Mar 31, 2023·edited Mar 31, 2023Liked by Noah Smith

A quick personal note on the military applications of AI, having worked as a high tech communications equipment contractor to the U.S. military I can assure you that the DOD contracting system is seriously flawed. It is designed to create competition rather than collaboration and there is a definite lack of focus needed in pioneering new technologies.

Also, your chart showing that a majority of AI researchers are schooled in China but many migrate to the U.S. may be based on outdated data after the passage of the "Chip Wars" act attempting to onshore chip production to the U.S.

I would predict that this is not only a futile boondoggle but the Sinophobic backlash will likely send many native Chinese back home seeking more lucrative jobs and less discrimination. As DougAZ's comment on this string indicates, Chinese scientists are deemed an "enormous National Security concern" just because they're Chinese. The AI brain drain is likely to change course as China ramps up its efforts to develop alternatives to U.S. standards and procedures.

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Excellent-sounding recommendations, although I worry that books on AI coming off the press this year will be obsolete in another year. The scrum of emails I see each morning about the previous evening's experiences with and impressions of ChatGPT, Bing and Bard is overwhelming. And the silence so far from Apple is deafening.

I can wait for what you discover with quantum computing, but drones in the Ukraine are metasticising and it may be high performance computing of the traditional sort (on distant servers) that makes the difference. Instead of one drone plus one pilot plus one guy coordinating with artillery, we may already be seeing drone squadrons, with a single "officer" in control and intelligence C&C coordination. There have been cool Ted demos with the consumer gear for a few years now.

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Mar 31, 2023·edited Apr 1, 2023Liked by Noah Smith

You are really into this subject and quite rightly so. It is about the future of dominance by liberal democracies or totalitarianism.

In the old wars there could be several fronts in different geographical areas often with a main protagonist and his allies against another main protagonist and his allies. I don't know if there is anything to be gained in the discussion of the subject under that structure. It might also be unhelpful. Is everything so virtual geography doesn't come into it?

Also the idea of capable versus aggressive expressed in your article is much like the weak lines on a particular front. You might prefer to face the Romanians rather than Guderian and his panzers. If you concentrated also in defense on the Romanians manoeuvres presently in front of you the strength of your defence is in the wrong place.

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Mar 31, 2023Liked by Noah Smith

Does anyone know of any good references on the economic impact of quantum technology? I'm not looking for a textbook explaining the science behind the technology, but rather an overview of the potential impacts of different types of quantum technologies for businesses and society.

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I love that pie chart graph, Noah. Thanks!

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It is deeply troubling that 29% of AI researchers come from China while only 18% stay in China. Given the enormous National Security concerns, China's US silent police force, and home pressures, I dont think we are wise to have this large 18% of Chinese nationals doing AI research. They have been increasingly compromised by CCP.

Secondly, I'm not sure you were explicitly saying the hot button painful to Free Marketers word, "Industrial Policy".

I absolutely believe as a business dude and tech nerd that National Policy is vital for the US to maintain a National Security competitive status.

My proof:

No business thinks and works for 10 years out. Sarnoff, Bell Labs, GE all used to before Quarterly mania took over.

The automotive industry does actually work out 5 to 7 years

So: the Market can only adapt and compete in a short term selfish 2 year time window.

Nations can invest for 10 and 20 years. Long term.

We need the mix of short and long term policies

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Now, wouldn’t it be lovely if someone wrote a book about the humans in tech? Do they have an ethical rudder? Are they humanistic? How many, exactly, are past age 25 with fully developed brains? How many are even healthy, mentally and physically? Are they self-serving or other-serving? Objective or subjective? Should we let a single “armed” force decide national policy? Ahhh, to dream on . . .

In search of rational tech by mature, rational technologists — and what defines them ? How do we grow them?

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I just finished reading The Wires of War and found it very interesting. The author did a fine job in describing the front-end (software) and back-end (hardware) threats. He suggests that Silicon Valley and Washington DC should cooperate more to meet this challenge. One can easily walk away from this book and see how important it is to combat on-line attacks from foreign actors. The author devotes at least a chapter discussing the “apparatus” (government, private, etc…) that is currently devoted to our on-line defense and suggests that more is needed.

But what struck me is that the author did not address the threat of turning this “apparatus” inward, and against domestic actors or for that matter, people who they just disagree with. I find it a little disingenuous that people are opening discussing foreign threats, as they should, but completely ignoring recent revelations about censorship that is clearly happening on social media platforms. As we build out our on-line defenses against foreign actors, we also need to be sure that we do not silence speech of fellow Americans that we disagree with.

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"The Digital Silk Road is a bit light on arguments for why we should ramp up public support, however. There are a lot of bad things China could (and probably would) do to us if it controlled the world’s internet infrastructure — disrupt our military operations, spy on us, launch cyberattacks, and so on."

The response of much of the world to such a statement would be that NO single state should control the world's Internet infrastructure. The response of the USA seems to be that the USA must control that infrastructure.

This is interesting in light of the "probably" claim, which may be read as projection, given that we know that the USA has in fact used its control of internet infrastructure for spying, cyberattacks, and the like.

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I wish there wasn't such a strong self-fulfilling prophecy aspect to the conflict between the US and China. I think every single piece in five-eyes media I read is of the form "We are at peace for now, but it's only a matter of time..."

Did the whole idea of co-existence become somehow naive when we learned that capitalism doesn't lead to democracy?

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Dear Noah, I think you are missing Softwar by Lowery in this overview

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Apr 1, 2023·edited Apr 1, 2023

This was a captivating piece. Rutte unfortunately is not equipped with the aptitude to recognize that Western Europe is wetting US' beak amid the Dutch' corruptly-defined domestic energy transition strategy, which should have shifted negotiation power greatly to ASML, limiting US' export controls and allowing China to start rebalancing the tech supremacy equilibrium.

I would also not underestimate China's multilateral allies' ability to work on funding networking projects as ''critical development projects'' throughout LATAM and parts of Africa in the coming years; a possible phenomena not carefully considered in your analysis which could greatly leverage China's military supremacy and coverage throughout Earth.

PS: please update us if you find accurate books on drone advancements. Frank Wang does not have detailed media coverage regarding his built emperium and relation to the state.

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