Oct 14, 2018

Sasse warns of deepfake "perfect storm"

Photo: Andrew Harnik/AFP/Getty Images

Sen. Ben Sasse (R-Neb.) — who'll be out Tuesday with his second book, "Them: Why We Hate Each Other — and How to Heal" — tells Axios:

"I had a conversation last month with one of the most senior U.S. intelligence officials, who told me that many leaders in the [Intelligence Committee] worry that we’re on the verge of a deepfakes [artificial intelligence algorithms that create convincing fake images, audio and video] 'perfect storm.'"

  • "Americans are so divided right now, about who we are and what we hold in common, that there are dozens of scabs at which malevolent foreign actors can pick in their efforts to weaken us."

Key conclusions from "Them":

  • "I talk with the leaders of the U.S. intelligence community nearly every day, and most of them are deeply anxious about information operations that are currently being conducted by foreign powers, which see an unexpected opportunity to undermine Americans' own confidence in our system, in our institutions, and in our American idea."
  • "Put more bluntly: Vladimir Putin loves cable news, and the divides it helps to solidify in the American soul."

Go deeper

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 2:30 p.m. ET: 1,506,936 — Total deaths: 90,057 — Total recoveries: 340,112Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 2:30 p.m. ET: 432,596 — Total deaths: 14,831 — Total recoveries: 24,235Map.
  3. Federal government latest: President Trump is preparing to launch a second coronavirus task force focused on reviving the U.S. economy.
  4. Public health latest: U.S. has expelled thousands of migrants under coronavirus public health orderDr. Anthony Fauci said social distancing could reduce the U.S. death toll to 60,000.
  5. Business latest: The Fed will lend up to $2.3 trillion for businesses, state and city governments — Another 6.6 million jobless claims were filed last week.
  6. World update: Boris Johnson is moved out of ICU but remains in hospital with coronavirus
  7. 🎧 Podcast: Your hydroxychloroquine questions answered.
  8. What should I do? Pets, moving and personal healthAnswers about the virus from Axios expertsWhat to know about social distancingQ&A: Minimizing your coronavirus risk.
  9. Other resources: CDC on how to avoid the virus, what to do if you get it.

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Boris Johnson moved out of ICU but remains in hospital with coronavirus

Johnson last December. Photo: Kate Green/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson has been moved out of intensive care but is continuing to be monitored at St. Thomas' Hospital in London, according to a Downing Street spokesperson.

Why it matters: It's a sign of improvement after Johnson spent three nights in intensive care for coronavirus. Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab remains in charge of the government.

Go deeperArrow18 mins ago - World

A pause button for debts

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Governments have forcibly put much of the U.S. and the global economy on pause in recent weeks, for very good reason. Factories, offices, sporting arenas, restaurants, airports and myriad other institutions have closed down. But one thing hasn't been paused: monthly debt-service obligations.

The big picture: The less movement and activity there is in an economy, the more the coronavirus curve is flattened. But the obligations in bond and loan contracts can't be paused. That's worrying CEOs who fear a wave of business failures if economic activity doesn't pick up next month.