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Keeping the U.S. Up to Speed with Telecom Tech

(NewsUSA) - Advanced networks – the highways of cyberspace and artificial intelligence (AI) – remain a globally contested technology sector, according to experts at the Special Competitive Studies Project (SCSP), a bipartisan nonprofit organization.

Although the People’s Republic of China (PRC) continues to lead the United States in key metrics of fifth-generation (5G) mobile network production and deployment, the U.S. holds the edge in areas such as satellite connectivity and cloud computing.

The stakes of global leadership in network and telecommunications technology have never been higher, and SCSP’s experts outline how the U.S. compares to China on several network technology fronts.

Broadband and Fiber Optics Deployments and Production: Fiber optic cables and wireline technologies remain a core backbone of connectivity. Although the U.S. is laying more fiber optic cabling thanks to federal financing, China’s broadband mix includes a far larger share of fiber optic cabling and offers top-level broadband speeds.

Subsea Cables: U.S. firms remain competitive in this increasingly important battleground in the networking sector.

Mobile Networks and Spectrum: The quality of China’s 5G networks is marginally higher than those of the United States, but neither country has taken a clear lead in 5G applications in areas like autonomy.

Satellite Technology: The United States has long led in global space technology, and U.S. commercial satellite connectivity technology demonstrated clear national security value in Ukraine.

Looking ahead, SCSP’s experts offer advice to the U.S. government on how to reassert U.S. leadership in advanced network technology.

Think big: Set moonshot technology goals, such as increasing broadband for all households, and planning networks for smart communities and smart industries that integrate domains such as logistics, public safety, healthcare, and the military.

Strengthen the chain: Develop and build stronger network supply chains to upscale production of network components and identify reliable sources for other components as needed.

Unleash applications: Fund challenge grants for network applications with commercial potential, and also release more spectrum for private sector use.

Shape international networks: Don’t underestimate the ability of the U.S. to have an impact on global network technology by managing export opportunities and developing partnerships to compete with China in developing countries.

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How to Think About AI in the Workforce

(NewsUSA) - As artificial intelligence (AI) becomes entrenched in many businesses, people are talking about what AI means for the workforce.

Ramsay Brown, CEO of Mission Control, a machine learning governance platform for accelerating quality velocity and trust in artificial intelligence, shared some ideas with the Special Competitive Studies Project (SCSP), a bipartisan nonprofit organization, in a podcast.

Some of his key points are summarized here.

Brown’s company has coined the term “synthetic labor” to describe a way to think about AI in the workforce. In the near future, tools such as ChatGPT will go from being assistants to being more directly involved in business processes, Brown explained.

As AI shifts from being a tool to being a laborer, AI in different companies may take on names, AI-generated faces, and “a variety of competencies that make them more like a labor force and less like a tool like Microsoft Word or Google Sheets,” Brown said.  “That shift of moving from AI as a tool to AI as a laborer capable of performing business tasks on its own is going to represent one of the most fundamental labor transformations in human history,” he added. “Our organization's goal is to build the ideas to help us navigate that with security and resilience and our values in life,” he said.

Ways in which AI has integrated into today’s workforce go beyond easily automated tasks such as flipping burgers or collecting trash:

- Support services. AI does not mean that a robot doctor will set your wrist in the hospital emergency room. Instead, “it's that every person that doctor used to rely on, such as administrators, accounts receivable clerks, and data analysists, will increasingly be intelligent software,” Brown said. Not all jobs will disappear, but prepare for extensive unemployment among those whose main job focus is support, such as using Microsoft Office, he cautioned.

- Creative codes. AI may be able to write a poem or symphony. However, there will always be “a place where we break something new out of the soul and the human spirit,” Brown said. “The problem is that most people are listening to top 40 music and top 40 is quite automatable. That's already mostly software and coding.”

“The evolution of AI into the workforce is not all doom and gloom,” Brown emphasized.

“Think of our greatest challenges, such as aging, or whether we can become a spacefaring civilization, and think of 100 million fresh minds trained in the state of the art to work on a problem nonstop,” he said. “That is the future; we are at the doorstep, and that is why organizations like mine and other people working on AI and artificial general intelligence are so excited about this.”

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How AI Systems Create National Security Risks

(NewsUSA) - AI systems continue to enable a range of economic, social, and defense opportunities. However, the same AI characteristics that allow for new and transformative opportunities also present risks to national security, according to experts at the Special Competitive Studies Project (SCSP), a bipartisan nonprofit organization.

Well-intentioned AI developers, deployers, and users of an AI system must assess and consider risks to national security posed by their particular system, the SCSP experts warn. This risk goes beyond AI systems involved in national security and extends to commercial entities.

SCSP offers several examples of how commercial AI has the potential to threaten national security.

Misuse: Misuse can occur when an AI system developed for non-national security purposes is accidentally or purposefully used in a way that causes harm to national security. This threat is especially relevant for small and medium-sized enterprises developing new systems or applications. For example, unrelated AI systems can be linked to reveal sensitive data about strategic infrastructure, populations, or other subjects that are relevant to national security and could be manipulated by adversaries.

Scaling: Leveraging large amounts of data creates opportunities for new business models and increases the efficiency of existing models. However, extreme scaling also creates the potential for rapid introduction and adoption of new systems and use cases not previously encountered, predicted, or evaluated. For example, the aggregation of cell phone data enables the identification of cell phones associated with regular visits to sensitive facilities.

Generative AI: The advancement and adoption of generative AI already has resulted in unintended consequences. For example, text, voice, image, and/or video generation technology designed for entertainment purposes can be used to create information campaigns or deepfakes to spread misinformation and disinformation, incite political violence, and generally undermine public trust.

Corrupted Data or Software: Large AI systems typically rely on external software components, but the prevalence of these components in machine learning introduces risks of intentionally and unintentionally corrupted versions being unknowingly incorporated in critical systems. For example, a facial recognition system that may be manipulated to include a “trigger,” such as an unusual hat, that prompts it to perform not as intended, perhaps by authorizing unintended access.

To help mitigate the potential national security risks associated with AI, the SCSP recommends educating stakeholders and incentivizing practices to promote cooperation.

In addition, public-private partnerships between stakeholders and national security entities are needed to help all stakeholders understand requirements, policies, and standing documents.

The SCSP experts also call on the U.S. government to create an AI tested where technologies can be objectively evaluated. This mechanism would support the exploration of AI systems to identify risks that have not previously occurred.

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Staying Cool and Energy Efficient in America’s New Multigenerational Hybrid Home

(NewsUSA) - Homeowners are facing the latest post-COVID reality resulting from the confluence of two mounting trends that together threaten to financially and physically “put the squeeze” on families in increasingly crowded households nationwide.

Recent 2023 research from the National Association of Realtors uncovered a “Post-COVID Surge in Multigenerational Home Buying,” citing multi-generational buying is back near an all-time high exceeding 1 in 10 homes purchased – at 15% for first-time buyers and 14% for repeat buyers. 

Plus, there is increased demand due to our post-pandemic “hybrid home” dynamic. According to the recent EY Future Workplace Index, 87% of employers reported that most or all employees worked from the office pre-pandemic versus just 29% today.  

The good news is that families can prevent a utility bill blitz by following a few simple tips. With home heating and cooling accounting for more than half (54%) of home energy use, small steps can go a long way.

  • Leverage the 2022 Inflation Reduction Act:The 2022 Inflation Reduction Act is a landmark legislation that encourages Americans to transition towards a new era of energy efficiency and decarbonization. It offers households tax credits for related improvements that save money in the long run, such as highly efficient heating and cooling appliances like heat pumps. Households can claim a tax credit for 30% of the costs of buying and installing a heat pump, up to $2,000 including support for any electric system upgrades needed to make the home heat-pump-ready. 
  • Ease Into Electric: According to Columbia University’s Earth Institute, electric systems are a solution to decarbonize home climate control.  Among the most energy-efficient heating and cooling products, electricity-powered ductless mini-split systems, offered by companies including Fujitsu General America, can save as much as 25% on energy bills. Mini-splits use thin copper tubing to pump refrigerant from an outdoor compressor directly into an indoor air-handling unit, where the air is qui­etly distributed to the interior space.
  • Get “Smart" About Climate Control: When it comes to home tem­perature control, there are Smart HVAC Systems and Smart Thermostats. Smart HVAC systems have built-in Internet capability and can be controlled directly without additional equipment. Smart Home Thermostats create “smart” sys­tems by enabling remote temperature control via a mobile or Internet-con­nected device or voice-operated home automation system. 
  • Voice Your Preference: Most HVAC manufacturers offer apps that enable systems to be controlled from anywhere using a mobile device. Voice-control capability uses digital assistants, like Amazon Alexa or Google Home, to ver­bally dictate home temperatures. Easily controlling the temperature allows homeowners to be more comfortable and improve energy savings.
  • Find Your Efficient Comfort Zone: Many of us live in homes designed for bigger families but have yet to downsize. If you find yourself using a fraction of your home, consider upgrading to a zoned ducted, or ductless system, allowing you to save energy heating and cooling spaces where you don’t spend much time. You’ll multiply savings by needing less cooling and gaining a more efficient system in the spaces you use.
  • Try Low-tech Fixes: Try to use heat-producing appliances – stoves, irons and dryers – at night or early morning.  Switch to LED light bulbs instead of incandescent bulbs – which consume 90% more power. Seal air leaks around windows, doors, and places where pipes and wires come through walls. Check existing caulking and weather-stripping for gaps or cracks.

Promote multigenerational hybrid home harmony this season with a climate control system that will keep your family cool without tempers heating up.  To learn more or find a contrac­tor nearby, visit



Keeping the U.S. Ahead in Biotech

(NewsUSA) - The United States continues to lead in biotechnology investments and remains home to the large majority of the world’s leading biotechnology companies and innovators, but other countries are making great strides as well, according to experts at the Special Competitive Studies Project (SCSP), a bipartisan nonprofit organization.

For example, data show that the People’s Republic of China has ambitions to be the world leader in biotechnology by 2035.

The U.S. is meeting this challenge. Most notably, the White House has supported the launch of the Advanced Research Projects for Health (ARPA-H) and the Congressionally created National Security Commission on Emerging Biotechnology. These two new biotechnology-focused government entities that have come online to develop and strategize U.S. biotechnology leadership.

Experts from SCSP have developed a National Action Plan for U.S. Leadership in Biotechnology. This plan outlines a series of actions that would help preserve U.S. leadership in this essential and strategic sector. The plan is the first in a series that will be published by SCSP in 2023 to focus on the various battleground technologies identified by SCSP in the organization’s report on challenges to U.S. global competitiveness.

The action plan provides a roadmap for biotechnology policy from a national security perspective. The plan involves a coordinated effort among academia, the private sector, and government to establish U.S. leadership in biotechnology through 2030, alongside our allies and partners.

Key recommendations in the plan include:  

Thinking big. Launch biotechnology moonshots to advance fundamental science and technology.

Thinking smart. Align biotechnology commercialization, diffusion, and scale through targeted government incentivization measures.

Thinking collaboratively. Develop new public-private partnerships across the innovation ecosystem that better connect our universities, national labs, and biomanufacturing institutes.

Thinking internally. Build the supporting infrastructure that will allow the United States to tap into biotechnology’s full potential.

Thinking externally. Cultivate, attract, and retain global biotechnology talent in the United States.

Thinking ahead. Secure the inputs for a thriving bioeconomy, such as fermenter capacity and DNA sequencers.

Thinking together. Unite democratic allies and partners competitive advantages through partnerships like biomanufacturing alliances and data-sharing agreements.

Thinking ahead. Finally, the goal of the U.S. should be to “run faster with guardrails to ensure that U.S. investments do not inadvertently aid the biotech advancements of our strategic adversaries counter to our national security interests,” the experts conclude.

For more information, visit

Emerging tech, explained

(S. Phillips) -  

What does the technology of the future look like? Batteries made of molten salt, fusion energy, 6G networks, synthetic biology, and quantum computing may become as familiar as taking pictures with your phone.

These technologies are already reshaping the global economy and the United States’s place in it, according to a new report from the Special Competitive Studies Project, a bipartisan nonprofit organization.

For the U.S., staying ahead on the technology of the future is essential to creating a climate of uplifting privacy laws and maintaining human rights rather than encouraging surveillance and interfering with democratic governance. Attention to emerging technology also impacts the U.S. economy–the country where the platforms are created is where many of the jobs will be. 

Some key technologies that will be battlegrounds for the next decade include:

Artificial intelligence: Simply put, artificial intelligence (AI) is a computer that mimics the human brain, but answers questions and solves problems faster than a person. To lead in AI, the U.S. needs computing power, strong algorithms (programming), large high-quality data sets, effective applications and integrations, and the talent to create it all. Right now, the U.S. leads in developing algorithms and in developing talent. 

Next generation networks: Most American phones don't work on 5G, but sixth generation, or 6G, broadband is here and potentially 100 times faster.  Low-earth orbit satellites could also bring wireless—without the cell towers—to millions of people and remote areas. The People’s Republic of China currently has the most next-gen wireless patents of any country.

Synthetic biology: No single definition of synthetic biology exists, but most experts define it as the concepts, approaches and tools that allow organisms to be created or changed, whether to make rice more vitamin-rich or to create a new medicine. The U.S. continues to make advances in this field with companies conducting research and producing publications and patents.  

Advanced manufacturing: Advanced manufacturing involves an integration of cutting-edge hardware, networks, robotics, and AI to create products more efficiently at home. On the global level, current data give the U.S. a slight edge in robotics.

Fusion energy: While usable fusion—the clean energy used to power the sun—doesn’t exist yet, the U.S. is home to the majority of fusion companies and could be the world leader in this area if commercial fusion energy becomes available in 2024 and goes on the power grid after 2030.

Quantum computing: A completely theoretical concept even 30 years ago, quantum technologies have entered practical reality, completing tasks in minutes that would take older generations of computers 10,000 years to finish. Although the U.S. leads the world in quantum computing patents and papers, China is dedicating significant government funding to the field.

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Technology is reshaping warfare

(NewsUSA) - New and emerging technology is changing how wars are fought, even the nature of war, and the United States needs to embrace these changes, according to a new report from the Special Competitive Studies Project, a bipartisan nonprofit with the goal of strengthening American competitiveness in technology such as artificial intelligence.

Technology including cyber warfare, constant data collection, and artificial intelligence is changing traditional ideas of frontlines and battlefields and bringing global conflicts closer to home. For example, China and Russia have leveraged technology in the form of cyberattacks, theft of intellectual property, sabotage, and disinformation to wage a persistent, but often invisible conflict with the United States.

In addition to cyberattacks and intellectual property theft that costs the United States hundreds of billions of dollars annually, this “persistent conflict” could ultimately include micro-targeting of leaders, diplomats, warfighters, and their families with smear campaigns, psychological pressure or, even biological warfare, the report notes. Additionally, anything that relies on computer systems and the internet could be vulnerable. However, there are no international guidelines or conventions to restrict technology attacks. 

An example of the new style of warfare is on display in Ukraine, the report observes. The Ukrainian government works with civilians to track Russian forces on messaging services and apps, uses AI to identify soldiers, raises money with Internet-based, non-fungible tokens and connects to the Internet via the Elon Musk-developed satellite service Starlink. 

To help combat the use of technology in a “technology war,” the United States must step up and counter these tech tactics, the report says.

The report recommends 10 initiatives as part of a plan to “offset” high-tech threats. These initiatives include pursuing software advantages in every aspect of military activities and capabilities, and creating human-machine collaborations. 

“‘Offset’ means that we will never try to match our opponents or our competitors tank for tank, plane for plane, person for person,” says Robert O. Work, former U.S. Deputy Secretary of Defense and board member of the Special Competitive Studies Project. “So, what we do is we seek ways in which to ‘offset’ our potential adversary's advantages.”

This year’s military and defense budget has the largest budget request ever made for technology research and development and calls for more government partnership with private sector tech companies to support American troops and prepare them for the new generation of technology-focused war and peacekeeping.

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Working Moms Stay Connected to Children Through Messenger Kids

They never want to miss a moment with their kids, but also feel the pressure to be present at work.

Getting updates throughout the day makes working moms feel more connected to their kids, and Messenger Kids, a new app available in the US for iOS, Android and Fire tablets, is making it easier for working moms and their kids to talk.

Messenger Kids puts the power to communicate in the hands of children and lets them reach out to mom whenever they need to.

"After talking to thousands of moms and working with the Working Mother Research Institute, we've found that 84 percent of moms wish they could have a brief look into how their child's day is going. Most feel there's a need for apps that let kids connect with people they love, but also have the level of parental control parents want," says Antigone Davis, Facebook Global Head of Safety.

Communication apps such as Messenger Kids have many benefits, including:

•  Connection. Apps are a great way for children to connect with the people they love. With Messenger Kids, kids can video chat and message with parent-approved contacts once their account is set up by a parent or guardian.

•  Creativity. An app should be fun and allow kids to express themselves within the limits set by parents. Messenger Kids features a library of specially chosen GIFs, frames, stickers, masks and drawing tools that let them decorate photos and videos and have more fun with video chats.

•  Control. Messenger Kids helps ease parents' concerns about how children are using devices and whether they are using apps that are age-appropriate. It also gives parents more control. Parents fully control the contact list and kids can't connect with people that their parent does not approve.

•  Convenience. Apps, especially those built for kids, must be easy to set up and use. Once the account is established, the home screen shows kids at a glance whom they are approved to talk to and when those contacts are online. In addition, parents can chat with kids through their regular Messenger account, so it's convenient for both parent and child.

This Mother's Day, and every day with Messenger Kids, moms never have to miss a moment.

New AI Platform Protects Musicians’ Work

DigiTrax Entertainment, a leader in the use of artificial intelligence in the music industry, recognizes this and has found a way to harness the analytical power of AI to help protect musicians from copyright infringement.

The new DigiTrax product, Music Fact Reports, can act as a personal CSI lab for forensic musicology, according to Joseph Vangieri, CEO of DigiTrax Entertainment.

"We believe Music Fact Reports will be a major step forward for rights holders," Mr. Vangieri says in a statement announcing the launch of Music Fact Reports.

The Music Fact Reports program helps individual musicians by saving them the hassle, time, and expense of hiring a professional forensic musicologist to conduct an analysis before deciding whether a copyright infringement case is worth pursuing with a lawyer.

The program also can be used by copyright lawyers to evaluate the strength of potential cases, and by publishers seeking to confirm the originality of a contracted musical work.

The Music Fact Reports program works on the power of artificial intelligence by extracting sequences from pieces of music and comparing them to other works using music theory-based algorithms.

"We are working towards a future in which analyzed sequences of data for all copyrighted pieces of music are stored in a database that can be accessed and searched to detect levels of extrinsic similarity instantly," says DigiTrax Chief Technical Officer Marcus Matusiak in a statement announcing the Music Fact Reports launch.

The Music Fact Reports program is currently being used by attorney Richard Wolfe of Wolfe Law in Miami, Florida, to pursue a copyright-infringement case involving instrumental music.

"I think the technology is cutting-edge for purposes of identifying substantial similarity in two pieces of music in terms of rhythms, beats, and extrinsic similarity," says Mr. Wolfe.

To promote the launch of the Music Fact Reports program and showcase its potential, DigiTrax engineers have developed Music Fact Reports for the top 10 copyright infringement cases of all time, Mr. Vangieri says.

Visit for the reports on the Top 10 music-copyright-infringement cases, and for more information about how DigiTrax helps protect musicians.

2018 Grads Send Messages of Thanks to Mom This Mother’s Day

This Mother's Day, graduates across the country are taking a moment to express their thanks as they get ready for the real world, and Messenger is one tool they're using to do it. In fact, Mother's Day is one of the most popular days on Messenger all year.

Omid Afshar, a singer-songwriter and actor who is graduating from college this May, has an extra special thank you for his mother.

"To my beautiful mom, thank you for motivating me every day to keep on going to school and get this degree I've always dreamt of having. I can't believe the time has finally come that I am graduating from the same college as you. I feel like the luckiest son in the world to have you love and support me unconditionally. I love you so much," says Afshar.

As grads like Afshar start college or head out into the world, Messenger has many features to help grads stay connected with their moms, other motherly figures in their lives, old friends and new, as they take the next step:

Video chat. Feeling a little homesick? See your mom face-to-face, even if you won't admit you're missing her.

Get customized. Change your mom's nickname in a chat, add a custom color and set an emoji that's just for the two of you.

Chat with the group. Stay in touch with your high school or college besties even if you're going in different directions after graduation, or use group chats to get the whole family together in one place.

Use payments. Out of cash? Mom can quickly send money right through Messenger. Or with group payments, go in on a group gift for mom for Mother's Day with other family members.

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