The Convergence - An Army Mad Scientist Podcast

The Convergence is an Army Mad Scientist podcast with a distinct focus on divergent viewpoints, a c ... more

Latest Episodes

13

June 25, 2020 00:25:09
13. Innovating Innovation with Molly Cain

13. Innovating Innovation with Molly Cain

In this latest episode of “The Convergence,” we talk with Molly Cain, founder of GovCity, the Nation’s first disruption and culture accelerator focused on government, civic, and culture change. Molly works at the intersection of technology and cultural disruption with broad ranging expertise in industry, startups, and helping the Federal Government tap into innovation with greater ambition and more visibility. In this episode, we talk with Ms. Cain about leadership, barriers to youth in government service, and rewarding disruption. Some of the highlights from our interview include the following: GovCity is a hackathon-style think tank that promotes collaboration, innovation, and disruptive thinking through 48-hour events. These events give people a safe space to share innovative ideas and have disruptive conversations. Government leaders should trust themselves in uncomfortable situations, and allow their teammates to make mistakes as they strive for innovation. There are lots of similarities between the government and private sectors. DoD can better harness this relationship by focusing more on learning about the local business ecosystem and collaboration with their partners. Private companies hoping to work with DoD should use sources like LinkedIn and Twitter to start conversations on departmental innovation. People who communicate and cross-index well are valuable in every workspace. Government employees should constantly send internship and job opportunities to young applicants, and eschew government jargon to make jobs more appealing to the next generation of innovators. Young people should seek to find the right boss, as well as the right job, so they can fully participate in their work. The government should innovate their promotion process by promoting more leaders who have made difficult or disruptive decisions rather than those who have “toed the line.”  Stay tuned to the Mad ...

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12

June 11, 2020 00:23:17
12. True Lies: The Fight Against Disinformation with Cindy Otis

12. True Lies: The Fight Against Disinformation with Cindy Otis

In this latest episode of “The Convergence,” we talk with Cindy Otis, a disinformation expert specializing in election security, digital investigations, and messaging. She is a non-Resident Senior Fellow at the Atlantic Council’s Digital Forensic Research Lab. Prior to joining the private sector, she spent a decade as a CIA officer, serving as an intelligence analyst, briefer, and manager. Her regional expertise includes Europe and the Middle East. Ms. Otis is the author of the forthcoming book True or False: A CIA Analyst’s Guide to Spotting Fake News, to be published on July 28, 2020 by Macmillan Publishers. In this episode, we discuss the role of technology in accelerating the spread of disinformation; its increasing use by state, non-state, and commercial actors; and the vital role an educated population has in implementing effective intervention tactics and counter-measures. Some of the highlights from our interview include the following: • Disinformation and propaganda have been a part of the information landscape for a long time, but the current news focus sometimes creates a misconception that it is a new phenomenon. The tools and tactics that organizations use might change with the creation of new media, but the patterns and messages are the same throughout the historical context. • Because fake news and disinformation are not new phenomena, there are actions that can be taken to defend against it and people can be armed against it. People should feel hopeful that there are actions they themselves can take to become a first line of defense against fake news. • People should also have a feeling of responsibility that they are part of the solution in being more conscientious about what information they consume and what ...

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11

May 28, 2020 00:27:42
11. AI Across the Enterprise with Rob Albritton

11. AI Across the Enterprise with Rob Albritton

In this latest episode of “The Convergence,” we talk with Rob Albritton, Senior Director and AI Practice Lead at Octo Consulting Group. A former U.S. Army Geospatial Research Lab Scientist and Machine Learning Engineer at MITRE, Rob spent several years growing NVIDIA’s public sector team alongside the world’s foremost thought leaders on high-performance computing, AI, and deep learning. Rob now leads Octo’s oLabs AI Center of Excellence, where he guides and shapes Octo’s AI capability, strategy, and vision. In this episode, we discuss a realistic vision of the future of AI, its integration into the DoD, and what the Government can learn from the private sector. Some of the highlights include the following: Academics and industry tend to overestimate the readiness of effective AI, although real progress may occur at a rate faster than we expect. DoD can learn data best practices from industry and apply it to unique DoD practices. There is no need to reinvent the wheel, but each AI challenge should still be tackled in a unique way. AI publications have slowed, although we are not necessarily nearing an “AI winter.” Innovative applications for deep learning are still being discovered, and there is still significant academic interest in AI and profit to be made in the field. DoD focuses on the tech industry as a hub for AI talent, but this rhetoric may actually deter talent from working with the DoD. The military should consider a “greening” process to encourage young talent to connect with the military on AI applications. The DoD should promote its relationship with the AI industry by emphasizing transparency in its AI development and its use of “AI for good.” S. Soldiers are likely to ...

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10

May 14, 2020 00:26:24
10. Beyond Space with Kara Cunzeman

10. Beyond Space with Kara Cunzeman

In this latest episode of “The Convergence,” we talk with Kara Cunzeman, Lead Futurist for Strategic Foresight, with the Center for Space Policy and Strategy, at The Aerospace Corporation. In this role, Ms. Cunzeman is focused on cultivating a formalized approach to futures thinking through the strategic foresight Corporate Strategic Initiative (CSI), helping the enterprise adequately prepare its organizations and capabilities to proactively shape the future through innovative approaches across strategy, acquisition, science and technology portfolio management, policy, and operations. In this episode, we discuss strategic foresight, the future of space research, public-private partnerships, and advice for the next generation of engineers. Some of the highlights include: How we must conceptualize the use of space is rapidly evolving and it requires dynamic and innovative thinking to keep up with an expanding range of possibilities and competition in space. Strategic foresight practitioners aren’t usually valued until something unusual happens that mainstream thinking hadn’t considered. We can’t predict, but we can prepare, and having foresight helps us alleviate pains and tensions in society when something unexpected happens. We try to keep pace with strategic competitors in space, which is hard to do in the gray zone of modern warfare. Speed will be our security, requiring us to modularize technical efforts and eliminate bureaucracy and red tape. The phrase “keeping at pace” sounds reactionary. The real question is how do we develop and execute our own vision while precluding our competitors from dictating our agenda? While it may seem counter-intuitive, the Government can actually take risks where private industry cannot. Silicon Valley, Wall Street, and the National Security community need to engage with each other more. This collaboration will yield the greatest possible outcome. If you enjoyed ...

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9

April 30, 2020 00:56:56
9. COVID-19 and the Future of Bio-Security with Dr. James Giordano

9. COVID-19 and the Future of Bio-Security with Dr. James Giordano

In this latest episode of “The Convergence,” we talk with Dr. James Giordano, of the Georgetown University Medical Center. Dr. Giordano is the author of over 300 papers, 7 books, 21 book chapters, and 20 government white papers on brain science, national defense and ethics. In this episode, we break down the COVID-19 virus, the effect this pandemic has on the Nation, the impact on national security, and the potential implications on future bio-security. Highlights from the conversation include: This is an interesting virus in its evolution. It adapted from a mammalian species, a bat, to an intermediate species, to a human as many viruses will tend to do. I think what’s important to make available and understandable to the listening audience is that there is the likelihood that this will continue to occur and occur with some increasing frequency. On Ecological Intrusion - Humans are spreading into a variety of different niches that heretofore were primarily simply occupied by animal species and the extent of human-animal interaction is increasing. As well, environmental factors such as global warming and climate change may also precipitate the shift from animal interactions with humans to more direct interactions and may also cultivate the generation and perhaps evolution of a variety of different microbial species. On state and non-state actors using bio-weapons in the future….But one of the things that keeps coming up over and again irrespective of whether there’s a neurological function or there’s a non-neurological target, is the increasing ease at which organisms might modifiable through the use of currently available and developing gene-editing techniques. If I were an actor, or if I were working for a nation state, and I really didn’t care what ...

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8

April 16, 2020 00:28:02
8. Gen Z and the OE with William and Mary PIPS Part 2

8. Gen Z and the OE with William and Mary PIPS Part 2

In this latest episode of “The Convergence,” we continue our discussions with research fellows from The College of William and Mary’s Project on International Peace and Security (PIPS). PIPS is one of the premier undergraduate think tanks in the country. Based at W&M’s Global Research Institute, PIPS is designed to bridge the gap between the academic and foreign policy communities in the area of undergraduate education. PIPS research fellows identify emerging international security issues and develop original policy recommendations to address those challenges. Undergraduate fellows have the chance to work with practitioners in the military and intelligence communities, and they present their work to policy officials and scholars at a year-end symposium in Washington, DC. In this episode, we discuss how our adversaries are employing technology-enabled disinformation campaigns, what China’s strategic export of its surveillance state means for the future of the internet, and the challenges posed by weaponized deepfakes with Lincoln Zaleski, Michaela Flemming, and Megan Hogan. Highlights from the conversation include: Liberal democracies are vulnerable to information warfare, and our adversaries are leveraging technological advances to more precisely target us via multiple axes. The U.S. should learn how Russia strategizes and executes its disinformation campaigns, and in turn target their vulnerabilities to raise the social and political costs for engaging us in that sphere. China is exporting its surveillance state, and cultivating client states that support its concept of cyber sovereignty — the right to control and police the internet according to its own laws. This digital authoritarianism represents a challenge to liberal democratic states, as the world becomes increasingly polarized between a China-centric bloc of digital authoritarian-influenced countries and a US-centric bloc of nations supporting a ...

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