The AI Apocalypse Has Officially Begun
Russia is getting into arguments about Star Wars, NYC has robot cops, and Palantir pitches an AI control system for the military.
The first thing you need to see this week is this picture of Russia’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, Sergey Lavrov, depicted as a Jedi dedicated to the light side of the Force. The picture was tweeted out from the MFA’s official account after Sky News called Lavrov the “Jedi master of the dark arts of diplomacy.”
MFA spokeswoman Maria Zakharova blasted out the picture and added, “A Freudian slip. Indeed, the Jedi represent the Light side.”
If you think it’s very stupid that Russian diplomats are arguing with British pundits about Star Wars while people die in Ukraine, you’re right. Russia is great at distracting people with ridiculous bullshit while it does nefarious things. I’ve just never seen them use Star Wars to do it. That’s usually America’s thing.
A search on the Pentagon’s Defense Visual Information Distribution Service (the DoD’s repository for every image it generates) for Star Wars returns more than 3,000 images. Everybody loves Darth Vader, Storm Troopers, and Mandalorian armor. Everyone thinks they’re the Jedi—not the Sith—and the language of Star Wars has become lingua franca for militaries around the world. Hell, we’ve even done a show about it.
But while Lavrov’s minions are making him out to be the good guy, Russia’s war in Ukraine continues. As of this writing, Kyiv still controls at least parts of Bakhmut, NATO tanks are on the way, and the much vaunted Ukrainian counter-offensive has yet to start.
While the war grinds on, politicians tweet about Star Wars and the ambitions of a revanchist Polish empire. I’m not kidding. On April 24, former Russian president and current Deputy Chair of the Security Council Dmitry Medvedev published a long and rambling screed about a unified Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth. It’s hard to get through, but worth a read if you’re interested in mad ramblings.
The Bayraktar flies above the Kurds, too
The Turkish-produced drone called the Bayraktar is a cultural hero in Ukraine. The drone has let Kyiv reach out and strike Russian positions with minimal threat to operators. It’s so popular that there’s a folk song about it. In other parts of the world where Turkey exerts its influence, however, the drone is hated, not loved. An article at the Kurdish Peace Institute explains why.