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White House initiates AI-Powered competition to enhance government security



The White House unveiled a multi-million-dollar cybersecurity competition aimed at fostering the utilization of artificial intelligence (AI) to detect and rectify security vulnerabilities within the infrastructure of the U.S. government.

This initiative comes in response to the increasing adoption of AI by hackers for malicious endeavors.

Anne Neuberger, the U.S. government’s Deputy National Security Advisor for Cyber and Emerging Technology, remarked, “The realm of cybersecurity is a constant battle between offensive and defensive actions.” She further explained, “We are aware that malicious entities are already leveraging AI to expedite the identification of vulnerabilities and the creation of harmful software.”

Various American entities, ranging from healthcare organizations to manufacturing companies and governmental institutions, have been subjected to cyberattacks in recent times. Officials have also cautioned against potential future threats, particularly from foreign adversaries.

Neuberger’s observations about AI align with the sentiments expressed by Canada’s Chief of Cybersecurity, Samy Khoury, last month. Khoury noted that his agency had observed AI being employed for tasks encompassing the crafting of phishing emails, the composition of malicious code, and the dissemination of misinformation.

Two years

The competition, spanning two years, offers approximately $20 million in rewards and will be overseen by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), the governmental body responsible for the development of technologies pertaining to national security, according to a statement from the White House.

Key players in the AI landscape, including Alphabet’s (GOOGL.O) Google, Anthropic, Microsoft (MSFT.O), and OpenAI, which are at the forefront of the AI revolution in the U.S., have committed to making their AI systems available for the challenge, as per government sources.

This competition reflects official efforts to address an emerging threat that experts are still in the process of comprehending fully. Over the past year, numerous U.S. entities have introduced generative AI tools, like ChatGPT, that enable users to generate convincing videos, images, texts, and code. Similar models have been introduced by Chinese companies to catch up in this domain.

According to experts, such tools could substantially simplify tasks such as conducting large-scale hacking campaigns or creating fabricated profiles on social media platforms to propagate false information and propaganda.

Neuberger emphasized the objective of the DARPA AI competition, stating, “Our aim through this challenge is to stimulate a broader community of cybersecurity defenders who can leverage the participating AI models to enhance our cyber defenses using generative AI technologies.”

The Open Source Security Foundation (OpenSSF), a U.S. consortium of experts dedicated to enhancing the security of open-source software, will be responsible for ensuring the “winning software code is promptly implemented,” as indicated by the U.S. government.

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COP28: Global effort to phase out fossil fuels



World leaders at COP28 have intensified their commitment to combat climate change by embarking on a bold initiative to phase out fossil fuels.

The United Nations climate talks, held in a virtual format due to ongoing pandemic concerns, saw representatives from nearly 200 countries coming together to address the urgent need for action on the climate crisis.

The decision to focus on ending fossil fuel use marks a significant departure from previous climate negotiations.

Countries have traditionally grappled with setting emissions reduction targets, but this year’s conference places a strong emphasis on the need to transition away from the reliance on coal, oil, and natural gas. Experts argue that this shift is critical to limiting global temperature rise and avoiding the most catastrophic effects of climate change.

Key highlights of the COP28 agreement include setting ambitious deadlines for phasing out fossil fuel subsidies, promoting renewable energy sources, and encouraging the development of green technologies.

The conference also established a fund to support developing nations in their transition away from fossil fuels, recognizing that these countries often face the greatest challenges in achieving sustainability.

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Russian police raid Moscow gay clubs



Russian authorities conducted raids on several gay clubs in Moscow, according to reports from various media outlets.

The raids have sent shockwaves through the LGBTQ+ community and have raised concerns about the ongoing crackdown on LGBTQ+ rights in Russia.

Eyewitnesses and clubgoers describe a heavy police presence during the raids, with officers reportedly detaining patrons and staff members.

The reasons behind these raids remain unclear, but they have ignited a fierce debate on social media and within human rights organizations.

International LGBTQ+ rights advocates are calling on the Russian government to address these actions and protect the rights and safety of LGBTQ+ individuals in the country.

The raids have also drawn attention to Russia’s controversial “gay propaganda” law, which has been criticized for its potential to fuel discrimination and violence against LGBTQ+ people.

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UK delays Jeff Zucker’s Telegraph deal for inquiry



The UK government has decided to put a hold on the proposed acquisition of The Telegraph newspaper by media mogul Jeff Zucker’s conglomerate.

According to a recent report, this decision has been made in order to conduct further investigations into potential regulatory concerns surrounding the deal.

The move comes amidst growing concerns over media consolidation and its impact on media diversity and competition.

The government aims to ensure that the acquisition would not result in a concentration of media power that could potentially stifle independent journalism and diverse voices in the industry.

This decision has sparked debates about the balance between media ownership and the preservation of media plurality in the UK. Supporters of the deal argue that it could lead to much-needed investments in The Telegraph, while critics worry about the potential for Zucker’s conglomerate to wield too much influence over the media landscape.

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