable overlap with the taskforces and advisors currently guiding the government’s plans to “re-open the economy” and efforts to use technology to respond to the current crisis.

The FOIA document, obtained by the Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC), was produced by a little-known U.S. government organization called the National Security Commission on Artificial Intelligence (NSCAI). It was created by the 2018 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) and its official purpose is “to consider the methods and means necessary to advance the development of artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning, and associated technologies to comprehensively address the national security and defense needs of the United States.”

The NSCAI is a key part of the government’s response to what is often referred to as the coming “fourth industrial revolution,” which has been described as “a revolution characterized by discontinuous technological development in areas like artificial intelligence (AI), big data, fifth-generation telecommunications networking (5G), nanotechnology and biotechnology, robotics, the Internet of Things (IoT), and quantum computing.”

However, their main focus is ensuring that “the United States … maintain a technological advantage in artificial intelligence, machine learning, and other associated technologies related to national security and defense.” The vice-chair of NSCAI, Robert Work – former Deputy Secretary of Defense and senior fellow at the hawkish Center for a New American Security (CNAS)described the commission’s purpose as determining “how the U.S. national security apparatus should approach artificial intelligence, including a focus on how the government can work with industry to compete with China’s ‘civil-military fusion’ concept.”

The recently released NSCAI document is a May 2019 presentation entitled “Chinese Tech Landscape Overview.” Throughout the presentation, the NSCAI promotes the overhaul of the U.S. economy and way of life as necessary for allowing the U.S. to ensure it holds a considerable technological advantage over China, as losing this advantage is currently deemed a major “national security” issue by the U.S. national security apparatus. This concern about maintaining a technological advantage can be seen in several other U.S. military documents and think tank reports, several of which have warned that the U.S.’ technological advantage is quickly eroding.

The U.S. government and establishment media outlets often blame alleged Chinese espionage or the Chinese government’s more explicit partnerships with private technology companies in support of their claim that the U.S. is losing this advantage over China. For instance, Chris Darby, the current CEO of the CIA’s In-Q-Tel, who is also on the NSCAI, told CBS News last year that China is the U.S.’ main competitor in terms of technology and that U.S. privacy laws were hampering the U.S.’ capacity to counter China in this regard, stating that:

“[D]ata is the new oil. And China is just awash with data. And they don’t have the same restraints that we do around collecting it and using it, because of the privacy difference between our countries. This notion that they have the largest labeled data set in the world is going to be a huge strength for them.”

In another example, Michael Dempsey – former acting Director of National Intelligence and currently a government-funded fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations – argued in The Hill that:

“It’s quite clear, though, that China is determined to erase our technological advantage, and is committing hundreds of billions of dollars to this effort. In particular, China is determined to be a world leader in such areas as artificial intelligence, high performance computing, and synthetic biology. These are the industries that will shape life on the planet and the military balance of power for the next several decades.”

In fact, the national security apparatus of the United States is so concerned about losing a technological edge over China that the Pentagon recently decided to join forces directly with the U.S. intelligence community in order “to get in front of Chinese advances in artificial intelligence.” This union resulted in the creation of the Joint Artificial Intelligence Center (JAIC), which ties together “the military’s efforts with those of the Intelligence Community, allowing them to combine efforts in a breakneck push to move government’s AI initiatives forward.” It also coordinates with other government agencies, industry, academics, and U.S. allies. Robert Work, who subsequently became the NSCAI vice-chair, said at the time that JAIC’s creation was a “welcome first step in response to Chinese, and to a lesser extent, Russian, plans to dominate these technologies.”

Similar concerns about “losing” technological advantage to China have also been voiced by the NSCAI chairman, Eric Schmidt, the former head of Alphabet – Google’s parent company, who argued in February in the New York Times that Silicon Valley could soon lose “the technology wars” to China if the U.S. government doesn’t take action. Thus, the three main groups represented within the NSCAI – the intelligence community, the Pentagon and Silicon Valley – all view China’s advancements in AI as a major national security threat (and in Silicon Valley’s case, threat to their bottom lines and market shares) that must be tackled quickly.

TARGETING CHINA’S “ADOPTION ADVANTAGE”

In the May 2019 “Chinese Tech Landscape Overview” presentation, the NSCAI discusses that, while the U.S. still leads in the “creation” stage of AI and related technologies, it lags behind China in the “adoption” stage due to “structural factors.” It says that “creation”, followed by “adoption” and “iteration” are the three phases of the “life cycle of new tech” and asserts that failing to dominate in the “adoption” stage will allow China to “leapfrog” the U.S. and dominate AI for the foreseeable future.

The presentation also argues that, in order to “leapfrog” competitors in emerging markets, what is needed is not “individual brilliance” but instead specific “structural conditions that exist within certain markets.” It cites several case studies where China is considered to be “leapfrogging” the U.S. due to major differences in these “structural factors.” Thus, the insinuation of the document (though not directly stated) is that the U.S. must alter the “structural factors” that are currently responsible for its lagging behind China in the “adoption” phase of AI-driven technologies.

Chief among the troublesome “structural factors” highlighted in this presentation are so-called “legacy systems” that are common in the U.S. but much less so in China. The NSCAI document states that examples of “legacy systems” include a financial system that still utilizes cash and card payments, individual car ownership and even receiving medical attention from a human doctor. It states that, while these “legacy systems” in the US are “good enough,” too many “good enough” systems “hinder the adoption of new things,” specifically AI-driven systems.

Another structural factor deemed by the NSCAI to be an obstacle to the U.S.’ ability to maintain a technological advantage over China is the “scale of the consumer market,” arguing that “extreme urban density = on-demand service adoption.” In other words, extreme urbanization results in more people using online or mobile-based “on-demand” services, ranging from ride-sharing to online shopping. It also cites the use of mass surveillance on China’s “huge population base” is an example of how China’s “scale of consumer market” advantage allowing “China to leap ahead” in the fields of related technologies, like facial recognition.

In addition to the alleged shortcomings of the U.S.’ “legacy systems” and lack of “extreme urban density,” the NSCAI also calls for more “explicit government support and involvement” as a means to speed up the adoption of these systems in the U.S. This includes the government lending its stores of data on civilians to train AI, specifically citing facial recognition databases, and mandating that cities be “re-architected around AVs [autonomous vehicles],” among others. Other examples given include the government investing large amounts of money in AI start-ups and adding tech behemoths to a national, public-private AI taskforce focused on smart city-implementation (among other things).

With regards to the latter, the document says “this level of public-private cooperation” in China is “outwardly embraced” by the parties involved, with this “serving as a stark contrast to the controversy around Silicon Valley selling to the U.S. government.” Examples of such controversy, from the NSCAI’s perspective, likely include Google employees petitioning to end the Google-Pentagon “Project Maven,” which uses Google’s AI software to analyze footage captured by drones. Google eventually chose not to renew its Maven contract as a result of the controversy, even though top Google executives viewed the project as a “golden opportunity” to collaborate more closely with the military and intelligence communities.

The document also defines another aspect of government support as the “clearing of regulatory barriers.” This term is used in the document specifically with respect to U.S. privacy laws, despite the fact that the U.S. national security state has long violated these laws with near complete impunity. However, the document seems to suggest that privacy laws in the U.S. should be altered so that what the U.S. government has done “in secret” with private citizen data can be done more openly and more extensively. The NSCAI document also discusses the removal of “regulatory barriers” in order to speed up the adoption of self-driving cars, even though autonomous driving technology has resulted in several deadly and horrific car accidents and presents other safety concerns.

Also discussed is how China’s “adoption advantage” will “allow it to leapfrog the U.S.” in several new fields, including “AI medical diagnosis” and “smart cities.” It then asserts that “the future will be decided at the intersection of private enterprise and policy leaders between China and the U.S.” If this coordination over the global AI market does not occur, the document warns that “we [the U.S.] risk being left out of the discussions where norms around AI are set for the rest of our lifetimes.”

The presentation also dwells considerably on how “the main battleground [in technology] are not the domestic Chinese and US markets,” but what it refers to as the NBU (next billion users) markets, where it states that “Chinese players will aggressively challenge Silicon Valley.” In order to challenge them more successfully, the presentation argues that, “just like we [view] the market of teenagers as a harbinger for new trends, we should look at China.”

The document also expresses concerns about China exporting AI more extensively and intensively than the U.S., saying that China is “already crossing borders” by helping to build facial databases in Zimbabwe and selling image recognition and smart city systems to Malaysia. If allowed to become “the unambiguous leader in AI,” it says that “China could end up writing much of the rulebook of international norms around the deployment of AI” and that it would “broaden China’s sphere of influence amongst an international community that increasingly looks to the pragmatic authoritarianism of China and Singapore as an alternative to Western liberal democracy.”

WHAT WILL REPLACE THE US’ “LEGACY SYSTEMS”?

Given that the document makes it quite clear that “legacy systems” in the U.S. are impeding its ability to prevent China from “leapfrogging” ahead in AI and then dominating it for the foreseeable future, it is also important to examine what the document suggests should replace these “legacy systems” in the U.S.

As previously mentioned, one “legacy system” cited early on in the presentation is the main means of payment for most Americans, cash and credit/debit cards. The presentation asserts, in contrast to these “legacy systems” that the best and most advanced system is moving entirely to smartphone-based digital wallets.

It notes specifically the main mobile wallet provider in India, PayTM, is majority owned by Chinese companies. It quotes an article, which states that “a big break came [in 2016] when India canceled 86% of currency in circulation in an effort to cut corruption and bring more people into the tax net by forcing them to use less cash.” At the time, claims that India’s 2016 “currency reform” would be used as a stepping stone towards a cashless society were dismissed by some as “conspiracy theory.” However, last year, a committee convened by India’s central bank (and led by an Indian tech oligarch who also created India’s massive civilian biometric database) resulted in the Indian government’s “Cashless India” program.

Regarding India’s 2016 “currency reform,” the NSCAI document then asserts that “this would be unfathomable in the West. And unsurprisingly, when 86% of the cash got cancelled and nobody had a credit card, mobile wallets in India exploded, laying the groundwork for a far more advanced payments ecosystem in India than the US.” However, it has become increasingly less unfathomable in light of the current coronavirus crisis, which has seen efforts to reduce the amount of cash used because paper bills may carry the virus as well as efforts to introduce a Federal Reserve-backed “digital dollar.”

In addition, the NSCAI document from last May calls for the end of in-person shopping and promotes moving towards all shopping being performed online. It argues that “American companies have a lot to gain by adopting ideas from Chinese companies” by shifting towards exclusive e-commerce purchasing options. It states that only shopping online provides a “great experience” and also adds that “when buying online is literally the only way to get what you want, consumers go online.”

Another “legacy system” that the NSCAI seeks to overhaul is car ownership, as it promotes autonomous, or self-driving vehicles and further asserts that “fleet ownership > individual ownership.” It specifically points to a need for “a centralized ride-sharing network,” which it says “is needed to coordinate cars to achieve near 100% utilization rates.” However, it warns against ride-sharing networks that “need a human operator paired with each vehicle” and also asserts that “fleet ownership makes more sense” than individual car ownership. It also specifically calls for these fleets to not only be composed of self-driving cars, but electric cars and cites reports that China “has the world’s most aggressive electric vehicle goals….and seek[s] the lead in an emerging industry.”

The document states that China leads in ride-sharing today even though ride-sharing was pioneered first in the U.S. It asserts once again that the U.S. “legacy system” of individual car ownership and lack of “extreme urban density” are responsible for China’s dominance in this area. It also predicts that China will “achieve mass autonomous [vehicle] adoption before the U.S.,” largely because “the lack of mass car ownership [in China] leads to far more consumer receptiveness to AVs [autonomous vehicles].” It then notes that “earlier mass adoption leads to a virtuous cycle that allows Chinese core self-driving tech to accelerate beyond [its] Western counterparts.”

In addition to their vision for a future financial system and future self-driving transport system, the NSCAI has a similarly dystopian vision for surveillance. The document calls mass surveillance “one of the ‘first-and-best customers’ for AI” and “a killer application for deep learning.” It also states that “having streets carpeted with cameras is good infrastructure.”

It then discusses how “an entire generation of AI unicorn” companies are “collecting the bulk of their early revenue from government security contracts” and praises the use of AI in facilitating policing activities. For instance, it lauds reports that “police are making convictions based on phone calls monitored with iFlyTek’s voice-recognition technology” and that “police departments are using [AI] facial recognition tech to assist in everything from catching traffic law violators to resolving murder cases.”

On the point of facial recognition technology specifically, the NSCAI document asserts that China has “leapt ahead” of the US on facial recognition, even though “breakthroughs in using machine learning for image recognition initially occurred in the US.” It claims that China’s advantage in this instance is because they have government-implemented mass surveillance (“clearing of regulatory barriers”), enormous government-provided stores of data (“explicit government support”) combined with private sector databases on a huge population base (“scale of consumer market”). As a consequence of this, the NSCAI argues, China is also set to leap ahead of the U.S. in both image/facial recognition and biometrics.

The document also points to another glaring difference between the U.S. and its rival, stating that: “In the press and politics of America and Europe, Al is painted as something to be feared that is eroding privacy and stealing jobs. Conversely, China views it as both a tool for solving major macroeconomic challenges in order to sustain their economic miracle, and an opportunity to take technological leadership on the global stage.”

The NSCAI document also touches on the area of healthcare, calling for the implementation of a system that seems to be becoming reality thanks to the current coronavirus crisis. In discussing the use of AI in healthcare (almost a year before the current crisis began), it states that “China could lead the world in this sector” and “this could lead to them exporting their tech and setting international norms.” One reason for this is also that China has “far too few doctors for the population” and calls having enough doctors for in-person visits a “legacy system.” It also cited U.S. regulatory measures such as “HIPPA compliance and FDA approval” as obstacles that don’t constrain Chinese authorities.

More troubling, it argues that “the potential impact of government supplied data is even more significant in biology and healthcare,” and says it is likely that “the Chinese government [will] require every single citizen to have their DNA sequenced and stored in government databases, something nearly impossible to imagine in places as privacy conscious as the U.S. and Europe.” It continues by saying that “the Chinese apparatus is well-equipped to take advantage” and calls these civilian DNA databases a “logical next step.”

WHO ARE THE NSCAI?

Given the sweeping changes to the U.S. that the NSCAI promoted in this presentation last May, it becomes important to examine who makes up the commission and to consider their influence over U.S. policy on these matters, particularly during the current crisis. As previously mentioned, the chairman of the NSCAI is Eric Schmidt, the former head of Alphabet (Google’s parent company) who has also invested heavily in Israeli intelligence-linked tech companies including the controversial start-up “incubator” Team8. In addition, the committee’s vice-chair is Robert Work, is not only a former top Pentagon official, but is currently working with the think tank CNAS, which is run by John McCain’s long-time foreign policy adviser and Joe Biden’s former national security adviser.

Other members of the NSCAI are as follows:

  • Safra Catz, CEO of Oracle, with close ties to Trump’s top donor Sheldon Adelson
  • Steve Chien, supervisor of the Artificial Intelligence Group at Caltech’s Jet Propulsion Lab
  • Mignon Clyburn, Open Society Foundation fellow and former FCC commissioner
  • Chris Darby, CEO of In-Q-Tel (CIA’s venture capital arm)
  • Ken Ford, CEO of the Florida Institute for Human and Machine Cognition
  • Jose-Marie Griffiths, president of Dakota State University and former National Science Board member
  • Eric Horvitz, director of Microsoft Research Labs
  • Andy Jassy, CEO of Amazon Web Services (CIA contractor)
  • Gilman Louie, partner at Alsop Louie Partners and former CEO of In-Q-Tel
  • William Mark, director of SRI International and former Lockheed Martin director
  • Jason Matheny, director of the Center for Security and Emerging Technology, former Assistant director of National Intelligence and former director of IARPA (Intelligence Advanced Research Project Agency)
  • Katharina McFarland, consultant at Cypress International and former Assistant Secretary of Defense for Acquisition
  • Andrew Moore, head of Google Cloud AI

As can be seen in the list above, there is a considerable amount of overlap between the NSCAI and the companies currently advising the White House on “re-opening” the economy (Microsoft, Amazon, Google, Lockheed Martin, Oracle) and one NSCAI member, Oracle’s Safra Katz, is on the White House’s “economic revival” taskforce. Also, there is also overlap between the NSCAI and the companies that are intimately involved in the implementation of the “contact tracing” “coronavirus surveillance system,” a mass surveillance system promoted by the Jared Kushner-led, private-sector coronavirus task force. That surveillance system is set to be constructed by companies with deep ties to Google and the U.S. national security state, and both Google and Apple, who create the operating systems for the vast majority of smartphones used in the U.S., have said they will now build that surveillance system directly into their smartphone operating systems.

Also notable is the fact that In-Q-Tel and the U.S. intelligence community has considerable representation on the NSCAI and that they also boast close ties with Google, Palantir and other Silicon Valley giants, having been early investors in those companies. Both Google and Palantir, as well as Amazon (also on the NSCAI) are also major contractors for U.S. intelligence agencies. In-Q-Tel’s involvement on the NSCAI is also significant because they have been heavily promoting mass surveillance of consumer electronic devices for use in pandemics for the past several years. Much of that push has come from In-Q-Tel’s current Executive Vice President Tara O’Toole, who was previously the director of the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security and also co-authored several controversial biowarfare/pandemic simulations, such as Dark Winter.

In addition, since at least January, the U.S. intelligence community and the Pentagon have been at the forefront of developing the U.S. government’s still-classified “9/11-style” response plans for the coronavirus crisis, alongside the National Security Council. Few news organizations have noted that these classified response plans, which are set to be triggered if and when the U.S. reaches a certain number of coronavirus cases, has been created largely by elements of the national security state (i.e. the NSC, Pentagon, and intelligence), as opposed to civilian agencies or those focused on public health issues.

Furthermore, it has been reported that the U.S. intelligence community as well as U.S. military intelligence knew by at least January (though recent reports have said as early as last November) that the coronavirus crisis would reach “pandemic proportions” by March. The American public were not warned, but elite members of the business and political classes were apparently informed, given the record numbers of CEO resignations in January and several high-profile insider trading allegations that preceded the current crisis by a matter of weeks.

Perhaps even more disconcerting is the added fact that the U.S. government not only participated in the eerily prescient pandemic simulation last October known as Event 201, it also led a series of pandemic response simulations last year. Crimson Contagion was a series of four simulations that involved 19 U.S. federal agencies, including intelligence and the military, as well as 12 different states and a host of private sector companies that simulated a devastating pandemic influenza outbreak that had originated in China. It was led by the current HHS Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response, Robert Kadlec, who is a former lobbyist for military and intelligence contractors and a Bush-era homeland security “bioterrorism” advisor.


Dr. Robert Kadlec

In addition, both Kadlec and the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security, which was intimately involved in Event 201, have direct ties to the controversial June 2001 biowarfare exercise “Dark Winter,” which predicted the 2001 anthrax attacks that transpired just months later in disturbing ways. Though efforts by media and government were made to blame the anthrax attacks on a foreign source, the anthrax was later found to have originated at a U.S. bioweapons lab and the FBI investigation into the case has been widely regarded as a cover-up, including by the FBI’s once-lead investigator on that case.

Given the above, it is worth asking if those who share the NSCAI’s vision saw the coronavirus pandemic early on as an opportunity to make the “structural changes” it had deemed essential to countering China’s lead in the mass adoption of AI-driven technologies, especially considering that many of the changes in the May 2019 document are now quickly taking place under the guise of combatting the coronavirus crisis.

THE NSCAI’S VISION TAKES SHAPE

Though the May 2019 NSCAI document was authored nearly a year ago, the coronavirus crisis has resulted in the implementation of many of the changes and the removal of many of the “structural” obstacles that the commission argued needed to be drastically altered in order to ensure a technological advantage over China in the field of AI. The aforementioned move away from cash, which is taking place not just in the U.S. but internationally, is just one example of many.

For instance, earlier this week CNN reported that grocery stores are now considering banning in-person shopping and that the U.S. Department of Labor has recommended that retailers nationwide start “‘using a drive-through window or offering curbside pick-up’ to protect workers for exposure to coronavirus.” In addition, last week, the state of Florida approved an online-purchase plan for low income families using the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). Other reports have argued that social distancing inside grocery stores is ineffective and endangering people’s lives. As previously mentioned, the May 2019 NSCAI document argues that moving away from in-person shopping is necessary to mitigate China’s “adoption advantage” and also argued that “when buying online is literally the only way to get what you want, consumers go online.”

Reports have also argued that these changes in shopping will last far beyond coronavirus, such as an article by Business Insider entitled “The coronavirus pandemic is pushing more people online and will forever change how Americans shop for groceries, experts say.” Those cited in the piece argue that this shift away from in-person shopping will be “permanent” and also states that “More people are trying these services than otherwise would have without this catalyst and gives online players a greater chance to acquire and keep a new customer base.” A similar article in Yahoo! News argues that, thanks to the current crisis, “our dependence on online shopping will only rise because no one wants to catch a virus at a shop.”

In addition, the push towards the mass use of self-driving cars has also gotten a boost thanks to coronavirus, with driverless cars now making on-demand deliveries in California. Two companies, one Chinese-owned and the other backed by Japan’s SoftBank, have since been approved to have their self-driving cars used on California roads and that approval was expedited due to the coronavirus crisis. The CPO of Nuro Inc., the SoftBank-backed company, was quoted in Bloomberg as saying that “The Covid-19 pandemic has expedited the public need for contactless delivery services. Our R2 fleet is custom-designed to change the very nature of driving and the movement of goods by allowing people to remain safely at home while their groceries, medicines, and packages are brought to them.” Notably, the May 2019 NSCAI document references the inter-connected web of SoftBank-backed companies, particularly those backed by its largely Saudi-funded “Vision Fund,” as forming “the connective tissue for a global federation of tech companies” set to dominate AI.

California isn’t the only state to start using self-driving cars, as the Mayo Clinic of Florida is now also using them. “Using artificial intelligence enables us to protect staff from exposure to this contagious virus by using cutting-edge autonomous vehicle technology and frees up staff time that can be dedicated to direct treatment and care for patients,” Kent Thielen, M.D., CEO of Mayo Clinic in Florida stated in a recent press release cited by Mic.

Like the changes to in-person shopping in the age of coronavirus, other reports assert that self-driving vehicles are here to stay. One report published by Mashable is entitled “It took a coronavirus outbreak for self-driving cars to become more appealing,” and opens by stating “Suddenly, a future full of self-driving cars isn’t just a sci-fi pipe dream. What used to be considered a scary, uncertain technology for many Americans looks more like an effective tool to protect ourselves from a fast-spreading, infectious disease.” It further argues that this is hardly a “fleeting shift” in driving habits and one tech CEO cited in the piece, Anuja Sonalker of Steer Tech, claims that “There has been a distinct warming up to human-less, contactless technology. Humans are biohazards, machines are not.”

Another focus of the NSCAI presentation, AI medicine, has also seen its star rise in recent weeks. For instance, several reports have touted how AI-driven drug discovery platforms have been able to identify potential treatments for coronavirus. Microsoft, whose research lab director is on the NSCAI, recently put $20 million into its “AI for health” program to speed up the use of AI in analyzing coronavirus data. In addition, “telemedicine”– a form of remote medical care – has also become widely adopted due to the coronavirus crisis.

Several other AI-driven technologies have similarly become more widely adopted thanks to coronavirus, including the use of mass surveillance for “contact tracing” as well as facial recognition technology and biometrics. A recent Wall Street Journal report stated that the government is seriously considering both contact tracing via phone geolocation data and facial recognition technology in order to track those who might have coronavirus. In addition, private businesses – like grocery stores and restaurants – are using sensors and facial recognition to see how many people and which people are entering their stores.

As far as biometrics go, university researchers are now working to determine if “smartphones and biometric wearables already contain the data we need to know if we have become infected with the novel coronavirus.” Those efforts seek to detect coronavirus infections early by analyzing “sleep schedules, oxygen levels, activity levels and heart rate” based on smartphone apps like FitBit and smartwatches. In countries outside the U.S., biometric IDs are being touted as a way to track those who have and lack immunity to coronavirus.

In addition, one report in The Edge argued that the current crisis is changing what types of biometrics should be used, asserting that a shift towards thermal scanning and facial recognition is necessary:

“At this critical juncture of the crisis, any integrated facial recognition and thermal scanning solution must be implemented easily, rapidly and in a cost-effective manner. Workers returning to offices or factories must not have to scramble to learn a new process or fumble with declaration forms. They must feel safe and healthy for them to work productively. They just have to look at the camera and smile. Cameras and thermal scanners, supported by a cloud-based solution and the appropriate software protocols, will do the rest.”

Also benefiting from the coronavirus crisis is the concept of “smart cities,” with Forbes recently writing that “Smart cities can help us combat the coronavirus pandemic.” That article states that “Governments and local authorities are using smart city technology, sensors and data to trace the contacts of people infected with the coronavirus. At the same time, smart cities are also helping in efforts to determine whether social distancing rules are being followed.”

That article in Forbes also contains the following passage:

“…[T]he use of masses of connected sensors makes it clear that the coronavirus pandemic is–intentionally or not–being used as a testbed for new surveillance technologies that may threaten privacy and civil liberties. So aside from being a global health crisis, the coronavirus has effectively become an experiment in how to monitor and control people at scale.”

Another report in The Guardian states that “If one of the government takeaways from coronavirus is that ‘smart cities’ including Songdo or Shenzhen are safer cities from a public health perspective, then we can expect greater efforts to digitally capture and record our behaviour in urban areas – and fiercer debates over the power such surveillance hands to corporations and states.” There have also been reports that assert that typical cities are “woefully unprepared” to face pandemics compared to “smart cities.”

Yet, beyond many of the NSCAI’s specific concerns regarding mass AI adoption being conveniently resolved by the current crisis, there has also been a concerted effort to change the public’s perception of AI in general. As previously mentioned, the NSCAI had pointed out last year that:

“In the press and politics of America and Europe, Al is painted as something to be feared that is eroding privacy and stealing jobs. Conversely, China views it as both a tool for solving major macroeconomic challenges in order to sustain their economic miracle, and an opportunity to take technological leadership on the global stage.”

Now, less than a year later, the coronavirus crisis has helped spawn a slew of headlines in just the last few weeks that paint AI very differently, including “How Artificial Intelligence Can Help Fight Coronavirus,” “How AI May Prevent the Next Coronavirus Outbreak,” “AI Becomes an Ally in the Fight Against COVID-19,” “Coronavirus: AI steps up in battle against COVID-19,” and “Here’s How AI Can Help Africa Fight the Coronavirus,” among numerous others.

It is indeed striking how the coronavirus crisis has seemingly fulfilled the NSCAI’s entire wishlist and removed many of the obstacles to the mass adoption of AI technologies in the United States. Like major crises of the past, the national security state appears to be using the chaos and fear to promote and implement initiatives that would be normally rejected by Americans and, if history is any indicator, these new changes will remain long after the coronavirus crisis fades from the news cycle. It is essential that these so-called “solutions” be recognized for what they are and that we consider what type of world they will end up creating – an authoritarian technocracy. We ignore the rapid advance of these NSCAI-promoted initiatives and the phasing out of so-called “legacy systems” (and with them, many long-cherished freedoms) at our own peril.

Question Everything, Come To Your Own Conclusions.”

(cross-posted from Café Babylon)

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longer lead the world in internal surveillance and security technology, political profiling and counter-subversion policing, and automated law enforcement. Extending our global leadership in these things is surely cause for throwing at least another couple trillion dollars at the U.S. military-intelligence-internal security complex. Right?

Wrong! Any society that pursues Artificial Intelligence and automation (elimination) of jobs to its logical conclusion, and seriously tries to perfect social conditioning and genetic engineering of absolutely complacent (ex-)workers will surely need a highly efficient police state. Why is that? It's been tried, many times, and it's not going to work. Not in the U.S. and not in China. Any society organized along these lines of total submission and conformity will perish because it won't be a place worth living in.

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9 users have voted.
wendy davis's picture

@leveymg

the US will not lag behind! i'd clicked into every promising link in hope that one might note the absolute certaintly that huawei's 5g smartphones have back=doors to spy on USian tech security! OTOH, and i've read that the NSA is unable to break their encryption. come to think of it, i keep meaning to check to see if their female CFO meng is still under house arrest it Canada.

webb must have a photographic memory, i swear. what she can remember, then weave together is simply astounding to me. how many hyperlinks are in this, anyway?

but demonitization pay by plastic as in india is on the way, as Big Bill Gates is panting for it in the US as well. oh, that filthy cash! hands up! unhand that coronavirus-laden money!

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wendy davis's picture

@leveymg

actually read your second paragraph. ; )

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and our owners have our best interests at heart, right? They simply want to protect us from ourselves, don't we know? Sure they'll make some money but hey, that's private enterprise, right? The horrifying part is that just enough of a majority of our population really still believes that. And admittedly, it is damned hard not to when those lies are shoveled out in mass doses every single day. The peer pressure to conform is getting worse every day, so our owners don't even really have to do all that much to divide us up, do they? We will do that for them, as we have done for decades.

Our owners have played the long game and all those decades of propaganda and LIES are now paying off for them. Anyone who dissents is now a RWNJ lunatic who is merely selfish as hell for wanting to pay their rent or feed their kids, and the gun nuts don't help but our media LOVES that kind of "controversy" and will only show the most rabid protests as they always have - divide and conquer works. We have discussed here on this site how our own FBI places covert agents into protests to gin up violence when there would be none without them, but somehow we cannot see that same type of tactic, with a different flavor this time, is being used on us daily in this "war" against a manmade virus. We KNOW our government is wholly corrupt but when it comes to this pandemic all of a sudden that knowledge goes out the window and we turn on each other. The American Way.

The whole thing is scary as hell, and to me the truly scary part is how people are going to go along with this. And condemn those of us who see it for what it is as dangerous heretics. There are days I imagine some distant "friend" of mine who has heard the kind of shit I talk about turning me in to the authorities as a dangerous dissident because I won't accept the "benevolence" of people who've ripped us off all their lives. While that pisses me off to no end, I really am no longer so scared of that. Let the dumbshits go after those of us who see, they can lament their stupidity after the fact but it'll be too fucking late by then. USA, USA, USA!!

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Only a fool lets someone else tell him who his enemy is. Assata Shakur

boriscleto's picture

@lizzyh7 And don't call me Shirley.

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4 users have voted.

" In the beginning, the universe was created. This has made a lot of people very angry, and is generally considered to have been a bad move. -- Douglas Adams, The Hitch Hiker's Guide to the Galaxy "

wendy davis's picture

@lizzyh7

rant, amiga! lol, you've reminded me of ronald raygun's famous quote: "the most terrifying phrase in the world is: 'we're from the gummint, and we're here to help!'" of course he'd ascribed a slightly different meaning to 'gummint', but still...

i agree that it's amazing that so many are willing to give up their civil liberties for the illusion of safety, including down to volunteering to be guinea pigs to test novel coronavirus vaccines that haven't even been test on animals yet. no wonder gates asked for, and has received, immunity for any deaths, etc., vaccines that are used.

oh, dear, lizzyh7; i'm losing the thread. i accidentally fell asleep and my head is full of cotton wool now. more full that usual, i should note. but thank you.

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wendy davis's picture

@lizzyh7

RWNJ (right wing nut jobs, urban dictionary) (LOL), but i'm not sure that anyone knows the origin nor mutaions of this new coronavirus, although early on chinese scientist had offered its genome sequence to the WHO and world in order to help find...vaccines against it.

and of course the pentagon and DARPA are helping by: "...working on cloning antibodies to fight COVID-19, cbs new, april 28, 2020 it's kind of a non-investigative puff piece on a 'temporary vaccine'

"In vaccines, you're literally teaching the body to fish, so to speak. You're teaching it how to make the antibodies that would be protective against the pathogen of interest," said Dr. Robert Carnahan, Associate Director of the Vanderbilt Vaccine Center, one of the teams working with DARPA on this effort. "We're not doing that here. We're not teaching the body, what we're doing is literally jumping to the end of that, and giving them the final product which is the antibody itself. …We're literally giving them the fish."

but this report seems more illuminating, at least 4 me: DARPA’s gambles might have created the best hopes for stopping COVID-19', biocentury.com, march 19, 2020

The Defense Research Advanced Projects Agency (DARPA) has taken risks where others wouldn’t. Its pursuit of high-risk, high-reward technologies, combined with its mission-driven approach to managing projects is promising to pay off in the fight against COVID-19.

DARPA was behind the creation of DNA and RNA vaccines, funding early R&D by Moderna Inc. (NASDAQ:MRNA) and Inovio Pharmaceuticals Inc. (NASDAQ:INO) at a time when the technologies were considered speculative by many scientists and investors.

The military R&D agency believed nucleic acid-base vaccines could be developed much faster than conventional technologies. Its funding, project management and vote of confidence helped de-risk the science and attract investments and partnerships.

NIH selected Moderna as its partner for COVID-19 vaccine development. This week, an RNA vaccine produced by Moderna became the first COVID-19 candidate vaccine to be administered in a Phase I trial.
..........................
“A lot of people said that would be great if it works, but we don't think it could work, there are too many things that can go wrong,” Amy Jenkins, a program manager in DARPA’s Biological Technologies Office, told BioCentury. She said DARPA scientists concluded “there are scientific reasons why it may not work, but there are also scientific reasons why it may work, and that's absolutely the right place for DARPA to be investing.”

Jenkins highlighted DARPA’s high tolerance for risk. “It was something that was much too risky for groups like the NIH to fund.”
..............................
The idea, Jenkins said, is to “use that RNA that we've been investing so heavily in as a vaccine modality and just encode the antibody sequence on the RNA and just to deliver the RNA directly into your muscle cells.” The human body would replace bioreactors (see "DNA-encoded and RNA-encoded antibodies").

yanno: DARPA: super soldiers, CRISPR human gene editing; it polls very well, that.

but here we are again: ‘China has been trying to avoid fallout from coronavirus; Now 100 countries are pushing for an investigation’, Griffiths, CNN 8 hrs ago (via msn news)

Russian President Vladimir Putin once called Xi Jinping, the Chinese leader, a "lone warrior." Putin was joking, but that description is starting to look more and more accurate. Russia has joined about 100 countries in backing a resolution at the upcoming World Health Assembly (WHA), calling for an independent inquiry into the coronavirus pandemic
........................
The European Union-drafted resolution comes on the back of a push by Australia for an inquiry into China's initial handling of the crisis.

That was met with an angry response from Beijing, which accused Canberra of a "highly irresponsible" move that could "disrupt international cooperation in fighting the pandemic and goes against people's shared aspiration."

While the resolution to be presented at the annual meeting of World Health Organization (WHO) members, which begins on Monday in Geneva, does not single out China or any other country, it calls for an "impartial, independent and comprehensive evaluation" of "the (WHO)-coordinated international health response to Covid-19."

The wording of the resolution is weak compared to Australia's previous calls for a probe into China's role and responsibility in the origin of the pandemic. This may have been necessary to get a majority of WHO member states to sign on -- particularly those, such as Russia, with traditionally strong ties to Beijing.

But that doesn't mean China's government should rest easy. The potential for an independent probe, even one not initially tasked with investigating an individual country's response, to turn up damning or embarrassing information is great. Australian government sources told the ABC, the country's public broadcaster, that the resolution's language was sufficiently strong to "ensure that a proper and thorough investigation took place."

Beijing has previously said it would only support an investigation held by the WHO, which has been accused of being overly influenced by China -- a charge top WHO officials refute.
Speaking last week, China's ambassador to the UK, Liu Xiaoming said: "We're open, we are transparent, we have nothing to hide, we have nothing to fear. We welcome an international, independent review but it has to be organized by the WHO."

With more countries signing on to the EU resolution as the assembly nears, that may be out of China's hands.

and so on...

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hopeful1's picture

I have been mostly a lurker. A friend of mine was very disturbed by this essay and he asked me to respond. I thank Mr. Webb for posting it as it helps us keep an eye on the enemy. My response to
my friend is the caucus99 and similar sites help us be vigilant to encroaching fascists. That a bunch of folks from Google and Oracle got together and put together a justification for asking for lots of money does not in itself frighten me. I worked in Si Valley and I am very familiar with making Powerpoint presentations in which you ask for money. The presentations are largely bullshit, and often don't result in money. I am now a physics professor, and I also ask the government to fund my research. The National Science Foundation, the premier organization for funding basic research in the US, frequently makes the argument about "falling behind" in justification for funding science. It is a fair argument -- but it doesn't mean we should fund everyone's private fantasy. Here is what I wrote to my friend:

It is not surprising that people who do AI for a living have a vision of a future society that
deploys more AI. It is also not surprising that they would try to argue "we are losing our edge"
-- as this has long been an effective way to shake money loose from the Federal government.
It is the same thing that the National Science Foundation argues ... and of course they are correct
-- China is outinvesting the US in basic research by a large margin -- much to our detriment.
The fact that they wrote a document does not mean that this document
will come to pass. There are hordes of fancy presentations given in government that go nowhere.
The caucus99 crew comes from a mix of backgrounds but they really seem to be on the ball about individual freedoms and civil liberties. Even though Trump and the Republican party are all fuckin' fascists -- the American people --- from all sides of our misbegotten political discussion -- really don't want fascism (when they recognize it), and they would be INCREDIBLY SENSITIVE to losing the ability to use cash -- or to own their own car.
People hate facial recognition, and there are blade-runner like takes
on personal makeup specifically intended to fool facial recognition cameras.
These snake oil folks can try to sell us this shit. I don't think we will be buying it.

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Do not let the plutocrats divide us!

@hopeful1 Joseph Tainter, a cultural anthropologist with a specialization in statistics diagnosed their shared problem correctly, I believe. The U.S. and China are interdependent techno-surveillance states experiencing declining marginal returns on increasingly costly complexity. Declining returns on complexity is the core cause of the collapse of all complex societies throughout history Prof. Tainter has examined.

The U.S. has resorted to increasingly desperate, counterproductive measures to maintain its Post-World War Two hegemony, and as a result we are seeing the visibly accelerating breakup of that dominance. Meanwhile, China is pursuing it own competing parallel hegemony, which because it is so similar to the American, alienates the rest of the world for similar reasons. Neither the U.S. nor China present an attractive model for the future, and both will drag each other down to the collective relief of the rest of the planet. The Soviet Empire fell apart first, thirty years ago, under the same circumstances.

Interdependence and dominance truly are global, and that implies that any system of technological and political control must be both broadly attractive -- even if the merits are largely illusory -- as well as economically efficient. Neither variation of the same system of mass exploitation and tyranny is sustainable.

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wendy davis's picture

@leveymg

you say tainter's claimed, but i don't believe china is in search of global hegemony, but is in search of a multioplar world, as is russia. as far as surveillance, especially in these coronavirus days, the chinese seem to trust Xi is caring for them. including, as i believe CB has mentioned, providing essential goods for them while in lockdown, while USians are on their own.

a lot of the MSM anti-china distortions have to do with obomba's 'pivot to asia', and trump's 'blame china for their slow (bureaucratic) response' is working to an extent in that some are demanding reparations from china. ooops: the meme is 'blame Xi, not china.

as well, china's health silk road is being cynically mocked for being an effort to avoid taking responsibility. see:

China rolls out the Health Silk Road; In the Belt and Road framework, China is supplying much of the world including virus-hit Europe with medicine and healthcare items’, Pepe Escobar, April 2, 2020

and unlike most nations running on fiat currency, china and russia both have saved and invested in gold, and according to escobar, are considering gold-backed bitcoin yuan to trade with. and of course the US doesn't like that, do they?

the US in the form of both pompeo and brian hook, are once again urging the UN to use the 'snap back' provisions in the JCPOA that the trump pulled out of, to further sanction iran. hook's claimg that the US is still named as a participant in the deal. FM zarif's saying: nope, the deal was the deal, we will NOT negotiate a new one o USian terms.

well, anyway, im getting one of those corona headaches that impair my vision, so i'll get offline, go fix some dinner. ha ha! chinese chicken noodle soup, come to think of it! lots of ginger.

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@wendy davis @wendy davis to achieve control - hegemony - over essential imported resources and many aspects of manufacture and world trade. In fact, it already has a near monopoly of ownership over rare earths essential to production of cell phones and other strategic materials. It also has dominance in the production of many manufactured goods, particularly consumer electronics. That does not in itself make China predatory, but it does make it a hegemonous player in global trade, a perceived threat to the dominance of the United States. It can't avoid that.

Both countries are rushing to dominate and expand the fast growing total surveillance and social control market. My point is, that means the US and China are committing scarce resources to a dead end market, and committing themselves to the sort of bottomless arms race that bankrupted the Soviet Union. It's an escalation of domestic warfare spending that is mutually self-destructive.

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wendy davis's picture

@leveymg

different color than your original claim, but a few things: ‘Huawei says it’s fighting for ‘survival’ as Washington cuts off global chip suppliers’, 18 May, 2020, RT.com

“Chinese technology giant Huawei said on Monday that its business will “inevitably be impacted” by a new US regulation aiming to limit chip exports to the firm. It added that it “categorically opposes” Washington’s latest move.

“The US is leveraging its own technological strengths to crush companies outside its own borders. This will only serve to undermine the trust international companies place in US technology and supply chains. Ultimately, this will harm US interests,” Huawei said in a statement, adding that the decision was “arbitrary and pernicious, and threatens to undermine the entire industry worldwide.”

The company’s chairman, Guo Ping, said at Huawei’s annual global analyst summit on Monday: “We expect that our business will inevitably be affected. We will try all we can to seek a solution.” “Survival is the key word for us at present,” he added.

According to Guo, Huawei spent US$18.7 billion on goods from US suppliers last year and “will continue to buy” from them, if Washington allows.

many months ago china had said they'd start building their own chips, so i dunno where that went.

but trump is pressuring china in order to join the START treaty, and while his title is a bit snarky, my guess is that scott ritter has the figures right on china's nukes: In a world gone mad, China must build MORE NUKES to make disarmament possible , RT.com. may 12:

In an op-ed published in Chinese newspaper Global Times, its editor-in-chief Hu Xijin, argued that China should seek to upgrade its strategic nuclear arsenal from its current level of about 200 antiquated weapons to a modernized force comprising more than 1,000 nuclear weapons, including more than 100 modern mobile DF-41 intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs), each armed with 10-12 nuclear warheads, capable of striking the US mainland.

The deployment of DF-41 missiles, when combined with China’s new JL-3 submarine-launched ballistic missiles and nuclear-armed H-20 strategic bombers, would give China a capable nuclear TRIAD that rivaled those of the US and Russia.
..............
This point of view has a logic of de-escalation that is inherently attractive, but when viewed in the larger context of global nuclear posture where the US and Russian nuclear disarmament is held hostage by the current non-participation of China in meaningful disarmament talks, any call for China to maintain the nuclear status quo is in itself destabilizing.

The only way to bring China to the table for any meaningful arms control agreement is for it to build up its nuclear arsenal to a level where reciprocal cuts make sense for all involved parties. In short, nuclear symmetry perversely requires that China in effect adopts an “escalate to de-escalate” approach to arms control if disarmament is to have any political viability.

MADD gone crazy? i'll need to come back for a part II in a bit.

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wendy davis's picture

@leveymg

and i'm sure you'd been waiting with bated breath.../s

i'd assumed you were talking about lithium (i was thinking batteries for their mega-production of solar cells, and of which they have little) among 'rare earths', but apparently you weren't, as the wiki says:

A rare-earth element (REE) or rare-earth metal (REM), as defined by the International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry, is one of a set of seventeen chemical elements in the periodic table, specifically the fifteen lanthanides, as well as scandium and yttrium.[2] Scandium and yttrium are considered rare-earth elements because they tend to occur in the same ore deposits as the lanthanides and exhibit similar chemical properties, but have different electronic and magnetic properties.[3] Rarely, a broader definition that includes actinides may be used, since the actinides share some mineralogical, chemical, and physical (especially electron shell configuration) characteristics.[4]

The 17 rare-earth elements are cerium (Ce), dysprosium (Dy), erbium (Er), europium (Eu), gadolinium (Gd), holmium (Ho), lanthanum (La), lutetium (Lu), neodymium (Nd), praseodymium (Pr), promethium (Pm), samarium (Sm), scandium (Sc), terbium (Tb), thulium (Tm), ytterbium (Yb), and yttrium (Y). They are often found in minerals with thorium (Th), and less commonly uranium (U).

so, no arms race i can detect, but as to this:

My point is, that means the US and China are committing scarce resources to a dead end market...

i'm not seeing what you mean by dead end market. hauwei 5g phones are massively popular, even though some wackjobs believe the towers are part of the cause of the pandemic, but isn't that china's choice? in any event, bingling subsequently for china and rare earths i'd found:

Pentagon legislation aims to end dependence on China for rare earth minerals
By: Joe Gould, defensenews.com, a few hours ago

WASHINGTON ― The Pentagon has proposed legislation that aims to end reliance on China for rare earth minerals critical to the manufacturing of missiles and munitions, hypersonic weapons and radiation hardened electronics, by making targeted investments.
The proposed legislation would raise spending caps under the Defense Production Act to enable government to spend up to $1.75 billion on rare earth elements in munitions and missiles and $350 million for microelectronics. It would also eliminate caps when it comes to hypersonic weapons.

The proposal, obtained by Defense News, was offered earlier this month for inclusion in the annual defense policy bill Congress has been drafting.

“To me, this is the biggest thing that has happened to rare earths in a decade,” Jeffrey Green, a defense industry consultant and advocate for government intervention on rare earth materials, said Monday. “The policy shift is the government is realizing they have to put serious bucks into this.”

The U.S. government recently awarded contracts for heavy rare earth separation and issued solicitations for the processing of light separation and for neodymium magnets, which are used in Javelin missiles and F-35 fighter jets. Under current law, DoD cannot invest more than $50 million in DPA funds without additional congressional notification, but the Pentagon’s legislative proposal would raise this cap to $350 million, to invest in multiple projects.

These processes can be expensive, and the process for separating rare earth oxides can cost hundreds of millions dollars, Green said.

“The recent awards are like a drop in the bucket, for very small scale pilot programs. It’s nowhere near what they’d need to get a commercial facility, even to support DoD’s very small volume,” Green said. “They have to put big dollars in if they want to separate the oxide at a state-of-the-art facility that’s going to be anywhere close to Chinese pricing.”
China accounts for at least 71 percent of rare earth production globally and is the largest source of rare earth imports to the U.S., according to a Congressional Research Service report. The U.S. was once a major producer from the mid-1960s until around the late 1980s when China became a major low-cost producer and exporter.
.................................
"Our ability as a nation to manufacture defense technologies and support our military is dangerously dependent on our ability to access rare earth elements and critical minerals mined, refined, and manufactured almost exclusively in China,” Cruz said in a statement. “Much like the Chinese Communist Party has threatened to cut off the U.S. from life-saving medicines made in China, the Chinese Communist Party could also cut off our access to these materials, significantly threatening U.S. national security.”

Both Cruz and the DoD proposal accused China of predatory economic practices to secure its dominance in the rare earth elements market.

#FuckthePentagon and it's war machine. the publicly stated US military budget is $712 billion, china'a is about $168 billion (according to reuters). which nation wants full hegemonic command-and-control in every possible sphere it can? yes: this #Shithole Nation, the largest exporter of terrorist violence on the planet!

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wendy davis's picture

@hopeful1

relieved by your answer to webb's subversive, unfounded in your mind and his, anti-fascist paranoia. whitney webb is a female who writes from chile, though, and this is not solely about the NSCAI document, if you might note, but a panoply of links and quotes that speak the same language. but thanks for weighing in, hopeful1; i appreciate it.

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CB's picture

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wendy davis's picture

@CB

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gulfgal98's picture

Whitney Webb is a female American investigative reporter who currently lives in Chile. She did one of the most exhaustive investigative reports on Jeffrey Epstein.

Her current article paints a very frightening and dystopian picture of the future in which humans will no longer be able to interact with one another and will have no personal freedom of either mind or body. This is not a world that I want to live in nor do I doubt anyone else does.

Whitney recently appeared on the Jimmy Dore Show to talk about her report on the US AI project. I am embedding that interview below.

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Do I hear the sound of guillotines being constructed?

“Those who make peaceful revolution impossible will make violent revolution inevitable." ~ President John F. Kennedy

wendy davis's picture

@gulfgal98

i can't watch/listen, but you've just reminded me that she'd also covered the joint pentagon/DARPA project: Coronavirus Gives a Dangerous Boost to DARPA’s Darkest Agenda, may 4, 2020 it's a tome as well, with eleventy-seven million hyperlinks, but toward the bottom:

In January, the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI) announced it would begin funding vaccine candidates for the coronavirus outbreak, long before it became a major global issue. CEPI describes itself as “a partnership of public, private, philanthropic and civil organizations that will finance and co-ordinate the development of vaccines against high priority public health threats” and was founded in 2017 by the governments of Norway and India along with the World Economic Forum (WEF) and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. That month, CEPI only chose two pharmaceutical companies to receive funding for their efforts to develop a vaccine for Covid-19 – Moderna and Inovio Pharmaceuticals.

As previously mentioned, these two companies are DARPA-backed firms that frequently tout their “strategic alliance” with DARPA in press releases and on their websites. DARPA has also provided these companies with significant amounts of funding. For instance, the top funders behind Inovio Pharmaceuticals include both DARPA and the Pentagon’s Defense Threat Reduction Agency (DTRA) and the company has received millions in dollars in grants from DARPA, including a $45 million grant to develop a vaccine for Ebola. They were also recently awarded over $8 million from the U.S. military to develop a small, portable intradermal device for delivering DNA vaccines, which was jointly developed by Inovio and the U.S. Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases (USAMRIID), which also manages the “biodefense” lab at Fort Detrick.

In addition, the German company CureVac, which is also developing a CEPI-backed RNA vaccine for Covid-19, is another long-time recipient of DARPA funding. They were one of DARPA’s earliest investments in the technology, winning a $33.1 million DARPA contract to develop their “RNActive” vaccine platform in 2011.

In Moderna’s case, DARPA financed the production and development of their RNA vaccine production platform and their RNA therapy candidate for Chikungunya virus (their first for an infectious disease) was developed in direct collaboration with the agency. Since 2016, Moderna’s RNA vaccine program has received $100 million in funding from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. The Gates Foundation has since poured millions directly into both Moderna’s and Inovio’s Covid-19 vaccine efforts.

Gates’ backing of DNA and RNA vaccines is significant, given that Gates – a billionaire with unparalleled influence and control over global healthcare policy – recently asserted that the best options for a Covid-19 vaccine are these same vaccines, despite the fact that they have never before been approved for use in humans. Yet, thanks to the emergency authorizations activated due to the current crisis, both Moderna’s and Inovio’s testing for these vaccines has skipped animal trials and gone straight to human testing. They are also set to be fast-tracked for widespread use in a matter of months. Moderna’s clinical trial in humans began in mid-March, followed by Inovio’s in the beginning of April. Thus, they are not only Gates’ favorites to be the new vaccine, but are also slated to be the first to complete clinical trials and garner emergency U.S. government approval, especially Moderna’s vaccine which is being jointly developed with the government’s NIH.

then subtopics:

Persistent Concerns
A Not-So-Hidden Agenda

both very bleak reads...

thanks for your inadvertent remind, gulf gal.

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wendy davis's picture

@gulfgal98

i did have time to listen as i did chores in the kitchen, meaning: not acutely. but a she'd tried to explain to jimmy dore, it was the over-lap of the characters in the play, and not a red or blue thing. and the document was about what the group believed was afoot in china, including AI doctors, but all i can find is using AI for diagnosis by algorithm and so on.

but as i'd noted in a comment on my 'what's the difference between god and bill gates...etc.', here's gates critic NYC professor's: Jacob Levitch parses a Bill Gates and Google discussion of using AI in Health Care, wd, april 5, 2019

‘Bill Gates talked with Google employees about using A.I. to analyze ultrasound images of unborn children’, Mar 18 2019, cnbc.com

“Bill Gates, co-founder and former CEO of Microsoft, says he talked to Google researchers on Monday about the application of artificial-intelligence technology in health care.

The intersection of AI and health care is a longtime area of interest for Google. Researchers there have explored the use of AI algorithms for making predictions based on medical records. And Verily, another subsidiary of Alphabet alongside Google, is solely focused on health care.”

The author praises Microsoft and Google for being such arch-competitors in cloud computing, artificial intelligence research, and other areas, yet the visit is a great example of how Bill’s broad interest in technology trumps Microsoft’s long history of rivals with other companies. Ain’t he a peach?

Bill had apparently brought up the visit spontaneously after a person in the audience at the Human-Centered Artificial Intelligence Symposium at Stanford University in California, held near Google’s Mountain View headquarters, and had asked him about how to ensure that AI will operate ethically.

“Gates talked about the use of AI in weapons systems and autonomous vehicles before arriving at the subject of health care.

In the medical field, you know, we just don’t have doctors. Most people are born and die in Africa without coming near to a doctor,” said Gates, who is co-chair of the nonprofit Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, which concerns itself with improving global health among other things.”

it's long, with any number of tweets by levitch on twitter (@cordeliers), but...there it is. including a tweet showing that gates is bonded to genocidaire paul kagame, who was also friends w/ the obomba administation's key officials (i can't recall all their names at the moment, save for susan rice, maybe samantha power?).

sweet dreams to you all. g' night.

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