Data - The New Biological Nerve Gas

Data is fast becoming the new weapon of choice. Those who dominate data will dominate power because power comes from insight into other nation’s activities. Harness that insight and you become more powerful than any other adversary. 

One of the ways of harnessing  that insight is through powerful computational power, such as Quantum Computers (see our special report on Quantum Computers here). These computers will have the ability to break codes and passwords in seconds. The US, China and Russia all know this, which is why they are racing to create the most powerful computers possible as well as the artificial intelligent algorithms that will be run by those computers.  

Chinese scientists are currently developing a next-generation supercomputer capable of performing 1 quintillion (a billion times a billion) calculations per second, which, if successful, will further enhance China's leading position in the field. Tianjin's National Supercomputer Center is working with the National University of Defence Technology in Changsha, Hunan province, to develop the super scale computer. Meng Xiangfei, assistant director of the center, says the aim is to make the computer by 2020. All the hardware and software is to be developed by Chinese engineers.

Not to be outdone by the Chinese, the US recently unveiled “Summit.” According to Dave Turek, vice president of high-performance computing and cognitive systems at IBM Summit is “the most powerful, smartest supercomputer in the world,”. It will crunch through roughly 200 quadrillion mathematical calculations each second, a speed called 200 petaflops. That as fast as each of the planet's 7.6 billion people doing 26 million calculations per second on a handheld calculator. 

The marketplace is beginning to recognize that AI and high-performance computing are not separate domains but things that need be viewed as integrated. 

“Artificial intelligence is the future, not only for Russia, but for all humankind,” explained Putin.“It comes with colossal opportunities, but also threats that are difficult to predict. Whoever becomes the leader in this sphere will become the ruler of the world.”

In that same speech, Putin also mentioned that he would not like to see anyone “monopolize” the field. “If we become leaders in this area, we will share this know-how with entire world, the same way we share our nuclear technologies today,” he told students from across Russia via satellite link-up, speaking from the Yaroslavl region.

China realized the power of data long ago. It is common knowledge, especially by those who have travelled to China, that China only allows internet sites with which they control the data flow. As of May 2018, more than 8,000 domain names were blocked in mainland China under the country's Internet censorship policy, which prevents users from accessing proscribed websites in the country. That includes Facebook, Google, Gmail, Twitter, Instagram , etc., pretty much the top 500 websites that are not Chinese. 


The US has taken advantage of their unique position of being home to many of the most innovative technologies over the years.  It has enabled them to harness vast amounts of data on all other countries where these US companies reside (except China of course). We know that the government has sanctioned companies such as Apple, Facebook or Twitter to hand over data on their users in a number of occasions. We also know from the Edward Snowden revelations that the NSA has developed a vast network of data sources. In spite of this leadership roll, the US position is being eroded quickly as the others play catch up. 

When it comes to applying facial recognition in China, the country seems to be farther ahead than any other. The Shanghai metro is developing facial recognition systems that will be placed at the entrance of each subway to verify the identity of commuters. A new police car can now do a 360-degree scan to identify faces at up to 60 yards awaywhile traveling at 75 miles per hour. Railway police use facial-recognition eye ware to identify someone in just 100 milliseconds from a database of 10,000 individuals. Unmanned convenience stores use facial recognition for payments, while Kentucky Fried Chicken uses “smile-to-pay”technology. China’s answer to Airbnb, Xiaozhu, will soon use facial recognition for check-ins. Chinese exam authorities are using facial recognition to catch cheatersfor competitive college entrance exams. So not only have they compiled a mass of data on their population, that data is now being made use of in powerful tools.

One of the Chinese companies leading the pack is SenseTime, founded in 2014. Surveillance makes up a third of SenseTime's business. Their clients are local governments throughout China. 

SenseTime's clients also include private security firms and in fact, it supplies the core technology to seven of China's 10 largest security firms in addition to financial services companies, banks, mobile operators and the smartphone industry. They have become China's largest unicorn – defined as a startup worth $1 billion or more – with a valuation of more than $3 billion.

Megvii is the countries second largest AI company. ”The government is pushing the need for this technology from the top, so companies don't have big obstacles in making it happen," says vice president Xie Yinan. "In America, people are too busy discussing how they should use it.” At the same time, China's State Council, has already laid out goals to build an artificial intelligence industry worth nearly $150 billion by 2030. China has consistently been ahead of the curve in terms of utilizing artificial intelligence (AI) for surveillance. The country’s CCTV system tracked down a BBC reporter in just seven minutes during a demonstration in 2017.

As technology advances, these governments and private companies will continue to compile data on each other and every individual they can in order to gain the upper hand on their adversaries.  We recently learned that Cambridge Analytica had access to Facebook data, however they apparently only had access to Facebook likes. From this one input, their artificial intelligence programs were still able to design a profile of the emotional state of the users. Imagine what they will be able to accomplish with data coming from Amazon Echo (their data has already been subpoenaed in a murder trial to help catch a criminal), Google Home, Siri, iBeacons in thousands of retail outlets, cameras on the streets, Fitbits , etc., in addition to all those free websites, such as  Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter or Instagram. 

Remember, if the product is free, then you are the product.


MonsterSchmuck Wed, 07/25/2018 - 23:15 Permalink

Smart Grid and Smart Meters are part of the data collection and eventual sociopolitical control. 

The advantage they, technocrats, have is the number of mindless sheeple adopting this surveillance technology and leaving those of us who balk at it swimming in their world. 

tonyw MonsterSchmuck Thu, 07/26/2018 - 07:42 Permalink

Not only adopting this surveillance technology but themselves paying to have it in the shape of smartphones.

Imagine 25 years ago if the spook agencies had said everyone must carry a radio transmitter that logs their location at all times. There would have been uproar, now not only the location but what you're doing.

In reply to by MonsterSchmuck

Buck Johnson MonsterSchmuck Thu, 07/26/2018 - 14:12 Permalink

(except China of course) and that is the problem.  Do you guys remember this Monday on NBC nightly news (may have been Tuesday) how the US is concerned about how Chinese engineers and students in higher schools of learning like MIT and other places and also Silicon valley are taking away knowledge and technology back to China and having it used by them.  One example was the scientist that developed the invisible cloak in the US.  What happened is as a student he stole technology and knowledge from Duke University David Smith one of the worlds leading expert in metamaterials.  He was working under him.

And also espionage wise it's a blackhole in china because it's hard to turn anyone and anyone that is turned is found out and executed, and most of the time it's down in front of their colleagues to scare them. 

We are going to be at war with china in the future and I think it's a war that we at worst won't win or at best will have to ceed control of Asia, Australia and to be honest with you Alaska and Canada to China to have peace.

It's going to be horrible.

In reply to by MonsterSchmuck

Alananda Wed, 07/25/2018 - 23:17 Permalink

Nope.  Doom porn; predictive programming; psyops.  As you ask, so ye shall receive.  As you believe, so it is to you.  Time to break free, folks!  For starters, how many of your neighbors can you love as thyself?

Thoreau Wed, 07/25/2018 - 23:18 Permalink

Little Brother, Inc.

The day that advanced eavesdropping technology becomes commonplace for the common man... the day that the data-gathering tables are turned against Big Brother, Big Banks, Big MIC, and Too Big to Fails... this will be the day those pedophiles, hucksters, traitors, warmongers go scrambling into our roach motel hands.

Just imagine the dirt that Millions of proverbial/literal flies on the wall can gather! Or could gather, that is. The powers that be surely realize this inevitability and will nuke this avenue into the stone age.   

MonsterSchmuck Wed, 07/25/2018 - 23:23 Permalink

Privacy engineering is a growing field. 

Don’t count on companies that monetize data to secure it properly. Create data firewalls. Engineer privacy in first not in hindsight. 

techpriest MonsterSchmuck Thu, 07/26/2018 - 06:47 Permalink

As a developer, this is starting to become a trend. The EU passed the GDPR regulation, which while vague, begins on the assumption that any user can ask to see what data we have on them, and they have the right to request removal of that data. The bad part of the GDPR is that the "how" is overly complicated, and assumes that only large businesses exist (as a small business I have to be 3-4 of the required departments.

I also think privacy by design will be a selling point. For example, instead of Dropbox, you can do NextCloud, which is software you install on your own machine, so that you are in control and you have full access to the code if you want to double-check where your data is going.

In reply to by MonsterSchmuck

nati Thu, 07/26/2018 - 04:13 Permalink

And the energy required to power those petaflops in the coming digital gulag is going to come from where, exactly?

As long as the US GOV handles all this the way it handles everything else, we should be fine. Bureaucracy is its own worst enemy.

Chief Joesph Thu, 07/26/2018 - 08:14 Permalink

"The US has taken advantage of their unique position of being home to many of the most innovative technologies over the years".  This is a patently false statement.  The U.S. no longer has the industrial capacity to develop any "innovative technologies", and hasn't had since the turn of the century.  Most all innovative technologies comes from Japan, South Korea, and China these days. Sure, a generation or two ago, America was famous for innovations, but not any more.  If America was truly "innovative", why is it they can't use any of that innovative technology to employ the 95.3 million people currently out of work, or repair and upgrade their infrastructure, or why is America failing so badly in science and education, or why can't they do anything "innovative" to make a better society?

The traditional idea we maintain about "American Exceptionalism" has morphed into Americans being "Exceptionally stupid" today.  It takes effort to maintain that idea, and currently America invests zero efforts.

flapdoodle Chief Joesph Thu, 07/26/2018 - 10:41 Permalink

Sadly true. The US sheep live in an alternative reality where they are exceptional while the rest of the world rushes by. In computers, Intel used to be quite innovative, but since the Talpiot plan moved their design centers to Haifa, the only innovation seems to be in cunning licensing of anything useful. The (((tribe))) is the death of true innovation because they invest too much effort in trying to squeeze out the last drop of value for themselves - greed does not lead to real progress, just look at Microsoft (whose only real innovation was the invention of the EULA and wrapping it around mediocre software).

In reply to by Chief Joesph

webmatex Thu, 07/26/2018 - 11:53 Permalink

That as fast as each of the planet's 7.6 billion people doing 26 million calculations per second on a handheld calculator. 

But what about miss keys and flat batteries? And blisters on fingers?

It will never work!