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Old 08-09-2018, 10:59 PM   #4026
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The military is absolutely concerned with an arms race, but not about satellite maintenance - it's all about AI. The belief is that private AI efforts like NVIDIA or Google's DeepMind are not that far ahead of open source AI projects, while China/Russia are considerably ahead in that department.

I personally and skeptical of this just because of how inferior Baidu is to Google in its search algorithm department (a far more basic application of database analyzation) but Baidu also doesn't give true results due to the pay-for-ranking model and censorship imposed by the PRC. But the people I talked to, while not technical, were very intelligent and well-read, and believed the US was vastly behind.

I can vouch that in my experience the US government and by extension the intelligence department is probably behind. The government moves very slowly, and when it comes to technology which moves incredibly quickly and is profit-motivated, there is going to be the biggest gulf. It's unlikely the US government has the capability to match more autocratic regimes that can use force or force of economics to motivate such interests. Look at how much the FBI struggled to crack the iPhone's security. PRISM was advanced for its time, but only because the companies that volunteered for it did so with the intent to use the research they did for the government to build the foundation for the data mine technology we all hate today. If you're AT&T, and you want to get into targeting advertisements and biometric measurement, there's nothing better than having the US government pay you to violate your own TOS and build the foundation for your new business model.

Stuff like Starship Troopers or orbital super weapons were explicitly shut down in the briefings I heard. None of the senior military think this is practical or possible. There isn't a need for such a thing right now. But, say the GPS system is taken offline tomorrow and the chaos that would ensue from all the services that rely on it to work. Or if you take out DirecTV's satellites, that causes a mass of cancellations which will significantly hurt a critical company to US stability (AT&T).

Right now, satellites were protected due to their geography and the fact that you needed nation-sized resources to reach them. Now we have individuals, corporations or families who have wealth greater than some countries. Earth's orbit may be 32,000 miles away but it's never been closer than it is today. And so the time has come to protect and maintain those assets.
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