The New York Times: A dangerous spy war between Beijing and Washington artificial intelligence and secret operations in Brussels, Singapore and Abu Dhabi

The New York Times: A dangerous spy war between Beijing and Washington artificial intelligence and secret operations in Brussels, Singapore and Abu Dhabi

London : The New York Times published a report prepared by Julian E. Barnes and Edward Wong, in which they said that the United States and China are waging a secret, risky international espionage war, whose goal is to obtain secrets.

The report stated that the two countries took bold steps in a shadow espionage war in order to collect information about the thinking of the leadership and military capabilities. As the Chinese balloon drifted toward the continental sphere of the United States in February, American intelligence agencies detected signs of Chinese President Xi Jinping’s anger with the military leadership.

Xi did not oppose the risky espionage operation against the United States, but US intelligence concluded that the Chinese army misled Xi until the balloon reached America. US officials refused to discuss how intelligence agencies obtained this information.

When the Chinese President learned about the balloon's trajectory, and knew that his meeting with Blinken would be aborted, he rebuked his generals for not telling him that the balloon had deviated from its course.

But the information obtained by the newspaper is published for the first time. When Xi learned about the balloon’s trajectory, and knew that his meeting with Secretary of State Anthony Blinken would be thwarted, he rebuked his generals for not telling him that the balloon had deviated from its course, according to American officials who had access to testimony.

The incident revealed the expanding secret espionage competition between the United States and China. The balloon story remains a small part of a Chinese espionage effort, and reflects Beijing's boldness to collect information about the United States, as well as Washington's increasing capabilities to collect information about China.

For the United States, espionage efforts are a vital part of Joe Biden's strategy to constrain the rise of Chinese military and technological power, a strategy consistent with his thinking that China represents a long-term threat to American power.

In the case of China, the audacity of Chinese intelligence is driven by the desire of President Xi, who is leading harsh military efforts along his country’s borders, and pushing his foreign intelligence to increase its activities in distant regions.

 The espionage efforts undertaken by the two countries aim to answer two difficult questions: “What are the intentions of the leadership of the competing state?” What are the technological and military capabilities under its control?

US officials, speaking on condition of anonymity, said US intelligence's focus is on the Chinese president and his thinking and intentions, especially with regard to Taiwan.

The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) has intensified its efforts to pursue Chinese efforts to train agents inside the United States. US agencies have identified intrusions by Chinese citizens into military bases on US soil during the past 12 months.

The focus of US intelligence is on the Chinese president and his thinking and intentions, especially with regard to Taiwan

The two countries are in a race against time to develop artificial intelligence technology, as both believe it is vital to maintaining qualitative military and economic superiority, and gives their intelligence agencies new capabilities. US officials say China's efforts touch on all aspects of national security, diplomacy, and advanced commercial technology in the United States and partner countries.

The Pentagon's Military Intelligence Agency established new centers focusing its efforts to spy on China, and officials improved their capabilities to eavesdrop on electronic communications, including the use of spy planes off the coast of China. FBI Director Christopher Rhee says that the espionage conflict with China is broader than the one the United States fought with the Soviet Union during the Cold War.

China's population and economic capacity give it the ability to build its intelligence services more than America. He said: “In fact, compared to the People’s Republic of China, we are unable, but our responsibility is to protect the American people here at home. I see this as a challenge for our generation.”

China views the matter in a different way. Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin says, “The United States is the first country in the field of surveillance and has a vast spying network around the world.”

Espionage is considered a means of preventing conflicts or facilitating sensitive negotiations, but it may increase countries' slide into conflict and cause diplomatic disputes. In February, after canceling a visit to Beijing because of the balloon, Blinken confronted China's top diplomat with intelligence revealing Chinese plans to supply weapons to Russia. The revelation heightened tensions, but may have prevented China from sending weapons to Moscow, US officials say.

When Blinken visited China in June, he raised the topic of Chinese activities in Cuba. American officials comment that China's reconnaissance capabilities and electronic interference are its most powerful weapon for gathering information. The fleet of spy balloons, although not superior, allowed Beijing to exploit unregulated axes of “near space,” as the United States warned its allies of China’s electronic surveillance capabilities, which may expand if countries of the world use communications technology produced by Chinese companies.

Chinese officials hope that artificial intelligence will help them counter American military power, including identifying submarines and dominating space

Artificial intelligence has become a battlefield in which the United States believes it can surpass China in terms of numbers. Chinese officials hope that it will help them confront American military power, including identifying American submarines and dominating space.

American officials fear China's efforts to collect information at personal levels, and say that the Chinese Ministry of State Security aims to plant or recruit assets in the American government, as well as defense companies and industries.

The Chinese use social media platforms, especially LinkedIn, to attract potential recruits. Every time an American citizen discloses a security job, they expect a flood of communications from Chinese citizens and local media, according to current and former American officials.

US intelligence responded to the threat by opening and expanding domestic espionage operations. The investigations focus on Chinese attempts to recruit informants, steal information, or sabotage systems, monitor and harass Chinese opponents in the United States, and use so-called “police points.”

“They go after everything,” the FBI director says. “What makes the Chinese People’s Republic apparatus so malicious is the way it uses every means at its disposal against us, combining cyber, informants, commercial contracts, and investment to achieve what it wants.”

But some critics argue that the US government's efforts to counter Chinese intelligence may be racist and fear-mongering, amounting to red flag scaremongering, a fact supported by the Justice Department's dismissal of a number of cases dating back to the Trump era and the China Initiative program.

Rival governments have established eavesdropping sites and intelligence-sharing agreements with other governments. American and Chinese agents have increased their operations against each other, and in important cities from Brussels to Abu Dhabi and Singapore, with each side trying to influence foreign officials and recruit assets.

For US intelligence, President Xi's intentions and goals are the most important, but he remains elusive. Intelligence officials are focusing on Chinese Defense Minister General Li Changfu, and the reason for opening an investigation against him on corruption charges. The reason why Xi ousted his Foreign Minister Qin Gang is that American diplomacy and policy depend on the motives behind this.

American spy networks in China were eliminated a decade ago, after the identity of American agents was revealed as a result of Chinese counter-espionage efforts. American intelligence was unable to rebuild its networks, and agents were unable to travel freely to China to meet with clients as a result of the massive censorship network that Beijing established.

A decade ago, China eliminated American spy networks, and it has artificial intelligence software capable of revealing the features of an American spy

China has artificial intelligence software capable of detecting the features of an American spy, which means that traditional concealment methods are not sufficient to avoid detection. American agents spend days, not hours, avoiding any Chinese prosecution before meeting informants. Xi and the dictatorial leaders restrict their use of electronic devices to a degree that limits the ability of Western intelligence to eavesdrop on their conversations. But the vast bureaucracy under Xi uses electronic communication, giving American informants an opportunity to eavesdrop.

Under William Burns, the CIA brought in more China experts and established a mission center inside China. In July, Burns noted progress in rebuilding “robust human intelligence capabilities.” American intelligence officials believe that President Xi's authoritarian and controlling manner gives them an opportunity to recruit those dissatisfied with the regime, including politicians and businessmen who previously benefited under less authoritarian rulers than Xi.

A number of members of the elite, including Communist Party figures, express their dissatisfaction with the path taken by China. Beijing has increased its efforts to read American thinking. According to Justice Department cases, government-linked businessmen attempted to recruit James Woolsey, the former CIA director who was a candidate for the position of national security adviser in the Trump administration in 2016. In a recent operation targeting a Microsoft cloud platform, China obtained the email addresses of officials. Prominent figures in the US State Department, addresses of Washington's ambassador to Beijing, and Commerce Minister Gina Raimondo.

 US officials visiting China avoid using their mobile devices, and are given disposable computers and replacement mobile phones. The most important feature of the espionage war between the two countries is reading each other's military capabilities, especially the hot spot in relations, Taiwan. Xi told his military commanders to prepare to take control of the semi-autonomous island and restore it by 2027.

US intelligence has no solid evidence about Xi's desire to announce an invasion of the island. In the absence of solid information about Taiwan, American and Chinese spies focus on spying on the military capabilities of both countries.

The United States has increased military aerial surveillance of Chinese bases. Chinese spies were able to penetrate the government in Taiwan and are trying to find out about the military capabilities that Washington provides to the army and the secret training of Taiwanese soldiers. Chinese spies are searching for information related to the United States’ arrangements with its allies in Asia.

Artificial intelligence will not be a “replacement” for the “creativity” of fashion designers

London: Artificial intelligence is also transforming the world of fashion, but this booming technology will never be able to replace the “creativity” of designers, according to the person in charge of a pioneering project.

Calvin Wong created the first artificial intelligence program managed by a fashion designer, known as Interactive Design Assistant for Fashion, meaning “Interactive Fashion Design Assistant based on Artificial Intelligence” or AiDA for short. The program uses image recognition technology to move more quickly from a draft design sketch. The first to the fashion show stage.

“Fashion designers upload to the program drawings of the printed patterns, colors they intend to use, and their first draft,” Wong told AFP in London.

“Then, our tool can recognize these design elements and provide other suggestions to designers to improve and modify their initial design,” he adds.

Calvin Wong talks about the importance of the “Aida” program, and its ability to provide the designer with “all possible models” for a single design, which is impossible without artificial intelligence.

Collections by fourteen fashion designers who contributed to this tool were displayed at the “M Plus Museum” exhibition in Hong Kong last December.

Calvin Wong stresses that this tool aims to “facilitate inspiration” for designers, but it is not “a substitute for their creativity.” “We should give the most importance to the original creativity of the designer,” he comments.

Wong runs the Artificial Intelligence in Design Laboratory (AIDLab), a joint research project between the Royal College of Art in the United Kingdom and the Hong Kong Polytechnic University, where he works as a professor of fashion.

Maintain skills
Deputy Director of the Royal College of Art Naren Barfield notes that the impact of artificial intelligence on the fashion industry will be “transformational.”

He adds, “This impact will be enormous, starting from the idea and design stage, through the first prototype, all the way to manufacturing, distribution, and final recycling.”

Personalization of designs has already begun to provide a better customer experience by improving the recommendation of specific products and enhancing the effectiveness of searches, which helps shoppers find what they want more quickly and easily.

But as technology develops, so does a range of highly specialized programs.

The “Aida” program is just one of the other “Idelab” projects being shown in London during Fashion Week.

Also on display is the “New Couture” project, which aims to preserve the specialized skills and techniques used by designers. This tool creates an AI-based training system that facilitates teaching sewing techniques.

under control
However, the future of artificial intelligence in the fashion world is not clear.

The founder of the “Colina Strada” brand in New York, Hillary Taymor, admits that she and her team used the “Midjourney” image creator to design her collection, which was shown at New York Fashion Week at the beginning of this September.

Although Hillary Taymor only used images of old designs belonging to her house to create her spring-summer 2024 collection, legal problems could prevent clothes generated by artificial intelligence from appearing on the fashion catwalks.

Rebecca Lewin, curator at the Design Museum in London, expects that “designers will raise issues of intellectual property rights.” She considers that this issue “may take a lot of work to organize.”

Director of the Royal College of Art, Narain Barfield, believes that this issue is indeed sensitive, but can be resolved.

He believed that companies would “invest” in artificial intelligence “and adopt it quickly if it provides them with a competitive advantage.” The only thing holding companies back currently is the “huge investment” in the necessary infrastructure, he said.

“But once she does, it will save her money,” he added.

As for designers’ fears that information technology will replace the human creative process, the key, according to Naren Barfield, is knowing who controls the decision-making process.

He explains that the issue can be raised with the use of an algorithm described as “genetic,” as it allows the computer to produce based on the first drawing after downloading a thousand other drawings different from the original, which may require weeks for the human designer.

But if the designer remains in control of the program, AI can provide significant benefits by greatly speeding up the process “without having the program make the decisions instead of the designer,” Barfield said.
Previous Post Next Post