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This Happened

This Happened — September 6: Boris Johnson Resigns

Boris Johnson stepped down as British Prime Minister on this day last year.

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Who is Boris Johnson?

Alexander Boris de Pfeffel Johnson, commonly known as Boris Johnson, is a British politician, writer, and journalist. He was born on June 19, 1964, in New York City. He served as the Member of Parliament (MP) for Uxbridge and South Ruislip since 2015, and was the British Prime Minister from 2019 to 2022, a leadership mired in controversy.

What are Boris Johnson's politics?

Boris Johnson was a member of the Conservative Party in the UK, often associated with center-right political positions. He was known for his support of free market principles, deregulation, and a strong national defense. As Prime Minister, he advocated for Brexit and emphasized a "Global Britain" approach. During this 2016 Brexit campaign he was criticized for his role in promoting a controversial claim that leaving the European Union would allow the UK to redirect £350 million per week to the National Health Service (NHS). This claim, often referred to as the "£350 million on the bus," was widely criticized as misleading and was a source of significant controversy.

Why don't people like Boris Johnson?

Johnson is known for his offensive language, particularly the various comments he made about women, the LGBTQ+ community, and foreign leaders. One of these instances occurred before his ascent to prime minister, when in a 2018 newspaper column, Boris Johnson likened women who wear burkas to "bank robbers" and "letter boxes. Additionally, Johnson was widely criticized for his handling of the COVID-19 pandemic, with concerns that the government had a slow reaction and that communication was often unclear.

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AI And War: Inside The Pentagon's $1.8 Billion Bet On Artificial Intelligence

Putting the latest AI breakthroughs at the service of national security raises major practical and ethical questions for the Pentagon.

Photo of a drone on the tarmac during a military exercise near Vícenice, in the Czech Republic

Drone on the tarmac during a military exercise near Vícenice, in the Czech Republic

Sarah Scoles

Number 4 Hamilton Place is a be-columned building in central London, home to the Royal Aeronautical Society and four floors of event space. In May, the early 20th-century Edwardian townhouse hosted a decidedly more modern meeting: Defense officials, contractors, and academics from around the world gathered to discuss the future of military air and space technology.

Things soon went awry. At that conference, Tucker Hamilton, chief of AI test and operations for the United States Air Force, seemed to describe a disturbing simulation in which an AI-enabled drone had been tasked with taking down missile sites. But when a human operator started interfering with that objective, he said, the drone killed its operator, and cut the communications system.

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