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Illustration: Rebecca Zisser/Axios
Advances in artificial intelligence are supercharging propaganda, espionage, and cybercrime, threatening "the end of truth," says a new report from the Center for a New American Security, shared first with Axios.
Kaveh Waddell writes: The biggest danger is so-called "deepfakes," or AI-doctored videos falsely showing people saying or doing something.
Why it matters: Cybercriminals and governments are stocking up on the AI capabilities that will define the next generation of conflict. At the same time, automation and the rise of fake information are stirring up unrest. Together, these forces can turn society upside down.
The details: The report is an abridged encyclopedia of the good and ill that AI could bring to national security. Some of the scenarios show the potential upside of AI tools, but many would result in chaos if not challenged by smart AI countermeasures.
The bottom line: AI development is an arms race that will be won by the cleverest, best-funded side.
Go deeper: Read Kaveh's whole post.
Illustration: Lazaro Gamio/Axios
One thread we've followed is the potential consequences of President Trump and a growing list of other populist western leaders tearing at the fabric of the post-World War II world order.
Just some of the pieces of this riptide:
In the NYT, Peter Baker quotes Curt Levey, president of the conservative Committee for Justice. In the likelihood that Brett Kavanaugh is confirmed as the next new Supreme Court justice, it will mean "a conservative court, really [for] the first time since the 1930s,” Levey tells him.
Go deeper: Read the whole post.
Ratifying Westphalia, 1648. Painting by Gerard ter Borch. Credit: historytoday
If the current global order is being upended, what will replace it?
We are getting a clue in the actions of western leaders and their allies, whose posture suggests a turn back to the foundational, 370-year-old system that preceded World War II.
Karen Harris, managing director at Bain Macro Trends, tells Axios that the new order will be the U.S., Russia and China — "multiple parallel great powers pushing against each other in the two new borderlands of cyberspace and (actual) space."
The bottom line: Westphalia meant that states respected each other's territory and pledged not to intervene over borders. But Richard Fontaine, president of the Center for a New American Security, suggests that Russia has set an example by which it's each country for itself.
At work. Photo: Chris Jackson/Getty
Last week, we discussed who gets the profit from your web-surfing data habits. As of now, it's big tech companies like Facebook and Google, who get it free in exchange for providing search and friendship services.
But two readers responded by describing current startups that attempt to steer the money instead to the people doing the surfing.
How they work: The thing about data — meaning the history of your travails around the internet — is that scale is super-important. Data is almost never valuable on an individual level.
Companies like Facebook and China's Alibaba are powerful because they marshal the data of hundreds of millions of people, and isolate it in endless ways to suit the marketing requirements of any client on the planet.
What this means: While it's great to allow people to opt out of the use of their data in ways of which they do not approve — the current wave — it's not practical for any individual to try to actually sell his or her own data.
Go deeper: Read the rest of the post.
Aftermath of fire in Goleta, CA, on July 7. Photo: Mario Tama/Getty
Some companies are hiding their use of humans (Olivia Solon - Guardian)
Lots of ancients died old (Christine Cave - Aeon)
OECD confirms that Big Tech is subduing wages (Reuters)
The future will be hotter. Consider California (Andrew Freedman - Axios)
The surge of Britons trying to become Germans (Dave Gershgorn - Quartz)
End of the road for roughnecks (Christopher M. Matthews - WSJ)
Oil drilling near Watford City, ND. Photo: Ken Cedeno/Corbis/Getty
The highest median salary for millennials in the U.S. is about $50,000 a year in San Jose, Calif., and the area around it, according to a new study by the Brookings Institution's Hamilton Project.
What's going on: The Hamilton Project compared wages, taxes and the cost of living for 320 unique occupations in about 380 U.S. metropolitan areas, creating an interactive tool that allows further breakdown by age group.
The leading line of work differs substantially between Silicon Valley, Bismarck and Midland, the latter two featuring a lot of oil industry jobs, and San Jose information technology.
By the numbers: Bismarck, Midland, and Rochester, Minn., are the top three locations for adjusted median earnings in the 25-to-34-year-old category.