Aug 11, 2017

Mattis: Pentagon should leverage artificial intelligence

Kim Hart, author of Cities

Cliff Owen / AP

During a West Coast swing that included visits to Google and Amazon this week, Defense Secretary James Mattis acknowledged in an interview with Wired that the Pentagon isn't keeping up with the tech industry when it comes to putting artificial intelligence to use. "It's got to be better integrated by the Department of Defense, because I see many of the greatest advances out here on the West Coast in private industry," he said.

Our thought bubble: It's pretty common for the federal government's tech efforts to lag behind the tech industry's fast pace of innovation. His predecessor in 2015 opened the Defense Innovation Unit Experimental, which aims to foster collaboration between smaller tech companies and the Defense Department. Mattis said he wants to see the organization speed up the deployment of AI in the department. Trump's proposed budget would increase funding for it, but cuts the budget of the National Science Foundation, which supports AI research.

Go deeper

DOJ to treat antifa involvement in protests as domestic terrorism

Barr and Trump. Photo: Doug Mills-Pool/Getty Images

Attorney General Bill Barr said in a statement Sunday that the Justice Department will use its network of 56 regional FBI Joint Terrorism Task Forces to identify the "criminal organizers and instigators" of violence during the George Floyd protests, including antifa and similar groups.

Why it matters: Barr, President Trump and other members of the administration have pinned the blame for riots and looting over the past few days of protests against police brutality on antifa, a loosely defined far-left movement that uses violence and direct-action protest tactics.

2 hours ago - Technology

Trump and Zuckerberg share phone call amid social media furor

Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images

In the week that President Trump took on social media, Axios has learned that he had a call Friday with Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg that was described by both sides as productive.

Why it matters: With the White House and Twitter at war, Facebook has managed to keep diplomatic relations with the world's most powerful social-media devotee.

Twitter, Google lead chorus of brands backing George Floyd protests

Illustration: Lazaro Gamio/Axios

Twitter and Google are among the dozens of brands over the past 24 hours that have taken public stances in favor of Americans protesting racial equality. Some companies have changed their logos in solidarity with the movement, while others have pledged money in support of efforts to address social injustice.

Why it matters: The pressure that companies feel to speak out on issues has increased during the Trump era, as businesses have sought to fill a trust void left by the government. Now, some of the biggest companies are quickly taking a public stand on the protests, pressuring all other brands to do the same.