Kim Zetter’s (Wired) backstory on the SolarWinds hack. My takeaways are about timelines–the periods between initial suspicion, discovery and understanding, response, and communication are filled with uncertainty and pressure, not to mention the time it takes to scope, develop and deploy such a highly crafted attack; the need for redundancy on core systems and communication channels; the cascading effects across different networks–of both the intrusion and malware, of affected customers, and of crisis communications; how much simple luck can play a role; and the need for greater transparency on the part of government, developers and vendors.

Bruce Schneier, Henry Farrell and Nathan E Sanders on how AI could help democracy (Slate). Meantime, don’t give AI the nuclear control codes (The Atlantic)–indeed, don’t let it work it’s way up the decision-chain.

Tyler Cowan weighs in on who to trust–or perhaps more importantly, what questions to ask–on AI. ‘What I do not hear, however, is a more systematic cost-benefit analysis of AI progress…I also do not hear much engagement with the economic arguments that, while labor market transitions are costly, freeing up labor has been one of the major modes of material progress throughout history…True expertise on the broader implications of AI does not lie with the AI experts themselves…Experts from other fields often turn out to be more correct than experts in the “relevant” (quotes intentional) field — with the qualification, as the Einsteins of 1939 and 1954 show, that all such judgments are provisional.’

Surprise. Consultancies are spending big on AI.

Trying hard not to resent this…

The future of Google search is AI. The reporting suggests it’s still scatchy, but without access–see screen grab–it’s hard to judge. Still, Google seems to be moving cautiously, rather than throwing caution to the wind in an effort to match OpenAI and others.

The costs of ‘rip out and replace’, taking Chinese equipment out from US network infrastructure. ‘“People in Washington think it’s easy to just swap out the equipment, but there are always problems you didn’t expect, always more expenses and always delays”’. Costs now exceed $US5bn, double the Confressional allocation, with the burden falling predominantly on smaller operators. (New York Times)

Meantime, 5G is generally better and faster than 4G, but performance is declining. That’s been due to normal growing pains, building on existing 4G infrastructure, and regulatory problems limiting uptake of newly available spectrum. Only four countries–not including Australia–have bucked the trend. (IEEE Spectrum)

Chinese data laws are overly extensive, are applied capriciously, and constitute increasing business risk. ‘Merely forwarding an email with a signature containing a Chinese citizen’s personal information may constitute an infraction, notes one lawyer. Almost all global companies in China are thought to be operating in violation of the letter of the code.’ (Economist)

Lviv Seeks To Evolve From Outsourcing Hub To Ukrainian Silicon Valley.