Two engineering students from Oregon State University allegedly ripped off Apple out of hundreds of thousands of dollars in iPhone replacements and are now facing criminal charges in federal court, as first reported by The Oregonian. Authorities allege the students pulled off a convoluted scheme in order to wring Apple of the cash by using counterfeit devices and exploiting Apple’s return policy.
Beginning in 2017, the two men allegedly smuggled thousands of counterfeit iPhones into the US from China and then sent them in for Apple to repair or replace, claiming the fakes wouldn’t power on. In many cases, Apple did replace the counterfeit goods with real iPhones, which cost the company an estimated $895,800.
Huawei has started the year with an aggressive PR campaign the reclusive founder Ren Zhengfei has suddenly give a series of interviews with foreign media to deny the company was a threat, while executives have dismissed the US warnings as baseless. Huawei has welcomed media to its tightly-guarded facilities in southern Guangdong province, starting with a tour of a smartphone production line in Dongguan.
The United States says Huawei equipment could be manipulated by China’s Communist government to spy on other countries and disrupt critical communications.
The world is preparing for the advent of ultra-fast 5G telecommunications, an advancement that Huawei was expected to lead and which will allow wide adoption of next-generation technologies like artificial intelligence.
Huawei’s Chief Financial Officer Meng Wanzhou, Ren’s daughter, also faces a court hearing on Wednesday in Vancouver on a US extradition request. Two Canadians have been detained in China in suspected retaliation over her arrest.
The US Justice Department accuses Huawei and Meng of circumventing US sanctions against Iran. Two affiliates also have been charged with stealing trade secrets from telecommunications group T-Mobile.
Sceptics, however, say it is highly unlikely that Ren, a former Chinese army engineer, could have steered his company to such heights in such a strategic sector without the support of Beijing, which has clearly stated its goal of becoming the world’s high-tech leader.
Besides its network dominance, Huawei is the world’s second-largest smartphone supplier after Samsung and Apple.
Twins, called Lulu and Nana, reportedly had their genes modified before birth by a Chinese scientific team using the new editing tool CRISPR. The goal was to make the girls immune to infection by HIV, the virus that causes AIDS.
Now, new research shows that the same alteration introduced into the girls’ DNA, to a gene called CCR5, not only makes mice smarter but also improves human brain recovery after stroke, and could be linked to greater success in school.
He Jiankui poses for the cameras of the Associated Press in the days before his gene-editing experiments became known.
Mark Schiefelbein | AP
The team, led by He Jiankui of the Southern University of Science and Technology in Shenzhen, claimed it used CRISPR to delete CCR5 from human embryos, some of which were later used to create pregnancies. HIV requires the CCR5 gene to enter human blood cells.
The experiment has been widely condemned as irresponsible, and He is under investigation in China.News of the first gene-edited babies also created speculation about whether CRISPR technology could one day be used to create super-intelligent humans, perhaps as part of a biotechnology race between the US and China.
There is no evidence that He actually set out to modify the twins’ intelligence. MIT Technology Review contacted scientists studying the effects of CCR5 on cognition, and they say the Chinese scientist never reached out to them, as he did to others from whom he hoped to get scientific advice or support.
The health ministry in Guangdong, China determined that scientist He Jiankui broke national laws when he used the CRISPR gene-editing technique to engineer human embryos with resistance to HIV and then implanted the embryos into women who then birthed the babies. Based on the probe, the Southern University of Science and Technology has fired He from his position as a researcher and teacher there. According to an article in the Chinese state media outlet Xinhua, police may also explore charges against He and his colleagues
China’s leadership – including President Xi Jinping – believes that being at the forefront in AI technology is critical to the future of global military and economic power competition.
AI has become a new focus of international competition. AI is a strategic technology that will lead in the future; the world’s major developed countries are taking the development of AI as a major strategy to enhance national competitiveness and protect national security. China’s AI policy community is paying close attention to the AI industries and policies of other countries, particularly the United States.
Chinese officials have expressed concerns that AI “will lower the threshold of military action,” because states may be more willing to attack each other with AI military systems due to the lack of casualty risk. Chinese officials also expressed concern that increased used of AI systems would make misconceptions and unintentional conflict escalation more likely due to the lack of well-defined norms regarding the use of such systems. Additionally, Chinese officials displayed substantive knowledge of the cybersecurity risks associated with AI systems, as well as their implications for Chinese and international security.
China has already established two major new research organizations focused on AI and unmanned systems under the National University of Defense Technology. AI is viewed as a promising military “leapfrog development” for China meaning that it offers military advantages over the US and will be easier to implement in China than the United States. China now sees AI as “a race of two giants,” between itself and the United States.
China is advancing the state of the art in AI research, its companies are very successfully developing genuinely innovative and market-competitive products and services around AI applications. Sense Time, for example, is undisputed one of the world leaders in computer vision AI and claims to have achieved annual revenue growth of 400 percent for three consecutive years.
Although China has strength in AI Research and development and commercial applications, China’s leadership perceives major weaknesses relative to the United States in top talent, technical standards, software platforms, and semiconductors.
China’s strengths are mainly shown in AI applications and it is still weak on the front of core technologies of AI, such as hardware and algorithm development, China’s AI development lacks top-tier talent and has a significant gap with developed countries, especially the U.S., in this regard
China and Russia secretly conducted experiments this year aimed at manipulating the Earth’s atmosphere.
In June, scientists from the two countries jointly performed five tests that some have speculated to be military related, and detailed their results in Earth and Planetary Physics last week.
The experiments involved heating the ionosphere, which is an upper, electrically charged layer of the planet’s atmosphere. At Russia’s Sura Ionospheric Heating Facility (SURA) in Vasilsursk, a powerful transmitter was used to pump radio energy into the ionized plasma that characterizes this layer, some 310 miles above the town.
Russia’s SURA facility. Image: Wikimedia Commons