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Technology / AI and automation


What happens to all those shiny new computers that get intercepted on their way to the Soviet Union and seized by customs officials after their cover as innocent lawnmowers and washing up machines is blown? A clue, reports the New York Times, is provided by a legend in the new IBM 4341 computer centre operated by the Defense Department in Washington for tracking export licences for sensitive goods, which reads This Center is dedicated to the KGB, which funded this project: explanation is that that celebrated consignment of DEC VAXes seized in West Germany in 1983 after they had sailed halfway round the world via South Africa and Scandinavia, fell into the Department’s hands, and were swapped with the US Air Force for an old 4341 it didn’t want.

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