AUTHOR ARCHIVES

Adrienne LaFrance

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What an AI's Non-Human Language Actually Looks Like

June 20, 2017 FROM NEXTGOV arrow Something unexpected happened recently at the Facebook Artificial Intelligence Research lab. Researchers who had been training bots to negotiate with one another realized the bots, left to their own devices, started communicating in a non-human language. In order to actually follow what the bots were saying, the researchers had to...

In Hawaii, the Ghost of Climate-Change Future

May 30, 2017 The water is everywhere. For the second time in a month, Hawaii’s coastlines have been swamped by epic tides. The phenomenon, known as a king tide, is actually a convergence of a few different factors: high lunar tides, rising sea levels associated with last year’s strong El Niño and climate...

Cyberwar Is Officially Crossing Over Into the Real World

May 17, 2017 FROM NEXTGOV arrow The devastating effects of a massive cyberattack are no more confined to a computer network than any other action carried out online. People use the computers and the internet all the time to make things happen in the physical world. A cyberattack isn’t just a cyberattack. It’s an attack. Hospitals,...

Stolen NSA Tool Suspected in Global Ransomware Attack

May 12, 2017 A widespread cyberattack disrupted business and health systems in at least a dozen countries on Friday, including at least 16 hospitals across England that were crippled by a large-scale ransomware attack. Doctors, administrators, and other NHS workers were locked out of their computers, and instead saw a pop-up message demanding...

Global Ransomware Attack Is Much Bigger Than It First Appeared

May 12, 2017 FROM NEXTGOV arrow Updated: Friday, May 12, 2017 at 1:53 p.m. A widespread cyberattack disrupted business and health systems in at least a dozen countries on Friday, including at least 16 hospitals across England that were crippled by a large-scale ransomware attack. Doctors, administrators, and other NHS workers were locked out of their...

Trump Wants ‘Goddamned Steam,’ Not Digital Catapults on Aircraft Carriers

May 11, 2017 Navy officials were “blindsided” on Thursday, a spokesman told me, by President Donald Trump’s suggestion that he has convinced the Navy to abandon a long-planned digital launching system in favor of steam on its newest aircraft carrier. In a wide-ranging interview with Time magazine, Trump described his disgust with the...

The Technology That Can Destroy a Presidency

May 10, 2017 FROM NEXTGOV arrow One of the biggest scandals in the history of the American presidency began with a single Xerox machine. That copier, inside a small advertising agency above a flower shop in Hollywood, California, was what Daniel Ellsberg and Anthony Russo used to duplicate the classified Vietnam War documents that would come...

Did Someone Just Share a Random Google Doc With You?

May 3, 2017 FROM NEXTGOV arrow Journalists in newsrooms across the United States are swapping warnings about what appears to be a widespread phishing attack, sent via a particularly sneaky invitation to a fake Google Doc. The scope of the attack is not limited to news organizations, but appears to be spreading on a massive scale...

Facebook Data ‘Does Not Contradict’ Intelligence on Russia Meddling

April 28, 2017 FROM NEXTGOV arrow Less than six months ago, Mark Zuckerberg dismissed the idea that the social publishing platform he founded was being used to manipulate voters as “pretty crazy.” But in a new report, Facebook now says it has data that “does not contradict” a key U.S. intelligence report that describes “information warfare”...

Facebook Data ‘Does Not Contradict’ Intelligence on Russia Meddling

April 28, 2017 Less than six months ago, Mark Zuckerberg dismissed the idea that the social publishing platform he founded was being used to manipulate voters as “pretty crazy.” But in a new report, Facebook now says it has data that “does not contradict” a key U.S. intelligence report that describes “information warfare”...