Pakistani Military Launches Defense AI Program

Pakistan Air Force (PAF) has launched a Cognitive Electronic Warfare (CEW) program at its Center for Artificial Intelligence and Computing (CENTAIC), according to media reports. Modern connected weapon systems generate vast amounts of data requiring artificial intelligence and machine learning software for speedy analysis and rapid decision-making on the battlefield. 

AI/ML in Military

Modern electronic warfare requires the use of artificial intelligence and machine learning (AI/ML) to analyze vast amounts of data coming from a large number of sensors mounted on various military platforms deployed on the ground, in the air and on the seas. EW systems can collect a considerable amount of data about an enemy’s frequency use, radar deployment, and many other factors. Here is how British defense contractor BAE Systems defines it:

"Cognitive Electronic Warfare (CEW) is the use of cognitive systems – commonly known as Artificial Intelligence (AI) or machine learning – to enhance development and operation of Electronic Warfare (EW) technologies for the defense community. Cognitive systems can sense, learn, reason, and interact naturally with people and environments, accelerating development and implementation of next generation EW threat detection, suppression, and neutralization technologies". 

Indian defense analyst Pravin Sawhney says Pakistan Air Force may have already begun using CEW  systems. In a recent video posted on YouTube, Sawhney believes PAF used CEW in Pakistan's successful Operation Swift Report launched in response to India's bombing of Balakot in 2019. 

Sawhney speculates that, after the success of PAF's Operation Swift Retort, Pakistani military has recognized the importance of using its air force as the lead branch for the deployment of AI/ML and CEW. The establishment of Center for Artificial Intelligence and Computing (CENTAIC) at PAF's Air University is a manifestation of Pakistani military's commitment to this strategy. 

Sawhney says that PAF's commitment to AI/ML and CEW is also a step toward achieving greater interoperability with the PLAAF, the Chinese air force. Pakistan and Chinese air forces have been conducting joint air exercises since 2011. 

PLAAF's General Hong is currently in Pakistan for Shaheen IX joint air exercises with PAF.  He has been quoted in Pakistani media as saying: “The joint exercise will improve the actual level of combat training and strengthen practical cooperation between the two air forces”. Welcoming the Chinese contingent, PAF Air Vice Marshal Sulehri has said, “The joint exercise will provide an opportunity to further enhance interoperability of both the air forces, fortifying brotherly relations between the two countries”. Shaheen IX started a week after Chinese State Councilor and Defense Minister Wei Fenghe met with President Dr Arif Alvi and Prime Minister Imran Khan during his visit to Pakistan.

‘Digital Silk Road’ project is one of 12 sub-themes agreed to at the Belt Road Forum 2019 (BRF19) in Beijing. This state-of-the-art information superhighway involves laying fiber optic cables in Pakistan which will connect with China in the north and link with Africa and the Arab World via undersea cable to be laid from Gwadar Deep Sea Port built as part of China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC). The global project will include 5G wireless networks deployment in BRI (Belt Road Initiative) member nations, including Pakistan.

Watch Indian defense analyst Pravin Sawhney describe Pakistan's defense AI program:

https://youtu.be/xaAKlKoNoVU

http://www.youtube.com/embed/xaAKlKoNoVU"; width="560"></iframe>" height="315" src="https://img1.blogblog.com/img/video_object.png" width="560" style="cursor: move; background-color: #b2b2b2;" /> 

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Comment by Riaz Haq on May 28, 2022 at 10:45pm

Work on Pakistan’s first Artificial Intelligence lab under CPEC picks momentum

https://www.pakistantoday.com.pk/2022/05/28/work-on-pakistans-first...

Seventy-five percent work of Pakistan first high-standard artificial intelligence laboratory under CPEC at National University of Science and Technology (NUST) has been completed while the equipment installation is almost 100% finished, Gwadar Pro reported on Saturday.

At the beginning of this year, the laboratory under CPEC–Qingluan Artificial Intelligence Laboratory was officially established at NUST, with joint efforts of NUST and Guangzhou Institute of Chinese Academy of Sciences.

Research, development and customization is currently underway. I would say work is almost finished to 75%.” Muhammad Khubaib Shabbir, Deputy Director of China Study Center of NUST told Gwadar Pro.

The lab has been put into full use, both students and teaching staff are keen on researching Pattern and Facial Recognition algorithms, the reporter learned.

“Currently, Cogniser-V1 intelligent video analysis project-a pilot project with the Government of Pakistan, and a commercial project, namely GymBot are the main projects that are under development.” Muhammad Khubaib Shabbir revealed.

“Ideally, Cognizer-V1 is one of the most sophisticated surveillance equipment, which has the capability of converting ordinary cameras and surveillance equipment into a Smart Equipment, using AI and Computer Vision Algorithms.” Muhammad Khubaib Shabbir said.

“To put it simple, the Cognizer-V1 has the ability to sense the people who are lurking around in certain areas and generate warnings, regarding dangerous behavioral patterns such as suicide, or other suspicious activities.” Muhammad Khubaib Shabbir said.


In the case of Pakistan, the country is blessed with a large number of artificial intelligence application scenarios and a huge market, thanks to its world’s 6th largest population. Moreover, the country is never short on talents.

However, challenges lie in the commercialization of scientific achievements– an important step which can be viewed as one of the sources for innovation.

Due to the backward industrial conditions and obstruction of international exchanges during the epidemic, the progress of commercialization in Pakistani scientific research institutes has been extremely slow.

“Our other key project, ‘GymBot’, can be a perfect example of science commercialization. It is designed to be a deep learning device, using AI and Computer Vision Algorithms and serve as an auxiliary tool under various gym scenarios, monitoring whether the clients’ postures are correct.

Experts in various fields are joining the research team to finalize the product. The core functions have been developed already. Now what the team is doing is developing additional modules to integrate and research new areas to better customize the device.” Muhammad Khubaib Shabbir shared his insights.

“It is important to keep in mind that Guangzhou Institute of Chinese Academy of Sciences has shared the source code for ‘GymBot’. This enabled the researchers from Pakistan to get first-hand experience of the latest results on AI developments and offered them a chance to learn from it, enhance it and make it more usable for the local community. This will most definitely open new doors of opportunities for Pakistanis.”

Moving ideas from lab to marketplace is a complicated journey. Researchers and stakeholders need to manage the time-consuming process of moving from academic to commercial contexts, and seek balance between different goals amongst stakeholders and researchers.

CPEC enables the exchanges of advanced concepts, from both technical and management level. Qing Luan lab can be one of the successful examples.

Comment by Riaz Haq on July 8, 2022 at 6:51pm

China-Pakistan medical AI cooperation to boost chronic disease screening

https://www.pakistantoday.com.pk/2022/07/08/china-pak-medical-ai-co...

Lately, at the first international “Medical Conference and Exhibition for Next Generation Healthcare” held in Islamabad, Chinese medical AI leader Airdoc Technology and Pakistan’s well-known medical device import and distribution company Dynamic Medical Company (DMC) officially signed a cooperation agreement to work together to promote the application of Airdoc retinal imaging AI products in Pakistan.

Special Technology Zones Authority Chairman Amer Hashmi, ex-Surgeon General of Pak Army, Lt-Gen (r) Asif Mumtaz Sukhera, Health Services Academy VC Prof Dr Shahzad Ali Khan, former Ambassador to China Ms Naghmana A Hashmi, Advisor to GoP on Health Dr Ghazna Khalid, and numerous other professionals from public health sector attended the conference.

One of the major objectives of this conference was sensitizing the participants, the general public and the government to hereditary or genetic disorders, its timely diagnosis and available treatments.

In his speech HAS VC Dr Khan said that Pakistan is ranked among the countries having high alert of genetic disorders, adding that majorly the increased incidence and prevalence of the genetic disorders are associated with lack of pre-natal testing facilities in the country.

“Faced with the increasingly serious disease burden in Pakistan, advanced medical technology is an inevitable solution at present.” Experts such as Ms Hashmi, former Pakistani ambassador to China, agreed that pre-marital testing and counseling in Pakistan’s health care system will effectively relieve the heavy burden of genetic diseases through technological intervention.

Initiating research evidence-based interventions for genetic diseases in Pakistan will open another dimension of trade i.e. Pak-China Health Corridor.

At the meeting, Yang Yaquan, representative of Airdoc’s overseas business department, gave a keynote speech on “Artificial Intelligence Solutions for Early Screening of Chronic Diseases”, introducing that a series of chronic diseases such as high blood pressure, diabetes, coronary heart disease has a genetic predisposition.

The retina is the only part of the human body that can directly observe blood vessels and nerves non-invasively, thus by observing the subtle changes of blood vessels and nerves on the retina, people can glimpse the clues of more than 200 common chronic diseases.

The application of AI technology has made this test, which has a solid medical theoretical foundation, more efficient and accessible, making large-scale early screening of chronic diseases possible.

The reporter learned that Airdoc will promote a portable fundus camera in Pakistan, which looks like a VR glasses, is very convenient to carry, and can be driven by ordinary power banks. After the user completes retinal photography according to the voice prompt, it only takes about 1 minute to receive an assessment report containing dozens of health risks.

The product has been applied to domestic and foreign medical, general health, eye health management and other scenarios, serving over 10 million users. If the product can be promoted to the medical and health system of Pakistan, it will be beneficial for the early prevention of local related diseases

It is worth mentioning that DMC in institutional collaboration with the Health Services Academy (HSA) and their Chinese partners plans to set up a Genetic Reference Laboratory and Research Center for genetic disorders in Islamabad.

CEO, DMC, Mr. Owais Mir mentioned during the closing remarks that this conference will create an enabling environment for all medical technology-based research and innovation in Pakistan and this is only the beginning. More awareness on mass level coupled with federal govt.’s support will bring plan to action in the form of genetic labs, DNA sequencing interventions, data mining and more.

Comment by Riaz Haq on October 13, 2022 at 11:26am

Book Review | Book of Reckoning
October 12, 2022 forceindia 0 Comment
A tour de force of South Asia’s military, tech and strategic dynamics
Andrew Korybko


https://forceindia.net/book-of-reckoning/

Pravin Sawhney’s The Last War: How AI Will Shape India’s Final Showdown With China is the most detailed and up-to-date work about South Asia’s military, technological, and strategic dynamics. The author compellingly argues that India is far behind China as a result of mistakenly prioritizing Pakistan as its top security threat. By disproportionately focusing on the western vector of its national security interests, including countering related unconventional threats, Delhi is unprepared to adequately address newfound challenges along the northern one that are much more conventional in nature.

The summer 2020 clashes over the Galwan river valley should have served as a belated wake-up call, but they failed to be interpreted properly according to Sawhney, who provides evidence proving that decisionmakers continue to misperceive everything connected to China. He’s particularly concerned that his homeland might not be able to catch up with the cutting-edge challenges posed by China’s unprecedented military modernisation, which comprises the bulk of his book. It’s here where the author showcases his unparalleled expertise on military, technological, and strategic dynamics.

The Last War opens dramatically with the scenario of a Chinese sneak attack on India that includes cyberattacks, robot invasions, and swarms of miniature assassination drones, among other aspects. This captivates the reader’s imagination since they’re immediately intrigued to learn more about how Sawhney arrived at this particular vision of the future. He then proceeds to describe these two Great Powers’ polar opposite security paradigms, military modernisation programmes, and points of friction. Plenty of insight is shared about Pakistan and the US too, which helps complete the picture.

------------------

Upon learning how far India is behind China, it becomes clear to the reader that the former is at risk of sleepwalking into a disaster of epic proportions unless it urgently changes course to correct the trajectory that it’s on. Fundamental to the author’s scenario forecast is his concern that Delhi is too distracted by Pakistan to appreciate the full-spectrum paradigm-changing challenges posed by China. Furthermore, he argues that its armed forces don’t coordinate at the level required to effectively address this, nor does its political leadership have a proper understanding of technological trends.

Sawhney is also suspicious of the US’ influence over India, which he very strongly suggests is aimed at exploiting it as a proxy against China, one that Washington will inevitably hang out to dry once the going gets tough for Delhi in the event of a serious conflict with Beijing. It’s this patriotic motivation that drove him to elaborate on everything as extensively as he did, which includes very sharp critiques of India’s institutions. Readers should always remember this so as not to be put off by some of what he wrote, which for as ‘politically inconvenient’ as it might be for some, is fully cited and thus credible.


Comment by Riaz Haq on October 22, 2022 at 10:47am

China-Pakistan Digital Corridor to enhance cooperation in IT sector: Pakistani Ambassador--China Economic Net

http://en.ce.cn/Insight/202210/21/t20221021_38186192.shtml


BEIJING, Oct 21 (China Economic Net) – Pakistan and China have agreed to launch three new corridors, including the China-Pakistan Digital Corridor that would help enhancing cooperation in different fields of I.T, said Pakistan's Ambassador to China, Moin ul Haque, in an interview with China Economic Net (CEN).

Moin ul Haque told CEN that Pakistan has a rich repertoire of talent and human resources in different fields of science and technology and IT-based science and technology have become very important for Pakistan.

"We would be an important source of help for China in terms of software development. So, we are working together to set up training centres in Pakistan for developing software in different fields of IT", he stated.

He further said that the two countries recently agreed to launch three new corridors: the China-Pakistan Green Corridor, which will focus on the agricultural environment, food security, and green development, the China-Pakistan Health Corridor which will help Pakistan get efficiency in the medical field, and then the China-Pakistan Digital Corridor which will boost Pakistan's IT industry.

Ammar Jaffri Former Additional Director General FIA and Founder of Digital Pakistan said that emerging technologies have now become a lifeline for the achievement of The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) & targets.

"We are aiming to organise an international conference about artificial intelligence on 23rd March 2023 in which local and foreign enterprises would participate and we would take strategic decisions to engage the government of Pakistan, and international organisations in our mega projects", he mentioned.

He further said that AI in areas of cyber security, SDGs, and emerging technologies is a much-needed zone where Pakistan has to work with China while Pakistan has a young population advantage in the region.

Comment by Riaz Haq on November 18, 2022 at 7:06am


Pravin Sawhney
@PravinSawhney
For Pakistani friends:
1. Under CPEC, you have excellent opportunity to enter digital & AI age for prosperity.
2. Given deep military ties with PLA, Pak can adopt to new character of war quickly.
3. Definition of deterrence has changed. Cruise missiles replaced by HGVs!

https://twitter.com/PravinSawhney/status/1593618020026372096?s=20&a...

Comment by Riaz Haq on November 26, 2022 at 4:58pm

During a seminar titled ‘Artificial Intelligence (AI) in Defence Market: A Paradigm Shift in Military Strategy and National Security’ as part of IDEAS-22, artificial intelligence (AI) experts underscored the essential role of universities to keep Pakistan abreast with advancements in this field.

https://tribune.com.pk/story/2386761/one-network-catches-the-eye-at...

The seminar was orgnaised by the Institute of Policy Studies (IPS), Islamabad, and the Defence Export Promotion Organization (DEPO), where Minister for Defence Production Israr Tareen was the chief guest, said a press release issued here.

Addressing the seminar, Tareen acknowledged the country’s progress in the industrial and defence sectors, driven by the AI and machine learning (ML). He also underscored the role of academia, research scholars, and data-savvy individuals in the development process.

“Pakistan can become a global hub for AI, data science, cloud-native computing, edge computing, block-chain, augmented reality, and the IoT by reshaping and revolutionising education, businesses, and research through adoption of cutting-edge technologies and the AI-driven applications,” he said.

He emphasised that the country’s talented youth should be provided opportunities in the field of the AI and the Fourth Industrial Revolution [Industry 4.0] through initiatives like the Presidential Initiative for Artificial Intelligence and Computing (PIAIC).

“Apart from social, political, and economic changes, advanced technologies, 5G, and the AI have also changed the whole dynamics of contemporary warfare, battlefields, tactics, and strategies, the minister told the participants.

“With such strategic shifts, the concept of security has widened beyond conventional terms and rudimentary procedures to include sophisticated mechanisms and technology-driven procedures. These pose new challenges to the states,” he said.

IPS Chairman Khalid Rahman, who delivered the introductory remarks, highlighted the role of human intellect and research in the process of development. “In this regard, universities have served as the key platforms to set the pace for humanity in the key areas,” he said.

“The progress in AI will not stop and no country should stay behind in the AI development,” he emphasised. The role in AI progress is essentially played by universities, where research, creativity, and collaboration … can not only capitalise on the potentials of AI but also deal with the challenges.”

To meet the new complex security challenges of the 21st century, the other speakers presented their research papers, ideas, and findings on different AI-driven applications and processes, upon which the future international security dynamics depend.

Lt-Colonel Dr Ghulam Murtaza, Dr Yasar Ayaz, Dr Muhammad Tayab Ali, Maj Aon Safdar, Dr Waleed Bin Shahid, Lt-Col Usman Zia and Sqn-Ldr Javeria Farooq also addressed the seminar. The session was followed by a discussion by the panel.

Comment by Riaz Haq on November 29, 2022 at 2:31pm

THE IMPACT OF ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE ON STRATEGIC STABILITY AND NUCLEAR RISK Volume III South Asian Perspectives edited by petr topychkanov April 2020


The ongoing renaissance of artificial intelligence (AI) is reshaping the world. Just like many other developing countries, India and Pakistan—the two nuclear-armed states of South Asia—are exploring the subsequent opportunities for economic and social change. Their political leaders seem to prioritize civilian applications of AI over the military, and public attention reflects the political priorities. National efforts to militarize AI do not receive the same public coverage as civilian AI developments.
-------
It is clear from a comparative study of the state of adoption of AI in South Asia that India and Pakistan are playing catch-up in the world competition on military AI. Compared to the United States, China and Russia, India’s advances are modest, while Pakistan’s are even less visible. One of the reasons seems to be under-resourcing and inefficiencies in defence research and state industries. These prohibit the development and adoption of emerging technologies within a reasonable time frame. However, according to contributors from India and Pakistan, both countries are well aware of the strategic significance of AI. They see AI as one of many enablers of the mutual strategic balance. India must also take into consideration the role of AI in the military build-up of China, one of its long-term security concerns. In assessing the strategic significance of AI, the expert contributors—regardless of their origin—agree that AI is a double-edged sword. On the one hand, AI could enhance nuclear command and control, early warning, intelligence surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR), and the physical security of nuclear capabilities, among other areas. In this way it would improve states’ sense of security. On the other hand, the same advances could cast doubt on the survivability of their respective second-strike capabilities. This doubt would stimulate more aggressive nuclear postures that could increase nuclear risk.
There are several scenarios in which AI-enabled weapons could be involved in
escalatory dynamics in South Asia. Given that there have been few military applications of AI in either India or Pakistan, the contributors do not endorse the view
x the impact of AI on strategic stability and nuclear risk
that the use of AI systems could cause a nuclear war between India and Pakistan
or between India and China—at least for the foreseeable future. However, most
agree that the introduction of AI into the nuclear capabilities and postures of
India and Pakistan could affect strategic stability in South Asia. For this reason,
the majority of contributors support the idea that the states of South Asia should
take steps now to reduce the nuclear risk.
The question of how to design those steps is more divisive. For some, the solution
lies in the development of a legally binding international agreement that would
limit the military use of AI. Others argue that elaborating regional transparency
and confidence-building measures would be a more feasible option. A starting
point in their view would be to establish a regional dialogue on nuclear doctrines
and capabilities that would include a discussion on military AI. Given the success
of several track 2 dialogues on security between China, India and Pakistan, such
an initiative seems to be relatively realistic. 
Comment by Riaz Haq on December 18, 2022 at 8:04am

What is ChatGPT? The AI chatbot talked up as a potential Google killer
After all, the AI chatbot seems to be slaying a great deal of search engine responses.

https://interestingengineering.com/science/chatgpt-ai-chatbot-googl...

ChatGPT is the latest and most impressive artificially intelligent chatbot yet. It was released two weeks ago, and in just five days hit a million users. It’s being used so much that its servers have reached capacity several times.

OpenAI, the company that developed it, is already being discussed as a potential Google slayer. Why look up something on a search engine when ChatGPT can write a whole paragraph explaining the answer? (There’s even a Chrome extension that lets you do both, side by side.)

But what if we never know the secret sauce behind ChatGPT’s capabilities?

The chatbot takes advantage of a number of technical advances published in the open scientific literature in the past couple of decades. But any innovations unique to it are secret. OpenAI could well be trying to build a technical and business moat to keep others out.

What it can (and can’t do)
ChatGPT is very capable. Want a haiku on chatbots? Sure.

How about a joke about chatbots? No problem.

ChatGPT can do many other tricks. It can write computer code to a user’s specifications, draft business letters or rental contracts, compose homework essays and even pass university exams.

Just as important is what ChatGPT can’t do. For instance, it struggles to distinguish between truth and falsehood. It is also often a persuasive liar.

ChatGPT is a bit like autocomplete on your phone. Your phone is trained on a dictionary of words so it completes words. ChatGPT is trained on pretty much all of the web, and can therefore complete whole sentences – or even whole paragraphs.

However, it doesn’t understand what it’s saying, just what words are most likely to come next.

Open only by name
In the past, advances in artificial intelligence (AI) have been accompanied by peer-reviewed literature.

In 2018, for example, when the Google Brain team developed the BERT neural network on which most natural language processing systems are now based (and we suspect ChatGPT is too), the methods were published in peer-reviewed scientific papers, and the code was open-sourced.

And in 2021, DeepMind’s AlphaFold 2, a protein-folding software, was Science’s Breakthrough of the Year. The software and its results were open-sourced so scientists everywhere could use them to advance biology and medicine.

Following the release of ChatGPT, we have only a short blog post describing how it works. There has been no hint of an accompanying scientific publication, or that the code will be open-sourced.

To understand why ChatGPT could be kept secret, you have to understand a little about the company behind it.

OpenAI is perhaps one of the oddest companies to emerge from Silicon Valley. It was set up as a non-profit in 2015 to promote and develop “friendly” AI in a way that “benefits humanity as a whole”. Elon Musk, Peter Thiel, and other leading tech figures pledged US$1 billion (dollars) towards its goals.

Their thinking was we couldn’t trust for-profit companies to develop increasingly capable AI that aligned with humanity’s prosperity. AI therefore needed to be developed by a non-profit and, as the name suggested, in an open way.

In 2019 OpenAI transitioned into a capped for-profit company (with investors limited to a maximum return of 100 times their investment) and took a US$1 billion(dollars) investment from Microsoft so it could scale and compete with the tech giants.

It seems money got in the way of OpenAI’s initial plans for openness.

Profiting from users
On top of this, OpenAI appears to be using feedback from users to filter out the fake answers ChatGPT hallucinates.

According to its blog, OpenAI initially used reinforcement learning in ChatGPT to downrank fake and/or problematic answers using a costly hand-constructed training set.

Comment by Riaz Haq on December 19, 2022 at 4:43pm

How the algorithm tipped the balance in Ukraine

https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/2022/12/19/palantir-algorit...

by David Ignatius

KYIV — Two Ukrainian military officers peer at a laptop computer operated by a Ukrainian technician using software provided by the American technology company Palantir. On the screen are detailed digital maps of the battlefield at Bakhmut in eastern Ukraine, overlaid with other targeting intelligence — most of it obtained from commercial satellites.

As we lean closer, we see can jagged trenches on the Bakhmut front, where Russian and Ukrainian forces are separated by a few hundred yards in one of the bloodiest battles of the war. A click of the computer mouse displays thermal images of Russian and Ukrainian artillery fire; another click shows a Russian tank marked with a “Z,” seen through a picket fence, an image uploaded by a Ukrainian spy on the ground.

If this were a working combat operations center, rather than a demonstration for a visiting journalist, the Ukrainian officers could use a targeting program to select a missile, artillery piece or armed drone to attack the Russian positions displayed on the screen. Then drones could confirm the strike, and a damage assessment would be fed back into the system.

This is the “wizard war” in the Ukraine conflict — a secret digital campaign that has never been reported before in detail — and it’s a big reason David is beating Goliath here. The Ukrainians are fusing their courageous fighting spirit with the most advanced intelligence and battle-management software ever seen in combat.

“Tenacity, will and harnessing the latest technology give the Ukrainians a decisive advantage,” Gen. Mark A. Milley, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, told me last week. “We are witnessing the ways wars will be fought, and won, for years to come.”

I think Milley is right about the transformational effect of technology on the Ukraine battlefield. And for me, here’s the bottom line: With these systems aiding brave Ukrainian troops, the Russians probably cannot win this war.

“The power of advanced algorithmic warfare systems is now so great that it equates to having tactical nuclear weapons against an adversary with only conventional ones,” explains Alex Karp, chief executive of Palantir, in an email message. “The general public tends to underestimate this. Our adversaries no longer do.”

“For us, it’s a matter of survival,” argues “Stepan,” the senior Ukrainian officer in the Kyiv demonstration, who before the war designed software for a retail company. Now, he tells me bluntly, “Our goal is to maximize target acquisitions.” To protect his identity, he stripped his unit insignia and other markings from his camouflage uniform before he demonstrated the technology. (The names he and his colleague used were not their real ones; I agreed to their request to protect their security.)

“Lesya,” the other officer, was also a computer specialist in peacetime. As she looks at the imagery of the Russian invaders, on a day when their drones are savaging civilian targets in Odessa on Ukraine’s southern coast, she mutters a wish for revenge — and a hope that Ukraine will emerge from the war as a tech power. Although the Ukrainians now depend on technology help from America, she says, “by the end of the war, we will be selling software to Palantir.”

Comment by Riaz Haq on December 19, 2022 at 4:45pm

How the algorithm tipped the balance in Ukraine

https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/2022/12/19/palantir-algorit...


A new deterrent
Kyiv was cold and snowy when I arrived just over a week ago. The power was out in some places. But the capital was relatively calm. There was a traffic jam entering the city on Friday. On Saturday night, restaurants were so packed it was impossible to get a reservation at one upscale spot.

As Ukraine moves toward the new year, the spirit of resistance and resilience is visible everywhere. Roadblocks have mostly disappeared. Children play near captured Russian tanks in St. Michael’s Square. Couples take walks in the park above the Dnieper River.

I visited here at year’s end to explore what I believe is the overriding lesson of this fight — and indeed, of the past several decades of war: A motivated partner like Ukraine can win if provided with the West’s unique technology. The Afghanistan army cracked in a day because it lacked the motivation to fight. But Ukraine — and, before it, the Syrian Kurdish fighters who crushed the Islamic State with U.S. help — has succeeded because it has both the weapons and the will.

I met with a senior team from Palantir that was visiting its Kyiv office. With the approval of Karp, the CEO, they agreed to show me some of the company’s technology close to the firing line. The result is a detailed look at what may prove to be a revolution in warfare — in which a software platform allows U.S. allies to use the ubiquitous, unstoppable sensors that surround every potential battlefield to create a truly lethal “kill chain.”

Palantir, which began its corporate life working with the CIA on counterterrorism tools, has many critics. That’s partly because its biggest funder, from the start, has been co-founder Peter Thiel, a successful tech investor who has also been a strong supporter of Donald Trump and other MAGA Republicans. Karp, by contrast, has supported many Democratic candidates and causes.

The critics have argued that Palantir’s powerful software has been misused by government agencies to violate privacy or serve questionable ends. For example, The Post wrote in 2019 that Palantir’s software was used by Immigration and Customs Enforcement to help track undocumented immigrants, which led to protests from some of the company’s employees. Tech community activists have asked whether Palantir is too close to the U.S. government and can “see too much” with its tools.

Karp responded to criticism of the company in an email to me last week: “Silicon Valley screaming at us for over a decade did not make the world any less dangerous. We built software products that made America and its allies stronger — and we are proud of that.”

And Ukraine has shifted the political landscape in Silicon Valley. For Karp and many other technology CEOs, this is “the good war” that has led many companies to use their tools aggressively. This public-private partnership is one of the keys to Ukraine’s success. But it obscures many important questions: How dependent should countries be on entrepreneurs whose policy views could change? We can applaud the use of these tools in “good” wars, but what about bad ones? And what about private tools being turned against the governments that helped create them?

We’ll be struggling with these questions about technology and warfare for the rest of this century. But after spending weeks investigating the new tools developed by Palantir and other companies, the immediate takeaway for me is about deterrence — and not just in Ukraine. Given this revolution in technology, adversaries face a much tougher challenge in attacking, say, Taiwan than they might imagine. The message for China in this emerging digital battle space is: Think twice.

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    Illegal immigration from India to the United States is soaring. A record 96,917 Indians were detained while attempting to enter the US illegally from October 2022 to September 2023, representing a 50% jump from the corresponding period in the prior year. Vast majority of the arrested Indians came from Prime Minister Modi's state of Gujarat while others came from the state of Punjab. There are about 725,000 undocumented Indian immigrants in the US – the third-largest population of illegal…

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    Posted by Riaz Haq on February 2, 2024 at 5:00pm — 1 Comment

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