Weakest Link In The Chain

Who’s running the show here, Microsoft?

Cyber Command chief suggests Pentagon networks are vulnerable

In his first hearing before the House Armed Services Committee, new US Cyber Command head Gen. Keith Alexander offered a troubling window into the threats that Pentagon networks face at the hands of terrorist and criminal syndicates, foreign intelligence organizations, and “hacktivists” intent on infiltrating power grids and financial networks.

These are threats that could hamper the US war effort in Afghanistan. Though the command recently deployed an “expeditionary cybersupport” unit to help to defend US networks in Afghanistan, Alexander on Thursday told the committee: “We’re not where we need to be” in ensuring the security of US military networks there.

In the past, cyberattackers have been able to steal key information from the US troops who rely on sophisticated equipment, including data on convoy supply routes, according to senior US officials.

Every hour, there are some 250,000 attempted attacks on Defense Department networks worldwide, Alexander told the committee. Throughout the Department of Defense, there are more than 15,000 different computer networks, including 7 million computers on some 4,000 military installations, committee chairman Rep. Ike Skelton (D) of Missouri pointed out.

See also:
Cybercom Chief Details Cyberspace Defense
Pentagon Faces Massive Cyber Threats
Military’s cyber defense limited in protection of US, top general says
Gaps in authority hamper military against cyber-attacks
Pentagon: Military networks vulnerable
Cyber Command chief proposes secure network for government, key industries
US reviewing ways to fight cyber attacks: general
Cyberwar Chief Calls for Secure Computer Network
An army of tech-savvy warriors has been fighting its battles in cyberspace
NSA chief envisions ‘secure zone’ on Internet to guard against attacks
White House reviews nation’s cybersecurity

Well, obviously, for starters, you could solve most of these problems by severing all connections between critical defense and infrastructure networks and the public internet. I’m pretty sure they already know that, so I’m not sure why this basic step has yet to be completed.

/today’s U.S. warfighters are so dependent on electronics that I sometimes wonder what would happen if, say an EMP attack disabled all their electronic gear, are they even trained to fight the old fashioned way anymore or would they be helpless?

I’ll Take Machines That Play Jeopardy For $500, Trebek

What is Watson, Alex?

IBM supercomputer to appear on ‘Jeopardy’

What is the end of the world?

For some, it would be dedicating your life to appear on a TV game show. For others, it would be creating a machine that can prove itself better than anyone who dedicates their life to appear on a TV game show.

For myself, it seems clear that IBM has created something that will be the apogee of appointment television by honing a supercomputer to compete with the finest mailmen, insurance brokers, and nurses to prove that it can, well, find the question in the answer.

Yes, IBM’s Watson is, according to The New York Times, to appear on “Jeopardy!”!

Eric Brown, Watson’s research manager, said on the IBM video here embedded: “A question can be posed in natural language and, having read a whole bunch of information, data, documents, it can come up with a very precise answer to that question.”

This does sound very slightly like a large box of Google with human tendencies.

One of the Watson team members describes it in extremely romantic terms. He posits the “Jeopardy!” appearance as a competition between a human, who is all “carbon and water,” and Watson, rippling with its silicon and its unslippable disk.

See also:
Supercomputer plays ‘Jeopardy’
This supercomputer plans to beat humans on Jeopardy!
VIDEO: IBM’s Supercomputer to go on Jeopardy!
IBM’s Jeopardy! computer plays to win (and does)
There’s Nothing Elementary About IBM’s Remarkable Watson
What Is I.B.M.’s Watson?
IBM invites you to outwit supercomputer
The DeepQA Project
Watson Research Center

Oh sure, it’s a cute publicity stunt, man versus machine and all.

/but can Watson beat Ken Jennings?