Let AI remake the whole U.S. government (oh, and save the country) (Josh Tyrangiel, March 6, 2024, Washington Post)

Perna needed up-to-the-minute data from all the relevant state and federal agencies, drug companies, hospitals, pharmacies, manufacturers, truckers, dry ice makers, etc. Oh, and that data needed to be standardized and operationalized for swift decision-making.

It’s hard to comprehend, so let’s reduce the complexity to just a single physical material: plastic. Perna had to have eyes on the national capacity to produce and supply plastic — for syringes, needles, bags, vials. Otherwise, with thousands of people dying each day, he could find himself with hundreds of millions of vaccine doses and nothing to put them in.

To see himself, Perna needed a real-time digital dashboard of an entire civilization.

This being Washington, consultants lined up at his door. Perna gave each an hour, but none could define the problem let alone offer a credible solution. “Excruciating,” Perna tells the room, and here the Jersey accent helps drive home his disgust. Then he met Julie and Aaron. They told him, “Sir, we’re going to give you all the data you need so that you can assess, determine risk, and make decisions rapidly.” Perna shut down the process immediately. “I said great, you’re hired.”

Julie and Aaron work for Palantir, a company whose name curdles the blood of progressives and some of the military establishment. We’ll get to why. But Perna says Palantir did exactly what it promised. Using artificial intelligence, the company optimized thousands of data streams and piped them into an elegant interface. In a few short weeks, Perna had his God view of the problem. A few months after that, Operation Warp Speed delivered vaccines simultaneously to all 50 states. When governors called panicking that they’d somehow been shorted, Perna could share a screen with the precise number of vials in their possession. “‘Oh, no, general, that’s not true.’ Oh, yes. It is.”