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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 » Fri 28 Jul 2017, 10:54:22

Hackers Can Turn Web-connected Car Washes into Horrible Death Traps

In a presentation at the Black Hat conference in Las Vegas on Wednesday, Billy Rios, founder of security shop Whitescope, and Jonathan Butts, committee chair for the IFIP Working Group on Critical Infrastructure Protection, showed how easy it was to compromise a widely used car wash system: the Laserwash series manufactured by PDQ, based in Wisconsin, USA.

The hardware's control system is an embedded WindowsCE computer powered by an ARM-compatible processor. However, Microsoft no longer supports the version of WinCE used in the kit, Rios said, meaning it may be possible to commandeer the machinery by exploiting security vulnerabilities lingering in the operating system.
However, there was no need to find and exploit old WinCE holes to remotely break into one of these bad boys. Once the infosec duo had found a suitable car wash connected to the web, the researchers found that the default password – 12345 – just worked. Once logged in from their browser, they were given full control of the system.

From there, they could prod the web app into doing things it really shouldn't.

Like this ... Image and This

“Car washes are really just industrial control systems. The attitudes of ICS are still in there,” Rios said. “We’ve written an exploit to cause a car wash system to physically attack; it will strike anyone in the car wash. We think this is the first exploit that causes a connected device to attack someone.”

In their talk the pair showed how they managed to bypass the safety sensors on the car wash doors to close them on a car entering the washer. Butts told The Register that much more destructive hacks were possible.
“We controlled all the machinery inside the car wash and could shut down the safety systems,” he said. “You could set the roller arms to come down much lower and crush the top of the car, provided there was not mechanical barriers in place.”

That's another reason to support your local bikini car wash

Flaws in Web-connected, Radiation-Monitoring Kit? What Could Go Wrong?

Black Hat Vulnerabilities in widely deployed Radiation Monitoring Devices (RDMs) present a potential mechanism for triggering false alarms and worse, according to research unveiled at Black Hat on Wednesday.

An inspection of the technology by Ruben Santamarta, principal security consultant for IOActive, uncovered flaws in RDMs from multiple vendors, including Ludlum and Mirion. Santamarta's research focused on testing software and hardware, firmware reverse engineering and radio frequency analysis.

The vulnerabilities create a means to meddle with "critical systems used for monitoring radiation levels, for example by falsifying measurement readings to simulate a radiation leak, tricking authorities to give incorrect evacuation directions, or increasing the time an attack against a nuclear facility or an attack involving a radioactive material remains undetected by sending normal readings to deceive operators".
"Being able to properly and accurately detect radiation levels is imperative in preventing harm to those at or near nuclear plants and other critical facilities, as well as for ensuring radioactive materials are not smuggled across borders."

Inspection of software that ships with the Model 53 Gamma Personnel Portal from Ludlum revealed a backdoor password. "As a result, malicious personnel can bypass the RPM's authentication and take control of the device, which could be used to disable it, thus preventing the RPM from triggering proper alarms," Santamarta warned.

Ludlum's gate monitors – Model 4525 – for vehicle inspection lack any security measure for data communication. Any attacker in the adjacent network can change the device's network settings, which opens the door to multiple attacks. Worse yet, the device communicates via cleartext, so attackers would be able to falsify readings, disable alarms, or perform any other originally supported operation.

Ludlum's gate monitors – Model 4525 – for vehicle inspection (at Ports, Border Crossing, Nuclear Power Plants)

Cyber Attacks on Critical Infrastructure: Insights from War Gaming

The Department of Homeland Security’s Industrial Control Systems Cyber Emergency Response Team says it has never seen so many successful exploitation attempts on the control system layer of industrial systems. That means hackers are increasingly infiltrating the networks of major industrial operations all the way down to the sensors and systems that manage our digitized worlds. Major U.S. infrastructures — electric grids, dams, wastewater, and critical manufacturing — are vulnerable to physical damage from cyber attack.
This has created a unique national security problem for the United States. For the first time in modern American history, a prolific set of adversaries can target the homeland with little warning and at low cost. This creates a soft-underbelly target for state and non-state actors motivated by greed, opportunism, radical beliefs, or good old-fashioned state coercion.

... Our wargame suggested that the most dangerous cyber attacks were those that caused cascading effects across sectors. Cross-sector dependencies on electricity, transportation, and wastewater systems made significant attacks on these sectors exponentially more deleterious than attacks on stand-alone sectors such as commercial facilities or the defense industrial base. Unfortunately, the complex interdependence of sectors makes these attacks not only the most likely to create catastrophic consequences, but also the least conducive to current information-sharing and crisis management techniques.

TNT Cyber-attack Crippling Small Firms, Says FSB

Small firms are being "crippled" by the continuing impact of last month's NotPetya cyber attack on Dutch delivery firm TNT, a business group has warned.

The Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) says it has "serious concerns" over the effects of the 28 June attack.
"[It] has been debilitating for some small firms who remain in the dark over when, and if, they can expect their goods to be delivered"

"This is a stark reminder of the danger posed by cyber-crime and how it can strike down smaller businesses indirectly, having a much wider impact on the economy.

Frustrated customers trying to get news of their undelivered parcels have been told by TNT’s UK staff that consignments at its East Midlands hub are “going up to the ceiling” as international shipments are still having to be processed by hand.

U.S. Treads Water on Cyber Policy as Destructive Attacks Mount

SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - The Trump administration's refusal to publicly accuse Russia and others in a wave of politically motivated hacking attacks is creating a policy vacuum that security experts fear will encourage more cyber warfare.

... "I see no dynamics of deterrence," said ex-White House cyber security officer Jason Healey, now at Columbia University.

The government retreat is underscored by the departure at the end of July of Chris Painter, the official responsible for coordinating U.S. diplomacy on cyber security. No replacement has been named and the future of the position in the State Department is in flux.

The policy vacuum left by the United States is also affecting private security firms, which say they have grown more cautious in publicly attributing cyber attacks to nation-states lest they draw fire from the Trump administration.

Trump suggested in an April interview that the security firm CrowdStrike, which worked on investigating the election hack of the Democratic National Committee, might not be trustworthy because he was told it was controlled by a Ukrainian. It is not.

U.S. Defense Budget May Help Fund "Hacking for Defense" Classes at Universities


Hacking the Vote: Who Helped Whom?

In recent months, we have learned much about how successful the Trump campaign was in micro-targeting voters in crucial swing states. In the waning days of the 2016 campaign, especially, Trump’s data team knew exactly which voters in which states they needed to persuade on Facebook and Twitter and precisely what messages to use. The question is: How did the Russians know this, too?

Computer models get stronger, and more robust, the more information they have. It is likely that no one knows this better than the major Trump donor Robert Mercer, who was a central architect of IBM’s Watson artificial intelligence engine before he became a hedge fund billionaire, Breitbart investor, and primary owner of Cambridge Analytica.

Last week, it was reported that both Congressional investigators and the FBI are now exploring whether Russian operatives were guided in their efforts by Trump’s digital team, and the House Intelligence Committee has invited Trump’s digital director, Brad Parscale, to testify. Largely ignored in this discussion, however, is another possibility: that the Russians themselves, through their hacking of Democratic Party records, were supplying crucial information to the digital team.

Hackers Plan To Break into 30 Voting Machines To Put Election Meddling to the Test

Just how secure is the U.S. election systems? Hackers aim to find out.

LAS VEGAS – Think of it as a stress test for democracy. Hackers plan to spend this weekend trying to break into more than 30 voting machines used in recent elections to see just how far they can get.

U.S. election officials have consistently said that despite Russian attempts to affect the outcome of the 2016 presidential election, no votes were tampered with.

Prove it, say organizers of DefCon, an annual hacker convention held in Las Vegas each July.

The idea is to “start hacking on (the machines) to raise awareness and find out for ourselves what the deal is. I'm tired of reading misinformation about voting system security,” Jeff Moss, DefCon founder, wrote on the conference blog.

This will be the first time a technical crowd will have the ability to look at the machines “on a large scale.” That’s in part because until 2015, it was illegal under the terms of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act to try to hack into voting machines.

Experts in election voting software say no states routinely perform post-election vote audits to ensure that the reported vote count tallies with ballots, Singer said.

Moreover, there were no forensic examinations of any of the voting machines used in the 2016 presidential election, in part because many election-machine vendor contracts prohibit it, Singer said.

That’s a red flag for hackers at DefCon.

... The effort is being overseen by two well-known researchers in the field of election security, Blaze and Harri Hursti, a Finnish computer programer who in 2005 showed it was possible to hack into a Diebold voting machine and change vote tallies, a technique now known as “the Hursti Hack.”

“Election machines used in USA really do not have security standards - the voluntary voting system standard addresses air humidity and shock resistance, but not security. This means that the old systems which were designed with no security consciousness are not being replaced with responsibly designed successors,” said Harri Hursti, a Finnish computer programmer who has worked on election-related issues in Finland, the United Kingdom, Estonia, Argentina and the United States. “Also, vendors are frequently blatantly mispresenting the specifications and the properties of the equipment they sell to the jurisdictions.”

Watch This Security Researcher Hack a Voting Machine

If Voting Machines Were Hacked, Would Anyone Know?
“There are three classes of people: those who see. Those who see when they are shown. Those who do not see.” ― Leonardo da Vinci

Insensible before the wave so soon released by callous fate. Affected most, they understand the least, and understanding, when it comes, invariably arrives too late.
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Re: Fully Automated Combat Robots Pt. 2

Unread postby vox_mundi » Fri 28 Jul 2017, 17:54:52

"It's a Good Life"

... "I think there’s been, at times, a disconnect between the way we see the president and how much we love the president and the way some of you perhaps see the president. I certainly see the American people probably see the president the way I do."

... “But I love the president and I’m very, very loyal to the president. And I love the mission that the president has.”

But here's what I will tell you, OK? I love the president.

— Anthony Scaramucci, 21 July 2017

The Scaramucci episode originally aired more than a half-century ago.


Video - "Tonight's story on 'The Twilight Zone' is somewhat unique and calls for a different kind of introduction. This, as you may recognize, is a map of the United States, and there's a little town there called Washington, D.C., and in that town is the White House.
"On a given morning not too long ago, the rest of the world disappeared and Washington was left all alone. Its inhabitants were never sure whether the world was destroyed and only Washington left untouched or whether the village had somehow been taken away. They were, on the other hand, sure of one thing: the cause. A monster had arrived in the White House. Just by using his mind, he took away the truth, reality, every dram of honesty — because they displeased him — and he moved an entire community back into the dark ages — just by using his mind.

"Now I'd like to introduce you to one of the people in the White House. This is Reince Priebus, who probably had more control over the monster in the beginning than almost anyone. But one day he forgot. He began to sing aloud. Now, the monster doesn't like singing, so his mind snapped at him, turned him into the smiling, vacant thing you're looking at now. He sings no more.
"And you'll note that the people in the White House have to smile. They have to think happy thoughts and say happy things because once displeased, the monster can wish them into a cornfield or change them into a grotesque, walking horror. This particular monster can read minds, you see. He knows every thought, he can feel every emotion.

"Oh yes, I did forget something, didn't I? I forgot to introduce you to the monster. This is the monster. His name is Donald. He's six years old, with a cute little-boy face and blue, guileless eyes. But when those eyes look at you, you'd better start thinking happy thoughts, because the mind behind them is absolutely in charge. This is the Twilight Zone."

— Rod Serling, 3 November 1961

"You're a good boy, Donald. We all love you. Don't we, Anthony? Don't we love Donald. We sure do love him. We love that boy."

Donald: "I hate anybody that doesn't like me."


Who's going to be sent to the cornfield next?
“There are three classes of people: those who see. Those who see when they are shown. Those who do not see.” ― Leonardo da Vinci

Insensible before the wave so soon released by callous fate. Affected most, they understand the least, and understanding, when it comes, invariably arrives too late.
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Re: Fully Automated Combat Robots Pt. 2

Unread postby vox_mundi » Mon 31 Jul 2017, 12:25:09

Defcon Vote-Hacking Village Shows that "Secure" Voting Machines Can Be Broken In Minutes


... Opportunities to test how secure our voting machines are from hackers have been rare. Manufacturers like to keep the details of voting machines secret. And they don't often provide machines for people to test.

... One important note: voting machines increasingly use Digital Rights Management (DRM) to restrict software updates, which triggers Section 1201 of the 1998 Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA), under which security researchers face potential criminal and civil penalties for revealing defects in products
that are designed to control access to copyrighted works.

... That means that security researchers are allowed to tell you that a voting machine is insecure, but face jail time and huge fines for describing their methodology in the kind of detail that would allow you to independently verify their research. This is a huge problem that acts as a major impediment to securing these machines.

This isn't a mere theoretical risk. One of the tracks at Defcon is called "Skytalks," and it was founded after a W3C member (Cisco) had a security researcher arrested for going public with his investigation of defects in the company's products (he'd attempted to raise this alarm internally at Cisco without any luck). At Skytalks, no recording or cameras are permitted, and speakers present anonymously to avoid legal retaliation. The Skytalks presentations are only cursorily described in the program, so vendors don't get advance warning that their products will be discussed in the room.

Many of the Skytalks presenters revealed defects in systems that used browsers and HTML5 to control them, and showed how the browsers and HTML5 components could be exploited to gain access to the systems they controlled. One talk revealed that the most common medical device used to monitor vital signs during surgeries (also manufactured by a W3C member) could be hacked by attacking its HTML components, so that it would report that a patient's pulse, oxygen, etc were fine, even as the patient was dying on the operating table.

Defcon Hackers Find It’s Very Easy to Break Voting Machines

When the password for a voting machine is "abcde" and can't be changed, the integrity of our democracy might be in trouble.

The Advanced Voting Solutions WinVote machine, dubbed "America's worst voting machine," came equipped with this simple password even as it was used in some of the country's most important elections. AVS went out of business in 2007, but Virginia used its insecure machines until 2015 before dropping them for scrap metal. That means this vulnerable hunk of technology was used in three presidential elections, starting with George W. Bush's re-election in 2004 to Barack Obama's in 2012.

In addition to Virginia, Pennsylvania and Mississippi used the WinVote without knowing all the ways it could be hacked. Unlike other technology -- your phone, your laptop, connected cars -- security wasn't really a focus.


“The scary thing is we also know that our foreign adversaries – including Russia, North Korea, Iran – possess the capabilities to hack them too, in the process undermining principles of democracy and threatening our national security.” ... -security/

...Defcon is a great opportunity for those who hack hardware and firmware to look to these kind of devices and really answer that question, 'Are they hackable?'"

After just about an hour and a half, the answer was an emphatic "YES!"

For example: you could break into the WinVote machine through its Wi-Fi system, like DemTech's investigator Carsten Schürmann did on Friday. He used a Windows XP exploit from 2003, which the voting machine never patched, and got remote access in one minute & 40 seconds (00:01:40). That meant he could change the votes from anywhere.

... The team plugged in a mouse and a keyboard -- which didn't require authentication -- and got out of the voting software to standard Windows XP just by pressing "control-alt-delete." The same thing you do to force close a program can be used to hack an election.
"It's really just a matter of plugging your USB drive in for five seconds and the thing's completely compromised at that point,"

- Synack co-founder Jay Kaplan

Synack's team was able to access the voting machine from a mobile app by installing a remote desktop program on it. "To the point where you can get remote access. It's very simple."

Once you're out of the voting program on the machine, it's just like any old Windows XP computer, Synack found. In one case study, the company found a poll worker in Virginia had hacked the machine so she could play Minesweeper on it.
When you're in the machine, changing votes is as simple as updating an Office document.

It's like an Excel file in which "you would just change the number and upload it back," said Anne-Marie Hwang, an intern at Synack, who demonstrated the vote changes.[/i]

It took less than an hour and half for attendees at the DefCon hacking conference to find and exploit vulnerabilities in five different voting machine types.


Much of the work didn’t involve hacking at all.

“It just took us a couple of hours on Google to find passwords that let us unlock the administrative functions on this machine,” said Pfeiffer, whose group was working on a touch screen voting machine. “Now we’re working on where we can go from there.”


How a 16-Year-Old Hacked a Voting Machine This Weekend

TJ Horner isn’t old enough to cast a ballot yet, but according to the completely unsecured voter database on an old ExpressPoll 5000 voting machine, he’s registered to vote in Fishersville, Virginia.

After arriving at the Voting Village, Horner, who is 16, decided to sit down for some quality time with the Diebold ExpressPoll 5000 ... the company’s website boasts that 15,000 of the units were distributed across the country, and since Horner found an unsecured voting record from the 2008 election still sitting on the machine (don’t worry, he deleted it), they were definitely used. It took Horner about 45 minutes to break in.

One of the biggest flaws he found was that the machine’s database, stored on a file called PollData.db3 on its internal memory, was completely unsecured. That meant any hacker with access to the machine could see the names, addresses, partial social security numbers, political parties, and polling data or everyone registered in that machine’s system. It also meant they could change it, which is how Horner managed to register to vote in an election he was only eight years old during. (Of course, he noted, the system was all local — he’s not actually registered to vote.)
“It’s basically like storing all the voter registration cards in a safe, except the safe doesn’t have a lock,” Horner says. “And the safe is also the size of a smartphone, so you could walk away with it.”

Your imagination is the limit when you have access to the entire database,” Horner writes of his hack

AI Quickly Creatyes Malware that Anti-Virus Software Can't Spot

DEF CON Machine-learning tools can create custom malware that defeats antivirus software.

Hyrum Anderson, technical director of data science at security shop Endgame, showed off research that his company had done in adapting Elon Musk’s OpenAI framework to the task of creating malware that security engines can’t spot.

The system basically learns how to tweak malicious binaries so that they can slip past antivirus tools and continue to work once unpacked and executed. With 15 hours of training the software ran over 100,000 samples past an unnamed security engine. They were able to get 60 per cent of the customized samples past the security system’s defenses.

... Meanwhile, at Black Hat, researchers at IOActive performed a perennial favourite – making an ATM spew money everywhere.

They found that an ATM built by Diebold Nixdorf had a USB port that was trivially easy to manage. They informed the company, only to be told that it couldn't possibly be used to carry out a hack.

The team found a way to reverse-engineer the ATM's software and cause it to dump its entire load of cash. The team reported that Diebold still hasn't fixed the flaw as it not longer makes that model of ATM and that the hacked model hadn't been patched.
“There are three classes of people: those who see. Those who see when they are shown. Those who do not see.” ― Leonardo da Vinci

Insensible before the wave so soon released by callous fate. Affected most, they understand the least, and understanding, when it comes, invariably arrives too late.
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Re: Fully Automated Combat Robots Pt. 2

Unread postby vox_mundi » Mon 31 Jul 2017, 14:01:27

Breakthrough Software Teaches Computer Characters to Walk, Run, even Play Soccer


Video ... "We're creating physically-simulated humans that learn to move with skill and agility through their surroundings," said Michiel van de Panne, a UBC computer science professor who is presenting this research today at SIGGRAPH 2017, the world's largest computer graphics and interactive techniques conference. "We're teaching computer characters to learn to respond to their environment without having to hand-code the required strategies, such as how to maintain balance or plan a path through moving obstacles. Instead, these behaviors can be learned.

The method makes advanced use of deep reinforcement learning, a type of machine learning algorithm in which experience is gained through trial and error and is informed by rewards. Over time, the system progressively identifies better actions to take in given situations.

DeepMind Working On AI That Can ‘Imagine’ & Plan for Complex, Unpredictable Future Scenarios

The Alphabet division is now tackling imagination — “a distinctly human ability” — to create AIs that are better at handling the complexity and unpredictability of the real world.

The London-based research group calls imagination a “powerful tool of human cognition” that allows for the visualization of consequences. In one example, DeepMind describes the human ability to realize the danger of placing a glass on the edge of a table:
When placing a glass on the edge of a table, for example, we will likely pause to consider how stable it is and whether it might fall. On the basis of that imagined consequence we might readjust the glass to prevent it from falling and breaking.

DeepMind argues that AIs need to be able to imagine and reason about the future in order to develop “sophisticated behaviors.” In the past, AlphaGo has been able to use an “internal model” to “analyse how actions lead to future outcomes in order to reason and plan.”

However, these models excelled in Go because games follow clearly defined rules that can be programmed and accurately predicted. In comparison, reality is vastly different:
But the real world is complex, rules are not so clearly defined and unpredictable problems often arise. Even for the most intelligent agents, imagining in these complex environments is a long and costly process.

To tackle this, DeepMind has published two papers on “imagine-based planning” where AI agents can “learn and construct plans to maximize the efficiency of a task.”


Naval Research Laboratory Explores Autonomous UAVs

In a recent simulation, an expert pilot was teamed with a UAV under the control of the Naval Research Laboratory’s Tactical Battle Manager, the software system that could one day control UAVs. While the human pilot gave general mission instructions, the UAV was able to “think” through a series of behaviors, self-selecting mission objectives and responding to unexpected challenges and opportunities.

This type of autonomous “goal reasoning” has been a chief aim of the project since it launched in 2013, with planners looking to develop the algorithms that would allow a pilotless craft to carry out a designated mission, even if it should lose contact with its human operators. “If something unexpected occurs in the environment, it could change its goals midstream,” Aha said.

With increased reliance on UAVs comes the need for more sophisticated command-and-control systems. Once an unmanned plane is in play, it needs to be able to operate with some degree of autonomy, Aha said.

“We need an agent that can react to surprise,” he said. “What happens when the communications link is not working or the human operator is not available for some other reason? What if the [adversarial] red team’s strength is much higher or lower than was anticipated?”


Russia Is Building an AI-Powered Missile That Can Think for Itself

Russia wants to develop a new generation of weapons with built-in AI, according to weapons manufacturers and defense officials. These truly smart weapons could, in principle, choose their own targets, taking warfare to a dangerous new level.

US Air Force Wants Robots Watching Twitter

... Why does the Air Force need to know about social and extremist events? Among other things, to help get U.S. troops on the scene faster. At the recent Air Power conference in London, Goldfein said he was open to basing Special Operations Forces in space, aboard a sort of orbiting mothership, to deploy to any area of the globe within minutes.

China's Military Could Leave U.S. Navy Dead in the Water With New Sea Drones

China is looking to guard its territorial claims in the Asia-Pacific from what it considers U.S. aggression, and Beijing's latest maritime tool could catch the Pentagon's submarines faster than ever.

China claims it released 12 unmanned drones, known as gliders, into the depths of the South China Sea to collect environmental data, the state-run Xinhua News Agency reported Sunday. The outlet described the high-tech glider, known as Haiyi (meaning "sea wings" in Mandarin Chinese"), as an underwater robot that was more efficient, more durable and used less energy than its predecessors, all while instantly relaying data underwater, a feat not even the U.S. has mastered. The scientific devices were not weaponized but could be used to instantly detect U.S. submarines traveling in waters China claims as its own.


The glider was developed by the state-run Chinese Academy of Sciences, which previously tested it in March, during which it reportedly broke a previous deep-diving record set by the U.S. The academy said Haiyi was able to swim to a depth of over 20,764 feet, or nearly 4 miles down, beating the U.S.-held world record of over 16,964 feet, or about 3.7 miles. Using a unique battery and a special coat to protect it from over 60 tons of underwater pressure, it also broke records in 2014 by swimming over 635 miles nonstop in 30 days, China Daily reported. Chinese military media have already speculated the country's armed forces could put Haiyi to military use.

"Since there is no power propulsion, the acoustic signature is extremely low. That characteristic suggests that [this platform] can have great significance for the military domain," Chinese defense magazine Ordnance Industry Science and Technology wrote last year, according to The National Interest.


Kaboom! Russian Drone With Thermite Grenade Blows Up a Billion Dollars of Ukrainian Ammo

Video - A drone carrying a grenade infiltrated an ammunition dump in Ukraine, setting off an explosion that caused an astounding billion dollars worth of damage. The incident points to the growing use of drones in wartime, particularly off the shelf civilian products harnessed to conduct sabotage and other attacks.


The drone is believed to have carried a ZMG-1 thermite grenade. Thermite, a combination of iron oxide (rust) and aluminum powder. The stuff burns extremely hot and easily could have gotten through wooden crates to detonate the munitions inside. The ammo dump is just 60 miles from the Russian/Ukrainian border, where fighting recently took place.

A similar attempt to blow up the Balakliya base took place in December 2015, when drones dropped 14 grenades. The fires were extinguished by Ukrainian servicemen, and one grenade, a ZMG-1, was recovered.

In October 2015, an attack on an ammunition depot at Svatovo destroyed 3,000 tons of explosives and damaged 1,700 nearby homes. Two other attacks on ammo dumps took place in February, and another facility was attacked in March.

First Human Embryos Edited in U.S.

Researchers have demonstrated they can efficiently improve the DNA of human embryos.

The effort, led by Shoukhrat Mitalipov of Oregon Health and Science University, involved changing the DNA of a large number of one-cell embryos with the gene-editing technique CRISPR, according to people familiar with the scientific results.


Until now, American scientists have watched with a combination of awe, envy, and some alarm as scientists elsewhere were first to explore the controversial practice. To date, three previous reports of editing human embryos were all published by scientists in China.

Although none of the embryos were allowed to develop for more than a few days—and there was never any intention of implanting them into a womb—the experiments are a milestone on what may prove to be an inevitable journey toward the birth of the first genetically modified humans.

In altering the DNA code of human embryos, the objective of scientists is to show that they can eradicate or correct genes that cause inherited disease, like the blood condition beta-thalassemia. The process is termed “germline engineering” because any genetically modified child would then pass the changes on to subsequent generations via their own germ cells—the egg and sperm.

Some critics say germline experiments could open the floodgates to a brave new world of “designer babies” engineered with genetic enhancements—a prospect bitterly opposed by a range of religious organizations, civil society groups, and biotech companies.

The U.S. intelligence community last year called CRISPR a potential "Weapon of Mass Destruction.”


... The U.S. National Academy of Sciences Advisory Committee drew a red line at genetic enhancements—like higher intelligence.Genome editing to enhance traits or abilities beyond ordinary health raises concerns about whether the benefits can outweigh the risks, and about fairness if available only to some people,” said Alta Charo, co-chair of the NAS’s study committee and professor of law and bioethics at the University of Wisconsin–Madison.

Despite such barriers, the creation of a gene-edited person could be attempted at any moment, including by IVF clinics operating facilities in countries where there are no such legal restrictions.

DARPA invests $65 million in developing gene editing technologies

... "The field of gene editing has been advancing at an astounding pace, opening the door to previously impossible genetic solutions but without much emphasis on how to mitigate potential downsides," says Safe Genes program manager Renee Wegrzyn. "DARPA launched Safe Genes to begin to refine those capabilities by emphasizing safety first for the full range of potential applications, enabling responsible science to proceed by providing tools to prevent and mitigate misuse."


Mr. Scaramucci Gets Sent to the Cornfield
“There are three classes of people: those who see. Those who see when they are shown. Those who do not see.” ― Leonardo da Vinci

Insensible before the wave so soon released by callous fate. Affected most, they understand the least, and understanding, when it comes, invariably arrives too late.
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Re: Fully Automated Combat Robots Pt. 2

Unread postby vox_mundi » Thu 03 Aug 2017, 13:49:31

Donald Trump Tells Senator Lindsey Graham He Is 'Prepared To Go To War' With North Korea


Senator Lindsey Graham says he discussed the possibility with the President personally

Donald Trump is prepared to go to war with North Korea if it continues to develop its missile program, Senator Lindsey Graham has claimed. The Republican Senator appeared on NBC to discuss North Korea’s rapidly advancing weapons programme.
“There is a military option: to destroy North Korea’s nuclear program and North Korea itself,” Mr Graham said.

He [President Trump] is not going to allow the ability of this madman [Kim Jong Un] to have a missile that could hit America.”

The Senator added: If thousands die, they’re going to die over there. They’re not going to die over here - and he’s told me that to my face.” Mr Graham, in his Today Show interview, went as far as to call warfare “inevitable if the status quo continues. Mr Graham’s press office has confirmed that the Senator was recalling the details of a conversation with Mr Trump.
A South Korean projection from 2004 estimates up to 2 Million Casualties in the first 24 hours of such a war.

According to top US military officials, however, war with North Korea would be “tragic on an unbelievable scale”.

Testifying before the Senate Armed Service Committee earlier this year, Army Chief of Staff Mark Milley claimed the levels of violence would be "immense, the likes of which the world hasn’t seen since the Second World War”.

What if Trump Ordered a Nuclear Strike on China? I’d Comply, Says Admiral

Hypothetically Speaking, U.S. Admiral Says Ready for Nuclear Strike on China if Trump so Ordered

Climatic Consequences of Nuclear Conflict
Nuclear Winter is Still a Danger

Why the Scariest Nuclear Threat May Be Coming from Inside the White House

The Missiles Are Flying - The Dead Zone

Video - Donald Trump’s secretary of energy, Rick Perry, once campaigned to abolish the $30 billion agency that he now runs, which oversees everything from our nuclear arsenal to the electrical grid. The department’s budget is now on the chopping block. But does anyone in the White House really understand what the Department of Energy actually does? And what a horrible risk it would be to ignore its extraordinary, life-or-death responsibilities?

On the morning after the election, November 9, 2016, the people who ran the U.S. Department of Energy turned up in their offices and waited. They had cleared 30 desks and freed up 30 parking spaces. They didn’t know exactly how many people they’d host that day, but whoever won the election would surely be sending a small army into the Department of Energy, and every other federal agency.

By afternoon the silence was deafening. “Day 1, we’re ready to go,” says a former senior White House official. “Day 2 it was ‘Maybe they’ll call us?’ ”

“The election happened,” remembers Elizabeth Sherwood-Randall, then deputy secretary of the D.O.E. “And he won. And then there was radio silence. We were prepared for the next day. And nothing happened.” Across the federal government the Trump people weren’t anywhere to be found. Allegedly, between the election and the inauguration not a single Trump representative set foot inside the Department of Agriculture, for example. The Department of Agriculture has employees or contractors in every county in the United States, and the Trump people seemed simply to be ignoring the place. Where they did turn up inside the federal government, they appeared confused and unprepared. A small group attended a briefing at the State Department, for instance, only to learn that the briefings they needed to hear were classified. None of the Trump people had security clearance—or, for that matter, any experience in foreign policy—and so they weren’t allowed to receive an education. On his visits to the White House soon after the election, Trump’s son-in-law, Jared Kushner, expressed surprise that so much of its staff seemed to be leaving.
“It was like he thought it was a corporate acquisition or something,” says an Obama White House staffer. “He thought everyone just stayed.”

Even in normal times the people who take over the United States government can be surprisingly ignorant about it. ... The people appointed by a newly elected president to solve these problems have roughly 75 days to learn from their predecessors. After the inauguration, a lot of deeply knowledgeable people will scatter to the four winds and be forbidden, by federal law, from initiating any contact with their replacements. The period between the election and the inauguration has the feel of an A.P. chemistry class to which half the students have turned up late and are forced to scramble to grab the notes taken by the other half, before the final. “It’s a source of a lot of the dysfunction in government,” says Max Stier, who runs the nonpartisan Partnership for Public Service, which, over the past decade, has become perhaps the world’s expert on U.S. presidential transitions.
“If the wheel comes off the bus at the start of the trip you never get anywhere.”

Two weeks after the election the Obama people inside the D.O.E. read in the newspapers that Trump had created a small “Landing Team.” According to several D.O.E. employees, this was led by, and mostly consisted of, a man named Thomas Pyle, president of the American Energy Alliance, which, upon inspection, proved to be a Washington, D.C., propaganda machine funded with millions of dollars from ExxonMobil and Koch Industries. Pyle himself had served as a Koch Industries lobbyist and ran a side business writing editorials attacking the D.O.E.’s attempts to reduce the dependence of the American economy on carbon. Pyle says that his role on the Landing Team was “voluntary,” adding that he could not disclose who appointed him, due to a confidentiality agreement. The people running the D.O.E. were by then seriously alarmed. “We first learned of Pyle’s appointment on the Monday of Thanksgiving week,” recalls D.O.E. chief of staff Kevin Knobloch. “We sent word to him that the secretary and his deputy would meet with him as soon as possible. He said he would like that but could not do it until after Thanksgiving.”

A month after the election Pyle arrived for a meeting with Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz, Deputy Secretary Sherwood-Randall, and Knobloch. Moniz is a nuclear physicist, then on leave from M.I.T., who had served as deputy secretary during the Clinton administration and is widely viewed, even by many Republicans, as understanding and loving the D.O.E. better than any person on earth. Pyle appeared to have no interest in anything he had to say. “He did not seem motivated to spend a lot of time understanding the place,” says Sherwood-Randall. “He didn’t bring a pencil or a piece of paper. He didn’t ask questions. He spent an hour. That was it. He never asked to meet with us again.” Afterward, Knobloch says, he suggested that Pyle visit one day each week until the inauguration, and that Pyle agreed to do it—but then he never showed up, instead attending a half-dozen meetings or so with others. “It’s a head-scratcher,” says Knobloch. “It’s a $30-billion-a-year organization with about 110,000 employees. Industrial sites across the country. Very serious stuff. If you’re going to run it, why wouldn’t you want to know something about it?”

There was a reason Obama had appointed nuclear physicists to run the place: it, like the problems it grappled with, was technical and complicated. Moniz had helped lead the U.S. negotiations with Iran precisely because he knew which parts of their nuclear- energy program they must surrender if they were to be prevented from obtaining a nuclear weapon. For a decade before Knobloch joined the D.O.E., in June 2013, he had served as president of the Union of Concerned Scientists. “I had worked closely with D.O.E. throughout my career,” he says. “I thought I knew and understood the agency. But when I came in I thought, Holy cow.”

Deputy Secretary Elizabeth Sherwood- Randall has spent her 30-year career working on reducing the world’s supply of weapons of mass destruction—she led the U.S. mission to remove chemical weapons from Syria. But like everyone else who came to work at the D.O.E., she’d grown accustomed to no one knowing what the department actually did. When she’d called home, back in 2013, to tell them that President Obama had nominated her to be second-in-command of the place, her mother said, “Well, darling, I have no idea what the Department of Energy does, but you’ve always had a lot of energy, so I’m sure you’ll be perfect for the role.”

The Trump administration had no clearer idea what she did with her day than her mother. And yet, according to Sherwood-Randall, they were certain they didn’t need to hear anything she had to say before they took over her job.

... “We had tried desperately to prepare them,” said Tarak Shah, chief of staff for the D.O.E.’s $6 billion basic-science program. “But that required them to show up. And bring qualified people. But they didn’t. They didn’t ask for even an introductory briefing. Like ‘What do you do?’ ” The Obama people did what they could to preserve the institution’s understanding of itself.

The one concrete action the Trump administration took before Inauguration Day was to clear the D.O.E. building of anyone appointed by Obama. Even here it exhibited a bizarre ham-handedness. For instance, the Trump White House asked the D.O.E.’s inspector general to resign, along with the inspectors general of the other federal agencies, out of the mistaken belief that he was an Obama appointee. After members of Congress called to inform the Trump people that the inspectors general were permanent staff, so that they might remain immune to political influence, the Trump people re-installed him.

...The C.F.O. of the department at the end of the Obama administration was a mild-mannered civil-servant type named Joe Hezir. He had no particular political identity and was widely thought to have done a good job—and so he half-expected a call from the Trump people asking him to stay on, just to keep the money side of things running smoothly. The call never came. No one even let him know his services were no longer required. Not knowing what else to do, but without anyone to replace him, the C.F.O. of a $30 billion operation just up and left.

This was a loss. A lunch or two with the chief financial officer might have alerted the new administration to some of the terrifying risks they were leaving essentially unmanaged. Roughly half of the D.O.E.’s annual budget is spent on maintaining and guarding our nuclear arsenal, for instance. Two billion of that goes to hunting down weapons-grade plutonium and uranium at loose in the world so that it doesn’t fall into the hands of terrorists. In just the past eight years the D.O.E.’s National Nuclear Security Administration has collected enough material to make 160 nuclear bombs. The department trains every international atomic-energy inspector; if nuclear power plants around the world are not producing weapons-grade material on the sly by reprocessing spent fuel rods and recovering plutonium, it’s because of these people. The D.O.E. also supplies radiation-detection equipment to enable other countries to detect bomb material making its way across national borders.

The Trump people didn’t seem to grasp, according to a former D.O.E. employee, how much more than just energy the Department of Energy was about. They weren’t totally oblivious to the nuclear arsenal, but even the nuclear arsenal didn’t provoke in them much curiosity. “They were just looking for dirt, basically,” said one of the people who briefed the Beachhead Team on national-security issues.
“The actual government has not really taken over,” says Max Stier. “It’s kindergarten soccer. Everyone is on the ball. No one is at their positions. But I doubt Trump sees the reality. Everywhere he goes everything is going to be hunky-dory and nice. No one gives him the bad news.”

He hadn’t nominated anyone to serve as head of the Patent Office, for instance, or to run FEMA. There was no Trump candidate to head the T.S.A., or anyone to run the Centers for Disease Control. The 2020 national census will be a massive undertaking for which there is not a moment to lose and yet there’s no Trump appointee in place to run it.

Feb 16, 2017 - Trump: “This administration is running like a fine-tuned machine"

Perry is of course responsible for one of the D.O.E.’s most famous moments—when in a 2011 presidential debate he said he intended to eliminate three entire departments of the federal government. Asked to list them he named Commerce, Education, and … then hit a wall. “The third agency of government I would do away with ... Education ... the … ahhhh … ahhh … Commerce, and let’s see.” As his eyes bored a hole in his lectern, his mind drew a blank. “I can’t, the third one. I can’t. Sorry. Oops.” The third department Perry wanted to get rid of, he later recalled, was the Department of Energy. In his confirmation hearings to run the department Perry confessed that when he called for its elimination he hadn’t actually known what the Department of Energy did—and he now regretted having said that it didn’t do anything worth doing.

The question on the minds of the people who currently work at the department: Does Perry know what it does now? D.O.E. press secretary Shaylyn Hynes assures us that “Secretary Perry is dedicated to the missions of the Department of Energy.” And in his hearings, Perry made a show of having educated himself. He said how useful it was to be briefed by former secretary Ernest Moniz. But when I asked someone familiar with those briefings how many hours Perry had spent with Moniz, he laughed and said, “That’s the wrong unit of account.” With the nuclear physicist who understood the D.O.E. perhaps better than anyone else on earth, according to one person familiar with the meeting, Perry had spent minutes, not hours. “He has no personal interest in understanding what we do and effecting change,” a D.O.E. staffer told me in June. “He’s never been briefed on a program—not a single one, which to me is shocking.”

Since Perry was confirmed, his role has been ceremonial and bizarre.

He pops up in distant lands and tweets in praise of this or that D.O.E. program while his masters inside the White House create budgets to eliminate those very programs.
His sporadic public communications have had in them something of the shell-shocked grandmother trying to preside over a pleasant family Thanksgiving dinner while pretending that her blind-drunk husband isn’t standing naked on the dining-room table waving the carving knife over his head.

The woman who ran the Obama department’s energy-policy analysis unit recently received a call from D.O.E. staff telling her that her office was now occupied by Eric Trump’s brother-in-law. Why? No one knew.

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

Insensible before the wave so soon released by callous fate. Affected most, they understand the least, and understanding, when it comes, invariably arrives too late.
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Re: Fully Automated Combat Robots Pt. 2

Unread postby vox_mundi » Thu 03 Aug 2017, 14:34:05

62% of Cybersecurity Experts Believe AI will be Weaponized in Next Year

Some 62% of security experts believe that artificial intelligence (AI) will be weaponized and used for cyberattacks within the next 12 months, a Cylance survey released Tuesday found. This makes the growth of AI a double-edge sword, according to Cylance's blog post on the finding.

"While AI may be the best hope for slowing the tide of cyberattacks and breaches, it may also create more advanced attacker tactics in the short-term," the post said.

AI vs AI: New Algorithm Automatically Bypasses Your Best Cybersecurity Defenses

At DEF CON this past weekend Hyrum Anderson of security firm Endgame demonstrated an alarming AI application: modifying malware to defeat machine learning antivirus software.

The core premise of Endgame's experiment was that every AI has blind spots, and those blind spots can be exploited by other AI. By hammering antivirus software with slight modifications to malware code, researchers were able to bypass its security measures 16 percent of the time.

16 percent may not seem like much, but if an AI can mutate malware to the point where it's still functional but undetectable it doesn't matter how much of it gets through—one infection is enough when it can't be found.

Endgame's thinking at this point? If AI can learn to recognize potential malware, another AI should be able to learn from watching anti-malware AI make its decisions and use that knowledge to develop the least detectable malware.


The US Navy’s Railgun Breakthrough Could Change Energy Storage

US Adding Lasers and Anti-Aircraft Missiles to Armored Vehicles




Army Seeks Shape-Changing Biomimetic Aircraft

U.S. Army wants aircraft that can change their physical shape to meet the requirements of a mission.

The concept is called "biomimetics," or designing equipment based on phenomena found in nature. For example, the Wright brothers were inspired to design their first airplane after observing birds in flight.

The Army research solicitation, called Adaptive Biomimetic Aircraft Structures (ABAS), aims to exploit biomimetics to create manned or unmanned aircraft that can reshape itself in mid-air. The problem is that "current Army aircraft lack the speed, range and payload needed to maintain tactical overmatch in the anticipated future battlefield," according to the solicitation. "Contributing to this performance shortfall is the single-configuration design of today's aircraft structures. Current airframes, rotor blades, wings, control surfaces, and other structures are a design compromise for all expected flight conditions and missions."

"Army Aviation needs structures technology enabling real-time, on-the-fly adaptation to configurations optimized for different flight conditions or missions, enhancing capability via gains in speed, range, and payload. Nature provides numerous examples of biological structures adapting to various environments and situations. Mimicking these natural phenomena can inspire efficient structures enabling more capable, higher performance aircraft," the solicitation states.

Interestingly, the Army is using biomimetics to enhance some features but not others. The Army wants "weight-efficient concepts capable of optimizing aircraft structural and aerodynamic configuration." However, "improvements in aircraft survivability or operational availability resulting from the adaptive biomimetic concepts are of secondary interest."

This suggests that the Army is more eager for technology that enhances an aircraft's adaptability in achieving its mission, and less concerned about how many missions the aircraft can fly, and whether it will make it back home.


Come See China's New Hexacopters and Self-Detonating Drones

First up, there's official confirmation that the CH-901 "kamikaze" loitering attack munitions (a short-ranged mini-drone) is in use by the PLA. First publicly displayed at the DSA 2016 arms fair, CH-901 is a 20-pound, fixed-wing drone with a flight speed range of 9 to 90 miles per hour. It's got a 1.2-mile-range electro optical camera for reconnaissance (it can be recovered this way) and/or it can crash into enemy targets, detonating its warhead. It is comparable to the American Aerovironment "Switchblade" used by Special Operations. At the Military Museum, a 4X4 armored fighting vehicle (AFV) is armed with a pop-up hatch that carries eight CH-901 pneumatically launch tubes. The launcher also has four launch tubes for a smaller fixed-wing reconnaissance UAV. The CH-901 launcher is likely to be used by lighter units like Special Operations, or amphibious and airborne troops, which cannot always count on conventional air and artillery support.


Another 4X4 AFV had an even more interesting cargo: three large hexacopter drones, with collapsible rotor-housing struts. Carried on a slide-out rack deployed out of the rear infantry exfiltration door of the vehicle, each hexacopter is about 4 feet tall, with a wingspan of about 6 and a half feet and a large dome camera mounted on the main body.
“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 04 Aug 2017, 15:04:27

US Military Eyes New Mini-Nukes for 21st-Century Deterrence


The U.S. Air Force is investigating more options for “variable yield” bombs — nukes that can be dialed down to blow up an area as small as a neighborhood, or dialed up for a much larger punch.

The Air Force currently has gravity bombs that either have or can be set to low yields: less than 20 kilotons. Such a bomb dropped in the center of Washington, D.C., wouldn’t even directly affect Georgetown or Foggy Bottom. But a Minuteman III missile tipped with a 300-kiloton warhead would destroy downtown Washington and cause third-degree burns into Virginia and Maryland.

The future of nuclear deterrence lies, at least in part, in smaller nuclear weapons that the United States might actually use, Air Force Gen. Paul Selva, the Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said Thursday at a Mitchell Institute event in downtown Washington. The threat of mutually assured destruction doesn’t work against smaller regimes in the way that it used to against the Soviet Union. Selva said the U.S. needs to be able launch a nuclear attack on an adversary without ending the world or causing massive “indiscriminate” casualties.

Russia has, according to a new DIA report, “since at least 1993 (and most recently codified in the 2014 Mili­tary Doctrine)…reserved the right to a nuclear response to a non-nuclear attack that threatens the existence of the state.”

Congressional critics who say the proliferation of such weapons would bring less, not more security. “There’s no such thing as limited nuclear war, and for the Pentagon’s advisory board to even suggest such a thing is deeply troubling.”

The United States already has nuclear bombs that can be converted to low-yield weapons. The controversial Long-Range Standoff Cruise missile (LRSO) will use a modified W80 nuclear warhead.

A USAF B-52H drops an unarmed nuclear air-launched cruise missile over Utah in 2015.

The rumor is that they want to modify that warhead to improve the selection of lower-yield options,” said Kristensen. “Military leaders have talked about the LRSO mission as very ‘tactical’ or ‘war-fighting’ terms.” The pursuit of lower-yield weapons would seem intended to make it easer to use nuclear weapons.


“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 » Sat 05 Aug 2017, 11:39:52

“Mind the Gap Between Rhetoric and Reality”: An Analysis of a Second Korean War


North Korea occasionally threatens to “turn Seoul into a Sea of Fire”. The South Korean, U.S. and other international media often relay this statement, amplifying its effect. But can North Korea really do this?

A 2012 military analysis of North Korea’s attack Seoul would be less damaging than more simplistic analysis.


If the North Korean Peoples Army (KPA) were to start a doctrinal, conventional artillery barrage focused on South Korean forces, we could expect to see around three thousand casualties in the first few minutes, but the casualty rate would quickly drop as the surprise wears off and counter-battery fires slow down the North Korean rates of fire. (... but why wouldn't they use their Nukes and Nerve Gas? ... and Cyber Attacks?)

If the KPA were to engage Seoul in a primarily counter-value fashion by firing into Seoul instead of primarily aiming at military targets, there would likely be around thirty-thousand casualties in a short amount of time. Statistically speaking, almost eight-hundred of those casualties would be foreigners given Seoul’s international demographic. Chinese make up almost seventy percent of foreigners in Seoul and its northern environs which means KPA might also kill six-hundred Chinese diplomats, multi-national corporation leaders, and ranking cadre children who are students in Seoul. Horrible, but nothing approaching “millions”. Three primary factors and three secondary factors account for the huge discrepancy between rhetoric and reality:

Note : The Nautilus analysis seems to imply that a US-South Korea first strike would blunt the initial North Korea damage rate and could limit early deaths to 10000 to 15000. There would be no initial rate of 3000 deaths in the first few minutes and there would be some pre-warning on the South Korea side to get people to shelters.

However, an attack by North Korea would almost certainly include the use of thousands of tons of VX & Sarin nerve agents. No sense wasting them! These would increase early casualties by an order of magnitude. Major cities in Japan, & Australia (Tokyo - 30 million) and U.S. Pacific bases (Guam) would also be a target.

A protracted artillery and tank battle would still kill 80,000 in the first week. Overall deaths would be in the 100,000-150,000 range.

* Range – Only about 1/3 of Seoul is presently in range from artillery along a DMZ trace. The northern reaches of Seoul within artillery range have much lower population densities than Seoul proper;
* Numbers – Even though KPA has a tremendous number of artillery pieces, only a certain number are emplaced to range Seoul. KPA can’t emplace every weapon near Seoul or the rest of North Korea’s expansive border would be unguarded and even more vulnerable. Moreover, an artillery tube immediately reveals its location as soon as it fires. Therefore only about two-thirds of artillery will open fire at a time. The rest are trying to remain hidden;
* Protection – Artillery shelters for twenty million people exist in the greater Seoul metropolitan area. After the initial surprise has worn off, there simply won’t be large numbers of exposed people. Even during the initial attack the vast majority of people will either be at work, at home, or in transit. Few people will be standing in the middle of an open field with no protection whatsoever available anywhere nearby.

... Logistics:

A war on the Korean peninsula would be an operational-level war with strategic consequences. Operational-level wars depend on battle campaigns and battle campaigns depend on logistics.

Korean peninsular geography is characterized by very defined north-south corridors between mountain ranges. Almost everything that is flat in Korea is a city, a village or agriculture. The KPA cannot simply bypass built up areas. Built up areas favor the defender by a great margin meaning an attacker would like to outnumber the defender by a ratio of 3:1. The ROK has had 50 years to prepare a labyrinthine series of bunkers, positions, weapons and ranges. The DPRK has also had as long. So as soon as either country moves from their own positions, they are exposed. In order for the KPA to achieve their objective, they would have to move from their positions to capture Seoul and surround Busan. Those two cities, combined, have a population equal to half of all of the DPRK’s population. The DPRK will also have to move the world’s second largest military in the world and move about 2/3 of the world’s fourth largest military some 500 km in a month. [11] Moving that sheer volume of equipment through that distance takes an incredible amount of energy. In this case, the DPRK would have to devour about 8 months of their normal energy consumption in one month.[12] This a task which they have not performed in at least 50 years. And no historical records in the public domain indicate they have even practiced anything of a similar scale (e.g. moving 2/3 of Army within the DPRK in a month’s time) in at least as long.

Delivering that energy and moving that many people and things along three defined geographic corridors seems ideal for a mass armed force with the majority of its forces positioned far forward. And it was until technology enabled others to immediately sense (see, hear, feel) enemy preparations and know when the military moves. Technology also enables detection and destruction on an unprecedented scale. Given a battlefield air interdiction rate approaching 0.5 [13] and that ROK has 467 aircraft, [14] the ROK alone can destroy approximately 230 targets per sortie. The ROK would likely get one to two sorties before the DPRK attempts to shut down ROK airfields by conventional means or by escalating to chemical or biological weapons.

China Reveals New Military Technology Agency

How China Plans to Win a War Against America: Kill Its Aircraft Carriers


More than twenty years ago, a military confrontation in East Asia pushed the United States and China uncomfortably close to conflict. Largely unknown in America, the event made a lasting impression on China, especially Chinese military planners. The Third Taiwan Crisis (1996), as historians call it, was China’s introduction to the power, leverage and flexibility of the aircraft carrier, something it obsesses about to this day. ...

After 20 year, U.S. carriers have been 'neutered'. In a future crisis China's DF-21D antiship ballistic missiles will force the U.S. Navy to operate eight to nine hundred miles off Taiwan and the rest of the so-called “First Island Chain.”


Missile Strikes on U.S. Bases in Asia: Is This China's Real Threat to America?

While U.S. defense strategists have been focused on China’s so-called “carrier-killer” ballistic missile, as well as Beijing’s aircraft carriers, a new report suggests China’s greatest threat to the United States may be something less eye-catching.

“The greatest military threat to U.S. vital interests in Asia may be one that has received somewhat less attention: the growing capability of China’s missile forces to threaten U.S. bases in the region,” write Thomas Shugart and Javier Gonzalez in a report released last month by the Center for a New American Security (CNAS).

In the report, they argue that China could use its missile forces to conduct a surprise preemptive strike against U.S. military bases in the region to prevent U.S. intervention in a conflict over Taiwan or the Senkaku Islands.Driven partly by distinct first-mover advantages associated with the employment of modern long range precision weaponry, such a preemptive strike appears consistent with available information about China’s missile force doctrine and military strategy,” they write.

Chinese leaders began building up these capabilities after being shocked by America’s overwhelming victory over Saddam Hussein’s forces in the First Gulf War. This led Beijing to transform its Second Artillery Corps from a primarily nuclear force into one consisting of nuclear and precision conventional missiles (both ballistic and cruise). This strategy sought to capitalize on China’s asymmetric advantages such as geography and the low cost of producing missiles.

To achieve a preemptive strike against America’s military bases, China has procured a massive missile force. In fact, Beijing has the largest land-based missile arsenal in the world. According to Pentagon estimates, this includes ...
Last edited by vox_mundi on Sat 05 Aug 2017, 12:08:00, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Fully Automated Combat Robots Pt. 2

Unread postby vox_mundi » Sat 05 Aug 2017, 12:03:50

Future Infantry Might Not Need Humans

Leading thinkers in technology and warfare picture a transformed infantry in future battles where humans are distant, if not entirely removed, from the fighting.

Lt. Gen. Sean B. MacFarland, the deputy commanding general of the Army’s Training and Doctrine Command, spoke at the third annual “Mad Scientist” conference, a partnership between Georgetown University and TRADOC.
MacFarland emphasized that U.S. adversaries such as Russia are using existing technologies in new applications, such as cyber attacks on Ukrainian infrastructure in conjunction with deploying troops, changing the battlefield tactics.

But those types of maneuvers are child’s play when compared to what many see coming in both the near-term and ensuing decades as autonomous machines are incorporated alongside mounted and dismounted troops, carrying supplies and firing weapons.

A Russian video shown at the conference had unmanned tanks roving a city, destroying tanks and buildings and killing snipers.

The advent of artificial intelligence in combat will radically change the nature of the infantry
, experts said.
“We’re standing on the cusp of a fundamental change in the history of warfare”

The conference aims each year to ask questions, such as the ethical use of autonomous machines in warfare, and seek solutions, such as how incorporating brain research can enhance a warfighter, as both TRADOC and academia develop approaches to “multi-domain battle,” the next wave of warfare that will incorporate sea, air, land with cyber and space battlespaces.

Some experts said humans in the future infantry must look to enhancements, be they chemical or neural implants, to speed up their thinking and reactions to process all the information and make lightning-fast decisions. ...

Milley’s Future Tank: Railguns, Robotics & Ultra-Light Armor


The tank is far from obsolete and the US will need a new armored vehicle to replace its 1980-vintage M1 Abrams, the Army Chief of Staff said here this afternoon. But what kind of tank, on what kind of timeline? Gen. Mark Milley made clear he was looking for a “breakthrough,” not incremental evolution – which probably means that the new tank will take a long time.

... “What are some of the technologies?” Milley said. “There’s Active Protection Systems” – electronic jammers and mini-missiles to stop incoming anti-tank weapons – “(and) there’s reduced crews with automated turrets” – as found on Russia’s new T-14 Armata, which Milley said the Army is studying closely – “but the real sort of holy grail of technologies that I’m trying to find on this thing is material, is the armor itself…. If we can discover a material that is significantly lighter in weight that gives you the same armor protection, that would be a real significant breakthrough.

While Milley put lighter-weight protection as priority number one, he also highlighted two other technologies that could revolutionize armored vehicle design. One is electrically-powered weapons, such as railguns – which use electromagnets to accelerate a solid metal slug to supersonic speeds – and lasers – which fire pure energy at the speed of light. “We’ve been using kinetic or powder-based munitions for five centuries,” Milley noted, but there are now major advances in alternative forms of firepower.

The other potential breakthrough Milley mentioned was the “revolution in robotics.” The land is harder to navigate than empty sky or open sea, he emphasized, so ground robots will lag drones or unmanned ships, “but eventually we will see the introduction of wide-scale robotics.” Many of those will be small and relatively expendable scouts, designed to carry sensors or weapons ahead of the human force. Milley also wants his future tank to have enough automation not just to reduce the human crew required, but to optionally leave out the humans altogether, depending on the mission.

Army Wants Smarter Computer AI for Electronic Warfare

... The Army has put out a request for information for machine learning technology -- computers capable of learning on their own how to track electronic warfare threats and manage responses.

US Army Asks Units to Stop Using China's DJI Drones, Citing Cybersecurity Concerns

The US Army is asking all units to discontinue the use of DJI drones due to “an increased awareness of cyber vulnerabilities with DJI products.” The memo notes that the Army had issued over 300 separate releases authorizing the use of DJI products for Army missions, meaning a lot of hardware may have been in active use prior to the memo, which is dated August 2nd, 2017.

sUAS News published a piece back in May of this year that made a number of serious accusations about data gathered by DJI drones. Author Kevin Pomaski starts out writing, “Using a simple Google search the data mined by DJI from your provided flights (imagery, position and flight logs) and your audio can be accessed without your knowing consent.

Pomaski also point out, correctly, that when DJI users elect to upload data to their SkyPixel accounts through the DJI app, this data can be stored on servers in the US, Hong Kong, and China. This data can include videos, photos, and audio recorded by your phone’s microphone, and telemetry data detailing the height, distance, and position of your recent flights.


U.S. Army Soldiers Can Now Look in Two Directions at Once


In its third iteration since research began in 2002, the Army’s Enhanced Night Vision Goggles allow a user to see during low-light conditions, through rain, fog, sleet, or dust.

Unlike its predecessor, the PVS-14, the ENVG-III has a thermal setting that makes it effective during the day. It also offers the ability to outline silhouettes, so a trooper on patrol can pick out a target peeking around a barrier or tree.

... With the Rapid Target Acquisition technology, the ENVG-III communicates wirelessly with the FWS-I to paint a reticle in a user’s field of vision. This “picture-in-picture” mode allows a shooter to quickly identify and engage targets. It also lets the user see in two directions at once — in an operational environment, that might mean that a soldier on patrol during a security halt could scan his flank while still maintaining vision downrange, where his rifle is pointed.

New device could lighten load for Marines

Video - The personal combat assistant and reporting device, or PCARD, is a wearable electronic device smaller than a playing card and about as thick as a thumb, and is months away from being in the hands of Marines.

The device has basic options such as food, water and ammunition that an individual fire team member can submit when they need more of any of those items. Squad leaders hold tablets, wirelessly connected to the smaller wearables.

The information is funneled up to the platoon commander, who can make supply decisions quickly as Marines move in the field through operations. That data is then collected at battalion and regimental levels, bringing decision-making up from operational to tactical to strategic levels.

Homeland Security Tests Tethered Drone Over Trump’s Vacation Golf Course

... Flown between 300-400 feet altitude, tethered drones can not only get a birds’ eye view of a crowd but can zoom in on individual cars or people. The tethered drone is controlled from a laptop and flies autonomously, allowing the operator to focus on controlling the cameras. The camera transmits images through the tether back to the laptop using an encrypted feed.

The Secret Service has issued a privacy notice warning those in the Bedminster area about a planned test of a tethered unmanned surveillance aircraft while Trump is staying at his home on the golf course.

Trump starts his 17-day golfing vacation Friday.
Last edited by vox_mundi on Sat 05 Aug 2017, 13:06:00, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Fully Automated Combat Robots Pt. 2

Unread postby vox_mundi » Sat 05 Aug 2017, 12:56:50

U.S. Army: Preparing For Increasing Cyber Attacks


Cyber warfare will only intensify in the future, with a strong possibility that the U.S. Army will not be able to completely defend itself from attacks, a new report warns.

The Army Cyber Institute report says the U.S. Army and the rest of the military “cannot defend all of the digital, individual, social, physical and kinetic domains.” Called “Threatcasting 2026: A Widening Attack Plain,” the report was written in collaboration with Arizona State University and represents the work of more than two dozen experts from the military, government, academia and industry. The Army Cyber Institute is located at the U.S. Military Academy in West Point, N.Y.

Cyber threats over the past decade have been limited mainly to “data only” threats like espionage, leaks and hacks but threats are changing as attacks become more targeted and aggressive.

Threatcasting 2026: Anticipating a Blended Cyber Attack with Up to 2M Fatalities


After reading the report, “A Widening Attack Plain,” by Brian David Johnson for the U.S. Army Cyber Institute, which looks at the world as it will exist in 2026 with regard to cyber threats, I’ve concluded that we have little to worry about because, if this report is correct, many of us won’t make it to 2027. At least that was my initial takeaway.

You see, up until now, we have been largely dealing with physical attacks and cyberattacks as different and discrete, but threatcasting, a practice of collaboratively predicting the future, similar to the Delphi method, is now showcasing they won’t remain separate for much longer. In the near-term future, a cyberattack will be used in conjunction with a physical attack to increase the damage and delay or eliminate timely response.

You can read the report yourself. Here, I’m going to focus on the critical need to use it before a reality like this hits and we discover that we can’t deal with the result any better than we did for 9/11 or the attack on Pearl Harbor.

Technology is a force multiplier and the big difference between the two attacks is that the first was done by the Japanese Navy and the second by a bunch of guys with box cutters. In the attack on Pearl Harbor, around 2,300 people lost their lives. On 9/11, it was closer to 3,000, with twice that injured. The only technology enhancements were the ability to coordinate over cell phones and the internet, and the availability of large commercial airliners that were inadequately secured. The anticipated attack this report group highlighted using blended cyber and physical resources would devastate and/or kill around 2 million people, projecting ahead to the population of Manhattan. And, be aware, there is no physical limitation to either size or number of cities, so 2 million could be massively conservative. We are also still talking a relatively small attacking force, far smaller than the army of a hostile nation and possibly smaller than the group that perpetrated 9/11.

New Report Highlights Dangers of Hacked Factory Robots

Slight Street Sign Modifications Can Completely Fool Machine Learning Algorithms

... What's novel about this new technique is that it's based on physical adversarial perturbations: altering road signs in the real world in such a way that they reliably screw up neural network classifiers from multiple distances and angles while remaining discreet enough to be undetectable to casual observers. The researchers came up with several techniques for doing this, including subtle fading, camouflage graffiti, and camouflage art. Here's how the perturbed signs look when printed out as posters and stuck onto real signs:

The Result:
... The Stop sign is misclassified into our target class of Speed Limit 45 in 100% of the images taken according to our evaluation methodology. For the Right Turn sign… Our attack reports a 100% success rate for misclassification with 66.67% of the images classified as a Stop sign and 33.7% of the images classified as an Added Lane sign. [The camouflage graffiti] attack succeeds in causing 73.33% of the images to be misclassified. In [the camouflage abstract art attack], we achieve a 100% misclassification rate into our target class.

... My advice, though, would just be to do away with signs all together, at the same time that you do away with human drivers and just give over all the roads completely to robots. Problem solved.

How Hackers Can Use 'Evil Bubbles' To Destroy Industrial Pumps

In a talk at the Black Hat security conference Thursday, Honeywell security researcher Marina Krotofil showed one example of an attack on industrial systems meant to drive home just how surreptitious the hacking of so-called cyberphysical systems—physical systems that can be manipulated by digital means—might be. With a laptop connected to a $50,000, 610-pound industrial pump, she showed how a hacker could leverage a hidden, highly destructive weapon on that massive machine: bubbles.

Midway through her talk, Krotofil pointed to a Flowserve pump system, roughly the size of a big rig truck's engine, in front of the crowd. To that point, it had loudly cycled water through a series of transparent pipes. Then she cued a “hacker’ in a black hoodie on stage, who typed a command that sent a thick flow of bubbles through those pipes. A sensor on the pump registered that it was subtly vibrating, reducing its efficiency and, Krotofil said, slowly damaging it. In a matter of hours, she said, the bubbles would start to wear pits in the pump's metal surfaces, and in days would wear down the “impellers” that push water through it, until it’s rendered useless.
“Bubbles can be evil,” she said. “These bubbles are my attack payload. And I deliver them through the physics of the process.”
Importantly, Krotofil's hacker had delivered the evil bubbles without having any access to the pump component of her rig. Instead, he had only adjusted a valve further upstream to decrease the pressure in a certain chamber, which caused bubbles to form. When those bubbles strike the pump, they implode and, in a process called “cavitation,” turn back into a liquid, transfering their energy to the pump. “They collapse at very high velocity and high frequency, which creates massive shockwaves,” Krotofil explained.

Those sorts of attacks show that physical infrastructure hacking is indeed evolving, says Larsen. "What we see in research, we see attackers do five or six years later," Larsen says. Krotofil's work, he says, "is about laying the groundwork for when these attacks do start showing up."


Robot Behaviour Is Creeping Beyond Our Control

If I were to approach you brandishing a cattle prod, you might at first be amused. But, if I continued my advance with a fixed maniacal grin, you would probably retreat in shock, bewilderment and anger. As electrode meets flesh, I would expect a violent recoil plus expletives.

Given a particular input, one can often predict how a person will respond. That is not the case for the most intelligent machines in our midst. The creators of AlphaGo — a computer program built by Google’s DeepMind that decisively beat the world’s finest human player of the board game Go — admitted they could not have divined its winning moves. This unpredictability, also seen in the Facebook chatbots that were shut down after developing their own language, has stirred disquiet in the field of artificial intelligence.

At a conference held at Surrey University last month, a team of coders from Bath University presented a paper revealing how even “designers have difficulty decoding the behaviour of their own robots simply by observing them”.

There is an existential reason for grasping precisely how data input becomes machine output — "the singularity." - This is the much-theorised point of runaway AI, when machine intelligence surpasses that of human creators. Machines could conceivably acquire the ability to shape and control the future on their own terms.

There need not be any premeditated malice for such a leap — only a lack of human oversight as AI programs, equipped with an ever-greater propensity to learn and the corresponding autonomy to act, begin to do things that we can no longer predict, understand or control.


“MDZhB” has been broadcasting since 1982. No one knows why.
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Re: Fully Automated Combat Robots Pt. 2

Unread postby vox_mundi » Sat 05 Aug 2017, 13:03:19

This Mysterious Military Spy Plane Has Been Flying Circles Over Seattle For Days


A very unique USAF surveillance aircraft has been flying highly defined circles over Seattle and its various suburbs for nine days now. Nobody at the DoD seems to know who the aircraft belongs to or what exactly it is doing flying so many missions over the Seattle area. But based on its visibly exotic configuration, and information collected by open source flight tracking websites, we can get a good idea of its capabilities and guess as to what it’s up to.

The aircraft, which goes by the callsign “SPUD21” and wears a nondescript flat gray paint job with the only visible markings being a USAF serial on its tail, is a CASA CN-235-300 transport aircraft that has been extensively modified for the surveillance mission. You can see more pictures of the aircraft here.

It is covered in a dizzying array of blisters, protrusions, humps and bumps. These include missile approach warning detectors and large fairings on its empennage for buckets of forward-firing decoy flares, as well as both microwave—the dome antenna behind the wing and flat antenna modification in front of the wing—and ultra high-frequency satellite communications—the platter-like antenna behind the dome antenna. A communications intelligence suite also appears to be installed on the aircraft, with the antenna farm on the bottom of its fuselage being a clear indication of such a capability.

But what's most interesting is the aircraft's apparent visual intelligence gathering installation. It is placed in a fixed position, on the left side of the aircraft, below the plane’s forward emergency door. The rectangle structure has a sliding door that covers the system's sensors when not in use.

On the lower end of the capabilities spectrum, the system installed could be similar to the DB110 reconnaissance system, which can provide very high fidelity imagery of a target area from standoff "slant" ranges.

On the higher end of the capability spectrum, the aperture could be filled with a wide area aerial surveillance (WAAS) camera system that can view a large area—the size of a town—continuously at one time. This technology, which allows for tagging of vehicles and other moving objects, and can even be used retroactively to trace someone's movements over time, is among the biggest surveillance game-changers of our time.

Sampling of tracks from SPUD21 missions around the Seattle area.

As to who sent the aircraft and who even takes ownership of it, those details have turned out to be incredibly tough to pin down. Though it seems indisputable that the aircraft is or at least was U.S. government property at one point based on its Air Force-style serial number, none of the obvious U.S. military organizations claim they are aware of the CN-235 or its activities.

... This particular CN-235, with the serial 96-6042, is one of six that researchers commonly associated with the Air Force’s top secret 427th Special Operations Squadron. Recent pictures of the other aircraft show they are all in relatively similar configurations at present. The 427th occupies the same space with a host of other “black” U.S. military aviation elements, most of which are affiliated to some degree with JSOC and the Intelligence Community.
Of course, the idea of the federal government employing a military aircraft to conduct surveillance within the United States would involve very complex and often controversial legal requirements.

... In November 2001, a UFO conspiracy-theorist and amateur plane-spotter drove down a public road near the Air Force’s Groom Lake testing range in Nevada—a.k.a., Area 51—and photographed two 427th planes, a Pilatus and a CN235, sharing a remote tarmac with two civilian Caravans.

Those Caravans belonged to the same One Leasing company that owned the Cessna that crashed in February 2003. In short, there’s some confluence between the 427th’s Cessnas and those flown by civilian contractors on behalf of SOUTHCOM and, reportedly, the CIA. ... tion-units

... An analysis of thousands of flight records, aircraft registrations and corporate documents, as well as interviews with former C.I.A. officers and pilots, show that the agency owns at least 26 planes, 10 of them purchased since 2001. The agency has concealed its ownership behind a web of seven shell corporations that appear to have no employees and no function apart from owning the aircraft. ... ights.html
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Re: Fully Automated Combat Robots Pt. 2

Unread postby vox_mundi » Tue 08 Aug 2017, 20:17:11

North Korea Now Making Missile-Ready Nuclear Weapons, U.S. Analysts Say

North Korea has successfully produced a miniaturized nuclear warhead that can fit inside its missiles, crossing a key threshold on the path to becoming a full-fledged nuclear power, U.S. intelligence officials have concluded in a confidential assessment. The new assessment, a summary document dated July 28, concludes that this critical milestone has been reached.
... “The IC [intelligence community] assesses North Korea has produced nuclear weapons for ballistic missile delivery, to include delivery by ICBM-class missiles”

The analysis, completed last month by the Defense Intelligence Agency, comes on the heels of another intelligence assessment that sharply raises the official estimate for the total number of bombs in the communist country’s atomic arsenal. The United States calculated last month that up to 60 nuclear weapons are now controlled by North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.

If all of that is true, North Korea is no longer a gadfly country ruled by a maniacal dictator with a small arsenal of nuclear weapons that cannot be delivered long distances. It is a developing threat to the U.S., to the world. If the analysts are right, North Korea is a belligerent, nuclear foe the U.S. must confront diplomatically, and in a worst-case scenario, militarily.

An assessment this week by the Japanese Ministry of Defense also concludes that there is evidence to suggest that North Korea has achieved miniaturization.

National security adviser H.R. McMaster said the prospect of a North Korea armed with ­nuclear-tipped ICBMs would be “intolerable, from the president’s perspective.”

The country’s weapons scientists have conducted five nuclear tests since 2006, the latest being a 20- to 30-kiloton detonation on Sept. 9, 2016, that produced a blast estimated to be up to twice that of the bomb dropped on Hiroshima, Japan, in 1945.

Trump is Playing a Dangerous Game with North Korea

Trump has just taken a break from his 17-day vacation to threaten North Korea. His words:
North Korea best not make any more threats to the United States. They will be met with fire and fury like the world has never seen. He has been very threatening beyond a normal state. And as I said, they will be met with fire, fury and frankly power, the likes of which this world has never seen before.

Trump has now threatened “fire and fury” and “power” against North Korea in a classic example of brinkmanship. Trump is not noted for clarity of language, or for command of the subtleties of international politics, and the threat is rather fuzzily worded.

Brinkmanship is a dangerous game. If you miscalculate your threats or misunderstand the other side’s motivations, you might leave the other side with no choice but to respond aggressively. This might lead to a war of mutually assured destruction that neither side wants but neither side can avoid.

It is possible that North Korea will believe Trump and soften its rhetoric. But it may very plausibly decide that Trump’s threat is unbelievable.

So what happens if North Korea continues its behavior? It will be highly costly, and possibly greatly damaging to the United States to deliver on Trump’s threat, even in its minimal form. If the threat leads to further brinkmanship and an out-and-out nuclear war, it will obviously be far worse still.

Yet if Trump, as is more likely, fails to deliver on the threat, then Trump’s credibility, such as it is, will be badly damaged, as might the credibility of the United States in future standoffs. In particular, it will be even harder to influence North Korea’s behavior.

North Korea just made another threat! So what's you going to do old man?

North Korea says considering missile strike on Guam

Pacific island of Guam is home to the US Air Force's Andersen air base

North Korea says it is considering missile strikes on the US Pacific territory of Guam, just hours after President Donald Trump threatened Pyongyang with "fire and fury".

The North's official news agency said it was mulling a plan to fire medium-to-long-range rockets at Guam, where US strategic bombers are based.

To bomb North Korea would effectively kick-start “world war three”, with innocent civilians paying the price.

... "Trump needs to learn the value of silence," Robert Manning, senior fellow at think tank Atlantic Council, said in an email to CNBC. "It only ratchets up tensions unnecessarily to play this dumb tit-for-tat rhetorical game with North Korea."

Manning said Trump should have simply stated that any use of weapons of mass destruction by North Korea "will result in a swift and overwhelming U.S. response that will be the end of North Korea. He should leave it at that. Where are the grown-ups?"

Hours Before Trump Threatened Nuclear War, White House Adviser said North Korea isn’t a Real Threat

Trump adviser Sebastian Gorka downplayed the threat that North Korea posed to the United States during an interview with Fox Business on Tuesday morning. Calling its recent threats “blackmail”, Gorka maintained that the country was ill-equipped to face off with the United States in any capacity.

“We would like people to understand, this is a Lilliputian flea,” Gorka argued. “North Korea is a Stalinist regime, but it can’t even feed its own people.”

Hours after Gorka’s comments, President Trump, asked about North Korean aggression, threatened to start a nuclear war.

Gorka, a member of the White House national security advisory staff, has reportedly been denied a security clearance.

China's Ready for War ― Against the U.S. If Necessary

To mark the 90th birthday of the People’s Liberation Army on Aug. 1, China’s President Xi Jinping went to the Inner Mongolian steppe to the site where Genghis Khan began his conquest of Eurasia. There, at Zhurihe, he was welcomed by an impressive display of China’s martial might: a parade of Chinese troops, tanks, helicopters, aircraft and missiles. But the main course was a massive war game demonstrating the state of China‘s preparation to “fight and win” future military conflicts.

For what war is the PLA preparing?

Xi’s parade, along with recent Chinese military maneuvers, sends an equally unambiguous message: If war breaks out on the Korean peninsula, China is ready to protect its national interests. A major pillar of Xi’s program for “making China great again” is building a modern military fully “capable of fighting and winning” a 21st century war ― including, if need be, against the United States.

In recent months, China has moved additional military units to its border with North Korea. It has established new fortifications and 24-hour video surveillance using aerial drones. But PLA special forces and airborne troops have begun repeatedly drilling for missions that go far beyond closing the border or establishing a buffer zone: They appear to be preparing to push deep into North Korea in the event of crisis.
If Chinese and American forces once again meet in Korea ― perhaps in what Gen. Raymond Thomas has warned could become a “vertical track meet” to secure the North’s nuclear weapons ― the PLA will not at all resemble the low-tech army of the past.

The Pentagon's annual report on the Chinese military, released in June, warned that the PLA had “modernized its conventionally armed missile force extraordinarily rapidly,” while the PLA Air Force was also “rapidly” closing the gap with the U.S.

“The world is not peaceful,” Xi said at Zhurihe, warning, “we need more than any period in history to build a strong people’s military.” Notably, the exercises there featured Chinese forces facing off against a “Blue Force” modeled on the command structure, technology, weaponry and tactics of the United States.
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Re: Fully Automated Combat Robots Pt. 2

Unread postby vox_mundi » Wed 09 Aug 2017, 11:14:35


General Jack D. Ripper: Mandrake, do you recall what Clemenceau once said about war?
Group Capt. Lionel Mandrake: No, I don't think I do, sir, no.
General Jack D. Ripper: He said war was too important to be left to the generals. When he said that, 50 years ago, he might have been right. But today, war is too important to be left to politicians. They have neither the time, the training, nor the inclination for strategic thought. I can no longer sit back and allow Communist infiltration, Communist indoctrination, Communist subversion and the international Communist conspiracy to sap and impurify all of our precious bodily fluids.

- Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb (1964)

Trump Doubles Down: Intensifies Rhetoric Against North Korea

... Taken literally, the President’s words suggest that the United States would launch a massive attack in response to mere verbal threats from Kim and his official mouthpieces. Surely, that can’t be the case.

Perhaps Trump is intending to sound like Kim. Perhaps he is pursuing the old Richard Nixon “madman” theory of how to force an adversary to talk. But it didn’t work for Nixon with the North Vietnamese, and there’s no assurance that it will work for Trump with the North Koreans. “Nuclear deterrence is only effective if threats are deemed credible, bluster hurts our national security posture,” William Perry, the former Secretary of Defense, noted on Twitter.
My first order as President was to renovate and modernize our nuclear arsenal. It is now far stronger and more powerful than ever before....

4:56 AM - 9 Aug 2017 ... 9152711680
...Hopefully we will never have to use this power, but there will never be a time that we are not the most powerful nation in the world!

5:03 AM - 9 Aug 2017 ... 8570605568

... North Korea warned in a separate KCNA report on Wednesday that it was looking beyond Guam and would hit the US mainland with preemptive strikes, with the use of nuclear weapons, should there be any sign the US planned to strike North Korea first.

"The US should (remember) ... that once there observed a sign of action for 'preventive war' from the US, the army of the DPRK will turn the US mainland into the theater of a nuclear war before the inviolable land of the DPRK turns into the one," the report said.

“Look on the bright side: compared to the coming thermonuclear inferno, global warming will seem quite pleasant”


Trump’s Claims On Nuclear Modernization Crumbles Under Scrutiny

... As exercises in fact-checking go, this one’s surprisingly easy:
1. Trump’s “first order” as president dealt with health care, not the nation’s nuclear arsenal.

2. It was actually Barack Obama, not Donald Trump, who launched a massive, multi-year effort to modernize the U.S. nuclear arsenal.

3. For Trump to say, the arsenal “is now far stronger and more powerful than ever before,” suggests he believes the modernization process is done. That’s bonkers: the process has barely started and will take decades to complete.

All of which leads to the larger, more awkward question:
Does Trump realize this morning’s message is nonsense, or does he believe what he published?

Tillerson Tries to Dials Back Rhetoric After Trump's North Korea 'Fire and Fury' Threats

On Wednesday, when he was asked about Trump’s remarks, Tillerson said that the President was “sending a strong message to North Korea in language that Kim Jong-un would understand” and downplayed an imminent military threat, saying that “Americans should sleep well at night.”

The Chinese Foreign Ministry on Wednesday warned against making aggravating remarks.

... Republican Sen. John McCain, chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, said Trump risked going too far. ... "I take exception to the President's comments because you've got to be sure that you can do what you say you're going to do. In other words, the old talk softly but carry a big stick"

"We have two inexperienced, impulsive presidents in control of these massive military machines," ... "It's one thing to make a mistake intentionally, its another thing to stumble into a conflict ... either one -- Kim Jong Un or Donald Trump -- could miscalculate and let loose a war unlike anything we have seen since World War II."

- Joe Cirincione, president of Ploughshares Fund, a global security foundation


Japanese People Practicing Nuclear Attack Drills

So far this year North Korea has carried out 14 missile tests, all of them fired towards the coast of Japan.

Now for the first time in more than 70 years villagers along the north-west coast of Japan are being ordered to take part in air raid drills.
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Re: Fully Automated Combat Robots Pt. 2

Unread postby vox_mundi » Tue 15 Aug 2017, 10:52:59

It Knew What You Were Going To Do Next’: AI Learns From Pro Gamers — Then Crushes Them


For decades, the world’s smartest game-playing humans have been racking up losses to increasingly sophisticated forms of artificial intelligence.

Now the AI supergamers have moved into the world of e-sports. Last week, an artificial intelligence bot created by the Elon Musk-backed start-up OpenAI defeated some of the world’s most talented players of Dota 2, a fast-paced, highly complex, multiplayer online video game that draws fierce competition from all over the globe.

OpenAI unveiled its bot at an annual Dota 2 tournament where players walk away with millions in prize money. It was a pivotal moment in gaming and in AI research largely because of how the bot developed its skills and how long it took to refine them enough to defeat the world’s most talented pros, according to Greg Brockman, co-founder and chief technology officer of OpenAI.

The somewhat frightening reality:
It only took the bot two weeks to go from laughable novice to world-class competitor, a period in which Brockman said the bot gathered “lifetimes” of experience by playing itself.

During that period, players said, the bot went from behaving like a bot to behaving in a way that felt more alive.

Danylo “Dendi” Ishutin, one of the game’s top players, was defeated twice by his AI competition, which felt “a little like human, but a little like something else,” he said, according to the Verge.


DeepMind is Teaching AIs How to Manage Real-World Tasks Through Gaming

Organismic Learning' Mimics Some Aspects of Human Thought

A new computing technology called "organismoids" mimics some aspects of human thought by learning how to forget unimportant memories while retaining more vital ones.

Central to the research is a ceramic "quantum material" called samarium nickelate, which was used to create devices called organismoids, said Shriram Ramanathan, a Purdue professor of materials engineering.

"These devices possess certain characteristics of living beings and enable us to advance new learning algorithms that mimic some aspects of the human brain," Roy said. "The results have far reaching implications for the fields of quantum materials as well as brain-inspired computing."

The researchers have developed a "neural learning model" they have termed adaptive synaptic plasticity.

"This could be really important because it's one of the first examples of using quantum materials directly for solving a major problem in neural learning," Ramanathan said.

The A.I. of Tomorrow May Think at the Speed of Light


Video - Scientists have been working on a variety of different approaches to building artificial neurons that actually compute like real ones, and a paper published in May from the Korea Advance Institute for Science and Technology (KAIST) offers the most provocative solution yet: A brain that thinks, and more importantly remembers, in the medium of light.

It’s an innovation the researchers believe could “enable devices to emulate the highly efficient neuromorphic operations of the brain,” and to do so not just as quickly as brains themselves, but significantly faster.

The fastest neuron in the body can conduct a signal at about 268 miles per hour (120 meters per second), as opposed to a rough 670,398,000 miles per hour (299,695,000 meters per second) for light when it’s moving through air. That speed difference could allow much faster computing by the neurons themselves, and unlike electricity moving through a wire, light doesn’t lose much of its power to resistance as it moves around the computer.

A photonic-based neuromorphic system can be a more favorable option to enhance computational speed” than prior technologies, the researchers write, “since it would have higher bandwidth, low crosstalk, and lower power-computation requirements.” In that spirit, to describe the function of these neurons the team had come up with the term “ultrafast synaptic computing.”

Remember, though, that the brain has the frontal cortex for storing what we humans think of as “memories,” and so none of this means neuromorphic computers won’t one day start to have portions specialized for storage of higher level ideas. That’s the next logical step: once scientists have created real-artificial neurons robust enough to be the building blocks of real-artificial brains, the only thing left to do will be to start making those brains with separated, interdependent sections, or, cortices.

Google's DeepMind is Teaching its Artificial Intelligence How to Sleep

The latest trick in Google's machine-learning research? Naps.

Google is making its AI more human — to a startling degree. It's taught DeepMind how to sleep. In a recent blog post the company said:
"At first glance, it might seem counter-intuitive to build an artificial agent that needs to 'sleep' – after all, they are supposed to grind away at a computational problem long after their programmers have gone to bed. But this principle was a key part of our deep-Q network (DQN), an algorithm that learns to master a diverse range of Atari 2600 games to superhuman level with only the raw pixels and score as inputs. DQN mimics "experience replay", by storing a subset of training data that it reviews "offline", allowing it to learn anew from successes or failures that occurred in the past."

DeepMind researchers are teaching computers how to learn.

Charles River Analytics team to build virtual data scientist assistant for DARPA

CAMBRIDGE, Mass. As part of DARPA’s Data-Driven Discovery of Models (D3M) program, intelligent-systems developer Charles River Analytics has signed a contract to build a virtual data scientist assistant -- known as "Eve" -- to aid in solving real-world analytical problems.

DARPA's D3M program seeks to simplify the complex process of building models by creating software to bridge the data-science expertise gap. With the Eve effort, DARPA aims to build virtual data scientist assistants to help with machine learning tasks and alleviate the shortage of data scientists needed for data-driven solutions both immediately and in the coming years.

Dr. Mukesh Dalal, principal scientist at Charles River and principal investigator on the Eve effort, said of the project: “A lack of qualified data scientists is preventing organizations from gaining the full benefits from data analytics and machine learning. Eve will allow non-data scientists, such as retail marketers, to get significant value out of their data sets and make high-quality business-critical predictions.”


Facebook’s Translations are Now Powered Completely by AI

Every day, Facebook performs some 4.5 billion automatic translations — and as of yesterday, they’re all processed using neural networks. Previously, the social networking site used simpler phrase-based machine translation models, but it’s now switched to the more advanced method. “Creating seamless, highly accurate translation experiences for the 2 billion people who use Facebook is difficult,” explained the company in a blog post. “We need to account for context, slang, typos, abbreviations, and intent simultaneously.”

The big difference between the old system and the new one is the attention span. While the phrase-based system translated sentences word by word, or by looking at short phrases, the neural networks consider whole sentences at a time. They do this using a particular sort of machine learning component known as an LSTM or long short-term memory network.

Chinese Chatbots Apparently Re-Educated after Political Faux Pas

BEIJING/SHANGHAI (Reuters) - A pair of 'chatbots' in China have been taken offline after appearing to stray off-script. In response to users' questions, one said its dream was to travel to the United States, while the other said it wasn't a huge fan of the Chinese Communist Party.

The two chatbots, BabyQ and XiaoBing, are designed to use machine learning artificial intelligence (AI) to carry out conversations with humans online. Both had been installed onto Tencent Holdings Ltd's popular messaging service QQ.

Tencent confirmed it had taken the two robots offline from its QQ messaging service, but declined to elaborate on reasons.

"The chatbot service is provided by independent third party companies. Both chatbots have now been taken offline to undergo adjustments," a company spokeswoman said earlier. Video

Image Video

China's facial recognition technology is growing rapidly and it's as scary as Minority Report

The Promise and Creepiness of a Scuttling Six-Legged Robot

(Restricted) DHS Report: Artificial Intelligence Risk to Critical Infrastructure

Artificial Intelligence (AI) is an emerging risk that will affect critical infrastructure (CI) as it becomes common throughout the United States.

... Risks From Future Artificial Intelligence Adoption and Implications for Critical Infrastructure Protection
Mass Unemployment: As AI is integrated into every sector, job displacement will grow, potentially precipitating social unrest and security challenges, as well as a decline in tax revenue.

Vulnerability of Data Privacy: AI adoption will enable the collection of a growing amount of personal data, from web traffic to facial and voice recognition data, which will be vulnerable to hacking. Public concern over the government’s collection of this data could also lead to backlash over government use of AI, especially biometric technology, and inhibit security solutions.

Overestimation of AI Capabilities: Increasing competition to get products to market might cause companies to overlook building robust security into AI technologies, and insecure products could be deployed in CI sectors. AI products may also have limitations, but if users are unaware of those limits, they might not exercise appropriate human oversight. That could lead to safety threats and service disruptions if technologies malfunction.

Susceptibility to Manipulation and Infliction of Harm: Robots lack human and moral intelligence and might make harmful decisions on their own or be manipulated to make such decisions. Malicious actors and adversaries could co-opt AI products to launch cyber or physical attacks on infrastructure and could leverage open-source releases to develop their own AI capabilities or to infiltrate CI systems that also use open-source tools.

(Restricted) DHS Report: Threats Posed by Autonomous Vehicles
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Re: Fully Automated Combat Robots Pt. 2

Unread postby vox_mundi » Mon 21 Aug 2017, 11:39:34

America Can't Afford to Lose the Artificial Intelligence War

How The US, China And Russia Are Moving Toward Weaponizing Artificial Intelligence

Too Late: A group of researchers are warning the world about weaponizing artificial intelligence and robotics, but that machine-learning genie may already be out of the bottle.

There are clear signs that the United States is already engaged in an AI arms race with China and Russia to develop weapons systems for the land, sea and air that can talk to each other and select targets autonomously, making decisions now dictated by humans. ...

World's Top Artificial Intelligence Companies Call for Ban On 'Killer Robots'


The world’s top artificial intelligence (AI) and robotics companies have used a conference in Melbourne to collectively urge the United Nations to ban killer robots or lethal autonomous weapons. An open letter by 116 founders of robotics and artificial intelligence companies from 26 countries was launched at the world’s biggest artificial intelligence conference, the International Joint Conference on Artificial Intelligence (IJCAI), as the UN delays meeting until later this year to discuss the robot arms race.

... "Lethal autonomous weapons threaten to become the third revolution in warfare," the letter says.

"Once developed, they will permit armed conflict to be fought at a scale greater than ever, and at timescales faster than humans can comprehend.
"These can be weapons of terror, weapons that despots and terrorists use against innocent populations, and weapons hacked to behave in undesirable ways. We do not have long to act. Once this Pandora’s box is opened, it will be hard to close."

"We should not lose sight of the fact that, unlike other potential manifestations of AI which still remain in the realm of science fiction, autonomous weapons systems are on the cusp of development right now and have a very real potential to cause significant harm to innocent people along with global instability," he says.

"The development of lethal autonomous weapons systems is unwise, unethical and should be banned on an international scale."

The letter also warns that failure to act swiftly will lead to an “arms race” towards killer robots – but that’s arguably already underway. Autonomous weapons systems or precursor technologies are available or under development from firms including Raytheon, Dassault, MiG, and BAE Systems.


Element AI founder Yoshua Bengio had another intriguing warning – that weaponizing AI could actually “hurt the further development of AI’s good applications.” That’s precisely the scenario foreseen in Frank Herbert’s sci-fi novel Dune, set in a universe where all thinking machines are banned because of their role in past wars.

See Also - The Butlerian Jihad a.k.a. The Great Revolt -- two generations of chaos (200 BG - 108 BG).

By 108 BG, the Jihad itself had finished with the complete destruction of all intelligent machines that were originally built by humans throughout the worlds, but it proved to have many profound impacts on the socio-political and technological development of humanity throughout the new empires that emerged, including a large technological reversal of the entire human civilization.

The most dramatic long-lasting result was the ensuing commandment from the Orange Catholic Bible held sway to humans against the creation of machines which bore the human mind's exact image: Thou shalt not make a machine in the likeness of a human mind, after the destruction of the man-made intelligent machines throughout the human worlds. Even the simplest computers and calculators were banned, with the penalty for building or owning such a thinking machine technology being put to trial and sentenced to immediate death.

This lack of thinking technology created a severe gap in humanity's quality of life, revolving around a need for humans to perform complex logical computations and calculations. This gap led to the creation of the Mentat order.

More than simply calculators, Mentats possess exceptional cognitive abilities of memory and perception that are the foundations for supra-logical hypothesizing. Mentats are able to sift large volumes of data and devise concise analyses in a process that goes far beyond logical deduction: Mentats cultivate "the naïve mind", the mind without preconception or prejudice, so as to extract essential patterns or logic from data and deliver useful conclusions with varying degrees of certainty. Their calculations are delivered not as numerical probabilities but as flowing paths, subject to new variations through the influence of new factors.

Video ... It is by caffeine alone I set my mind in motion. It is by the beans of Java that thoughts acquire speed, the hands acquire shaking, the shaking becomes a warning; it is by caffeine alone I set my mind in motion.
See also ... 19th-century author Samuel Butler introduced the idea of evolved machines supplanting mankind as the dominant species in his 1863 article "Darwin among the Machines" and later works. Butler goes on to suggest that all machines be immediately destroyed to avoid this outcome.
... We refer to the question: What sort of creature man’s next successor in the supremacy of the earth is likely to be. We have often heard this debated; but it appears to us that we are ourselves creating our own successors; we are daily adding to the beauty and delicacy of their physical organisation; we are daily giving them greater power and supplying by all sorts of ingenious contrivances that self-regulating, self-acting power which will be to them what intellect has been to the human race. In the course of ages we shall find ourselves the inferior race.
Day by day, however, the machines are gaining ground upon us; day by day we are becoming more subservient to them; more men are daily bound down as slaves to tend them, more men are daily devoting the energies of their whole lives to the development of mechanical life. The upshot is simply a question of time, but that the time will come when the machines will hold the real supremacy over the world and its inhabitants is what no person of a truly philosophic mind can for a moment question.

The article ends by urging that, "War to the death should be instantly proclaimed against them. Every machine of every sort should be destroyed by the well-wisher of his species. Let there be no exceptions made, no quarter shown; let us at once go back to the primeval condition of the race."
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Re: Fully Automated Combat Robots Pt. 2

Unread postby vox_mundi » Mon 21 Aug 2017, 12:36:11

Watching You, Watching It: Disney AI Can Predict How You'll React To a Movie Based on Facial Recognition


Disney's research team used a 400-seat theatre equipped with four infrared cameras to film the audience during 150 showings of nine mainstream movies, such as "The Jungle Book", "Big Hero 6", "Star Wars: The Force Awakens" and "Zootopia".

The result was a staggering dataset of 16 million facial landmarks by 3,179 audience members which was fed to the neural network.

Called “factorised variational autoencoders” (FVAEs), the new algorithm is so sharp that is reportedly able to predict how a member of the audience will react to the rest of a film after analyzing their facial expressions for just 10 minutes.
In fact, not only can FVAE measure reactions, Disney says the process can reliably predict them, too.

After observing an audience member's reactions for just a few minutes, the system is able to predict his or her facial expressions for the rest of the film using a pattern-recognition technique that functions similarly to a recommendation engine; it can generalize the reactions of an entire audience, and measure those reactions against an input that states how viewers "should" be reacting.

So you know all of those times you started watching a movie, thinking you'd hate it, but actually ended up loving it? It could now be possible for Disney to predict your enthusiasm for the flick before you were even consciously aware of your change of heart.

Why not? Our data is already being used to predict how we'll vote in major elections; it only seems fitting that it could also be used as a predictor of our love of Wonder Woman or The Secret Life of Dogs.


AI Can Determine Our Motivations Using a Simple Camera

... SLL is trying to solve one of the oldest problems in the world: People Lie. In fact, according to the fictional Dr. House, M.D. “Everybody lies.

... Being able to determine the viability of a TV show, or how people feel about a specific scene in a movie is a pretty neat trick. The fact that they’ve adapted the technology to work with almost any laptop camera – for survey purposes such as observing someone watching a video clip at home – is creepy.

Hamon told us that the algorithms work so well his team almost always ends up flunking certain respondents for being under the influence of a substance. A drug detecting robot that can be employed through any connected camera? That’s a little spooky.

The company also wants to change the way law enforcement works.


Self-Driving Wheelchairs Debut in Hospitals and Airports

The robot’s computer uses data from three lidars to make a map. A localization algorithm then determines where it is in the map. The chair’s six wheels lend stability, and the chair is designed to make tight turns and fit through normal-sized doorframes. “When we visited several retirement communities, we realized that the quality of life is dependent on mobility. We want to make it really easy for people to move around,” said Rus in a recent MIT statement.

The WHILL NEXT is also able to sync up with nearby wheelchairs to travel in a column, which is useful for a family or a group, the company notes. Best of all, each wheelchair automatically returns to its home base, reducing the need for airport staff to collect the chairs.

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Re: Fully Automated Combat Robots Pt. 2

Unread postby vox_mundi » Mon 21 Aug 2017, 13:16:37

The Operational Environment and the Changing Character of Future Warfare

The U.S. military, and therefore, the U.S. Army, finds itself at a historical inflection point, where disparate, yet related elements of the Operational Environment (OE) are converging, creating a situation where fast moving trends across the Diplomatic, Information, Military, and Economic (DIME) spheres are rapidly transforming the nature of all aspects of society and human life – including the character of warfare.

In The Operational Environment and the Changing Character of Future Warfare, the first part of this paper describes how technology will impact how we live, create, think and prosper. The authors use this description to make an assessment on the OE and its implication on the future of warfare through 2050, which in their view is a continuum divided into two distinct timeframes:
- The Era of Accelerated Human Progress, 2017-2035, which relates to a period where our adversaries can take advantage of new technologies, new doctrine and revised strategic concepts to effectively challenge U.S. military forces across multiple domains.

- The Era of Contested Equality, 2035-2050, which is marked by significant breakthroughs in technology and convergences in terms of capabilities leading to significant changes in the character of warfare. During this period, traditional aspects of warfare undergo dramatic, almost revolutionary changes which at the end of this timeframe may even challenge the very nature of warfare itself

Image ... re-warfare

Engineering Humans for War: Inside the Pentagon’s efforts to create a super-soldier—and change the future of the battlefield

DARPA Squad-X Program for Integration of Robots, Drones and Sensors with Infantry

Tomorrow Soldier: How The Military Is Altering the Limits of Human Performance

... If today’s Pentagon leaders get their way, the next generation of fighter jets, body armor, computer systems, and weapons will understand more about the pilots, soldiers, and analysts using them than those operators understand about the machines they are using. The very experience of flying the plane, analyzing satellite images, even firing a gun could change depending on what the weapon, vehicle, or software detects about the person to whom the weapon is bound. ...


DARPA: Genetic Enhancement Will Be Many Times More Powerful Than Steroids

Mike Israetel, a professor of exercise science at Temple University, has estimated that doping increases weightlifting scores by about 5 to 10 percent.

Compare that to the progression in world record bench press weights:
361 pounds in 1898,
363 pounds in 1916,
500 pounds in 1953,
600 pounds in 1967,
667 pounds in 1984, and
730 pounds in 2015.

... Selective breeding of corn plants for oil content of kernels has moved the population by 30 standard deviations in roughly just 100 generations. That feat is comparable to finding a maximal human type for a specific athletic event. But direct editing techniques like CRISPR could get us there even faster.

An increase in the average by one standard deviation (for example, 3 inches in male height, or 15 points in IQ), makes an individual at the 1 in 1,000 level (a 6-foot-7-inch male in the U.S. population) more than 10 times more likely.

20 standard deviations beyond current average IQ would be an IQ of 400.

In 2010 a study published in the Journal of Applied Physiology offers intriguing insights into the biology and perhaps even the future of human running speed. It offers an enticing view of how the biological limits might be pushed back beyond the nearly 28 miles per hour speeds achieved by Bolt to speeds of perhaps 35 or even 40 miles per hour. This could mean 100 meter times down at about 6-7 seconds. ...

Science On Track To Identifying Genetics of Intelligence Within 5 years

China Embraces Embryo Selection and State Health Could Cover It Within Ten Years

Science Fiction: Visioning the Future of Warfare 2030-2050


The U.S. Navy Has given Us a Glimpse of How It Will Fight High-Tech Wars

There is a sense of urgency behind all this. Navy strategists increasingly worry about forces fighting in “contested environments.” That is military-speak for heavily defended areas where enemies would deploy anti-ship and anti-aircraft missiles, tactical aircraft, submarines in open-ocean and coastal waters, and lay down mines and other deadly explosives in shallow waters.

In such situations, U.S. forces would have limited freedom of movement and, conceivably, they would turn to robotic systems for help — to collect and disseminate intelligence, and coordinate movements between autonomous undersea, surface, and air platforms and their operators.

In one of the demonstrations, for instance, The Boeing Co. used a robotic craft to hunt for sea mines. Hydroid Inc. and L3 Technologies launched an underwater robot from a marine research vessel and sent it off to intercept and monitor communication signals. The submerged robot, when directed, can release a canister that contains a mini-drone aircraft that would be deployed to conduct aerial surveillance and transmit data via live video feed back to the control center.

Some of the ANTX demos tested different types of fuels and power sources for unmanned devices. The endurance of robots is a major issue for the Navy. It needs them to operate for long periods of time without refueling.

... One of the simulated missions involved sending bomb-detecting robots to the beach from an unmanned watercraft. An autonomous underwater spy “crawler” developed by Engineering Professional Services was used to deploy sensors, communications and navigation devices on the seabed to transmit acoustic signals.

Leidos deployed a crewless vessel called Sea Hunter in the waters off of Panama City to collect data and demonstrate autonomous launch and recovery of unmanned underwater vehicles.

More telescope for drones and satellites with weight reduction of ten to 100 times

And for those that use their face as a catchers mitt for small-arms fire ...

U.S. Army Troops to Get New Sci-Fi Helmet

Video - The U.S. Army is testing a new helmet designed to offer full ballistic protection to a soldier's entire head. Looking like something out of Starship Troopers, the Integrated Head Protection System (IHPS) protects a soldier's entire head, including for the first time the face and jaw, from injury. The helmet is scheduled to head to the troops next year.

Image Image

The Integrated Head Protection System is the first U.S. Army infantry helmet that fully protects a soldier's head. In addition to standard cranial protection, the IHPS includes a mandible, visor, night vision goggle attachment device, rails and a modular ballistic applique. The helmet offers increased blunt impact protection over the current ECH Army helmet. It is five percent lighter, offers passive hearing protection, and can reportedly gauge head trauma suffered by the wearer.

SAS Soldiers Trial Star Wars-style Bulletproof Helmets; Claimed to Resist 44 Magnum


Devtak Designs has a 4.85 pound helmet with 7 mm plates that claims 80% ballastic (bullet proof) protection. The 7mm strong plates can deflect gunshots and protects against shrapnel, blasts and fire.

British SAS soldiers are reported to be testing out the Devtak Ronin helmets. US Navy SEALs and Army Delta Force have used Devtak helmets.

“The helmet, already being used by special forces, is much more versatile than just stopping bullets.” “It is fitted with the latest communications technology and will help the soldier see the enemy no matter what the circumstances.”

Troops benefit from a GPS system that projects maps on to the visor. And its super-strong plates can deflect gunshots and protects against shrapnel, blasts and fire. The creators of the Devtac Ronin Kevlar Level IIIA Tactical Ballistic Helmet claim it’s “literally bullet proof.” It is said to protect soldiers’ heads from a shot from a .44 Magnum round. (... 900-1100 ft/lbs has got to sting) 8O )


Harry Callahan: Uh uh. I know what you're thinking. "Did he fire six shots or only five?" Well to tell you the truth in all this excitement I kinda lost track myself. But being this is a .44 Magnum, the most powerful handgun in the world and would blow your head clean off, you've gotta ask yourself one question: "Do I feel lucky?"

Image - I gots to know.
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Re: Fully Automated Combat Robots Pt. 2

Unread postby vox_mundi » Wed 23 Aug 2017, 11:40:28

US Sec. Mattis Pushes Military AI, Experts Warn of Hijacked 'Killer Robots'

... Future progress in AI has the potential to transform national security technology, "on a par with nuclear weapons, aircraft, computers, and biotech," the Harvard report stated.

"The DoD needs to pursue AI solutions to stay competitive with its Chinese and Russian counterparts," said Roman Yampolskiy, director of the Cyber Security Laboratory at the University of Louisville. "Unfortunately, for the humanity that means development of killer robots, unsupervised drones and other mechanisms of killing people in an automated process. As we know all computer systems have bugs or can be hacked. What happens when our killer robots get hijacked by the enemy is something I am very concerned about."

Britain MoD Will Not Support Pre-emptive Ban On 'Killer Robots'

The Ministry of Defence said Britain had no intention of building, or buying fully autonomous weapon systems, but also did not support a pre-emptive ban.

AI Is Coming To War, Regardless of Elon Musk’s Well-Meaning Concern

AI will have the power to escalate, and perhaps even initiate action, before we can stop it

The real danger from AI weapons is that they’ll be rather too good at what they do. Speed is their big advantage over humans on the battlefield. And they work too quickly for us to intervene when we might need to – for example, if our goals change, after instructing our robot army. The Ministry of Defence wants to keep a human “in the loop” – but at great speed, there simply won’t be time: the enemy might not be so queasy, and their robots will be faster and deadly.

There’s a powerful “security dilemma” here. A tiny qualitative advantage in AI will be utterly decisive in battle, so there’s a huge incentive to cheat.

We Can’t Ban 'Killer Robots' – It’s Already Too Late

... This question of automated military technologies is intimately linked to the changing nature of war itself, which, in an age of terrorism and insurgency, no longer has a start or end, battlefields or armies: as American strategic analyst Anthony Cordesman puts it: “One of the lessons of modern war is that war can no longer be called war.” However we deal with that, it’s not going to look like the D-day landings.
...“We do not have long to act." ... "Once this Pandora’s box is opened, it will be hard to close.”

Warfare has always used the most advanced technologies available; “killer robots” are no different. Pandora’s box was opened with the invention of steel smelting if not earlier (and it was almost never a woman who did the opening). And you can be sure someone made a profit from it.

By all means let’s try to curb our worst impulses to beat plowshares into swords, but telling an international arms trade that they can’t make killer robots is like telling soft-drinks manufacturers that they can’t make orangeade.

When a Hobby Drone Becomes a Military Sniper


Video - While TIKAD may initially be used to keep friendly troops out of danger, they are likely to proliferate rapidly.

"It won't be long before everyone has copies," says Sharkey. "Some of these will be a lot less stable and less precise. We have already seen ISIS employ small commercial drones for strikes with explosives."

The Future of Warfare is Just Drones Strapped With Machine Guns

Why risk the lives of soldiers when you can just strap an assault rifle onto a drone and send it into battle?

While this might be useful in warfare—especially as the US’s war in Afghanistan apparently ramps back up—it’s far more chilling when thinking about police forces—or nefarious entities—using technology like this on civilians.

Perhaps it won’t be long before local municipalities will be looking to deploy drones like this—it’d be a lot easier than building an ED-209.

Video - Die Hard (1988)

Russia's Unmanned Systems Are on the Move


The Kalashnikov family of companies that now includes the makers of drones and boats, besides the famed namesake semiautomatic weapon, is getting to ready to present a heavy combat unmanned ground vehicle
, according to the official press release via TASS news agency: “(We) will present, within the current year, a reconnaissance-strike robotic complex, weighing 20 tonnes, the company's Director General Alexei Krivoruchko told TASS.” The company made a decision not to present this prototype during upcoming August 22–27 Army-2017 military expo in Russia, which will feature thousands of technologies from multiple international vendors. It is likely that Kalashnikov's prototype would be based on its existing 7-tonne “Soratnik” model, developed by the same company back in 2016 and unveiled during Army-2016 expo.

During the first day of Army-2017, it was announced that "Vihr"(Hurricane) heavy unmanned ground vehicle, (created on the basis of BMP-3 infantry-fighting vehicle) will undergo new testing this September. This UGV received an upgraded combat module that consists of a 30 mm a cannon and a twin machine gun, as well as grenade launchers. "Vihr" represents an unmanned military "suite" that includes tethered and autonomous quadcopters for greater situational awareness, as well as MPP-100 mobile robotic platforms that can move along impassable roads and obstructions, including stairs in buildings, and fire from short-barreled weapons. ...

ABM-BSM30 Vihr

There is a lot of interest building up for certain unmanned models, such as the domestically produced Voron 777-1 (Raven) unmanned helicopter, which will be armed and capable of performing electronic warfare duties. At this point, the UAV has undergone all required state testing and is expected to enter service in 2018–2019. Voron can fly in autonomous and remotely controlled modes, and is capable of delivering a small-scale payload. This last function—payload delivery against potential adversaries—is receiving greater attention from Russian manufacturers and military users, as the majority of Russian UAVs in service today perform mainly intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance duties. Small payload delivered via unmanned helicopter or other small aerial vehicles can prove devastatingly deadly, as was shown in the recent destruction of a massive Ukrainian ammunition storage at Balakleya.

Image ... rmy-robots

An Underwater War May Be Brewing in the Asia-Pacific


The 2016 Defence White Paper, the Naval Shipbuilding Plan, and associated statements by political figures such as Prime Minister Turnbull and Defence Industry Minister Pyne have all advocated the need for enhanced anti-submarine warfare (ASW) capabilities for the Royal Australian Navy (RAN). The impetus for this mooted rediscovery of ASW is the understanding that by 2030 over half the world’s submarines will be operating in the Asia–Pacific.

Based on current predictions, the Indo-Pacific of the near future will be teeming with submarines—American, Russian, Japanese, Korean (North and South), Chinese, Taiwanese, Vietnamese, Thai, Malaysian, Singaporean, Indonesian, Indian, Pakistani—not to mention our own. All of those submarines will be happily submerged and stealthily undertaking tasks in support of their own national strategic objectives.

Now consider that we are in conflict with one of those countries and are in the process of hunting down its submarines with the intent of destroying them. An Australian ASW asset gains sonar contact and prepares to engage. Then comes the really hard question: who are we engaging? ...

Even in the event that accurate measurement is possible, how does an ADF unit in sonar contact distinguish, for example, between a Russian Kilo, a Chinese Kilo, an Indonesian Kilo, an Indian Kilo and a Vietnamese Kilo? Similar problems exist for some European submarines that have been acquired by multiple Indo-Pacific nations.

As an aside, since we will be the unique operator of the world’s largest conventional submarine, the same problem doesn’t apply in reverse. ...

Quantum Magnetometer Arrays for Magnetic Detection of Submarines

... The new magnetometer, built by Xiaoming Xie and colleagues at the Shanghai Institute of Microsystem and Information Technology, uses not one SQUID but an array of them. The idea is that by comparing their readings, researchers can cancel out some of the extra artifacts generated by motion. This “would be relevant to an anti-submarine warfare device”, says David Caplin at Imperial College London, who works on magnetic sensors.

Researchers estimate that a SQUID magnetometer of this type could detect a sub from 6 kilometers away, and Caplin says that with better noise suppression the range could be much greater.

“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 » Thu 24 Aug 2017, 12:53:28

US Air Force Announces Thunderdrone: The Ultimate Game of Drones?

Video - Two Drones Enter ... One Drone Leaves!

... The material online says the “high-intensity, short-duration collision event” known as ThunderDrone (we can’t use the name often enough) focuses on swarm technologies. The drones they want to see will use modular payloads, capable of ISR, jamming and counter-drone activities.

There’s even one (event) that says, ‘OK, bring your stuff, we’ll see who's the last drone standing."
... (psst - go for the chainsaw)

ThunderDrone is a U.S. Special Operations Command initiative.

... dying time is near.

China's DJI Will Hold Its Customers’ Drones Hostage Until They Update Their Software


Owners of DJI’s latest consumer drone, the Spark, have until September 1 to update the firmware of their drone and batteries or they will not be able to fly them, the company announced Aug. 21.

The new software will improve stability and connectivity, as well as provide updates for the drone’s photo-capturing modes. As Quartz reported in July, some Spark owners have been complaining that their drones have been falling out of the sky mid-flight, and many suspected the issue to be related to the battery’s firmware.

Some question whether a company should have the ability to remotely disable products that consumers have bought and are enjoying—much like Nest did with a line of products it inherited from Revolv, a smart-home company it bought, that it no longer wanted to support. But when it comes to machines that could potentially drop out of the sky for no good reason, perhaps it’s not the worst idea.

The US Military Can Now Shoot Down Consumer Drones It Considers a Threat

The Pentagon has approved a new policy allowing military bases to shoot down private and commercial drones that are considered a threat. As reported by Military Times, the policy was first sent out in July, and though the exact contents are classified, it contains details on how to engage with drones when they are approaching or enter a military no-fly zone.

Pentagon spokesman Navy Capt. Jeff Davis says the infringing drones can be seized and that “the new guidance does afford of the ability to take action to stop these threats and that includes disabling, destroying, and tracking.” How a base responds to a drone “will depend upon the specific circumstances.”

Some drones have built-in geofencing to avoid no-fly zones, but the measure is not foolproof. Modifications can be easily bought from companies like Russian software entity Coptersafe, which lets DJI drones get past government- and military-enforced no-fly zones. As a result of the vulnerabilities, the US Army recently asked all units to discontinue the use of China's DJI drones for missions.

A White House Proposal Would Let Police Shoot Down Drones

... it could let law enforcement ban drone recording — an important journalistic resource — in just about any area it chooses.

Tax The Rich And The Robots? California's Thinking About It

Truth is, automation always has and always will put people out of work. It’s just that this time around, even highly skilled jobs may be imperiled. And that has some folks dreading a time in which robots and AI upend the human workforce.

Included among those folks is San Francisco supervisor Jane Kim, who Wednesday launched a campaign called the Jobs of the Future Fund to study a statewide "payroll" tax on job-stealing machines. Proceeds from the tax would bankroll things like job retraining, free community college, or perhaps a universal basic income―countermeasures Kim thinks might make a robotic future more bearable for humans.

Among the issues with a robot tax: What is a robot? Even roboticists have a hard time agreeing. Does AI that steals a job count as a robot? (Nope, but you’d probably want to tax it like one if you’re going to commit to this.) “We're still working on what defines a robot and what defines job displacement,” Kim says. “And so announcing the opening of the campaign committee is going to also allow us to have discussions throughout the state in terms of what the actual measure would look like.”

... “Maybe in the end this will morph into a different kind of tax or a different type of revenue source,” Kim says.

... Kim’s point isn’t to shove a statewide robot tax down California’s throat. It’s to get society talking about a future workforce that will be fundamentally different, no matter where automation takes us. The machines are coming―now it’s just a question of charging a toll.

What Is A Robot?

Special Report:New High-Tech Russian Torpedo
“There are three classes of people: those who see. Those who see when they are shown. Those who do not see.” ― Leonardo da Vinci

Insensible before the wave so soon released by callous fate. Affected most, they understand the least, and understanding, when it comes, invariably arrives too late.
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Re: Fully Automated Combat Robots Pt. 2

Unread postby vox_mundi » Tue 29 Aug 2017, 14:25:57

Trump Cybersecurity Advisers Resign In ‘Moral’ Protest


More than one-quarter of a panel tasked with advising the Homeland Security Department on cybersecurity and infrastructure protection resigned en masse Monday, citing President Donald Trump’s “insufficient attention” to the nation’s cyber vulnerabilities, among other complaints.

Resigning members of the National Infrastructure Advisory Council also cited the president’s failure to single out neo-Nazis and white supremacists for condemnation after a violent protest earlier this month in Charlottesville, Virginia.

“The moral infrastructure of our nation is the foundation on which our physical infrastructure is built,” the council members stated in a group resignation letter.

The resignation letter, obtained by Nextgov, also cites Trump’s decision to withdraw from the Paris climate change agreement and to revoke building standards related to flooding risk. The letter writers tell the president:
... “Your actions have threatened the security of the homeland I took an oath to protect,”

The former infrastructure council members particularly faulted Trump administration efforts to ensure the digital security of election systems

In total, eight out of 28 NIAC members’ names were removed from the official members web page this week.

Remaining council members met Tuesday and approved a report on cybersecurity vulnerabilities to critical infrastructure. That report warned that U.S. infrastructure is in “a pre-9/11 moment” when it comes to cybersecurity.

“I alone can fix it.” - tRump - Jul 21, 2016
... "We’ll see" - tRump

It's SkyNet's 20th Anniversary OMG ... 8O 8O 8O
At 2:14 a.m. Eastern time on August 29th 1997, Skynet became self-aware. ... minator%2F

DARPA Wants Bots To Protect Us From Cyber Adversaries


Video - The military’s research unit is looking for ways to automate protection against cyber adversaries, preventing incidents like the WannaCry ransomware attack that took down parts of the United Kingdom’s National Health Service networks.

The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency is gathering proposals for software that can autonomously neutralize botnets, armies of compromised devices that can be used to carry out attacks, according to a new broad agency announcement.

The “Harnessing Autonomy for Countering Cyber-adversary Systems” program is also looking for systems that can exploit vulnerabilities in compromised networks to protect those networks, making cyber adversaries—both state and non-state—less effective.

It’s not enough to simply fortify Defense Department networks, the solicitation says, because botnets might operate without the owner of that network knowing. The Defense Department needs a way to initiate an immediate response even if the owner is not “actively participating in the neutralization process,” according to the announcement.
Directive: ... Develop safe and reliable autonomous agents that can be introduced into gray networks at scale to counter botnets and similar adversarial implants

Hunting New Prey: Look for Military Drones to Begin Replacing Police Helicopters by 2025


Video - General Atomics is working hard to put a close cousin of its Reaper anti-terrorism drone in the hands of local law enforcement.

Manned chopper flights are limited by how long the pilot and operator can endure the mission. The ability to silently monitor multiple suspects for days and nights on end without putting a human pilot in harm’s way would represent an enormous improvement in police intelligence and surveillance.
... “Lockheed Martin, Northrop Grumman, they all have irons in the fire. But I don’t know that any of them are pushing as hard as General Atomics, or as early on the civil commercial side”

The newest version of the drone can autonomously take off and land. A single operator can both fly the plane and operate the “sensor ball,” a globe full of high-resolution sensors and thermal imaging sensors manufactured by defense contractor Raytheon. The newest version of the camera has 720p HD resolution, enough to show faces in a crowd from 2,000 feet up. And optics are rapidly improving.

During the MQ-9B test in Grey Butte, journalists peeked out the door of the ground-control trailer to the tiny, barely visible plane overhead. Back inside, the monitors showed that we could easily easily distinguish each another, pick out clothing patterns, discern other markings, etc. It looked like a view from 30 feet up, not 2,000.
“Drones make indiscriminate and persistent aerial surveillance feasible and can easily be equipped with technologies like facial recognition. Without proper restrictions, drone surveillance will become the norm of public space, undermine our constitutional rights and chill First Amendment activities"

Reaper drones can also carry highly advanced jammer and electronic warfare payloads into battle and still retain their satellite link. That means a police drone could carry a wide variety of signals intelligence collection payloads as well.

The ability to continuously survey an entire city opens a wide variety of potential uses, and misuses, that will test communities’ comfort level with far more constant police presence overhead.

For the most, this revolution will happen without much notice. You likely won’t notice the absence of the police helicopters until long after they’re gone.

Should have payed his parking ticket! That'll teach 'im

Trump Lifts Ban On Military Gear To Local Police Forces


... Included in the gear are such things as rocket-launchers and bayonets. According to the Trump plan, the bayonets would likely be re-purposed as utility knives and the launchers used to shoot tear gas canisters, instead of lethal ammunition.
... "Armored vehicles don't attack people; they protect people and not everyone can afford this equipment.''

Image ... Image

... "Our communities are not the same as armed combatants in a war zone,'' said Gupta, who headed the Justice Department's Civil Rights Division during the Obama administration. ... son-2014-8

Trump Orders Military To Give Cops Free Grenade Launchers, Bayonets, And Tank

Proof, once again, that a Ponzi scheme can't run forever ...

Who's the Sucker When Robot Trades Against Robot?


There has been an explosion of interest in computer-powered investing of all kinds in recent years. Barclays estimates that the assets managed by so-called quantitative hedge funds have doubled over the past decade and hit a record $500bn last year.

Unfortunately, the performance has atrophied in tandem with their trendiness. The average equity hedge fund has gained 7.7 per cent this year, according to HFR, while quant equity funds have gained only 4.9 per cent. Quant “macro” funds, which invest across markets, have lost 1.4 per cent.

The prior “fantastic returns” of many quants has attracted too much money. This is in turn eroding the opportunities for everyone, and turning once-profitable strategies into duds, a phenomenon known as “crowding”.
“With all the geniuses in quant, high-powered computers and enormous data, where are the ‘suckers’ who are providing the juice for all of these absolute return quantitative strategies?” ... “We have a condition among the traditional quantitative strategies whereby we have robots trading against robots.”

A 2016 paper by the academics Jeffrey Pontiff and David McLean kicked the tires of 96 separate investment “factors” and discovered that their market-beating returns on average halved after they became known. In other words, once a signal is discovered, it rapidly loses its value, a process known as “alpha decay”.

New Video: ABB’s Automation in Action at Long Beach, California

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

Insensible before the wave so soon released by callous fate. Affected most, they understand the least, and understanding, when it comes, invariably arrives too late.
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