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Senior leaders meet with industry to discuss utilizing artificial intelligence and quantum science throughout the Air Force

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Air Force leaders met with scientists and industry members May 17 at the Artificial Intelligence and quantum science summit to chart how the service will utilize emerging technologies in the future.
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2 hours ago
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US Launches Criminal Probe Into Bitcoin Price Manipulation

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The Justice Department has opened a criminal probe into whether traders are manipulating the price of Bitcoin and other digital currencies, dramatically ratcheting up U.S. scrutiny of red-hot markets that critics say are rife with misconduct, Bloomberg reported Thursday, citing people familiar with the matter. From the report: The investigation is focused on illegal practices that can influence prices -- such as spoofing, or flooding the market with fake orders to trick other traders into buying or selling, said the people, who asked not to be identified because the review is private. Federal prosecutors are working with the Commodity Futures Trading Commission, a financial regulator that oversees derivatives tied to Bitcoin, the people said. Authorities worry that virtual currencies are susceptible to fraud for multiple reasons: skepticism that all exchanges are actively pursuing cheaters, wild price swings that could make it easy to push valuations around and a lack of regulations like the ones that govern stocks and other assets.

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6 hours ago
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FBI Seizes Control of Russian Botnet

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The Daily Beast reports that the FBI has seized control of a key server in the Kremlin's global botnet of 500,000 hacked routers. "The move positions the bureau to build a comprehensive list of victims of the attack, and short-circuits Moscow's ability to reinfect its targets," writes Kevin Poulsen. From the report: The FBI counter-operation goes after "VPN Filter," a piece of sophisticated malware linked to the same Russian hacking group, known as Fancy Bear, that breached the Democratic National Committee and the Hillary Clinton campaign during the 2016 election. On Wednesday security researchers at Cisco and Symantec separately provided new details on the malware, which has turned up in 54 countries including the United States. VPN Filter uses known vulnerabilities to infect home office routers made by Linksys, MikroTik, NETGEAR, and TP-Link. Once in place, the malware reports back to a command-and-control infrastructure that can install purpose-built plug-ins, according to the researchers. One plug-in lets the hackers eavesdrop on the victim's Internet traffic to steal website credentials; another targets a protocol used in industrial control networks, such as those in the electric grid. A third lets the attacker cripple any or all of the infected devices at will.

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12 hours ago
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Amazon Might Shut Down Your Account If You Return Too Much Stuff

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Amazon screws up every once in a while and you have to send a package back. If you send too many back, though, Amazon might shut down your account altogether.

The Wall Street Journal¬†has collected a number of reports from Amazon customers who claim their accounts have been shut down after too many returns. Amazon doesn’t specifically state that too many returns are a cause to have your account shut down, but it does state that it has the right to terminate accounts for any reason.

Despite not being called out specifically in its terms of use, some customers have still gotten notices mentioning the high level of returns. One message a customer received said it outright:

We have closed this account because you have consistently returned a large number of your orders. While we expect the occasional problem with an order, we cannot continue to accept returns at this rate.

It’s unclear just how many returns constitutes a “large number” in this case. One Twitter user claimed in 2015 that out of 550 packages ordered, 43 (or about 8%) of his packages were returned. This resulted in his account being closed.

While Amazon hasn’t clarified where the invisible threshold is, it’s possible that it’s high enough that the average user won’t be impacted (indeed, if Amazon was banning the “average” customer, it would have a whole lot fewer customers). Still, if you’re a heavy Amazon user, the warning sign is clear. If you return too many packages, Amazon may decide it’s not worth getting the orders you do keep.

Source: Wall Street Journal via Digital Trends

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12 hours ago
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Elon Musk To Fight Fake News, Rate Journalists' Credibility Via a Site Called 'Pravda'

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Elon Musk took to Twitter today to announce his next project: a site called "Pravda" that ranks journalists' credibility and fights fake news. "Going to create a site where the public can rate the core truth of any article & track the credibility score over time of each journalist, editor & publication," tweeted Musk. "Thinking of calling it Pravda..." Musk continued: "Even if some of the public doesn't care about the credibility score, the journalists, editors & publications will. It is how they define themselves." A subsequent Twitter poll (exposed to mostly Musk followers) reveals that most people believe "this would be good." Accredited journalist Mark Harris replied to the Tesla and SpaceX CEO with a copy of a Statement and Designation by Foreign Corporation form that names the Pravda Corp. "Er, he's not kidding folks," Harris tweeted. "I noticed that one of Musk's agents had incorporated Pravda Corp in California back in October last year. I was wondering what it was all about..." GeekWire has catalogued a string of replies between Musk and Twitter users who are supportive/unsupportive of his plans.

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22 hours ago
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The US Military is Funding an Effort To Catch Deepfakes and Other AI Trickery

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The Department of Defense is funding a project that will try to determine whether the increasingly real-looking fake video and audio generated by artificial intelligence might soon be impossible to distinguish from the real thing -- even for another AI system. From a report: This summer, under a project funded by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), the world's leading digital forensics experts will gather for an AI fakery contest. They will compete to generate the most convincing AI-generated fake video, imagery, and audio -- and they will also try to develop tools that can catch these counterfeits automatically. The contest will include so-called "deepfakes," videos in which one person's face is stitched onto another person's body. Rather predictably, the technology has already been used to generate a number of counterfeit celebrity porn videos. But the method could also be used to create a clip of a politician saying or doing something outrageous. DARPA's technologists are especially concerned about a relatively new AI technique that could make AI fakery almost impossible to spot automatically. Using what are known as generative adversarial networks, or GANs, it is possible to generate stunningly realistic artificial imagery.

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1 day ago
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