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Fully Automated Combat Robots Pt. 2

For discussions of events and conditions not necessarily related to Peak Oil.

Re: Fully Automated Combat Robots Pt. 2

Unread postby vox_mundi » Mon 03 Jul 2017, 12:15:57

DARPA's Ex-Leader's Speculative Dream of Mind-Melding Empathy

In a presentation at the Aspen Ideas Festival, which is co-hosted by the Aspen Institute and The Atlantic, DARPA's Arati Prabhakar had just shown a video from University of Utah research in which a soldier who’d lost his arms “felt” a virtual door through neural stimulation.

She cautioned that the research was very new and “not yet a robust capability, but even at this stage, we can start to see that there will be some mind-bending questions about how we use these technologies in the future.” Prabhakar noted that from a technological point of view:
... “there’s not much distance from restoration to enhancement.”

She asked the audience:
“Do you think the future we’re going to live in a society where neuro-enhancements will be a privilege? Will they be a right? Might they be a mandate? Or maybe the whole idea is gonna creep us out so much that we won’t want anything to do with it.”

“But imagine if you could learn a new language as fast as a 6-year-old,” she continued. “Or imagine if you could experience a whole new palette of colors or a fourth physical dimension in space.”

“Imagine if we could connect among ourselves in new and deeper ways ... She did not expound on the image, but one imagines she’s thinking about a kind of direct brain-to-brain interface.

DARPA has, after all, invested a lot in direct electronic brain interfaces. In one research program, they’re working on “intuitive” neural interfaces for controlling prosthetic limbs. In another, they’re creating “an implantable neural interface able to provide advanced signal resolution and data-transfer bandwidth between the brain and electronics.” The goal there is to create a translator between “the electrochemical language used by neurons in the brain and the ones and zeroes that constitute the language of information technology.”

And once you’ve got intuitive neural controls and a translator that lets you send brain signals into computers and back again, it does not seem an incredible leap to hook two (or … a million?) humans up together.

Let the Experimentation begin ...

Image Image

Duke Neuroscientist: Brain Augmentation Will Allow Us to Make a New Kind of Human

Duke University neuroscientist Mikhail Lebedev, works on brain-machine interfaces (BMIs) and has recently won a $100,000 prize for his work in brain augmentation.

...Will brain augmentation enable us to interface with artificial intelligence (AI)? Lebedev thinks that’s realistic, but that interfacing with AI using augmented reality (AR) and our senses — which are already well-understood, unlike the “code” of the brain — is going to come first. This way we can enhance our own limited capabilities with AI as we learn more about the inner workings of the human brain.

When it comes to augmenting brain function, almost anything is potentially possible. Sensors can be added to the brain, interacting with sensory functions. Lebedev cites adding a sensor of electromagnetic fields or visual sensors around the head’s perimeter for panoramic vision as examples.
“When you look at 1G being for voice, for your ears. And 3G through 5G are data for your eyes, for a vision service. perhaps 6G will go beyond the head mounted displays to introduce direct neural interface”
“There are three classes of people: those who see. Those who see when they are shown. Those who do not see.” ― Leonardo da Vinci

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Re: Fully Automated Combat Robots Pt. 2

Unread postby vox_mundi » Tue 04 Jul 2017, 13:56:12

NATO Considering 'Petya' Malware a 'Potential Act of War'

On Saturday, Kevin Scheid, a Department of Defense veteran, was placed in charge of NATO’s cyber operations. The appointment wouldn’t be big news if it weren’t for the fact that he’s joining the organization at a hair-raising point in history. The vicious malware triggered NATO to announce on Friday that the attack is believed to be the work of a state actor and is a 'Potential Act of War'.

There was a lot of ruckus back in May when Donald Trump met with the leaders of NATO and failed to confirm that the US is committed to Article 5 of the North Atlantic Treaty. That’s the clause of the agreement that pledges the members of NATO to mutual defense. Legally speaking, if Article 5 is triggered by an attack on one member, the other members are required to join in retaliation. NATO’s Secretary General confirmed this week that a cyber operation with “consequences comparable to an armed attack can trigger Article 5 of the North Atlantic Treaty and responses might be with military means.” ...

NATO researchers have concluded that the malware “can most likely be attributed to a state actor,” and if a nation is determined to be responsible, “this could be an internationally wrongful act, which might give the targeted states several options to respond with countermeasures.” What sort of countermeasures? Well, pretty much anything.

Independently, the UK’s defense secretary announced this week that his country was prepared to respond to cyber attacks “from any domain - air, land, sea or cyber.”

If our unhinged president in the US wants to start a war for the hell of it, he pretty much has the power to do that. But NATO functions on strict rules.

... According to Bloomberg, attacks on NATO’s electronic infrastructure increased by 60 percent last year. If it’s true that a state actor is responsible for NotPetya, it’s possible that NATO taking notice and talking up Article 5 could make the perpetrator think twice. Then again, if the responsible party gets away without a trace, they’ll know that they’re untouchable.

'NotPetya' Malware Attacks Could Warrant Retaliation, Says Nato Researcher

The NotPetya malware that wiped computers at organisations including Maersk, Merck and the Ukrainian government in June “could count as a violation of sovereignty”, according to a legal researcher at Nato’s cybersecurity division.

If the malware outbreak was state-sponsored, the Nato researcher says, it could open the possiblity of “countermeasures”. Those could come through retaliatory cyber--attacks, or more conventional means such as sanctions, but they must fall short of a military use of force.

Minárik, added, “as important government systems have been targeted, then in case the operation is attributed to a state this could count as a violation of sovereignty. Consequently, this could be an internationally wrongful act, which might give the targeted states several options to respond with countermeasures.”

A countermeasure is any state response which would be illegal in typical circumstances, but can be authorised as a reaction to an internationally wrongful act by another state. A “hack back” response, for instance, could be a countermeasure, but Nato says that such responses “do not necessarily have to be conducted by cyber means”; they cannot, however, affect third countries, nor can they amount to a use of force. ...

Trump Discovers Article 5 After Disastrous NATO Visit

At long last, U.S. President Donald Trump endorsed NATO’s bedrock collective defense clause, Article 5, in a press conference Friday. “Absolutely, I’d be committed to Article 5,” he said Friday in response to a question from a journalist, speaking beside Romanian President Klaus Iohannis at the White House. It gives nervous NATO allies something they’ve yearned for since he came to office in January after disparaging the alliance and openly praising its top geopolitical foe, Russia.

But it may not be enough to patch things over with his NATO allies after his visit last month to Brussels, where Trump gave a public tongue lashing that surprised NATO leaders and his national security team alike — because behind closed doors, things were even worse.

... After a public showing on May 25 in which Trump refused to endorse NATO’s collective defense clause and famously shoved the Montenegrin leader out of the way, leaders of the 29-member alliance retired to a closed-door dinner that multiple sources tell Foreign Policy left alliance leaders “appalled.”

Trump had two versions of prepared remarks for the dinner, one that took a traditional tack and one prepared by the more NATO-skeptic advisors, Stephen Miller and Steve Bannon. “He dumped both of them and improvised,” one source briefed on the dinner told FP.

During the dinner, Trump went off-script to criticize allies again for not spending enough on defense. (The United States is one of only five members that meets NATO members’ pledge to spend 2 percent of GDP on defense.)

Several sources briefed extensively on the dinner say he said 2 percent wasn’t enough and allies should spend 3 percent of GDP on defense, and he even threatened to cut back U.S. defense spending and have Europeans dole out “back pay” to make up for their low defense spending if they didn’t pony up quickly enough. Two sources say Trump didn’t mention Russia once during the dinner.

“Oh, it was like a total shitshow,” said one source, who spoke on condition of anonymity as they weren’t authorized to discuss the closed-door dinner.

“The dinner was far worse than the speech,” said a former senior U.S. government official briefed on dinner. “It was a train wreck. It was awful.”

After Trump’s performance in Brussels, top European leaders including German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Emmanuel Macron publicly criticized Trump in unusually stark tones. Meanwhile, just two weeks after the Brussels visit, Canada announced it would boost defense spending because it can no longer rely on the United States for global leadership.

... Earlier this week, Vice President Mike Pence was deployed to clean up the diplomatic carnage Trump left behind in Brussels. During an Atlantic Council awards dinner Monday night, Pence pledged “unwavering” U.S. commitment to NATO. He also lavished praise on the prime minister of Montenegro, whom Trump shoved aside in Brussels during a photo op. But “allies were taking [Pence’s speech] with a grain of salt,” Alexander Vershbow, former NATO deputy secretary-general, told AFP.
“There are three classes of people: those who see. Those who see when they are shown. Those who do not see.” ― Leonardo da Vinci

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Re: Fully Automated Combat Robots Pt. 2

Unread postby vox_mundi » Wed 05 Jul 2017, 14:58:25

Your Brain on Mesh: Injectable Flexible Probe Melds with Neurons, Causes Little or No Chronic Immune Response


In the Culture novels by Iain M. Banks, futuristic post-humans install devices on their brains called a “neural lace.” A mesh that grows with your brain, it’s essentially a wireless brain-computer interface. But it’s also a way to program your neurons to release certain chemicals with a thought.
Now, Scientists at Harvard University have reported the successful implantation of a neuromorphic ultraflexible open mesh electronics neural probe that is delivered to specific brain regions via syringe injection.

The probe—which does not require a power supply—directly records neural voltage changes by being able to interface with all regions of the brain from the level of single neuron through circuits and networks, in which the mesh recording electrode is connected by passivated metal lines (that is, having a protective coating applied to its surface) to input/output pads located at the opposite end of the mesh structure. These I/O pads, in turn, are then connected to Flat Flexible Cables (FFC) and plugged in external system for recording.

The scientists note that the mesh implant may never require removal—but if it does, doing so would be a straightforward if not issue-free procedure. The minimal, recoverable acute damage and the absence of an immune response support the possibility that mesh electronics may be permanently viable.


Lieber and his colleagues do hope to begin testing it on humans as soon as possible, though realistically that’s could be a few years off. Still, this could be the beginning of the first true human internet, where brain-to-brain interfaces are possible via injectable electronics that pass your mental traffic through the cloud.

What could go wrong?

Syringe-injectable mesh electronics integrate seamlessly with minimal chronic immune response in the brain, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (2017) 114(23):5894-5899

Syringe-Injectable Electronics, Nature Nanotechnology (2015) 10:629-636


Why You Will One Day Have a Chip in Your Brain
“There are three classes of people: those who see. Those who see when they are shown. Those who do not see.” ― Leonardo da Vinci

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Re: Fully Automated Combat Robots Pt. 2

Unread postby vox_mundi » Fri 07 Jul 2017, 15:46:09

Hackers Are Targeting Nuclear Facilities, Homeland Security Dept. and F.B.I. Say

The Wolf Creek Nuclear power plant in Kansas in 2000. The corporation that runs the plant was targeted by hackers.

Since May, hackers have been penetrating the computer networks of companies that operate nuclear power stations and other energy facilities, as well as manufacturing plants in the United States and other countries.-
Alert (TA17-117A)

Among the companies targeted was the Wolf Creek Nuclear Operating Corporation, which runs a nuclear power plant near Burlington, Kan., according to security consultants and an urgent joint report issued by the Department of Homeland Security and the Federal Bureau of Investigation last week.

The joint report was obtained by The New York Times and confirmed by security specialists who have been responding to the attacks. It carried an urgent amber warning, the second-highest rating for the sensitivity of the threat.

The hackers appeared determined to map out computer networks for future attacks, the report concluded. But investigators have not been able to analyze the malicious “payload” of the hackers’ code, which would offer more detail into what they were after.

In most cases, the attacks targeted people — industrial control engineers who have direct access to systems that, if damaged, could lead to an explosion, fire or a spill of dangerous material, according to two people familiar with the attacks who could not be named because of confidentiality agreements.

The two people familiar with the investigation say that, while it is still in its early stages, the hackers’ techniques mimicked those of the organization known to cybersecurity specialists as “Energetic Bear,” the Russian hacking group that researchers have tied to attacks on the energy sector since at least 2012.

Hackers wrote highly targeted email messages containing fake résumés for control engineering jobs and sent them to the senior industrial control engineers who maintain broad access to critical industrial control systems, the government report said.

The fake résumés were Microsoft Word documents that were laced with malicious code. Once the recipients clicked on those documents, attackers could steal their credentials and proceed to other machines on a network.
In some cases, the hackers also compromised legitimate websites that they knew their victims frequented — something security specialists call a watering hole attack. And in others, they deployed what are known as man-in-the-middle attacks in which they redirected their victims’ internet traffic through their own machines.


... Jon Wellinghoff, the former chairman of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, said in an interview last week that while the security of United States’ critical infrastructure systems had improved in recent years, they were still vulnerable to advanced hacking attacks, particularly those that use tools stolen from the National Security Agency.
“We never anticipated that our critical infrastructure control systems would be facing advanced levels of malware”

In retrospect, Mr. Wellinghoff said that the StuxNet attack on Iran infrastructure should have foreshadowed the threats the United States would face on its own infrastructure.


Alert (TA17-117A) Intrusions Affecting Multiple Victims Across Multiple Sectors

The National Cybersecurity and Communications Integration Center (NCCIC) has become aware of an emerging sophisticated campaign, occurring since at least May 2016, that uses multiple malware implants. Initial victims have been identified in several sectors, including Information Technology, Energy, Healthcare and Public Health, Communications, and Critical Manufacturing.

According to preliminary analysis, threat actors appear to be leveraging stolen administrative credentials (local and domain) and certificates, along with placing sophisticated malware implants on critical systems. Some of the campaign victims have been IT service providers, where credential compromises could potentially be leveraged to access customer environments. Depending on the defensive mitigations in place, the threat actor could possibly gain full access to networks and data in a way that appears legitimate to existing monitoring tools.

Russians Are Suspects in Nuclear Site Hackings, Sources Say

Hackers working for a foreign government recently breached at least a dozen U.S. power plants, including the Wolf Creek nuclear facility in Kansas, according to current and former U.S. officials, sparking concerns the attackers were searching for vulnerabilities in the electrical grid.

The rivals could be positioning themselves to eventually disrupt the nation’s power supply, warned the officials, who noted that a general alert was distributed to utilities a week ago. Adding to those concerns, hackers recently infiltrated an unidentified company that makes control systems for equipment used in the power industry, an attack that officials believe may be related.

... The possibility of a Russia connection is particularly worrisome, former and current officials say, because Russian hackers have previously taken down parts of the electrical grid in Ukraine and appear to be testing increasingly advanced tools to disrupt power supplies.

It was unclear whether President Donald Trump was planning to address the cyberattacks at his meeting on Friday with Russian President Vladimir Putin. In an earlier speech in Warsaw, Trump called out Russia’s “destabilizing activities” and urged the country to join “the community of responsible nations.”

... Specialized teams from Homeland Security and the FBI have been scrambled to help extricate the hackers from the power stations, in some cases without informing local and state officials. Meanwhile, the U.S. National Security Agency is working to confirm the identity of the hackers, who are said to be using computer servers in Germany, Italy, Malaysia and Turkey to cover their tracks.


Homeland Security and the FBI sent out a general warning about the cyberattack to utilities and related parties on June 28, though it contained few details or the number of plants affected. The government said it was most concerned about the “persistence” of the attacks on choke points of the U.S. power supply. That language suggests hackers are trying to establish backdoors on the plants’ systems for later use, according to a former senior DHS official who asked not to be identified.

Those backdoors can be used to insert software specifically designed to penetrate a facility’s operational controls and disrupt critical systems, according to Galina Antova, co-founder of Claroty, a New York firm that specializes in securing industrial control systems.
“We’re moving to a point where a major attack like this is very, very possible,” ... “Once you’re into the control systems -- and you can get into the control systems by hacking into the plant’s regular computer network -- then the basic security mechanisms you’d expect are simply not there.”

...The alert sent out last week inadvertently identified Wolf Creek as one of the victims of the attack. An analysis of one of the tools used by the hackers had the stolen credentials of a plant employee, a senior engineer. A U.S. official acknowledged the error was not caught until after the alert was distributed.

According to a security researcher who has seen the report, the malware that activated the engineer’s username and password was designed to be used once the hackers were already inside the plant’s computer systems.

The tool tries to connect to non-public computers, and may have been intended to identify systems related to Wolf Creek’s generation plant, a part of the facility typically more modern than the nuclear reactor control room, according to a security expert who asked to note be identified because the alert is not public.

E&E News first reported on digital attacks targeting U.S. nuclear plants, adding it was code-named Nuclear 17. A senior U.S. official told Bloomberg that there was a bigger breach of conventional plants, which could affect multiple regions.

Industry experts and U.S. officials say the attack is being taken seriously, in part because of recent events in Ukraine. Antova said that the Ukrainian power grid has been disrupted at least twice, first in 2015, and then in a more automated attack last year, suggesting the hackers are testing methods.

“If you think about a typical war, some of the acts that have been taken against critical infrastructure in Ukraine and even in the U.S., those would be considered crossing red lines,” Antova said.

Republican Marketing Firm Leaks Personal Data of 200 Million Voters

Sensitive personal details relating to almost 200 million US citizens have been accidentally exposed by a marketing firm contracted by the Republican National Committee.

The 1.1 terabytes of data includes birthdates, home addresses, telephone numbers and political views of nearly 62% of the entire US population. The data was available on a publicly accessible Amazon cloud server. Anyone could access the data as long as they had a link to it.

The data fields included views on specific issues including abortion, gun rights and environmental issues, along with religious affiliation and race he said.
"With this data you can target neighborhoods, individuals, people of all sorts of persuasions," said Vickery in an interview. "I could give you the home address of every person the RNC believes voted for Trump."

At a time when even many Americans protect their most basic emails and photos using passwords and two-step authentication, the security missteps by Deep Root Analytics, the contractor behind the breach, represent a form of gross negligence.

"The ability to collect such information and store it insecurely further calls into question the responsibilities owed by private corporations and political campaigns to those citizens targeted by increasingly high-powered data analytics operations."
“There are three classes of people: those who see. Those who see when they are shown. Those who do not see.” ― Leonardo da Vinci

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Re: Fully Automated Combat Robots Pt. 2

Unread postby vox_mundi » Fri 07 Jul 2017, 15:50:55

Future of Urban Warfare ...

Israeli Military is Buying Copter Drones With Machine Guns

In the decade ahead, more and more tactical operations squads will send not humans but robots into standoff situations. The Marines are already training to new concepts of operations where lethal robots take the place of human door-kickers.

Now, the Israeli military is buying small multi-rotor drones modified to carry a machine gun, a grenade launcher and variety of other weapons to fight tomorrow’s urban warfare battles. Their maker, Florida startup Duke Robotics, is pitching the TIKAD drone to the U.S military as well.


... Through a system of flexibly connected plates, the TIKAD distributes the backward momentum in a way that keeps the vehicle stationary in the air. A ten-pound robot gimbal allows six degrees of movement freedom and the ability to rapidly re-target the weapon and camera.

“Because it’s a robot, it’s agnostic to the payload. I can mount an M4, SR25, a 40-millimeter grenade launcher, no matter what. I can carry up to 22 pounds and [the plate system] will stabilize the drone and allow me to get an accurate shot,” Atuar said.

Defense One was able to confirm independently that the Israeli military is buying an unspecified number of the units

US Army Document on Urban Warfare Advances Strategy for “Contemporary Stalingrads

The United States Army War College published a document this month outlining US plans for waging total war in major metropolitan cities around the world.

The 163-page report, “Military Contingencies In Megacities and Sub-Megacities,” is written by two military academics, Dr. Phil Williams and Werner Selle. Employing cold and calculating military jargon, the authors advance proposals that would likely result in nuclear war.

It is likely, the article begins, “that the United States will find itself at some point in the not-too-distant future engaged in military contingencies in large cities.” Elsewhere in the document, the authors call the invasion of major world metropolitan cities “as challenging as they are inescapable.” The document pictures a future filled with historically unprecedented levels of death, destruction and human suffering:
... Urban warfare “ensures that the battlefield will be densely populated. Civilians will no longer be mere bystanders able to be circumvented or avoided, but an integral component of the battlefield.”

The authors explain that the closest comparisons for the urban battles of the “not-too-distant future” are the battles of Stalingrad and Berlin during the Second World War.

“[B]oth of these battles ultimately resulted in the utter destruction of the dense urban areas,” the authors note. “A more modern scenario, which although unlikely is by no means inconceivable, could involve a battle in Seoul, in the Republic of Korea. In some ways, such a scenario exemplifies the potential for a contemporary Battle of Stalingrad.”

The authors explain that such “contemporary Stalingrads” would occur primarily in poor cities—what the military refers to as “fragile” or “feral” cities as opposed to more developed, “smart” cities. The destruction of the poorer neighborhoods will be a necessary component of “pacifying” the population.
“Megacities and dense urban areas also contain numerous slums or ‘sheet metal forests,’ which are very different from ‘concrete canyons’ [i.e., commercial centers]…These areas can provide significant concealment to the adversaries and even become strong operational bases. Apart from moving the population out and bulldozing the slum, there is very little that can be done.”

The only alternative suggested by the US Army War College to razing the slums is for the US forces to ally with “forces of alternative governance,” including “criminal entities.”

Autonomous Quadcopters Find their Way without Human Help or GPS


Phase 1 of DARPA’s Fast Lightweight Autonomy (FLA) program concluded recently following a series of obstacle-course flight tests in central Florida. Video

DARPA’s FLA program is advancing technology to enable small unmanned quadcopters to fly autonomously through cluttered buildings and obstacle-strewn environments at fast speeds (up to 20 meters per second, or 45 mph) using onboard cameras and sensors as “eyes” and smart algorithms to self-navigate. Potential applications for the technology include safely and quickly scanning for threats inside a building before military teams enter, searching for a downed pilot in a heavily forested area or jungle in hostile territory where overhead imagery can’t see through the tree canopy, or locating survivors following earthquakes or other disasters when entering a damaged structure could be unsafe.

The recent four days of testing combined elements from three previous flight experiments that together tested the teams’ algorithms abilities and robustness to real-world conditions such as quickly adjusting from bright sunshine to the dark building interiors, sensing and avoiding trees with dangling masses of Spanish moss, navigating a simple maze, or traversing long distances over feature-deprived areas. On the final day, the aircraft had to fly through a thickly wooded area and across a bright aircraft parking apron, find the open door to a dark hangar, maneuver around walls and obstacles erected inside the hangar, locate a red chemical barrel as the target, and fly back to its starting point, completely on their own.


A Pittsburgh Robotics Company Is Developing Autonomous Aircrafts For The Air Force

Pittsburgh-based RE2 Robotics penned a contract this week with the U.S. Air Force to create robotic pilots for military planes.

The team won’t be retrofitting planes like Uber has done with its fleet of autonomous cars. Instead, it will expand on auto-pilot technology to develop drop-in robotic systems. Principle scientist Andrew Mor said the robots will replace a seat in the cockpit and would operate an aircraft without a crew on board.

Navy’s Electromagnetic Railgun Project Progressing


... BAE’s system has been undergoing multi-shot rep-rate operations at Naval Surface Warfare Center at Dahlgren’s railgun advanced research facility since November. During that time, the Navy has successfully tested a next-generation 32-megajoule railgun.

[b]“We are gradually increasing firing rate and energy level, and evaluating and grooming the system as we go,”. ONR plans to conduct tests at five rounds per minute in June, and anticipates that the railgun will perform rep-rate operations at 32-megajoules of energy by the end of the year, Boucher said.
“There are three classes of people: those who see. Those who see when they are shown. Those who do not see.” ― Leonardo da Vinci

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Re: Fully Automated Combat Robots Pt. 2

Unread postby vox_mundi » Fri 07 Jul 2017, 15:52:56

Artificial Intelligence That Teaches Itself

It’s not quite R2-D2 repairing Luke Skywalker’s X-Wing fighter in space battle, but artificial intelligence could soon be helping the military predict when equipment will break, fend off cyber attacks, and prevent ships from colliding with one another.

That’s the promise of AI systems by SparkCognition, an Austin, Texas-based startup. Founder and CEO Amir Husain says his AIs can teach themselves enough about a field of endeavor to diagnose situations and offer solutions. Or, as Husain put it:
“Our algorithms can extract the physics of the problem just by observing the data.”

SparkCognition, which is already providing services to dozens of aviation-related firms, recently received investments from Boeing and Verizon as part of its initial $32 million funding round. The company has also attracted the interest of former and current Pentagon officials. Retired Marine Corps Gen. John Allen is a board member. Among the firm’s senior corporate advisers is Wendy Anderson, who served as chief of staff for Deputy Defense Secretary Ash Carter and as deputy chief of staff for Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel.

One customer is Flowserve, a Texas-based pump manufacturer.

“We built a solution for them that extended their failure forewarning from four hours to five days,” says CEO Husain. “That’s the kind of impact [the company’s algorithms have]. We don’t know anything about pumps; we’re not domain experts in pumps.”
HAL: ... Just a moment... Just a moment... I've just picked up a fault in the AE-35 unit. It's going to go 100% failure within 72 hours. - 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968) - Video

... From a military perspective, the algorithms have much potential, particularly in cyberdefense.

“The threat surface is so massive that dealing with the types of threats that are emanating and targeting the cyber capabilities of any country of any developed economy, that is your one area where the use artificial intelligence to block that is a huge contribution,” Husain said. “We are working on that.” - Video

Lt Gen Robert Brewster: The virus... has infected Skynet?
John Connor: Skynet is the virus. It's the reason everything's falling apart!
- Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines (2003)

Then there’s the R2-D2 applicability across all military systems.
An “AI watchman” could prevent ships from colliding with one another since the computers are “constantly looking at sensor data and is making sense of the environment and the situation.”

The company is now “investing heavily” on a project Husain calls automating decision making, using artificial intelligence to plan and take action.
“There is that safety aspect of using artificial intelligence to augment the level of capability and intelligence available on ships, on tanks, in aircraft, all over, where you almost have an embedded AI technician be part of every military asset

On Hyperwar

On only a few occasions has history witnessed fundamentally transformative changes in the way war is waged. The employment of cavalry, the advent of the rifled musket, and the combination of fast armor with air support and instantaneous radio communications in the execution of the Blitzkrieg strategy are a few examples. Technological developments—sometimes originating in a variety of different fields—come together to enable these seismic shifts. Another such shift is coming soon to the field of battle. Those who are not prepared for it will fare no better than the Iraqi Army did when confronted with the “second offset” technologies of smart, precision-guided weapons, stealth, and electronic warfare.

... Truly autonomous UCAVs of a variety of types and sizes with on-board synthetic intelligence will be the foot soldiers in a future hyperwar. Models the size of commercial quadcopters capable of weaving through forests and racing across open fields will assemble, act, and dissipate in no time. They will be armed with sophisticated sensors that feed vision and decision-making algorithms both on board, in the swarm, and when accessible, in centralized locations. In addition, they will come equipped with a variety of cyber and kinetic payloads. A large number of these systems can be coordinated by means of swarm algorithms, enabling “a collective” to ensure the fulfillment of a mission and individual drones to support and to adapt to the loss of another.

UAV Research at NASA Dryden
“There are three classes of people: those who see. Those who see when they are shown. Those who do not see.” ― Leonardo da Vinci

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Re: Fully Automated Combat Robots Pt. 2

Unread postby vox_mundi » Tue 11 Jul 2017, 12:59:31

DARPA Wants Brain Implants That Record From 1 Million Neurons


DARPA is known for issuing big challenges. Still, the mission statement for its new Neural Engineering Systems Design program is a doozy: Make neural implants that can record high-fidelity signals from 1 million neurons. What’s more, the DARPA program calls for the tech to be bidirectional; the implants must be able to not only record signals, but also to transmit computer-generated signals to the neurons.

DARPA says that even the 1-million-neuron goal is just a starting point.
“A million neurons represents a miniscule percentage of the 86 billion neurons in the human brain. ... “But if we’re successful in delivering rich sensory signals directly to the brain, NESD will lay a broad foundation for new neurological therapies.”

Phase I of the program will center around developing the basic hardware and software needed to actually interface with the brain and should take about a year. Phase II will refine and miniaturize that technology as well as begin basic studies ahead of seeking out FDA approval.

One of the teams taking on the challenge is the Silicon Valley startup Paradromics. Company CEO Matt Angle says his company is developing a device called the Neural Input-Output Bus (NIOB) that will use bundles of microwire electrodes to interface with neurons. With four bundles containing a total of 200,000 microwires, he says, the NIOB could record from or stimulate 1 million neurons.

A close-up shows how miniature wires are bonded together to create an electrical contact. This is the end that stays outside the brain. Wires are 20 microns thick. Bonding these wires to specialized CMOS electronics the team seeks to overcome the scalability and bandwidth limitations of previous approaches using wire electrodes.

The eventual objective is a high-density connection to the speech center of the brain that could let the company tap into what words a person is thinking of saying. But if the technology works out, it could also vastly expand the ability of neuroscientists to listen in as large ensembles of neurons generate complex behaviors, knit together sensory stimuli, and even create consciousness itself.

The team from Columbia is focusing on the visual cortex and is looking to develop "a non-penetrating bioelectric interface" that could eventually enable computers to see what we see -- or potentially allow human brains to tap directly into video feeds.

The team from the Seeing and Hearing Foundation is also focusing on the visual cortex. They're working on a camera-based, external artificial retina worn over the eye's like Geordi LaForge's visor that would effectively "see" for the blind. Similarly, the team from the JBP lab are developing "modified neurons capable of bioluminescence and responsive to optogenetic stimulation communicate with an all-optical prosthesis for the visual cortex." Basically, again, a giant artificial eye that plugs directly into your brain's vision sensor. Finally, you'll actually have eyes in the back of your head.

A flexible multielectrode array designed by Shepard and his team.

The implanted chips are ultra-conformable to the brain surface, very light, and flexible enough to move with the tissue. The chip does not penetrate the brain tissue and uses wireless powering and data telemetry.

Algorithm decrypts brain-on-chip signals

The idea of using a mosquito brain to control aircraft or robots might sound like complete science fiction, but it is one potential application of research being undertaken by a team within Deakin University's Institute for Intelligent Systems Research and Innovation (IISRI).

Over the past few years, microelectrode array technology has enabled scientists to grow brain cells on microchips. As the cells grow, they form circuits, enabling researchers to study the neurons and their connectivity.

The IISRI research team has developed a sophisticated algorithm that measures the live stream of active, living neurons on the chip. Their algorithm uses noise-modelled "wavelets" to sort the activity of hundreds of overlapping electrical impulses (spikes), through a process called selective sorting. The technique can be used to measure any electrically-stimulated cell, including heart, brain or muscle cells.

In the field of artificial intelligence, this research could provide insights for improving the control of machines or robots.
"In the not-too-distant future, we should be able to put a whole mosquito brain on a chip. The insights about how the mosquito brain controls the insect's flying behaviour, employing real-time information from sensors, such as eyes and antennae, could one day allow us to control aircraft, robots and other machines autonomously using 'real' intelligence rather than artificial."

... "The Neuron cells on the chip produce activity within the range of 20-50 microvolts. The electrodes on the chip are highly sensitive and amplify the signals around 1200 times.

"Our software allows us to unscramble these spikes and achieve a clear signal, giving us a much better understanding of what is going on.


DARPA Project Starts Building Human Memory Prosthetics

DARPA’s first contracts under its Restoring Active Memory (RAM) program challenge two research groups to construct implants for veterans with traumatic brain injuries that have impaired their memories. Over 270,000 U.S. military service members have suffered such injuries since 2000, according to DARPA, and there are no truly effective drug treatments. This program builds on an earlier DARPA initiative focused on building a memory prosthesis, under which a different group of researchers had dramatic success in improving recall in mice and monkeys.
“We need to take analyses that used to occupy a personal computer for several hours and boil them down to a 10-millisecond algorithm”


Neurotechnology Provides Near-Natural Sense of Touch

... “We’ve completed the circuit,” said DARPA program manager Justin Sanchez. “Prosthetic limbs that can be controlled by thoughts are showing great promise, but without feedback from signals traveling back to the brain it can be difficult to achieve the level of control needed to perform precise movements. By wiring a sense of touch from a mechanical hand directly into the brain, this work shows the potential for seamless bio-technological restoration of near-natural function.”

The clinical work involved the placement of electrode arrays onto the paralyzed volunteer’s sensory cortex—the brain region responsible for identifying tactile sensations such as pressure. In addition, the team placed arrays on the volunteer’s motor cortex, the part of the brain that directs body movements.

That gave the volunteer the capacity to control the hand’s movements with his thoughts, a feat previously accomplished under the DARPA program by another person with similar injuries.
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Re: Fully Automated Combat Robots Pt. 2

Unread postby vox_mundi » Fri 14 Jul 2017, 12:35:45

The Ultimate Cold War Nightmare: A Nuclear War Between Russia and America

During much of the Cold War, the United States’ nuclear warfighting plan was known as the SIOP, or the Single Integrated Operating Plan. The first SIOP, introduced in 1962, was known as SIOP-62, and its effects on the Soviet Union, Warsaw Pact and China were documented in a briefing paper created for the Joint Chiefs of Staff and brought to light in 2011 by the National Security Archive. The paper presupposed a new Berlin crisis, similar to the one that took place in 1961, but escalating to full-scale war in western Europe.

Although the war scenario was fictional, the post-attack estimates were very real. According to the paper, the outlook for Communist bloc countries subjected to the full weight of American atomic firepower was grim. The paper divided attack scenarios into two categories: one in which the U.S. nuclear Alert Force, a percentage of overall nuclear forces kept on constant alert, struck the Soviet Union and its allies; and a second scenario where the full weight of the nuclear force, known as the Full Force, was used.

Under SIOP, “about 1,000” installations that were related to “nuclear delivery capability” would be struck. The scenario, which assumed advance warning of a Soviet attack and an American preemptive strike, would see the Alert Force attacking 75 percent of these targets. The attack would be a largely “counterforce” strike, in which U.S. nuclear forces attacked Soviet, Warsaw Pact and Chinese command-and-control and nuclear forces. The report states that 83 to 88 percent of all targets would be destroyed with 70 percent assurance.

In an Alert Force attack, 199 Soviet cities with populations of fifty thousand or greater would be struck.
An all-out Full Force attack would be much worse. A Full Force attack would devastate 295 cities, leaving only five cities with populations of fifty thousand or more unscathed. 72 percent of the urban population and 54 percent of the overall population would become casualties—as the National Security Archive points out, that amounts to 108 million likely killed out of a total population of 217 million. In China, seventy-eight cities would be struck, affecting 53 percent of the urban population and 16 percent of the overall population. Casualties in eastern Europe would more than double, to 4,004,000.

Overall, an all-out U.S. attack on the Soviet Union, China and satellite countries in 1962 would have killed 335 million people within the first seventy-two hours.

Today the figure would be closer to half a billion in the first 72 hours. Three and a half to four billion in the first year. Starvation is a bitch.

America's Insane Plan to Survive a Russian Nuclear Attack

... The implications of this was brought into sharp relief on March 1, 1954, when the United States conducted its first test of a deliverable hydrogen bomb. Known as Castle Bravo, the scientists badly misjudged the yield of the bomb, which was about fifteen megatons compared to the five or six megatons they were predicting. The resulting radioactive fallout went far beyond what the test team was expecting, nearly killing the testing team in the process. The test did contaminate nearby islanders as well as the unlucky inhabitants of a Japanese fishing boat, Lucky Dragon, that happened to be in the area at the time of the test. All of the crew became sick, and one person died shortly after returning to Japan.

After the test, President Dwight D. Eisenhower’s science advisers superimposed the fallout patterns of the Castle Bravo test on a map with Washington, DC as ground zero. The results were shocking. As Annie Jacobsen recounts in her fantastic book on the history of DARPA:
... If ground zero had been Washington, D.C…. every resident of the greater Washington-Baltimore area would now be dead. Without a Station 70–style bunker for protection, the entire population living there would have been killed by 5,000 roentgens of radiation exposure in mere minutes. Even in Philadelphia, 150 miles away, the majority of inhabitants would have been exposed to radiation levels that would have killed them within the hour. In New York City, 225 miles north, half of the population would have died by nightfall. All the way to the Canadian border, inhabitants would have been exposed to 100 roentgens or more, their suffering similar to what the fisherman on the Lucky Dragon had endured.


All nuclear power plants (and spent fuel storage) are aim points in the target package. Here is how just one could contaminate the U.S. There are about 100 nuke plants int the U.S.; over 400 world-wide.

Spent fuel fire on U.S. soil could dwarf impact of Fukushima



Forgotten Fact: Russia and China Almost Started a Nuclear War in 1969

Why a Single Nuke's Impact Shouldn't Only Be Measured In Megatons


As the notion of nuclear hostilities leaps from its old, Cold War perch into modern debate, new calculations by University of Nebraska-Lincoln researchers show that even a limited nuclear strike could have disastrous global consequences.

In a new report, a group of experts led by Adam Liska, a biological systems engineer at Nebraska, has determined that a single nuclear warhead could cause devastating climate change resulting in widespread drought and famine that could cost a billion lives.

Using publicly available data on 19 types of weapons now held by five major nuclear powers—the United States, Russia, China, the United Kingdom and France—Liska and his colleagues calculated how many nuclear bombs in each category could be used before triggering conditions they describe as "nuclear autumn" or "nuclear drought." Not as severe as the nuclear winter predicted by scientists in the 1980s, a nuclear autumn nonetheless would significantly impact Earth's climate.

"The question is not if a nuclear drought can occur, but what factors increase its probability of occurring and what actions can be taken to mitigate the potentially devastating global impacts?" said Liska, who specializes in life-cycle analysis to assess the environmental impacts of products and services.

Other scientists previously have found nuclear blasts sufficient to ignite a developed area roughly the size of Los Angeles—500 square miles—would throw 5.5 million tons of ash and soot into the stratosphere. Sunlight, temperatures and rainfall would decrease around the world, growing seasons would be significantly reduced for at least five years and global temperatures would be their lowest in 1,000 years. Rainfall could decrease by as much as 80 percent in some areas of the world.

The black ash created by a nuclear blast would cool temperatures at the Earth's surface, Oglesby said. Because there would be less temperature difference between the lower and upper atmosphere, rainfall would dwindle and cast large areas of the planet into drought. "If the ash reaches the stratosphere, many months could pass before it dissipates," Oglesby said.

Liska and colleagues found that the United States, Russia and China each have weapons, including air-dropped, intercontinental ballistic missiles and land-based missiles, that could trigger a nuclear drought with the detonation of fewer than five bombs. Each weapon represents only a fraction of their arsenals. China could cause a nuclear drought with the launch of a single land-based missile. It holds 20 of that type in its arsenal.

Adam J. Liska et al, Nuclear Weapons in a Changing Climate: Probability, Increasing Risks, and Perception, Environment: Science and Policy for Sustainable Development (2017).

... The use of only one 5-MT land-based missile deployed by China could burn an area similar in size to that of one hundred 15-KT explosions. Alternatively, if the United States dropped only three 1.2-MT bombs, or used two Trident D5 SLBM (each with four 475-KT warheads), the size of the explosions would exceed the land area required to produce similar climate impacts. Use of only four 800-KT Russian ICBMs or ten 300-KT French gravity bombs would also have similar climate impacts.

... Nuclear drought events could also occur by regional nuclear exchanges between Pakistan and India (~6.6 Tg C), North Korea or Russia and the United States, or Israel and Iran, among many other possible increasing numbers of combinations.

... A nuclear explosion could create greater climate impacts than the Kuwaiti oil field fires of 1991 due to higher altitude smoke dispersion into the stratosphere and more wellheads potentially being ignited. During the Gulf War in 1991, Kuwaiti oil wells were set on fire in January and some burned until November, when they were actively extinguished. At a rate of ~3,400 metric tons of soot emitted per day for approximately 6 months, ~0.6 Tg of black carbon was dispersed into the troposphere from 610 ignited wells.
Last edited by vox_mundi on Fri 14 Jul 2017, 12:49:25, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Fully Automated Combat Robots Pt. 2

Unread postby Cog » Fri 14 Jul 2017, 12:45:15

Too bad the lefties, Democrats, and tree-huggers got in the way of Yucca Mountain. We could have had ALL the high level nuclear waste stored there by now. But I guess they prefer to spread the hazards around much like the spread other people's money.
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Re: Fully Automated Combat Robots Pt. 2

Unread postby vox_mundi » Fri 14 Jul 2017, 14:17:04

US bans Kaspersky Software Amid Concerns Over Russia Ties

The US government has moved to block federal agencies from buying software from Russia-based Kaspersky Labs, amid concerns about the company's links to intelligence services in Moscow.

The General Services Administration, which handles federal government purchasing contracts, said in a statement to AFP that Kaspersky Labs, a major global provider of cybersecurity software, has been removed from its list of approved vendors, making it more difficult to obtain Kaspersky products.

Products from the company, Kaspersky Lab, based in Moscow, are widely used in homes, businesses and government agencies throughout the United States, including the Bureau of Prisons. Kaspersky Lab’s products are stocked on the shelves of Target and Best Buy, which also sells laptops loaded by manufacturers with the firm’s anti-virus software.

Kaspersky Lab’s possible relationship with Russian intelligence services “makes a lot of people in the national security community uncomfortable,” said Eric Rosenbach, a cybersecurity veteran who until January was the Defense Department’s chief of staff.

In particular, current and former U.S. officials fear Kaspersky Lab products have the potential to facilitate Russian cyberattacks on power grids or other key utilities.


Kaspersky Lab Joins with Massachusetts Institute of Technology to Host “Think Security” Event

Kaspersky Lab announced today it will host a cybersecurity seminar, titled “Think Security,” which offers MIT students an opportunity to learn about the challenges of protecting today’s critical infrastructure against the sophisticated cyberattacks emerging around the world.

Kaspersky Lab Launches a Specialized CyberSecurity Solution for Industrial Systems

Kaspersky Lab released today a specialized solution to secure critical infrastructure and industrial facilities. Kaspersky Industrial CyberSecurity delivers a unified, holistic approach to IT security for industrial facilities, combining the company’s leading technologies, services and intelligence in one unique package. The solution addresses the urgent need to comprehensively manage industrial cyber-risks and protect the continuity and integrity of systems that are vital to the economy and people’s health and welfare.

Kaspersky Industrial CyberSecurity considers all these unique requirements and delivers protection to the ICS network at the layers most vulnerable to cyber-attacks – ICS/SCADA servers, HMI panels, engineering workstations, PLCs and more – securing them from cyber-threats without affecting operational continuity and consistency of the technological process.


Cyber Attack: Energy, Nuclear Targeted With Template Injection Attacks

“Talos has observed attackers targeting critical infrastructure and energy companies around the world, primarily in Europe and the United States. These attacks target both the critical infrastructure providers, and the vendors those providers used to deliver critical services,” researchers wrote on Friday.

Adversaries are leveraging classic Word document-based phishing attacks, they said. However, the Word document attachments used in the phishing campaigns do not contain malicious VBA macros or embedded scripting. Instead, attachments attempt to download a malicious template file over a Server Message Block (SMB) connection so that the user’s credentials can be harvested, researchers said.
“One objective of this most recent attack appears to be to harvest credentials of users who work within critical infrastructure and manufacturing industries”

Targeted phishing attacks included DOCX type documents delivered as attachments under the guise of being an environmental report or a resume. While no malicious macros or scripting is embedded in the document, when a user opens it, a request is made via the SMB protocol for a template, as such “Contacting:\\ . . . \Template.dotm.

“The document was trying to pull down a template file from a particular IP,” they noted. That connection was not via TCP 80 (often used for C2 communications), rather the SMB request was via TCP 445, a traditional Microsoft networking port.

Forcing SMB requests to an external server has been a known security vulnerability for many years.

Sample email containing a malicious document

Senators Want Answers On Risk of Nuclear Power Plant Hacks

On the heels of reports of foreign hackers trying to access computer networks at U.S. nuclear power plants, Massachusetts Sen. Edward Markey on Monday wrote a letter(PDF) to five federal agencies asking for more information about the attacks.

Specifically, the top Democrat on the International Cybersecurity Policy subcommittee raised concerns with the heads of the Department of Defense, Department of Energy, Department of Homeland Security, Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Nuclear Regulatory Commission about how the US is defending its nuclear power plants from foreign attacks and threats.

Among other information, Markey wants to know the number of nuclear plants that suffered attacks, who coordinates cybersecurity for nuclear power and recommendations for improving security. He has requested answers by Aug. 10.

Politicians are concerned a cyberattack on US nuclear power plants could have disastrous results. Wolf Creek Nuclear Operating Corporation, which manages a power plant in Kansas, was one of the companies targeted by hackers in the attacks, according to the FBI.

Turkey Point: Fire and Explosion at the Nuclear Plant

... At 11:07 am, a high energy arc flash (HEAF) in Cubicle 3AA06 of safety-related Bus 3A ignited a fire and caused an explosion. The explosion inside the small concrete-wall room (called Switchgear Room 3A) injured a worker and blew open Fire Door D070-3 into the adjacent room housing the safety-related Bus 3B (called Switchgear Room 3B.)

A second later, the Unit 3 reactor automatically tripped when Reactor Coolant Pump 3A stopped running. This motor-driven pump received its electrical power from Bus 3A. The HEAF event damaged Bus 3A, causing the reactor coolant pump to trip on under-voltage (i.e., less than the desired voltage of 4,160 volts.) The pump’s trip triggered the insertion of all control rods into the reactor core, terminating the nuclear chain reaction.

Another second later and Reactor Coolant Pumps 3B and 3C also stopped running. These motor-driven pumps received electricity from Bus 3B. The HEAF event should have been isolated to the Switchgear Room 3A, but the force of the explosion blew open the connecting fire door, allowing Bus 3B to also be affected. Reactor Coolant Pumps 3B and 3C tripped on under-frequency (i.e., alternating current electricity at too much less than the desired 60 cycles per second). Each Turkey Point unit has three Reactor Coolant Pumps that force the flow of water through the reactor core, out the reactor vessel to the steam generators where heat gets transferred to a secondary loop of water, and then back to the reactor vessel. With all three pumps turned off, the reactor core would be cooled by natural circulation. Natural circulation can remove small amounts of heat, but not larger amounts; hence, the reactor automatically shuts down when even one of its three Reactor Coolant Pumps is not running.

Current regulatory requirements do not require the room to have blast resistant fire doors, unless the doors are within 3 feet of a potential explosive hazard. (I could give you three guesses why all the values are 3’s, but a correct guess would divulge one-third of nuclear power’s secrets.) Cubicle 3AA06 that experienced the HEAF event was 14.5 feet from the door.

Fire Door D070-3, presumably unaware that it was well outside the 3-feet danger zone, was blown open by the HEAF event. The opened door created the potential for one fire to disable Buses 3A and 3B, plunging the site into a station blackout. Fukushima reminded the world why it is best to stay out of the station blackout pool.

The HEAF event activated all eleven fire detectors in Switchgear Room 3A and activated both of the very early warning fire detectors in Switchgear Room 3B. Activation of these detectors sounded alarms at Fire Alarm Control Panel 3C286, which the operators acknowledged. These detectors comprise part of the plant’s fire detection and suppression systems intended to extinguish fires before they cause enough damage to undermine nuclear safety margins.

But workers failed to reset the detectors and restore them to service until 62 hours later. Bus 3B provided the only source of electricity to safety equipment after Bus 3A was damaged by the HEAF event. The plant’s fire protection program required that Switchgear Room 3B be protected by the full array of fire detectors or by a continuous fire watch (i.e., workers assigned to the area to immediately report signs of smoke or fire to the control room.) The fire detectors were out-of-service for 62 hours after the HEAF event and the continuous fire watches were put in place late.

Had a fire started in Switchgear Room 3B, neither the installed fire detectors nor the human fire detectors would have alerted control room operators. The lights going out on Broadway, or whatever they call the main avenue at Turkey Point, might have been their first indication. ...

Cooper: Nuclear Plant Operated 89 Days with Key Safety System Offline

Oyster Creek nuclear plant taken offline

LACEY -- Operators at the Oyster Creek Generating Station shut the plant down unexpectedly at 10:15 a.m. Monday to address an equipment issue on the "non-nuclear" side of the plant, a plant spokeswoman said.

Sirens near Oconee Nuclear Station will be tested Wednesday

Lab Makes Changes in Wake of Botched Nuclear Shipments


ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Employees have been fired and other personnel actions have been taken at one of the premier nuclear weapons laboratories in the U.S. after small amounts of radioactive material were mistakenly shipped aboard a commercial cargo plane.

Officials at Los Alamos National Laboratory declined to provide any details about the personnel actions, only to say that those who had a role in the mix-up — from individual workers to those in the management chain — have been held accountable.

"Although these shipments arrived safely at their destinations and no one was hurt, this mistake, taken together with other mistakes in recent years, is unacceptable and is in the process of being addressed promptly and thoroughly," the lab said in a statement. "Our response to this incident is not business as usual."

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Re: Fully Automated Combat Robots Pt. 2

Unread postby vox_mundi » Fri 14 Jul 2017, 15:03:24

Insects Teach Robots To Track Prey

"Our research aimed to discover if the behaviour and neuronal mechanisms that underlie an insect’s target detection and selection could provide a blueprint for a robot to perform similar tasks autonomously,” said Steven Wiederman, who's leading the project.
"Insects are capable of remarkably complex behaviour, yet have a miniature brain consuming tiny amounts of power compared with even the most efficient digital processors."

As part of the research, the team used recordings from specific neurons in the brain of a dragonfly to develop a target detection and tracking algorithm. They they built that algorithm into a robot's brain.

"This is the first time that a target tracking model inspired by insect neurophysiology has been implemented on an autonomous robot and tested under real-world conditions," said Wiederman.

In tests, which included low-contrast targets, heavily cluttered environments and the presence of distractors, the robot performed well - suggesting that simple processors can be used to deliver capable results.

"We uncovered insight into how insects’ neuronal systems may handle varying challenges during target tracking and pursuit," said Bagheri.

Image ... o1_500.gif

This Robot Can Process a Crab in Seconds

The robots are coming. And they're headed for rural Newfoundland.

The world's first full-on crab plant robot sits inside a tall, plastic chamber roughly the size of a shipping container. A conveyer belt carries the splayed crab into the chamber, where a robotic scoops them up and places them on one of two plastic saddles.

And then the blade descends.


Its functions are simple — cut the crab in half, or remove its legs — but its impact could be enormous.

The machine was designed to be a part of a robotic system that would extract the meat from the crab's shells, a process which is often done overseas.

Its designers are also hoping it will solve a few workforce problems in fish plants caused by changing demographics in rural Newfoundland.
"A large part of the labour force in our processing sector now comes from the baby boomer generation. We can't replace those baby boomers with an equal number of younger people."

Back to Work, Newfie!

In Las Vegas, Robot Bartenders

Robots are Coming to a Burger Joint Near You

Volkswagen’s Mobile Robot Automatically Plugs-In Your EV

Ohio is now the Fifth U.S. State to Permit Delivery Robots on Sidewalks

FingerVision: Robot Given Sense of Touch


It’s a simple solution to a complex problem. Using Fingervision, the 300-pound robot can interact with fragile objects and detect when something it’s holding is slipping, tightening its grip to hang on. The team is hoping to extend the skin beyond the robot’s hands for future iterations.

Post-doctoral robotics fellow Akihiko Yamaguchi has posted a series of videos featuring a Baxter industrial robot performing a wide variety of impressive tasks with the Fingervision system mounted on the end of each arm. The industrial robot (somewhat awkwardly) peels a banana in one, and, in another, it responds to the light grazing of a feather, moving each time it’s grazed by the pink fuzz.

When we arrive at the CMU labs, Yamaguchi demonstrates the system’s soft touch further as Baxter’s hand closes gingerly on a flower and lifts it out of a Corona bottle (college!) and later picks up a small, fragile origami box from the table in front of it.

KFC celebrates National Fried Chicken Day with Robot Colonel Sanders

KFC has brought Colonel Harland Sanders back to life, as a robot.

The company says the robot “uses speech recognition, artificial intelligence technology and text-to-speech techniques to transform a KFC drive-thru operator's voice into the unmistakable drawl of Colonel Sanders."

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Re: Fully Automated Combat Robots Pt. 2

Unread postby vox_mundi » Sat 15 Jul 2017, 11:49:08

Russian Weapons Maker To Build AI-Directed Guns


Video - The maker of the famous AK-47 rifle is building “a range of products based on neural networks,” including a “fully automated combat module” that can identify and shoot at its targets. That’s what Kalashnikov spokeswoman Sofiya Ivanova told TASS, a Russian government information agency last week. It’s the latest illustration of how the U.S. and Russia differ as they develop artificial intelligence and robotics for warfare.

The Kalashnikov “combat module” will consist of a gun connected to a console that constantly crunches image data “to identify targets and make decisions,” Ivanova told TASS. A Kalashnikov photo that ran with the TASS piece showed a turret-mounted weapon that appeared to fire rounds of 25mm or so.

... Russia’s willingness to embrace lethal autonomy stands in stark contrast to U.S. policy. In 2012, then-Deputy Defense Secretary Ash Carter (later defense secretary) signed a directive forbidding the U.S. to allow any robot or machine to take lethal action without the supervision of a human operator.

In 2015, then-Deputy Defense Secretary Bob Work said fully automated killing machines were un-American.I will make a hypothesis: that authoritarian regimes who believe people are weaknesses,” he said, “that they cannot be trusted, they will naturally gravitate toward totally automated solutions. Why do I know that? Because that is exactly the way the Soviets conceived of their reconnaissance strike complex. It was going to be completely automated. We believe that the advantage we have as we start this competition is our people.”

... the U.S. military wants its AI to focus first on helping intelligence analysts sift through data and make faster decisions. Said Ardisson Lyons, the science and technology director at the Defense Intelligence Agency:
“Some of the best breakthroughs we have on North Korea are AI-derived.”


Should Pentagon Let Robots Kill Humans? Maybe

... “The reality is machines (already) and will continue to kill people autonomously,” Husain told me. The automated Phalanx Gatling guns that defend Navy warships, for example, will shoot down manned aircraft as well as missiles. What’s more, the Navy’s entire Aegis air and missile defense system has a rarely used automatic mode that will prioritize and fire on targets, manned and unmanned, without human intervention.

Other countries such as Russia and China have no qualms about fielding such systems on a large scale. “We need to accept the fact that our hand in this matter will be forced, that near-peer countries are already investing (in such systems),” Husain said. If adversaries can act faster because they don’t slow their system down for moral scruples, he said, “what option do you really have?”

... Gen. John Allen continued:
While we won’t unleash autonomous systems to fire at will across the battlespace, he said, he could envision humans designating a “killbox” known to contain only enemy forces and giving AIs free reign to kill any humans in that specific place for a specific time.

Confirming such a kill zone is free of civilians, though, is much easier in warfare at sea or in the air than in combat on land. Allen and Husain envision seeding an urban area with a wide variety of sensors — electro-optical, infra-red, acoustic, seismic, radio rangefinding, and so on — that all report back to the network (SkyNet), where intelligence analysis AIs fuse all these different perspectives into one coherent, actionable picture.


Air Force Chief Scientist: F-35, F-22 to Get Artificial Intelligence - Control Drones

F-35s, F-22s and other fighter jets will soon use improved “artificial intelligence” to control nearby drone “wingmen” able to carry weapons, test enemy air defenses or perform intelligence, reconnaissance and surveillance missions in high risk areas, senior Air Force officials said.
“The more autonomy and intelligence you can put on these vehicles, the more useful they become”

Citing ongoing progress with computer algorithms and some degree of AI (artificial intelligence) already engineered into the F-35, Air Force Chief Scientist Gregory Zacharias said that technology was progressing quickly at the Air Force Research Lab - to the point where much higher degrees of autonomy and manned-unmanned teaming is expected to emerge in the near future.

“This involves an attempt to have another platform fly alongside a human, perhaps serving as a weapons truck carrying a bunch of missiles,” Zacharias said in an interview with Scout Warrior.

... “It’s almost inevitable people will be saying - I want more missiles on board to get through defenses or I need some EW (electronic warfare) countermeasures because I don't have the payload to carry a super big pod,” he explained. “A high powered microwave may have some potential that will require a dedicated platform. The negative side is you have to watch out that you don’t overload the pilot,” Zacharias added.
“The hardest thing is ground robotics. I think that is really tough. I think the air basically is today effectively a solved problem."

Senior Air Force leaders have said that the services' new next-generation bomber program, the B-21 Raider, will be engineered to fly manned and unmanned missions.

Also, in September of 2013, the Air Force and Boeing flew an unmanned F-16 Falcon at supersonic speeds for the first time at Tyndall Air Force Base, Fla. The unmanned fighter was able to launch, maneuver and return to base without a pilot.

Llamas of War Sidelined by Robots, Part of Growing Trend

Llamas, long used by the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) as porters to hump equipment through difficult terrain, are set to get their marching orders. By September, the last of the IDF's infantry llamas will be replaced by an experimental deployment of robots, according to Tel Aviv-based Haaretz.

The IDF hasn't released much information about the bots, but they look like an updated version of Israeli contractor Roboteam's PROBOT, a lightweight heavy payload unmanned vehicle. PROBOT can carry up to 1500 pounds and maintain speeds of 6 mph through rough terrain. Designed to accompany small infantry teams, it can be teleoperated via remote control, set to follow the leader, or use GPS waypoint navigation.

The move to unmanned vehicles is part of a growing trend as militaries around the world ramp up use of unmanned ground, sea, and air vehicles.

APIUM Swarm Robotics - (Spooky)

Image - Video
APIUM Swarm Robotics

Image - Video

X-45A / UCAV Project Overview and Autonomous Formation Maneuver

Why Is Russia Aiming Missiles at China?

US Navy: Blue Angels Will Transition to Unmanned Aircraft for 2018 Season

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Re: Fully Automated Combat Robots Pt. 2

Unread postby vox_mundi » Tue 18 Jul 2017, 11:57:08

Global Cyber Attack Could Cost $121.4 Billion: Lloyd's of London

Image - A global cyber attack could result in damages of as much as $121.4 billion in an extreme event, comparable to economic losses caused by Hurricane Katrina in 2005, Lloyd’s of London said in a report.

In the hypothetical cloud service attack in the Lloyd's-Cyence scenario, hackers inserted malicious code into a cloud provider's software that was designed to trigger system crashes among users a year later.

By then, the malware would have spread among the provider's customers, from financial services companies to hotels, causing all to lose income and incur other expenses.

Average economic losses caused by such a disruption could range from $4.6 billion to $53 billion for large to extreme events. But actual losses could be as high as $121 billion, the report said.

As much as $45 billion of that sum may not be covered by cyber policies due to companies underinsuring, the report said.


FedEx Sees "Material" Financial Impact; Still Working on Recovery from Cyberattack at TNT Unit

FedEx says it is still evaluating the financial impact of last month's cyberattack but "it is likely that it will be material."

FDX says its TNT customers continue to experience service and invoicing delays.
... it is "reasonably possible that TNT will be unable to fully restore all of the affected systems and recover all of the critical business data that was encrypted by the virus."

FDX also says it does not have cyber or other insurance in place that covers the attack.

Maersk Still Not Back to 100% Three Weeks After Cyber Attack

Three weeks after Maersk was hit by the Petya ransomware which disrupted some of its operations, the logistics company is still not back to 100%.

In its latest update, the Danish conglomerate admitted:
"We acknowledge that while overall progress is being made, you may still encounter delays in response time in some locations."

The cyber attack that shutdown AP-Moller-Maersk’s systems could cost in excess of $50m in lost cargo bookings, analysts say.

State-Sponsored Hackers May Have Gained Access to the UK's Energy Grid: Leaked GCHQ Memo

The UK's energy sector is 'likely to have been compromised' by state-sponsored hackers, according to a leaked memo.

The document was produced by the National Cyber Security Center (NCSC), part of the UK's intelligence agency GCHQ, warns that a number organizations have been put at risk by cyber attacks. The report warned that it had spotted connections 'from multiple UK IP addresses to infrastructure associated with advanced state-sponsored hostile threat actors.'

It comes in the wake of a wave of recent activity, aimed at infiltrating energy firms in the UK, Ireland and the US. The attacks are said to have targeted Industrial Control System engineering and services firms, they warn. These companies are responsible for the computerized control of power stations and other energy infrastructure.

The NCSC report points to another, separate, non-public report issued by the FBI and US Department of Homeland Security to US businesses last month, which said the same hackers were using spear phishing emails to deliver malware-laden Word documents.


Hackers Target Irish Energy Networks Amid Fears of Further Cyber Attacks on UK's Crucial Infrastructure

... Senior engineers at the Electricity Supply Board (ESB), which supplies both Northern Ireland and the Republic, were sent personalised emails containing malicious software by a group linked to Russia’s GRU intelligence agency, The Times reported.

Analysts told the newspaper the cyber attack intended to infiltrate control systems, giving hackers the power to take out part of the electricity grid with similar tactics that have caused mass outrages in Ukraine.

A report on vulnerabilities in British defence released by the Royal United Services Institute (RUSI) earlier this month warned of the growing threat of cyber attacks and threats to the West’s use of satellites in space.
“... it has become much cheaper to destroy major systems than to develop them, making large-scale attacks on a single target more likely”.

Enemies could take out military and civilian communications and navigation systems, the report said, or target the UK’s economy and crucial IT infrastructure causing chaos and panic.

“In any major future conflict, an important part of the battle will be threats to the UK’s critical national infrastructure from hostile cyber operations,” RUSI’s report concluded.

A Key American Defense Has Failed, and Now Russia Fears No Reprisal for Hacking the US

Russia is accused of bold intrusions into vital US infrastructure (elections, nuclear power plants), actions that one expert says were made without fear of reprisal.

The US has not offered a strong response to Russian cyberattacks despite being aware of them for years. Russia has compromised the US's ability to enact independent foreign policy with its gains in cyberspace.
"When Americans have lost trust in their electoral system, or their financial system, or the security of their grid, then we're gonna be in big trouble,"

Eric Rosenbach, a former US Army intelligence officer who served as Secretary of Defense Ash Carter's chief of staff, said Thursday at the Defense One Tech Summit.

"Deterrence is based on perception," Rosenbach said. "When people think they can do something to you and get away with it, they're much more likely to do it."


Congress Unnerved by Energy Grid Hack

... “The disturbing reports of the past 24 hours indicate that our adversaries are trying to take advantage of the very real vulnerabilities of our energy infrastructure’s cyber defenses,” Sen. Cantwell said in a statement to CQ Roll Call.

She added that she is “reiterating my call for President Trump to immediately perform the long overdue assessment of cyber vulnerabilities that 19 Senators have requested, and abandon his proposed cuts to the Department of Energy’s Office tasked with protecting our energy networks from cyber attacks.”
DOE’s Office of Electricity Delivery and Energy Reliability — the program area responsible for cybersecurity-related efforts — would see a more than 40 percent reduction in funding in fiscal 2018, according to the DOE budget request.

Perry: Hackers are a Current, ‘Real’ Threat to US Nuclear Reactors

WASHINGTON (AP) — Energy Secretary Rick Perry said Tuesday that "state-sponsored" or criminal hackers are targeting U.S. nuclear power plants and other energy providers, ... Describing the threat of cyber-attacks on the electric grid, Perry said it “is real; it’s ongoing ..."
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Re: Fully Automated Combat Robots Pt. 2

Unread postby vox_mundi » Tue 18 Jul 2017, 12:56:56

Google's AI Genius On an 'AI Epochal Event' and Robot Productivity

Dennis Hassabis, the cofounder and CEO of Google DeepMind, said there could be an "epochal event" that causes artificial intelligence (AI) to have a far greater impact on jobs that the industrial revolution.

Hassabis said at a talk in London this month that the true impact of AI on jobs "isn't clear yet." Speaking to an audience of entrepreneurs at Google Campus at the end of last month, Hassabis said:
"Any time a major new technology comes in, it creates a big change. We've known that from the industrial revolution, the internet did that, mobile did that. So you could view it [AI] as another really big disruption event in that lineage. That's one reasonable view. In which case, society will just adapt like it's done with all the other things and some jobs will go, but newer, hopefully better, higher quality jobs will become possible, facilitated by those new technologies. I think that's definitely going to happen in the shorter term.

The question is then is this kind of a one time epochal event that's beyond the level of even those big things. I'm not sure. I think you could argue that it might be. Then the question then becomes more profound. If you've got all this increased productivity, you need to make sure that's distributed fairly but I think that's more of a political issue than a technical one.

Then the question comes if you've managed to do that, you as a society, then the next question is about things like purpose and those kind of higher level questions, which I think are very interesting things to think about. We need to do more research."

Machines will quickly become significantly smarter than humans when they achieve human level intelligence, Hassabis and several other AI leaders said in a YouTube video published in January.


Elon Musk: Regulate AI To Combat 'Existential Threat' Before It's Too Late

Elon Musk’s thoughts on artificial intelligence are pretty well known at this point. He famously compared work on AI to “summoning the demon,” and has warned time and time again that the technology poses an existential risk to humanity. At a gathering of the National Governors Association this weekend, he repeated these sentiments, but also stressed something he says is even more important: that governments need to start regulating AI NOW.
“I have exposure to the very cutting edge AI, and I think people should be really concerned about it,” ... “I keep sounding the alarm bell, but until people see robots going down the street killing people, they don’t know how to react, because it seems so ethereal.”

“I think we should be really concerned about AI and I think we should… AI’s a rare case where I think we need to be proactive in regulation instead of reactive. Because I think by the time we are reactive in AI regulation, it’s too late.

He added that what he sees as the current model of regulation, in which governments step in only after “a whole bunch of bad things happen,” is inadequate for AI because the technology represents “a fundamental risk to the existence of civilization.”

Musk is not talking about the sort of artificial intelligence that companies like Google, Uber, and Microsoft currently use, but what is known as artificial general intelligence — some conscious, super-intelligent entity, like the sort you see in sci-fi movies.

Researchers warn that the Trump administration’s lack of interest in AI (and science generally) is going to mean that many aspects of this emerging field won’t get the scrutiny they deserve.


It took life several hundred million years to climb out of the sea and learn to walk; it took AI 8 hours ...

Google DeepMind AI learns to creatively move around obstacles

A new paper from Google’s AI subsidiary DeepMind titled “Emergence of Locomotion Behaviours in Rich Environments.


Video - Everything the stick figure is doing in this video is self-taught. The jumping, the limboing, the leaping — all of these are behaviors that the computer has devised itself as the best way of getting from A to B. All DeepMind’s programmers have done is give the agent a set of virtual sensors (so it can tell whether it’s upright or not, for example) and then incentivize to move forward. The computer works the rest out for itself, using trial and error to come up with different ways of moving.

Please Prove You’re Not a Robot

Robots are getting better, every day, at impersonating humans. When directed by opportunists, malefactors and sometimes even nation-states, they pose a particular threat to democratic societies, which are premised on being open to the people.

Robots posing as people have become a menace.

... Philip Howard, who runs the Computational Propaganda Research Project at Oxford, studied the deployment of propaganda bots during voting on Brexit, and the recent American and French presidential elections. Twitter is particularly distorted by its millions of robot accounts; during the French election, it was principally Twitter robots who were trying to make #MacronLeaks into a scandal. Facebook has admitted it was essentially hacked during the American election in November. In Michigan, Mr. Howard notes, “junk news was shared just as widely as professional news in the days leading up to the election.”

Robots are also being used to attack the democratic features of the administrative state. This spring, the Federal Communications Commission put its proposed revocation of net neutrality up for public comment. In previous years such proceedings attracted millions of (human) commentators. This time, someone with an agenda but no actual public support unleashed robots who impersonated (via stolen identities) hundreds of thousands of people, flooding the system with fake comments against federal net neutrality rules.

The problem is almost certain to get worse, spreading to even more areas of life as bots are trained to become better at mimicking humans. Given the degree to which product reviews have been swamped by robots (which tend to hand out five stars with abandon), commercial sabotage in the form of negative bot reviews is not hard to predict. In coming years, campaign finance limits will be (and maybe already are) evaded by robot armies posing as “small” donors. And actual voting is another obvious target — perhaps the ultimate target.

And perhaps the greatest problem for a democracy is that companies like Facebook and Twitter lack a serious financial incentive to do anything about matters of public concern, like the millions of fake users who are corrupting the democratic process. Twitter estimates at least 27 million probably fake accounts; researchers suggest the real number is closer to 48 million, yet the company does little about the problem.

Disney Shows Inner Workings of Its Avatar Robot

Back at the end of May, Disney opened an Avatar-themed area (Pandora: World of Avatar) within its Animal Kingdom park. Given that it’s only been open for a few weeks, most folks still haven’t been inside — but if you do go, do yourself a favor and take the time to check out the Na’vi River Journey ride. The end of the ride features an animatronic Na’vi (Avatar’s blue humanoid species), and it’s easily one of the finest examples of animatronics ever built. - Video and Video

Pull back the mask, and an incredible, beautifully complex array of robotics lays beneath:

“There are three classes of people: those who see. Those who see when they are shown. Those who do not see.” ― Leonardo da Vinci

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Re: Fully Automated Combat Robots Pt. 2

Unread postby vox_mundi » Tue 18 Jul 2017, 13:29:33

Facial Recognition Coming to Police Body Cameras

Device-maker Motorola announced Monday that would partner with artificial intelligence software startup Neurala to build “real-time learning for a person of interest search” on Motorola products such as the Si500 body camera for police, the AI firm announced in a press release today.


Face Scans for Americans Flying Abroad Stir Privacy Issues


If the Trump administration gets its way, all U.S. citizens flying abroad will have to submit to face scans at airport security.

Privacy advocates call the plan an ill-advised step toward a surveillance state.

Now, the Department of Homeland Security says U.S. citizens must be scanned for the program to work. Pilots are under way at six U.S. airports. DHS aims to have high-volume U.S. international airports engaged beginning next year.

Half of US Adults are Recorded in Police Facial Recognition Databases


Half of all American adults are included in databases police use to identify citizens with facial recognition technology, according to new research that raises serious concerns about privacy violations and the widespread use of racially biased surveillance technology.

A report from Georgetown Law’s Center on Privacy and Technology found that more than 117 million adults are captured in a “virtual, perpetual lineup”, which means law enforcement offices across the US can scan their photos and use unregulated software to track law-abiding citizens in government datasets.

Numerous major police departments have “real-time face recognition” technology that allows surveillance cameras to scan the faces of pedestrians walking down the street, the report found. In Maryland, police have been using software to identify faces in protest photos and match them to people with warrants, according to the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU).
What’s alarming about the FBI’s “face recognition unit”, according to the report, is that it is “overwhelmingly made up of non-criminal entries”.

The FBI database photos come from state driver’s licenses, passports and visa applications, meaning police can easily identify and monitor people who haven’t had any run-ins with the law.

The Biometric Frontier: “Show Me Your Papers” Becomes “Open Your Eyes” as Border Sheriffs Expand Iris Surveillance

Thirty-one sheriffs, representing every county along the U.S.-Mexico border, voted unanimously on April 3 to adopt tools that will capture, catalogue, and compare individuals’ iris data, for use both in jails and out on patrol. Biometric Intelligence and Identification Technologies, the company behind the push, has offered the sheriffs a free three-year trial, citing law enforcement’s difficulties in identifying unauthorized immigrants whose fingerprints can be disfigured through manual labor or self-inflicted wounds.
“In this country, we’ve long resisted being a ‘show me your papers’ society, but this moves us to that because you increasingly can’t avoid your identity being scooped up in public”

In the coming months, BI2’s iris recognition devices will be installed in every sheriff’s department along the U.S.-Mexico border. Each department will receive both a stationary iris capture device for inmate intake facilities and, eventually, a mobile version, according to Sheriff Joe Frank Martinez of Val Verde County, Texas, who currently serves as the president of the Southwestern Border Sheriff’s Coalition.


AI Cameras with Detective Skills Helps Catch Rural Criminals

Smart cameras hidden in the countryside could soon help police fight back against rural crime and finally bring down secret smuggling routes.

A new crime-fighting camera has been developed which scans a scene and differentiates what it sees. If its sensor spots something suspicious, it wakes up the camera and a platoon of algorithms kicks into action to process what's happening. Screenshots and video are then sent to local police stations who can take the investigation further.

The miniaturised cameras are being developed by the EU-funded FORENSOR project. They can survive on one-tenth of the power of a normal surveillance camera and are easily concealable, meaning they can operate cheaply in isolated areas with little infrastructure.

Another option is something called a sniffer, which is a smaller device that could be concealed in an area of interest or placed in a device, such as a walkie-talkie. It too will be capable of alerting police officers if someone passes by with a bag containing suspicious items.

Inside the ACLU’s Nationwide Campaign to Curb Police Surveillance

In summer 2014, an intern at the ACLU found a memo from a public meeting in which the San Jose Police Department asked to be reimbursed for a “UAV,” which he immediately recognized as a type of drone.

“It was tucked in the back of an agenda item,” says Nicole Ozer, director of technology and civil liberties policy for the ACLU of California. The City Council approved the purchase of the $8,000 drone as part of a million-dollar federal grant, but there had been no public debate over the merits of acquiring such a controversial piece of equipment.

Ozer asked community members if they knew about the drone purchase. “We thought maybe we just missed it but everyone else knew about it,” Ozer says. But no one they reached out to had any idea.

The incident confirmed a fear shared by civil liberties advocates: police departments around the country were buying surveillance equipment with FEMA homeland security grants with little oversight. Each year, over $1 billion of these grants are funneled to municipalities across the country, bypassing local budget processes and leaving community members in the dark about the acquisition of advanced surveillance arsenals. Cities in California have purchased or attempted to acquire drones, cellphone tower simulators, and other tools previously reserved for the federal government.

“We found, across the board, that even basic public conversation and debate was absent,” Ozer says.


How Much Longer Will We Be Free From Big Brother Drones?

Nano Lens-Less Camera Shrinks from Pill Size to Dust Size


At Caltech, engineers have developed a new camera design that replaces the lenses with an ultra-thin optical phased array (OPA). The OPA does computationally what lenses do using large pieces of glass: it manipulates incoming light to capture an image.

"We've created a single thin layer of integrated silicon photonics that emulates the lens and sensor of a digital camera, reducing the thickness and cost of digital cameras. It can mimic a regular lens, but can switch from a fish-eye to a telephoto lens instantaneously—with just a simple adjustment in the way the array receives light," Hajimiri says.

"The applications are endless," says graduate student Behrooz Abiri (MS '12), coauthor of the OSA paper. "Even in today's smartphones, the camera is the component that limits how thin your phone can get. Once scaled up, this technology can make lenses and thick cameras obsolete. It may even have implications for astronomy by enabling ultra-light, ultra-thin enormous flat telescopes on the ground or in space."

Twitter-monitoring system detects riots far quicker than police reports

Groundbreaking Mind-Reading Experiment Reconstructs the Faces People are Looking at from Brain Scans


Researchers design sounds that can be recorded by microphones but inaudible to humans
“There are three classes of people: those who see. Those who see when they are shown. Those who do not see.” ― Leonardo da Vinci

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Re: Fully Automated Combat Robots Pt. 2

Unread postby vox_mundi » Fri 21 Jul 2017, 14:13:50

Researchers to Study Environmental, Human Impacts of Nuclear War


... The new study will calculate in detail for the first time the impacts of nuclear war on agriculture and the oceanic food chain and on humans, including food availability and migration activity, said Toon of CU Boulder’s Laboratory for Atmospheric and Space Physics.

“The most important factor is the amount of smoke which would be generated from fires started by nuclear detonations in cities and industrial areas and lofted into the upper atmosphere,” said Robock, a distinguished professor in the Department of Environmental Sciences at Rutgers University-New Brunswick. “For the first time, we will model the fires and firestorms, using detailed estimates of what would burn, based on new credible scenarios of how a nuclear war might be fought.”

One result? Smoke from the explosions would make temperatures plunge, causing wheat, rice, corn and soybean production to be reduced globally by 10 to 40 percent for five years. The explosions also would cause severe depletion of the Earth’s ozone layer, damaging human health and the environment, said Toon.
... “Calculations show there is enough food on the planet to feed people for about 60 days, and an average city has about enough food to feed residents for just seven days,” ... “The functioning of our society is based in large part on our ability to transport food, fuel and other goods—activities that would be severely affected by a nuclear war.”

The team is using supercomputers and sophisticated climate models developed by the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) in Boulder to calculate the amount of fire fuels in major cities and how much smoke might be produced by nuclear blasts. The researchers also are using agricultural and world food trade models to assess the impact on crops from a potential nuclear war and the possibility of widespread famine.


China's Submarine Dream (And Nightmare for the U.S. Navy): 'Hunt for Red October' Subs

Did China Just Create the "Holy Grail" Of Submarine Technologies?


... The improved quieting would likely more than offset potential drawbacks such as a greater magnetic signature.

“A rim-driven pump jet would use an electric motor that is installed in the rim around the propulsor. Like any electric motor, it would generate a magnetic field. Because it’s outside the hull, it might be easier to detect with magnetic anomaly detection, but it could be designed to shield some of the field,” Clark said.
... “The question is whether the Chinese can build one with the fine machining necessary to achieve the degree of quieting possible. The article doesn't address that. The basic technology is straightforward, but building a good one is hard. Manufacturing precision equipment like turbines has been a challenge for China’s shipbuilding industry.”

While there are advantages to a rim-driven pumpjet, there also some serious potential drawbacks. One problem is that such motors may not be able to generate the horsepower to drive a massive nuclear submarine. “If China can put a well-built rim-driven pump jet on a submarine, the next question is how much thrust it provides,” Clark said. ... “With submarine propulsion, one of the tradeoffs is quietness versus speed. Most changes to the propulsion architecture that reduce noise also reduce sprint speed. One of the concerns I have heard from engineers is whether a rim-driven pump jet can deliver the horsepower needed to reach high sprint speeds for torpedo evasion or repositioning.

Why Killing Enemy Submarines Is Not as Easy as It Use to Be

DARPA Awards Contract for Sub-Hunting Technology

The DARPA program — known as the Mobile Offboard Clandestine Communications and Approach, or MOCCA — aims to allow submarines to detect submerged vessels at greater distances than is currently possible, while minimizing the risk that the boat itself will be detected, BAE said in a press release.
“The objective is to achieve significant standoff detection and tracking range through the use of an active sonar projector deployed offboard a submarine and onboard an unmanned underwater vehicle”

Operators onboard the submarine will need to be able to control the UUV and have clandestine communications between the two platforms that won’t sacrifice stealth, DARPA said.


... Translated into English, DARPA basically hopes to develop a system that would allow U.S. Navy submarines to detect advanced Russian or Chinese undersea warfare assets such as the forthcoming Project 885M Yasen-class SSGNs, which have very impressive acoustical signatures, without being detected in return. The system would also allow submarines to communicate underwater without betraying their location according to DARPA’s broad area announcement.

The U.S. Navy's Ultimate Fantasy: Underwater Submarine Bases to Take on Russia
“There are three classes of people: those who see. Those who see when they are shown. Those who do not see.” ― Leonardo da Vinci

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Re: Fully Automated Combat Robots Pt. 2

Unread postby vox_mundi » Fri 21 Jul 2017, 15:08:35

Top US General Warns Against Rogue Killer Robots

The second highest-ranking general in the U.S. military on Tuesday warned lawmakers against equipping the military with autonomous weapons systems that humans could lose control of and advocated for keeping the "ethical rules of war" in place.

In a Senate Armed Services Committee hearing on Tuesday, Gen. Paul Selva responded to a question from Sen. Gary Peters (D-MI) about a Defense Department directive that requires a human operator to be involved in the decision-making process when it comes to taking lives with autonomous weapons systems.

Selva warned lawmakers that the military should keep "the ethical rules of war in place lest we unleash on humanity a set of robots that we don't know how to control."

"I don't think it's reasonable for us to put robots in charge of whether or not we take a human life," Selva told the committee.

Peters said the restriction was "due to expire later this year."

AI Could Revolutionize War as Much as Nukes

In 1899, the world’s most powerful nations signed a treaty at The Hague that banned military use of aircraft, fearing the emerging technology’s destructive power. Five years later the moratorium was allowed to expire, and before long aircraft were helping to enable the slaughter of World War I.
“Some technologies are so powerful as to be irresistible,” ... “Militaries around the world have essentially come to the same conclusion with respect to artificial intelligence.”

- Greg Allen, Fellow at the Center for New American Security

Allen is coauthor of a 132-page new report on the effect of artificial intelligence on national security. One of its conclusions is that the impact of technologies such as autonomous robots on war and international relations could rival that of nuclear weapons. The report was produced by Harvard’s Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, at the request of IARPA, the research agency of the Office of the Director of National Intelligence. It lays out why technologies like drones with bird-like agility, robot hackers, and software that generates photo-real fake video are on track to make the American military and its rivals much more powerful.

Artificial Intelligence and National Security

Image ... 0final.pdf

Researchers in the field of Artificial Intelligence (AI) have demonstrated significant technical progress over the past five years, much faster than was previously anticipated.
- Most of this progress is due to advances in the AI sub-field of machine learning.

- Most experts believe this rapid progress will continue and even accelerate.

- Most AI research advances are occurring in the private sector and academia.

- Private sector funding for AI dwarfs that of the United States Government.

Future progress in AI has the potential to be a transformative national security technology, on a par with nuclear weapons, aircraft, computers, and biotech.

Each of these technologies led to significant changes in the strategy, organization, priorities, and allocated resources of the U.S. national security community

We argue future progress in AI will be at least equally impactful.

As with prior transformative military technologies, the national security implications of AI will be revolutionary, not merely different.

U.S. Special Operations Command White Paper: The Gray Zone

U.S. Army War College Study: Regaining Strategic Initiative in the Gray Zone

Department of State International Security Advisory Board Report on Gray Zone Conflict

2017-18 DoD Key Strategic Issues List

Theme 1: How can the U.S. Army be more effective in complex operational environments?
1.3. Assess the Army’s readiness and force structure to respond to a humanitarian / disaster relief and stabilization operation resulting from the use of a weapon of mass destruction (e.g., highly contagious biological weapon or dirty bomb).Assess the effectiveness of U.S. Army relationships with partners to confront regional hegemons and secure vital U.S. interests.
1.4. Assess the Army’s ability to conduct joint operations in a contested cyber and space environment.
1.5. Assess the Army’s readiness to conduct joint operations in a megacity.
1.10. Assess the Army’s ability to execute mission command / command and control on a multi-domain battlefield that includes: friendly and adversary unmanned systems, semi-automated (human in the loop) robotic systems, and automated (no human in the loop) robotic system.

Theme 4: What is the best use of the Army to help defend the U.S. homeland and North America?
4.1. How prepared is the Army to make ready, deploy, employ, and sustain a Total Army Mobilization? (> 5 million combatants) What actions can the Army take to prepare the mobilization enterprise, the national industrial base, and strategic transportation to support a Full Mobilization? (Martial law)
4.2. Assess the U.S. Army role in preparing for and responding to a cyberattack on the nation's critical infrastructure and the impact on the military's ability to support civil authorities while deploying forces in response to an overseas crisis.
4.3. Assess the Joint Force’s current capability and capacity to protect the United States and territories from the emerging North Korea and Iranian (ballistic and cruise missile) threats.
4.5. Assess the ethically appropriate and inappropriate roles the U.S. Army (Title X) can play in addressing homeland security and support to civil authorities.
4.6. Assess the appropriateness of transferring Army equipment to U.S. civilian police organizations and under what conditions should what equipment be considered for transfer.

4.7. Assess the role of U.S. Army forces, in conjunction with other Services including the U.S. Coast Guard, and the Department of State in promoting U.S. interests in the Arctic.
4.8. Assess current Army CBRNE capabilities against requirements for a major disaster scenario such as the New Madrid Earthquake or Cascadia Subduction Zone and offer risk mitigation options (multiple nuclear power plant meltdowns).
4.10. Analyze the capability and capacity of the U.S. Army to conduct large scale Humanitarian Assistance / Disaster Relief (HA/DR) while doing simultaneous major combat operations in Europe.
4.11. What industrial base capacity is needed in order to rebuild the Army after two near simultaneous wars and do we repair forward or return to the depots?
4.12. Assess the vulnerability of Installations to attack and disruption in Multi-Domain Battle and the need for resiliency and a new approach to Installation preparedness, protection & Doctrine, given new technologies, such as Cyber Threats, UAVs, Robotics, etc

Theme 5: How will major trends in the strategic environment, defense strategy or priorities, society, political authority, demographics, and technology affect the employment of Army forces?
5.1. What are the potential impacts of climate change on: a) the character of war, b) vital US national interests; c) emerging security challenges for the United States? How could these impacts affect landpower and the organization, training, and equipping of the U.S. Army?
5.2. Evaluate the prospect for near- to mid-term “strategic shock”, its potential origin and character, and its prospective impact on defense strategy, concepts and capabilities.
5.3. Analyze how extreme weather conditions (climate change) will affect the employment of the Army.
5.4. Evaluate how technologiesy like Soldier enhancement programs, robotics, nanotechnology, new materials, new fuels, artificial intelligence, and virtual reality and micro air vehicles capable of delivering biological weapons will affect the employment of the Army and military strategy
5.5. Assess the Army’s ability to sustain increased end strength, in light of future social, cultural, political, demographic, and economic changes.
5.6. Analyze assumption based planning as a means for informing Army leaders, prioritizes, and resource allocation.
5.8. Analyze how operational energy will affect the employment of the Army.
5.13. Assess the impact of economic inequality in western societies on defense strategies, addressing mass migration, dislocated populations, and the rise in the number of failed states.
5.14. Assess the impact of the removal of fossil fuel as major supplier of energy and the replacement of the internal combustion engine in war operations
5.15. Assess the concept of supply-less logistics.
5.16. Using innovative ideas, propose what logistics could look like in 2030-2050, supporting our future operating environments.
5.17. Assess how energy and water security will be integrated into Army operations and contingency/enduring locations.
5.19. Prioritize where the Army to invest in Science and Technology over the next 10, 20 and 30 years to increase combat power over emerging peer-threats.
5.20. Assess how political trends such as districting (gerrymandering), fundraising, and political action committees and polarization might impact the Army.

6.6. Analyze the ethical integration of Soldier enhancement capabilities.
7.10. Assess/Analyze the impact of modern high causality producing munitions (Thermobaric rounds, Tactical Nuclear) on the Army and how the army will conduct MASCAS operations in an A2AD environment.
7.12. Analyze how munitions can be transported to a contested area when an adversary can strike with "carrier killer" missiles.
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Re: Fully Automated Combat Robots Pt. 2

Unread postby vox_mundi » Fri 21 Jul 2017, 15:35:41

New Grid Study Sees United States Vulnerable to Cyberattacks


A national study on electric grid security released Thursday called on the United States to do more to protect its grid against high-impact attacks, highlighting large gaps in U.S. technology and infrastructure.

The nonpartisan report from the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine, commissioned by Congress, comes as the Trump administration proposes significant cuts to cybersecurity research in key budget areas.
“We’re not gonna get there with just what we have in hand ”

... Granger Morgan, the chair of the committee and professor of engineering and public policy at Carnegie Mellon University, said in a webinar Thursday.

President Donald Trump has proposed significant budget cuts to cybersecurity research for the next fiscal year: The science and technology arm of the Department of Homeland Security, which largely focuses on cyber issues, would be allocated $437 million, or 27 percent below fiscal 2017 levels, while the Energy Department’s Office of Cybersecurity for Energy Delivery Systems would be allotted $42 million, or 33 percent less.

With recent Russian hacking attacks on nuclear plants, attention on Capitol Hill is also focused on the resilience of the grid. Malware attacks have targeted the personal computers of nuclear power plant operators employees since May.

... “We want him [Trump] to restore money in the budget and to quit trying to cut the cybersecurity budget,” Cantwell said Thursday in a brief interview.

Cyberattack on Medical Software Shows Industry Vulnerability

The computer virus, called Petya, has sent ripples through health care...The University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, a system of 25 hospitals and 3,600 doctors, said that its dictation and transcription services are still affected “with no estimated time of resolution."

... After acknowledging June 28 that portions of its network were affected, Nuance, based in Burlington, Massachusetts, is still picking up the pieces. In addition to transcription, Nuance named about 10 other affected products, including those used for radiology, billing and software that tracks quality of care. About half of the company’s $1.95 billion in revenue came from its health-care and dictation business last year.

Cyber Attack on Ukrainian Medical Facilities Sets ‘Dangerous’ Precedent: Experts

Dr. Lidiia Podkopaieva was about to click “send” on an order of new surgical instruments when her computer monitor suddenly went dark. Across Dobrobut, a CT scanner, a mammography machine and four X-ray machines were disabled after the worm crippled the Windows computers they were connected to. One patient had just finished being X-rayed when the cyber attack destroyed their scan, she said. Overall, about 100 examinations had to be canceled.

... The central phone system collapsed, digital appointments vanished and diagnostic machines dropped offline. Podkopaieva said no one suffered in the attack, but academics argue that even glancing blows to medical facilities like this one represent a damaging break with international norms.

... “You cannot attack hospitals,”

- Duncan Hollis, a Temple University professor and a former treaty lawyer for the U.S. State Department

Although what happened at Podkopaieva’s clinic fell short of the death and destruction that would constitute an unambiguous “attack,” Hollis said the disruption was still a step in a dangerous direction.

“It’s getting close to, if not across the line of, actual harm that international law might be prohibiting,” he said.

Russia Hacking: President Obama's Previously Undisclosed Election Day Plan

... Image

AI Cyber Wars: Coming Soon To A Bank Near You


Financial institutions are increasingly deploying Robotic Process Automation (RPA) and other early-stage AI technologies to the front lines, identifying the behavior of trustworthy users and detecting emerging threats. However, much cutting-edge software in areas such as machine learning and AI is open-sourced, meaning that it is readily available to the wrong side. Hackers and criminals deploy advanced technology with little effort or cost involved, using advanced search functions, for example, to find and attack vulnerable machines. The cost of the computing power needed for many AI applications has previously been a barrier to all but the most sophisticated, well-funded criminal players, but that is coming down rapidly as well.

We are beginning to see both offense and defense using automation, machine learning and artificial intelligence (AI) to counter each other’s moves. For example, as firms adopt voice biometrics to make customers’ access to their accounts and information more secure, cyber-criminals can use the same machine learning algorithms to mimic voices and gain unauthorized access. Lyrebird, a Montreal-based AI startup, has developed a voice generator that can imitate almost any person’s voice, and can even add emotional elements missing from computer generated personas such as Siri and Cortana.


MIT’s New AI Can Detect 85% of Cyber Attacks and It's Getting Smarter Every Day

Watch a Homemade Robot Crack a Safe in Just 15 Minutes - Video
“There are three classes of people: those who see. Those who see when they are shown. Those who do not see.” ― Leonardo da Vinci

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Re: Fully Automated Combat Robots Pt. 2

Unread postby vox_mundi » Tue 25 Jul 2017, 12:44:16

Surviving ‘Hell Week’: Conversion To Robotic Milkers Never Easy On Dairy Farms


Hell Week” can mean different things to different people, whether it’s the time before and during final exams at a university, a difficult component of military training, or to dairy farmers switching to a robotic milking system, the first few days of introducing the milking herd to the robots.

Iowa County dairy farmers Jerry and Brad Zander were among the latest to survive the initiation earlier this month as they converted from a parlor system to a Lely robotic milking system. The Zanders and Lely company representatives said the conversion went about as well as could be expected, but as any farmer who has made the switch could attest, the first few days are a challenge.
“It’s a grind,” Brad said of the first few days of switching to the robotic system. “We heard the first three days are hell. Honestly, the lack of sleep is the toughest part. But the support team was awesome and the machines held up incredibly well. And the cows did better than we expected.”

About 2,000 U.S. dairy farms have made the switch to robotic milking systems during the past decade. This country has lagged behind the rest of the world, where about 35,000 systems are in place, primarily in Europe and South America.

Farmers make the switch for different reasons, but one of the most consistent themes among farmers is the lack of available labor to milk the cows.
“My brother Jan asked me how long it will take to pay for this system in decreased labor,” Jerry said. “My response back to him was if you can’t find the labor to pay, but you still have all the work to do, how do you put a value on that labor?” “It’s not a question of wage, it’s a question of finding anyone at all,” Brad said.

Jerry said finding employees has gotten especially difficult the last two years.

The Zanders milked their 155 cows as usual early on the evening of July 14 before beginning to push the animals through the robots. The first time through the cows weren’t milked, but instead the robots recorded teat placements for each cow so when they were actually milked the machines would attach easily to the cows.

The third time through the robots the automatic brushes were used to wash each cow’s teats, and the machines finally began to extract milk from the herd.
“You have to stick to the process the entire time — you can’t deviate,” Brad said. “One thing Justin kept telling us is somebody is going to break, either the cows or the humans. You have to decide who that is. So far we’re winning.”

It wasn’t without a struggle. Many of the cows were jumpy the first couple times through the robots, and some kicked and showed their protest in other ways. Christen said much of the cow-contact machinery is made of carbon fiber and stainless steel, so it can withstand a beating from the animals. “The first 12 hours were probably harder on the machines than the next couple of years will be,” he said.


Half of American Jobs are at Risk from Automation, New Study Suggests

The analysis was based on occupational skills data and job locations from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics and the Census Bureau.
"We do not wish to be alarmist," ... "Both trade and automation related to economic growth are hallmarks of a vibrant economy. However, the social and political unease that accompanies large shocks with varying distributional inequities felt by workers in different occupations and with different skill levels is real."

Jobs most at risk of being replaced by automation are often lower-income, the researchers said. The quintile of workers in jobs most at risk of automation made an average of $38,000 a year. Data entry keyers, telemarketers and hand sewers were all in the top 10 of most automatable, and each had average annual wages under $30,000.

How Vulnerable Are American Communities to Automation, Trade, & Urbanization?

Image This study highlights divergence in regional economic performance and the impact on households and communities, which necessitates an urgent call to research and policy analysis. The executive summary provides an overview of key points, and the appendix shows larger regional maps of county-level data for all 50 states.

Are Trump Voters More At Risk Of Automation?

... The authors wanted to explore whether those whose jobs were at risk would be more likely to vote for radical political parties. The analysis revealed that electoral districts where automation was more prevalent were significantly more likely to vote for Donald Trump than Hillary Clinton.

A 5% increase in jobs lost to automation in the past was associated with a 10% increase in voter share for Donald Trump. The authors believe it’s the first analysis linking automation with political outcomes.
... “Our study suggests that automation has been the real cause of voters concern”, Frey says. “The prime victims of the Computer Revolution (the period starting with the arrival of the personal computer in the 1980s, through to the development of the internet in the 1990s) want anything but the status quo. The populist rebellion in America, Europe, and elsewhere, has many causes, but workers’ losing out to technology is seemingly the main reason.”

Suffice to say, given Frey’s earlier work, he believes that this is only the beginning of such phenomenon and that as automation kicks up a gear, low education/low skill voters will be increasingly attracted to radical politicians for answers to their situation. Frey likens the 2016 election with the political upheaval caused by the industrial revolution in Britain, where the Luddite rebellion raged against the machines that they believed were destroying their livelihoods.


Dockworkers Squeezed by Automation, Abandoned by Politicians

Predictions for what robots will do to the US workforce, ranked from certain doom to potential utopia

Do you believe AI and robots taking over jobs is, as Elon Musk recently put it, the “biggest risk that we face as a civilization?” Or mostly overblown fear-mongering? Somewhere in between?

There’s probably a research-backed prediction that supports your view. We’ve ranked them here, in order from “certain doom” to “possible utopia,” for your convenience. ...


Automation Hits Headcount

Despite denials by government officials, the threat of automation to people's jobs is real. Infosys on Friday said that it has released 3,600 people during April-June quarter.

“We have been disclosing the number of people that we have had to release because of automation. We have released more than 3,600 people this quarter,” said Infosys CEO Vishal Sikka, while announcing the company's quarterly financial results.

The term 'release' is routinely used by technology companies for referring to retrenchment of employees.
... This was not called execution. It was called retirement.

- Blade Runner (1982)

To drive home Infosys' focus on automation, Mr Sikka arrived at the Infosys campus in Bengaluru in a driverless cart that was built indigenously at the company's facility in Mysuru. While the cart was built by Maini Industries, Infosys had developed the autonomous driving technology used to drive the cart in association with IIT, Delhi.

In fiscal 2016-17, Infosys had fired 11,000 employee as an increased use of automation makes human effort redundant.

Wisconsin Company to Microchip Employees (- it worked for cattle)

A Wisconsin company called Three Square Market is going to offer employees implantable chips to open doors, buy snacks, log in to computers, and use office equipment like copy machines. Participating employees will have the chips, which use near field communication (NFC) technology, implanted between their thumb and forefinger.

Next up - Barcodes?
“There are three classes of people: those who see. Those who see when they are shown. Those who do not see.” ― Leonardo da Vinci

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Re: Fully Automated Combat Robots Pt. 2

Unread postby vox_mundi » Tue 25 Jul 2017, 13:20:20

GA-EMS to test 10 MJ railgun in early 2018

GA-EMS has been testing its Blitzer 3 MJ railgun at Dugway Proving Ground, Utah. The company is currently assembling a 10 MJ launcher that will begin testing in Utah later this year.

Video - General Atomics Electro Magnetic Systems (GA-EMS) is assembling a 10 MJ railgun in preparation for shipping to Utah, where the company will begin readying the weapon system for testing in 2018.

In addition, GA-EMS announced in May that it had successfully tested its hypersonic projectile, which has been fitted with an enhanced guidance electronics unit (GEU) containing a new battery configuration. The tests were conducted using GA-EMS' 3 MJ Blitzer railgun system at the US Army's Dugway Proving Ground in Utah.

BAE Systems has a competing railgun. A 32 Megajoule prototype was delivered by BAE Systems. BAE’s railgun can shoot up to 220 miles in range, around 10 times the distance capable of standard ship mounted guns with rounds landing more swiftly and with little or no warning compared to a volley of Tomahawk cruise missiles.

BAE is working to increasing the firing rate of their railgun and to build a barrel that can last for 1000 shots or more.

The Army's Drone-Killing Lasers Are Getting a Tenfold Power Boost


According to Breaking Defense, the Army plans to increase the power of the HELMTT laser to 50 kilowatts by 2018, a fivefold increase. By 2022, it plans to have a 100-kilowatt laser on an armored vehicle, likely a M2 Bradley infantry fighting vehicle or another Stryker.

The 50 kW laser will be on an upgraded version of the current 10 kW HEL-MTT (High Energy Laser – Mobile Test Truck), which is a converted HEMTT, a four-axle, 34-foot-long supply hauler. The 5 kW MEHEL (Mobile Expeditionary High Energy Laser), by contrast, is built into a much smaller and more mobile eight-wheel drive Stryker armored vehicle, able to keep up with frontline forces over rough terrain. The Army’s goal is to get its future 100 kW weapon small enough to fit on something as mobile as the Stryker, though not necessarily the Stryker itself.

“There are quite a few targets 60-100 kW lasers could be used to degrade or defeat, including rockets, artillery rounds, some missiles, UAVs (Unmanned Aerial Vehicles), etc.,” Gunzinger told me in an email. “We are talking short ranges for ground-based 100 kW-class lasers to achieve ‘burn-through’ kills on UAVs or rockets, (but) sometimes a functional kill — blinding or burning out a sensor a weapon uses for final guidance to a target — is good enough.”

Russia May Put Lasers on Its New Icebreaker Ships

Moscow claims shipboard lasers will cut only ice, not enemy ships and planes.

The ships will carry one AK-176MA 3-inch multipurpose deck gun (76.2-millimeter), a Kamov Ka-27 search and rescue helicopter, and eight Kalibr anti-ship missiles or longer-range cruise missile variants. (... no doubt, to cut through more ice! Yes?)

Russia's Cold War Super Weapon (Put Lasers on Everything It Can)

The Soviet Union researched laser weapons for decades, and developed an astounding variety of them, ranging from laser pistols, three different laser tanks and a laser-armed spaceship. The Soviet Union began experimenting with lasers in the fifties and sixties. Its first laser weapons, emerging in the seventies, were fixed ground-based systems with the suitably science-fiction names Terra-3 and Omega.

... In 1984, Soviet scientists developed a laser pistol straight out of Buck Rogers; appropriately, it was for use by Soviet cosmonauts. It was supposedly intended to damage the optics of Western satellites or blind hostile astronauts, without causing hull damage to a spacecraft. Each pull of the trigger electrically discharged a pyrotechnic flashbulb cartridge stored in an eight-round box magazine. Conveniently, the pistols were also supposed to function as medical scalpels, conjuring up gruesome images of Prometheus-style impromptu space surgery.

While the laser pistol was not intended for battlefield use, the same cannot be said for Soviet laser tanks. The initial 1K11 Stilet (“Stiletto”) vehicle, with its single laser emitter with a range of five to seven kilometers, gave way to the far beefier 1K17 Szhatie (“Compression”), which was only completed in 1992, after the fall of the Soviet Union, and shared the same armored chassis as the 2S19 self-propelled howitzer. This terrifying beast mounted two banks of six laser emitters each, and resembled a mechanized Argus dredged up from the mythological past. The third Soviet laser tank was the Sangvin, based on the chassis of a ZSU-23 Shilka antiaircraft vehicle.

Image ... er-system/

... A modified Il-76MD heavy transport jet first flew in 1981 and began testing its laser three years later. A lidar laser-ranging system installed in the hulking plane’s bulbous nose helps aim the main carbon-dioxide gas laser, which is situated in the cargo compartment and designed to fire out a sliding dorsal blister. Nacelles on either side of the fuselage house the turbo generators necessary to power the two lasers. The A60's main laser can reportedly attain either one or two megawatts in power, with a range of up to 110 kilometers. ...

Virtual Reality Training Ranges Take Simulation to the Next Level


Video - There are plenty of virtual reality trainers out there for shooting practice, but none of them get the same reaction as VirTra's.

"Holy s---, that's real," soldiers say when they test out the system's CO2-loaded weapons, according to James Peters, regional director of international business development.

Two of the company's simulators were on display at the annual Association of the United States Army Conference in Washington, D.C., on Tuesday.

The V-ST Pro is a marksmanship range with ballistic accuracy within hundredths of a millimeter, Peters told Army Times. The CO2 cartridges act more like live ammunition than the compressed air canisters used in most virtual training, reacting to environmental changes the way a real weapon would. The user wears a hip pack that delivers a small electric shock if he gets shot.

There are about a dozen possible environments loaded into the system, with hundreds of combinations of weather and altitude, as well as 175 different sizes and shapes of targets.

Users can wield pistols or rifles, and rather than stand stationary, the simulator allows a soldier to move around shooting any angle, including with one cheek pressed against the screen.

"It's the closest you can get to a real live-fire range without the expensive cost of ammunition," said Ryan Bray, a regional sales manager.

US Navy Gunners Are Testing A Wearable Heads-Up Display


What does GunnAR do, exactly? It is meant to facilitate communication between the ship’s gunnery liaison officer and the sailors manning the ship’s smaller guns. The headset is wirelessly connected to a tablet, which the officer uses to direct the gunner’s attention toward targets, and to start or stop firing. Cues and other information — infrared imagery, distances to targets — appear in a heads-up display projected on the visor.

The system thus helps the sailor to see exactly what his or her officer wants him or her to do, all without having to rely on shouted orders, radio transmitters, or sound-powered telephones.
“There are three classes of people: those who see. Those who see when they are shown. Those who do not see.” ― Leonardo da Vinci

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