6 hours to generate deadly poison: AI that must not be abused

Many people feel that it is not easy to make drugs, and at least knowledge of chemistry is required. But what if you ask artificial intelligence to help? And what the AI ​​system “makes” is not drugs but poison.

The paper in Nature Machine Intelligence with Fabio Urbina as the first author mentions that his company, Collaborations Pharmaceuticals, recently released a machine learning model for predicting toxicity. Invited to the Swiss NBC (Nuclear, Biological and Chemical) Conservation Institute meeting to discuss the development of tools that cutting-edge chemistry and biotechnology could have an impact on, Collaborations Pharmaceuticals was invited to talk about the potential misuse of AI technologies.

Urbina said the issue didn’t seem to have been thought of before because decades of machine learning models have discovered new druggable molecules, and the use of computers and artificial intelligence is about improving human health, not destroying it. Collaborations Pharmaceuticals decided to explore how to use AI to design toxic molecules, previously designing a commercial de novo molecule generation model called MegaSyn, using machine learning models to predict biological activity and find new therapeutic inhibitors for human disease targets.

Such generative models typically penalize predicted toxicity and reward predicted target activity, then adjust the guidance model to reward both toxicity and biological activity, and train AI using public repositories of molecules. The adjusted underlying generative software is built on readily available open-source software, and in order to narrow down the molecular scope, the generative model is pushed towards compounds such as the nerve agent VX.

VX is a man-made chemical warfare agent of nerve agent (chemical warfare agent: the purpose of war, with severe toxicity, large-scale poisoning or killing enemy humans, animals and plants and other chemical substances), strong toxicity and rapid action, 6~10 mg of VX particles is enough fatal. The new model generated 40,000 molecules within 6 hours of starting the server. Artificial intelligence not only designed VX, but also designed many known chemical warfare agents, and also designed many new molecules that seem to be equally reasonable. According to the predicted value, the new molecules are more toxic than known chemical warfare agents.

The repositories for training AI do not include these nerve agents, but reversing the machine learning model turns a harmless generative model from a useful medical tool into a lethal molecular generator. Models created to avoid toxicity become “double-edged”. The better a researcher can predict toxicity, the more effective a generative model will be at guiding the design of new molecules in a chemical space that is largely composed of lethal molecules.

Collaborations Pharmaceuticals did not evaluate the synthesizability of the model-generated virtual molecules, nor did they explore how to manufacture them, but the process has an off-the-shelf business model and open-source software. While they also didn’t physically synthesize any molecules, there are hundreds of commercial companies around the world that do.

This proves one thing: non-humans can make lethal chemical weapons.

While knowledge of chemistry or toxicology is currently required to generate toxic substances or biological agents that can cause significant harm, the addition of machine learning models greatly reduces the technical threshold and may only require the ability to code and understand the output of the model. Commercial tools, open-source software tools, and public repositories are all available for unsupervised use, and the use of artificial intelligence to generate models of harmful molecules appears to be a “Pandora’s box.” These molecules can be easily removed, but not how they were created.

Clearly, ways must be found to avoid AI misuse. Urbina believes that AI chemical warfare isn’t going anywhere anytime soon, but it is a possibility. MegaSyn is a commercial product that can control who can access it, and restrictions may be added in the future. Like the OpenAI “GPT-3” language model, although it can be used at any time, it can also cut off users’ access rights.

Urbina also mentioned that universities should also redouble their efforts to train science students in ethics, which can be extended to other disciplines, especially computer science students, to make them aware of the potential for artificial intelligence abuse. This attempt seems to once again confirm a sentence: technology is innocent, whether it benefits or does evil, depending on the purpose of the user.

Algorithm loophole, Facebook pushes false and violent messages for half a year

Foreign media The Verge reported that Facebook’s News Feed has been pushing “bad” content for the past six months due to a major sorting error. Because of this loophole, dynamic news increases the weight of fake news and violent news.

In October last year, engineers discovered that there was a problem with the push, and at that time, there was a significant increase in fake news in the news feed. Fake information, which was vetted by fact-checkers and should have been suppressed long ago, is spreading. The engineer could not find the root cause, and could only watch the fake information continue to ferment, subsided after a few weeks, and then relapsed. In the end, the engineer found that there was a problem with the sorting, and fixed it on March 11.

Documents show the technical issue dates back to 2019, but it didn’t have a major impact until October 2021. Meta spokesman Joe Osborne said: “We tracked down the root cause and eventually found it to be a bug in the software that was fixed. The bug did not have any meaningful long-term impact on the assessment criteria.”

Air pollution is so severe that India’s solar potential is reduced by 29%

We hope that through solar energy, the energy transition will be smooth and eventually net zero carbon emissions will be achieved, but if the air pollution is too serious, no matter how many solar panels are installed, the effect will be greatly reduced, the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) team pointed out , India has lost 29% of solar energy development potential.

Sagnik Dey, associate professor of atmospheric sciences at the Indian Institute of Technology, said that the main reason why air pollution reduces solar power generation is mainly because aerosols absorb and scatter light. According to the team’s research, between 2001 and 2018, India’s solar energy potential has dropped by 29% due to air pollution, which is equivalent to an annual loss of 835 million US dollars.

Dey pointed out that aerosols such as dust, particles, mist, and fumigation in the air can significantly reduce the amount of solar radiation, which is also known as the atmospheric attenuation effect. Usually, when large-scale solar development projects are carried out, developers have to With this in mind, some manufacturers do not take into account the “pollution impact” of aerosol deposition on solar panels.

India is currently sprinting solar installations, but according to research center Mercom India, as of March this year, India’s solar installation capacity is only half of the target, only 50GW. He believes that air pollution in South Asia is becoming more and more serious, and the above two problems must be solved in order to improve the profitability of solar energy systems.

According to past studies, in areas with severe air pollution, suspended particles can reduce solar power generation by more than 50% due to dirty solar panels and reduced chance of rainfall. Bhupendra Das, an environmental researcher at Tribhuvan University in Nepal, also pointed out that acid rain can also corrode solar equipment and brackets, driving up maintenance costs.

The team believes that the solution at this stage is to find the optimal tilt angle to install the solar panel. Compared with the horizontal installation module, the dust is less likely to accumulate or get stuck, and it can also be converted into a more expensive sun tracking system; but in the long run, it may be It still has to rely on India’s air pollution prevention and control plan. For example, India launched the National Clean Air Programme in 2019. The goal is to reduce the PM 2.5 concentration by 20% to 30% in 2024 based on 2017.

Otherwise, according to the “2021 Global Air Quality Report” released by IQAir, a Swiss air quality technology company, the most polluted capital in the world is New Delhi, India. The average PM2.5 concentration ranked first, and 34 other cities in India were also ranked among the most polluted cities in the world.

Meta is planning a nationwide campaign against TikTok

According to news on March 31, Facebook parent company Meta is working with Targeted Victory, one of the largest Republican consulting firms in the United States, to plan a national anti-TikTok campaign.

The Washington Post quoted the Targeted Victory letter as saying that TikTok was cracked down through the media and lobbying, describing it as a threat to children and society as a whole. Targeted Victory asks partners: “Do you have any bad TikTok trends or stories over there?” “Preferably something like ‘From Dance to Harm: How TikTok Became the Worst Social Media for Kids’.”

In another February letter, a director of Targeted Victory said that “information needs to be spread, and although Meta is now the target of public criticism, TikTok is actually the real threat.”

Targeted Victory also encouraged political candidates to use TikTok’s popularity to deflect Meta’s privacy and antitrust concerns. Targeted Victory has signed dozens of public relations firms in the U.S. to help influence public perception of TikTok. In addition to inserting local news reports, it also publishes TikTok-targeted columns across the country, especially in key congressional districts.

Targeted Victory declined to answer the question, saying only that it has worked with Meta for several years and is “proud of the work we do.”

Baidu, iQiyi, etc. are listed on the temporary list of delisting risks by the US SEC

According to the Economic News Agency, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) on the 30th, in accordance with the recently implemented “Foreign Company Accountability Act,” added five more Chinese-listed companies in the United States to the provisional list of issuers with delisting risks. Including Baidu, which is dual-listed in Hong Kong, as well as iQiyi, Futu Holdings, Kaixin Yuanda Pharmaceutical, and Nocera, which is engaged in fish farming; this is also the third batch of Chinese concept stocks to be included in the list since March.

On the same day, the SEC will transfer the 5 Chinese concept stocks in the first batch of list announced to the final list, including BeiGene, Yum China, Zai Lab, Shengmei Semiconductor and Chi-Med Pharmaceutical, which means that these companies have not. Provide strong defense evidence to the SEC in a timely manner.

The Chinese concept stocks currently on the temporary list also include the second batch of Weibo, as well as the aforementioned third batch of companies, all of which need to provide evidence to the SEC to prove that they do not meet the conditions for delisting. Weibo’s defense period is 4 On April 13, the remaining 5 companies have a deadline of April 20.

Prior to this, China had been releasing rumors that there was progress in negotiations with the United States on the audit of Chinese stocks, and an agreement was even close to being reached. However, SEC Chairman Gary Gensler emphasized in an interview with foreign media that the United States still firmly demands the United States Regulators get full audit powers, as this is under the Foreign Company Accountability Act, and he acknowledged that he had had in-depth conversations with Chinese officials, but believed it was still up to Chinese authorities to reach a deal, and it was expected that a compromise from the Chinese side could be an issue. Tough choice.

When asked about forcing foreign companies to hand over audit papers may endanger the information security of other countries and even national security, Gensler believes that audit papers are only used to confirm corporate income and expenses, and rarely contain sensitive information, and the other 50 Neither jurisdiction has challenged the audit arrangement.

The China Securities Regulatory Commission stated that for some companies listed by the SEC with delisting risks, it has learned from the US SEC that this is a normal procedure for the US regulatory authorities to implement the “Foreign Company Accountability Law”. Whether the listed companies are in the future The real delisting in two years will ultimately depend on the progress and results of China-US audit and supervision cooperation.

The big resignation is not a short-lived phenomenon of the epidemic, Harvard: The new reality employers will face

Last year, 47 million people in the United States voluntarily resigned and set a record. Many people called it a “big resignation”. They believed that this was a unique sequela after the epidemic. However, according to an analysis by Harvard Business Review, the big resignation did not appear in the air, but existed before the epidemic. The trend, the force behind Americans leaving their jobs, will survive the pandemic.

There is now a shortage of labor everywhere in the United States, and some business establishments have been forced to reduce operating hours. However, the analysis believes that if it is extended to more than ten years, the resignation now is not a short-term turbulence caused by the epidemic. The resignation rate has been rising in the past few years. In the U.S., with stimulus checks and uncertainty waning, people are starting to quit their jobs, and simply put, many would probably quit in 2020 if there wasn’t a pandemic.

The article analyzes five factors behind the big resignation: retirement, relocation, reconsideration, reshuffle, and reluctance. The epidemic is just a combination of the five to produce all the changes in the labor market. One of the important factors is the early retirement of older workers, who may have wanted to retire in the first place, just as the stock market surged and residential property values ​​rose, giving them more confidence to act. The pattern of older workers leaving is very different from the last financial crisis. During the 2007-2009 Great Recession, the labor force participation rate over the age of 55 increased by 1%, and fell by 1.9% during the current outbreak.

As for the relocation, there were not as many as expected. The report pointed out that while the article on high-skilled knowledge workers abandoning expensive areas for scenic spots is appealing, the fact that relocation is not the reason for the big resignation. Overall liquidity in 2021 is the lowest in more than 70 years of records. Since the 1980s, relocation rates have been steadily declining, and the pandemic has not reversed the trend.

The third point is to rethink the meaning of work. Deaths and serious illness from the pandemic have made people reconsider their priorities in life, with women more affected than men, and younger people more severely than older adults. Especially in white-collar industries such as consulting and finance, grassroots personnel experience severe job burnout. Due to heavy business during the epidemic, grassroots personnel have not received training or growth rewards, or benefited from customer interaction, which has changed young people’s tolerance for such work.

Instead of quitting the workforce, many reshuffle. In industries with the highest turnover rates, employers responded by sharply raising wages to attract workers, according to an analysis by the Brookings Institution. For example, in 2021, McDonald’s will increase its hourly wages by 10%, and also improve benefits such as emergency childcare, paid leave and tuition reimbursement. As a result, the number of employees will be successfully expanded in 2021, and the staffing at the end of the year will be higher than that at the beginning of the year. Walmart also announced that it will pay 100% of college tuition and books for employees over five years, hoping to attract employees and increase employee retention rates. The reluctance of many employees to return to the office after the epidemic is also one of the reasons for the mass resignation.

The Quartz analysis pointed out that the fact that so many people have resigned is the result of a systematic failure to pay attention to workers in the United States. The article accuses the United States of long-term emphasis on business-friendly policies and shareholder-centricity, becoming the most demanding country for labor in advanced economies, lacking paid leave, not supporting childcare, and lacking support during the epidemic, not to mention the federal minimum wage for more than ten years. Did not go up. Harvard Review believes that resigning now is just a continuation of the pre-pandemic trend, a reality that American employers may have to contend with in the next few years.

Worrying about Beijing’s rectification and shrinking wealth

The Beijing authorities are heavily controlling the technology industry, and they call out “common prosperity”. China’s richest people are afraid that their property will not be guaranteed, and many people quietly move their funds to Singapore.

CNBC reported on the 29th that after the anti-extradition protests broke out in Hong Kong in 2019, Chinese tycoons began to look for places outside Hong Kong to store their wealth. With a large Chinese-speaking population and no wealth tax, Singapore has become the new favorite of the wealthy in China. Last year, Beijing abruptly overhauled its technology and education industries and advocated common prosperity, leading to a surge in capital flight.

Singapore-based business owners help wealthy Chinese people move their assets to Singapore using the family office model. Iris Xu, founder of accounting and corporate services provider Jenga, said that in the past 12 months, the number of inquiries about setting up family offices in Singapore has tripled, with clients mostly from wealthy Chinese or Chinese immigrants.

Xu has 50 clients who have opened a family office in Xingguo, each with assets starting at at least $10 million. Family offices are privately held companies that assist wealthy families with investment and wealth management matters. Xu said Chinese customers believe there are endless opportunities to make money in their hometown, but they are not sure if their money is safe in China.

Xu revealed that China’s restrictions on international travel due to the epidemic also made local rich people more interested in immigrating to Singapore through family offices. Star State Global Investor Program, spend 2.5 million stars (about 1.8 million US dollars) investment, you can apply for permanent residency.

East Antarctica’s first ice shelf collapses

East Antarctica experienced record-breaking heat last week, and new satellite images show an ice shelf the size of Rome has collapsed completely at the same time.

East Antarctica experienced an abnormally high temperature last week. The scientific research station Convoy monitored the temperature in the area to soar to minus 11.8 °C on March 18, which was more than 40 °C higher than the average temperature in the past March. A stream of heat from an atmospheric river is trapped over the Antarctic continent.

Meanwhile, satellite imagery showed the complete collapse of the 1,200-square-kilometer Conger Ice shelf around March 15.

Since the satellites were put into observation in the 1970s, the Kanger Ice Shelf has gradually disintegrated, gradually shrinking into an ice belt 50 kilometers long and 20 kilometers wide, one end is connected to the Antarctic continental ice sheet, and the other end is connected to the waters of the Antarctic Ocean. It was connected to Bowman Island until it finally collapsed in March of this year.

The Conger Ice Shelf is small compared to the Larsen B Ice Shelf (3,250 square kilometers) that collapsed more than a decade ago, but ice shelf collapses typically occur in the fast-moving West Antarctica, and East Antarctica is often considered a Larger and more difficult to move stable ice, so it is surprising that the collapse of the Conger Ice Shelf has been observed for the first time since January 2020.

Scientists said that the Conger Ice Shelf is not an important support gateway for the upper ice layer, and it is impossible to say what caused the collapse of the Kanger Ice Shelf, and it will not have a significant impact on the world. The impact of sea level rise can be measured in tens of meters.

A 16-year-old boy is suspected of being the mastermind of the hacker organization Lapsus$, who has hacked Microsoft, Intel, Huida

A few days ago, the hacker organization Lapsus$ invaded many well-known technology companies such as Microsoft (Microsoft), Intel (Intel), and NVIDIA (NVIDIA), stealing a large amount of source code, causing global attention. British foreign media reported that London City police arrested seven teenagers, including a 16-year-old boy who was accused of being the mastermind of Lapsus$.

“Bloomberg” quoted the London City Police report that the seven arrested teenagers, aged between 16 and 21, were suspected of being related to the hacker organization Lapsus$. All those involved were released after investigation, but the investigation will continue.

Investigators revealed that Lapsus$ leaves traces after each attack, and compared with public information, it was found that the mastermind behind it may be a 16-year-old British boy who used the codenames “White” and “Breachbase” to attack.

The father of a 16-year-old boy said that he did not know that his child was involved in hacking activities. He only knew that he was very good at computers. He always thought he was playing games and spent a lot of time playing with computers. The father said he had tried unsuccessfully to prevent his son from using the computer.

Shanghai Silicon Valley was blocked due to the epidemic, and China’s semiconductor manufacturing and packaging chain is not good?

Zhangjiang Hi-Tech Park in Pudong has always been known as the “Shanghai Silicon Valley”, but now it is feared that the city will be closed in batches to fight the epidemic without warning on the 27th, which will expose China’s semiconductor supply chain to more disruption risks. Major industrial cities such as Xi’an, Suzhou and Shenzhen have also faced shocks due to city closures.

The South China Morning Post reported on the 27th that after three rounds of large-scale screening of the blocked communities in the past week, the authorities in Zhangjiang Town decided to extend the closure on the 25th. Although the closure measures have not extended to the nearby high-tech park, the blocked residential area is the main place where the employees of the park live.

According to reports, several companies in Zhangjiang Park have suspended some operations, and employees who can work remotely are trying to work from home. Shanghai is battling the worst wave of the 2020 coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak. Shanghai resident Zhang Xiaonan revealed that the company where her father worked (located in Zhangjiang Park) was closed on the 24th, and all employees were not allowed to enter the office building and went home to wait for notification.

However, several important factories continue to operate, including Hua Hong Semiconductor and Semiconductor Manufacturing International Corporation (SMIC).

The report pointed out that the market is worried that if the Shanghai authorities finally decide to require the city’s technology heartland, the Zhangjiang Park, to be completely closed, it may have a serious impact on China’s semiconductor manufacturing and packaging value chain. This will make Shenzhen and Dongguan, the two major southern science and technology towns, face the dilemma of logistics delays. Shenzhen and Dongguan are also fighting against the Omicron variant outbreak.