• China Will Dominate High-Tech Unless the United States Takes Off the Gloves

    The U.S.-China trade war has affected businesses from Apple to American cherry growers and shows no signs of halting, but the profuse debate around Huawei and the Trump administration’s trade war reveals a fundamental weakness in the American economy: its lack of competitiveness. The United States should continue to defend against potential security threats posed by Chinese firms, but it should not rely on these protections only as a strategy to maintain competitiveness. The erosion of U.S. dominance in other key high-tech, high-value sectors – automobiles, consumer electronics, robotics, AI, energy, biotechnology, electric vehicles —suggest that there are more fundamental problems. “If the United States wishes to maintain its high-tech leadership, it must be willing to invest in the industries critical to success in the twenty-first century,” three experts write.

  • Coming Soon to a Battlefield: Robots That Can Kill

    A Marine Corps program called Sea Mob aims to develop cutting-edge technology which would allow vessels to undertake lethal assaults without a direct human hand at the helm. A handful of such systems have been deployed for decades, though only in limited, defensive roles, such as shooting down missiles hurtling toward ships. But with the development of AI-infused systems, the military is now on the verge of fielding machines capable of going on the offensive, picking out targets and taking lethal action without direct human input.

  • DHS Seeks Standards for “Smart City” Sensors, Starting in St. Louis

    The Homeland Security Department’s Science and Technology Directorate is kicking off a pilot program that will test the integration of smart city technologies in St. Louis, Missouri. Working in collaboration with the city and the Open Geospatial Consortium, agency insiders will use the pilot to research, design and assess Homeland Security’s Smart City Interoperability Reference Architecture, or SCIRA.

  • China May Have Used a Recent Massive iPhone Hack to Target Uighur Muslims

    A recent massive iPhone hack discovered by Google researchers may have been a campaign to target Uighur Muslims, an oppressed ethnic minority living in China, TechCrunch and Forbes report. The hack came to light last week, when researchers at Google’s cybersecurity wing Project Zero reported they had found a handful of websites which had been secretly injecting spyware into iPhones over the course of two years.

  • Helping Nuclear Forensics Investigations by Going Small

    Until recently, the analysis and identification of nuclear fuel pellets in nuclear forensics investigations have been mainly focused on macroscopic characteristics, such as fuel pellet dimensions, uranium enrichment and other reactor-specific features. But scientists are going a step further by going down to the microscale to study the diverse characteristics of nuclear fuel pellets that could improve nuclear forensic analysis by determining more effectively where the material came from and how it was made.

  • Helping Structures Better Withstand Earthquakes, Wind, and Fire

    NIST is awarding more than $6.6 million to fund research into improving disaster resilience. Eleven organizations will receive 12 grants to conduct research into how earthquakes, wind and fire affect the built environment to inform building designs, codes and standards to help those structures better withstand such hazards.

  • Examining a Video’s Changes Over Time Helps Flag Deepfakes

    It used to be that only Hollywood production companies with deep pockets and teams of skilled artists and technicians could make deepfake videos, realistic fabrications appearing to show people doing and saying things they never actually did or said. Not anymore – software freely available online lets anyone with a computer and some time on their hands create convincing fake videos. Whether used for personal revenge, to harass celebrities or to influence public opinion, deepfakes render untrue the age-old axiom that “seeing is believing.”

  • Device Vanishes on Command after Military Missions

    A polymer that self-destructs? While once a fictional idea, new polymers now exist that are rugged enough to ferry packages or sensors into hostile territory and vaporize immediately upon a military mission’s completion. This “James Bond”-like material is already being incorporated in military devices, but there is a potential for the materials in non-military applications.

  • We Need to Ban More Emerging Technologies

    With more and more innovation, there is less and less time to reflect on the consequences. To tame this onrushing tide, society needs dams and dikes. Just as has begun to happen with facial recognition, it’s time to consider legal bans and moratoriums on other emerging technologies. These need not be permanent or absolute, but innovation is not an unmitigated good. The more powerful a technology is, the more care it requires to safely operate.

  • The Big One: Back to the Future on the San Andreas Fault

    Maybe you’ve heard that the “Big One is overdue” on the San Andreas Fault. No one can predict earthquakes, so what does the science really say? Where does the information come from? And what does it mean? Earth scientists have been gathering data at key paleoseismic sites along sections of the San Andreas Fault to figure out the past timeline of earthquakes at each spot.

  • Improving Hail Forecasts with Facial Recognition Technique

    The same artificial intelligence technique typically used in facial recognition systems could help improve prediction of hailstorms and their severity. Instead of zeroing in on the features of an individual face, scientists trained a deep learning model called a convolutional neural network to recognize features of individual storms that affect the formation of hail and how large the hailstones will be, both of which are notoriously difficult to predict.

  • Setting the Stage for U.S. Leadership in 6G

    Every day there are more headlines about China’s rise in 5G, the next generation of wireless communications technologies, and the economic and national security risks to the United States that go along with these developing technologies. These concerns, particularly the threat of critical infrastructure disruptions, are valid—but the plight of the United States is in part self-inflicted. The U.S. government waited too long to tackle the difficult issues surrounding 5G. As a result, China has unprecedented clout on the global stage regarding the deployment and diffusion of advanced communications technologies. With decisive action today, the U.S. can ensure its status as the undisputed leader in wireless technology within 10 years. In doing so, it will lock in the ability to build secure 6G infrastructure with all the accompanying economic and national security benefits.

  • The Quantum Revolution Is Coming, and Chinese Scientists Are at the Forefront

    Quantum technology — an emerging field that could transform information processing and confer big economic and national-security advantages to countries that dominate it. To the dismay of some scientists and officials in the United States, China’s formidable investment is helping it catch up with Western research in the field and, in a few areas, pull ahead. Beijing is pouring billions into research and development and is offering Chinese scientists big perks to return home from Western labs. Last year, China had nearly twice as many patent filings as the United States for quantum technology overall, a category that includes communications and cryptology devices. China’s drive has sparked calls for more R&D funding in the United States.

  • Shoppers Targeted by Face‑Recognition Cameras in “Epidemic” of Surveillance

    There is an “epidemic” of facial recognition surveillance technology at privately owned sites in Britain, campaigners say. Big Brother Watch, a civil liberties group, found shopping centers, museums, conference centers and casinos had all used the software that compares faces captured by CCTV to those of people on watch lists, such as suspected terrorists or shoplifters. Privacy campaigners have criticized trials of the technology by police in London and Wales, questioning their legal basis.

  • Evaluate AI capabilities in Helping Paramedics

    Paramedics must make numerous life-saving decisions, often in the back of an ambulance with limited time. While they at times call doctors for additional medical directives, precious seconds tick away for the patient during these back-and-forth conversations. DHS S&T partnered with its Canadian counterpart to examine whether artificial intelligence could be used to improve that information overload.