Industrial Policy & International Security

Ukraine war: Russia demands annexations recognised before talks | BBC

The Kremlin has indicated that Russia is open to negotiations but no mutually acceptable terms have been defined to initiate a diplomatic end to the war in Ukraine. Kyiv is not open to talks and Western leaders have indicated they would not pressure Ukraine into any compromise “that will not be acceptable for them.” Since the beginning of the war, Russia has lost control of more than half of seized land and in September illegally annexed four regions which its military does not control. Putin will not accept Western terms that do not recognize “new territories” in Ukraine.

Pentagon warns Turkey against Syria ground invasion after strikes threaten US troops | The Hill

Last month, NATO member Turkey launched airstrikes on parts of Northern Syria and Iraq targeting Kurdish groups. The strikes endangered US personnel and local partners in the area. Now, the Pentagon is officially warning Turkey against further military operations in Syria. Turkish President Recer Tayyip Erdoğan claims the strikes were in response to a bombing in Istanbul and suggested they are considering a ground invasion into Syria. In a call with the Turkish Minister of Defense, US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin conveyed his opposition to a new Turkey military operation in Syria. Austin emphasized the Pentagon’s concern of escalating violence in Syria and Turkey and called for de-escalation.

US Regulation

Elizabeth Holmes Is Sentenced to More Than 11 Years for Fraud | The New York Times

Elizabeth Holmes, founder of failed health technology company Theranos, has been sentenced to over eleven years in prison for defrauding investors. She was convicted in January of four counts of fraud for misleading the company’s investors. Holmes had raised $945 million for Theranos based on false claims about its medical testing device, falsified scientific research documents, and exaggerated visions for the future. Prosecutors sought significant penalties in Holmes’ sentencing to send a message to deter startup fraud. Holmes plans to appeal the sentencing, and though she expressed guilt for her deceit, she also placed blame on others at Theranos and investors seeking dramatic impact. Executives should expect more aggressive prosecution of white-collar crime. Earlier this year, Nikola founder Trevor Milton was convicted of fraud, and FTX founder Sam Bankman-Fried is under investigation.  


While anticipation builds for GPT-4, OpenAI quietly releases GPT-3.5 | TechCrunch

On Wednesday, OpenAI released new models based on GPT-3.5, an update on the groundbreaking GPT-3, which was labeled as the first AI that can write like a human. The company publicly demonstrated ChatGPT, a general-purpose chatbot, and released text-davinci-003, which has improved responses to “high-quality” writing prompts. The GPT-3.5 model was trained on large amounts of written content from the internet, including media platforms, news articles, and Wikipedia entries. Then, human trainers ranked GPT-3.5’s responses to prompts to further improve its performance. While it is less likely to produce biased or factually incorrect text, GPT-3.5 is still susceptible to producing toxic outputs. GPT-4 is expected to be released as soon as 2023.   

Elon Musk claims Neuralink is about ‘six months’ away from first human trial  | The Verge 

At a Neuralink exhibition, Elon Musk claimed his neurotechnology company will be able to begin human trials within the next six months. Neuralink is developing a device that, when implanted into the brain, would allow the user to control a computer with brain activity. Following several tests in both monkeys and pigs, Neuralink has submitted the majority of paperwork required by the Food and Drug Administration to approve human clinical trials. Animal tests on monkeys have demonstrated subjects’ ability to play Pong and “type” phrases by focusing on highlighted words. Researchers at Neuralink say the company is developing treatments to improve vision and restore bodily movement in paralyzed people. The technical presentations at the exhibition event were designed to boost recruitment as the Neuralink device matures into a market-ready product. 


Meta Fined $275 Million for Breaking EU Data Privacy Law | The New York Times

On Monday, Ireland’s Data Protection Commission fined Meta $275 million for breaching European privacy rules. Irish regulators claim that a lack of safeguards against data scraping contributed to a leak that led to the publication of 500 million Facebook users’ names, locations, and birthdates in an online hacker forum. Meta now owes Irish authorities upwards of $900 million in fines accumulated in the last year for violations related to mistreatment of children’s data and WhatsApp. Because companies including Meta, Google, Twitter, and TikTok have established major operations in Ireland, the country is a key enforcer of European tech regulations like the General Data Protection Regulation.    

DoD Releases Path to Cyber Security Through Zero Trust Architecture | US Department of Defense

This week, the Department of Defense released the Zero Trust Strategy and Roadmap, which lays out an action plan to implement zero trust architecture across the Department by fiscal year 2027. Simply put, the transition from perimeter-based security to a zero trust architecture means that once a user is inside the network, they are no longer automatically trusted. Zero trust architecture applies additional protections to valuable data, making it more difficult for adversaries to exploit network access. The Zero Trust Portfolio Management Office established earlier this year is responsible for adoption of the Roadmap and enforcing target compliance levels across the DoD. The Roadmap was developed with inputs from the National Security Agency, Defense Information Systems Agency, Defense Manpower Data Center, US Cyber Command, and the military services. 

State & Local Tech Ecosystems

Exploring Trends in Venture Capital Acquisitions For 2023 | Forbes

Venture Capital funding has continued to decline relative to 2021 levels and investors have become more selective with the current macroeconomic conditions; however, funding still remains higher than in 2020. Jeff Bartel, the chairman and managing director of Hamptons Group, a private investment and strategic advisory firm, expects VC funding to significantly increase in 2023. He predicts that the rise of the equity crowdfunding market, expected to reach $43 billion by 2028, will help startups reach their funding goals and encourage more investment in early-stage companies. Bartel also believes VC investors are transitioning away from riskier, short-term deals to a conservative, longer-term investment strategy focused on companies with proven track records. Finally, he forecasts further expansion of VC investments into international markets such as Europe and Southeast Asia. 

Democracy Online

Twitter ends its ban on covid misinformation | The Washington Post

Twitter has discontinued its policy against Covid-19 misinformation and will no longer police content related to pandemic information. Twitter instituted its Covid-19 misinformation policy in 2020 and, as a result, suspended more than 11,000 accounts and removed over 100,000 pieces of content. Public health officials see this action as a “step backwards” from the fight against health misinformation. They believe that fewer protections against misinformation could undermine public health efforts, cause more confusion, and possibly result in more deaths. Twitter’s Birdwatch program still allows users to rate and provide corrections to tweets but this approach to content moderation can end up amplifying incorrect information if enough users upvote a tweet. The distinction between fact and fiction in the court of public opinion will be further obfuscated by new policies that allow Twitter users to purchase verified check marks. 

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