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PeakOil is You

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 » Tue 21 Nov 2017, 15:04:18

Google's Android Tracks Location Info Regardless of Privacy Settings

When you tell your phone to stop sharing your location, you expect it to honor your request, don't you? Unfortunately, that hasn't been entirely true with Android as of late.

Since the beginning of 2017, Android phones have been collecting the addresses of nearby cellular towers—even when location services are disabled—and sending that data back to Google. The result is that Google, the unit of Alphabet behind Android, has access to data about individuals’ locations and their movements that go far beyond a reasonable consumer expectation of privacy.

A Google spokesperson stressed that the tower info, known as Cell ID codes, wasn't being used and was tossed out as soon as it was received. The company had been "looking into" using the data to speed up message delivery. Also, Google has promised to end the behavior. Android phones will stop sending Cell ID by the end of November. Trust Us.

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Police Use of ‘StingRay’ Cellphone Tracker Requires Search Warrant, Appeals Court Rules

A “StingRay II,” made by the Harris Corp., can redirect cellphone calls away from cell tower antennae and capture their identifying data and location. Police use them to find people. Some argue that that’s an invasion of privacy.

A device that tricks cellphones into sending it their location information and has been used quietly by police and federal agents for years, requires a search warrant before it is turned on, an appeals court in Washington ruled Thursday. It is the fourth such ruling by either a state appeals court or federal district court, and may end up deciding the issue unless the government takes the case to the U.S. Supreme Court or persuades the city’s highest court to reverse the ruling.

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‘Stingray on Steroids’:Texas National Guard Spent Hundreds of Thousands on Stingray Equipment

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The Texas National Guard last year spent more than $373,000 to install two of its DRT 1301C “portable receiver systems” in two RC-26 surveillance aircraft.

Unlike older stingray devices, the DRT 1301C are capable of capturing all of the content transferred from a user's device, Austin attorney Scott McCollough who serves on the board of the Austin chapter of Electronic Frontier Foundation told the publication.

Similar to controversial stingray devices, DRT’s systems—nicknamed “dirt boxes”—mimic cellphone towers, connecting to every smartphone within a specific area. Because they connect with all smartphones, it’s nearly impossible to avoid collecting private data from people who aren’t suspects, but just happen to be in the target area.

At one point the surveillance planes reportedly operated under a front company named Air Cerberus, but have since been converted to military registrations, which generally mask their flight routes and unique tail numbers. Asked whether the militia force had the authority to obtain warrants for arrests or surveillance, a Texas National Guard spokesperson told the Observer, “Our current supporting roles do not include arrest or law enforcement authorizations.” (... didn't answer the surveillance question)

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In a 2014 story, the Wall Street Journal revealed that the U.S. Marshals Service had been secretly using "dirt boxes" from a small Cessna aircraft to locate fugitives. Equipment and training was supplied by the CIA, but some officials inside the U.S. Justice Department were concerned that the activity was illegal.


AP Uncovers More Than 100 FBI Spy Plane Flights, Originating From Shell Companies Located In Virginia

The AP traced at least 50 aircraft back to the FBI, and identified more than 100 flights in 11 states over a 30-day period since late April, orbiting both major cities and rural areas. At least 115 planes, including 90 Cessna aircraft, were mentioned in a federal budget document from 2009.

... Some of the aircraft can also be equipped with technology that can identify thousands of people below through the cellphones they carry, even if they’re not making a call or in public. Officials said that practice, which mimics cell towers and gets phones to reveal basic subscriber information, is used in only limited situations.

“These are not your grandparents’ surveillance aircraft,” said Jay Stanley, a senior policy analyst with the American Civil Liberties Union. Stanley said the flights are significant “if the federal government is maintaining a fleet of aircraft whose purpose is to circle over American cities, especially with the technology we know can be attached to those aircraft.”


Secret Cameras Record Baltimore’s Every Move From Above

Since January, police have been testing an aerial surveillance system adapted from the surge in Iraq. And they neglected to tell the public.

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Since the beginning of the year, the Baltimore Police Department had been using the plane to investigate all sorts of crimes, from property thefts to shootings. The Cessna sometimes flew above the city for as many as 10 hours a day, and the public had no idea it was there.

A company called Persistent Surveillance Systems, based in Dayton, Ohio, provided the service to the police, and the funding came from a private donor. No public disclosure of the program had ever been made.
... If a roadside bomb exploded while the camera was in the air, analysts could zoom in to the exact location of the explosion and rewind to the moment of detonation. Keeping their eyes on that spot, they could further rewind the footage to see a vehicle, for example, that had stopped at that location to plant the bomb. Then they could backtrack to see where the vehicle had come from, marking all of the addresses it had visited. They also could fast-forward to see where the driver went after planting the bomb—perhaps a residence, or a rebel hideout, or a stash house of explosives. More than merely identifying an enemy, the technology could identify an enemy network.

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But, if a cop shoots a citizen the tape gets accidentally erased.

... McNutt often says that when he stares into the computer monitors, the dots moving along the sidewalks and streets are mere pixels to him. Nothing more. If anyone else wants to project identifying features onto them—sex, race, whatever—that’s their doing, not his.
...
Cypher: The image translators work for the construct program - but there's way too much information to decode the Matrix. You get used to it, though. Your brain does the translating. I don't even see the code. All I see is blonde, brunette, redhead. - Matrix - 1999


This Shadowy Company Is Flying Spy Planes Over US Cities

For six straight days in the middle of March, a small twin-propeller plane flew over Phoenix. Each evening, it picked two or three spots and circled for hours, flying at more than 17,000 feet. The plane was loaded with sophisticated surveillance equipment, including technology developed by the National Security Agency to track cell phones.

In June of last year, that same plane spent three weeks circling daily over Wilmington, North Carolina, carrying a state-of-the-art “persistent surveillance” camera that can monitor a large area continuously for hours at a time.

The Phoenix and Wilmington flights are among dozens tracked by BuzzFeed News that were flown by companies run by an obscure, Oklahoma-based private equity fund called Acorn Growth Companies. Acorn’s planes serve as the US military’s “A-Team” for aerial surveillance in Africa, including tracking suspected terrorists’ phones from the air. In the US, the planes sometimes take part in military exercises — as they were in Phoenix — helping troops practice raids on targets using the same phone-tracking technology.

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At other times, Acorn serves commercial clients. The Wilmington flights, according to the company that made and operated the persistent surveillance camera, were run for two reasons: to demonstrate the technology’s value for traffic surveys, and to track vehicles going to and from retail outlets. This “commercial intelligence” would allow businesses to understand where their customers are driving from. The idea was to give retailers clues to help their marketing, so they can target mailings or other efforts to lure in customers from neighborhoods where people tend to shop at competing stores.

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Acorn’s planes also circled regularly over Oklahoma City, flying from their home base of Wiley Post Airport. In 2013, when the FAA was considering closing the airport’s air traffic control tower, the city’s Department of Airports cited the company’s “classified defense contracts” to argue against the plan: “The defense contracts with Commuter Air Technology require 4 - 6 daily flights in and out of Wiley Post Airport,” it wrote in a memo to the FAA. “The closure of the control tower may prohibit these operations and cause the loss of these defense contracts.”

In 2016, the US military paid Commuter Air Technology more than $20 million to provide intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance in Africa. This surveillance “is conducted in full coordination with the host nations,” said Robyn Mack, a spokesperson for US Africa Command. Some countries wish to "manage their citizens".

Acorn’s diverse activities in these and other cities raise questions about how much data is being gathered from ordinary people who come under the visual and electronic gaze of sophisticated spy planes — and how that information is being used. ...

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... Surveillance Aircraft are registered to the cities of Mesa and Phoenix in Arizona, the sheriffs of Orange and Los Angeles counties in California, and the Ohio State Highway Patrol. In July of last year, the Ohio plane showed up above Cleveland during the Republican National Convention, where it watched for “suspicious persons in immediate proximity to secure areas


FCC Plan Would Give Internet Providers Power to Choose the Sites Customers See and Use

Federal regulators unveiled a plan Tuesday that would give Internet providers broad powers to determine what websites and online services their customers can see and use, and at what cost.

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“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 » Wed 22 Nov 2017, 12:06:35

Russia to the United Nations: Don’t Try to Stop Us From Building Killer Robots

Arms control advocates had reason for hope when scores of countries met at the United Nations in Geneva last week to discuss the future of lethal autonomous weapons systems, or LAWS. But hopes for even a small first step toward restricting “killer robots” were dashed as the meeting unfolded. Russia announced that it would adhere to no international ban, moratorium or regulation on such weapons.

Russia’s Nov. 10 statement amounts to a lawyerly attempt to undermine any progress toward a ban. It argues that defining “lethal autonomous robots” is too hard, not yet necessary, and a threat to legitimate technology development.
“One of the things that’s a bit incongruous about Russia’s position is that their own defense companies have made claims about developing autonomous weapons: So while you have Russia saying ‘we shouldn’t talk about these weapons because they don’t exist,’ it sure looks like Russian companies are racing to develop them”

Other attendees noted that Russian defense contractors, notably Kalashnikov, are already marketing weapons with artificial intelligence features such as autonomous targeting and firing. Defining a killer robot doesn’t seem to be an obstacle when the objective is selling them.

Russian defense spending in AI is expected to grow since the Ministry of Defense has at least 10 research centers looking at applications for autonomy in warfare. And of course Russian President Vladimir Putin has even said that the nation that leads in AI will rule the world.


BAE Systems wins DARPA contract to develop 3D space warfare lab

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WASHINGTON — The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency awarded BAE Systems a contract worth up to $12.8 million to develop a digital lab to help U.S. military commanders prepare for combat in outer space, the company announced Nov. 14.

The task is to create a virtual space-battle zone so U.S. military leaders can better understand the space environment and the potential threats.


DARPA Laying Groundwork for Growth In Space Robotics

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Wanted: AI That Can Spy

... Since July, competitors have trained machine-learning algorithms on one of the world’s largest publicly available data sets of satellite imagery—containing 1 million labeled objects, such as buildings and facilities. The data is provided by the U.S. Intelligence Advanced Research Projects Activity (IARPA). The 10 finalists will see their AI algorithms scored against a hidden data set of satellite imagery when the challenge closes at the end of December.

The agency’s goal in sponsoring the Functional Map of the World Challenge aligns with statements made by Robert Cardillo, director of the U.S. National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency, who has pushed for AI solutions that can automate 75 percent of the workload currently performed by humans analyzing satellite images.

It seems to me like these agencies want to generate maps automatically,” says Mark Pritt, a research scientist at Lockheed Martin, “without having to have a human person look at a satellite image and saying, ‘Oh, there’s a smokestack there, let me mark it on the map.’ Today’s maps are generated manually.

... The deep learning algorithms proved capable of helping people with no prior imagery analysis experience find surface-to-air missile sites scattered across nearly 90,000 square kilometers of southeastern China. Such AI based on neural networks—layers of artificial neuron capable of filtering and learning from huge amounts of data—matched the overall 98 percent accuracy of expert human imagery analysts in locating the missile sites.

Perhaps even more impressively, the deep learning software helped humans reduce the time needed to eyeball potential missile sites [i]from 60 hours to just 42 minutes.[/i]


DARPA Digging for Ideas to Revolutionize Subterranean Mapping and Navigation

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... As underground settings become increasingly relevant to global security and safety, innovative and enhanced technologies have the potential to disruptively and positively impact subterranean military and civilian operations. To explore these possibilities, DARPA has issued a Request for Information (RFI) to augment its understanding of state-of-the-art technologies that could enable future systems to rapidly map and navigate unknown complex subterranean environments to locate objects of interest, e.g., trapped survivors, without putting humans in harm’s way.

Of high interest to DARPA are disruptive concepts, approaches, architectures, and technologies that overwhelmingly outperform current approaches for manually and laboriously mapping and searching subterranean environments in terms of map resolution, navigation speed, search fidelity, systems cost, etc. Additionally, responses detailing existing models (e.g., appropriate for high-fidelity simulation) of underground terrains, relevant sensors, and/or platforms are also of interest.

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DARPA to Build Nothingness Detector for Tunnel Sniffing

... Seeing through solid rock might sound like a tall order, but Darpa thrives on challenge. One project is called Airborne Tomography using Active Electromagnetics, which builds on technology originally developed by the geophysical exploration industry. The ground is illuminated with electromagnetic energy – typically extremely low frequency – and the distortions on the return show the presence of underground facilities and tunnels.

Some years ago, military-backed scientists at Alaska's High Frequency Active Auroral Research Program (HAARP) were able to map out tunnels at depths of a hundred feet or greater. Papadopoulos, for example, says he wants to do another round of subterranean surveillance experiments. "Personally, I believe it can reach 1,000 kilometers. It [currently] can't reach Iran, if that's your question," one of those researchers, Dennis Papadopoulos told Danger Room. "But if I put HAARP on a ship, or on an oil platform, who knows?"

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Why Is China Building These Gigantic Structures In the Middle of Nowhere?



DARPA Scientists Unveil Brain Device That Boosts Learning By 40 Percent

A brain device that can increase learning by up to 40 percent has been revealed by scientists funded by the Defense Advanced Research Project Agency (DARPA). While the device was originally tested on macaques, researchers said it could be a cheap and non-invasive way of “altering functional connectivity in humans” in the future.

The device is a non-invasive cap that stimulates parts of the brain via electrical currents. It was developed by researchers at HRL Laboratories, California, McGill University in Montreal, Canada, and Soterix Medical in New York.

In their experiments, the team performed “non-invasive transcranial direct current stimulation”—or tDCS—on a set of macaques. They stimulated the prefrontal cortex and got them to perform a task based on associative learning. In order to get a reward, they had to learn associations between a visual cue and a location. The macaques would forage for the reward after getting the visual cue.

The findings, published in the journal Current Biology, showed that macaques in the control group took 22 trials before they had learned to get the reward straight away. It took the tDCS group just 12 trials. The tDCS device accounted for a 40 percent increase in learning speed, the authors say.


Robots Learn to Speak Body Language

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If your friend says she feels relaxed, but you see that her fists are clenched, you may doubt her sincerity. Robots, on the other hand, might take her word for it. Body language says a lot, but even with advances in computer vision and facial recognition technology, robots struggle to notice subtle body movement and can miss important social cues as a result.

Researchers at Carnegie Mellon University developed a body-tracking system that might help solve this problem. Called OpenPose, the system can track body movement, including hands and face, in real time. It uses computer vision and machine learning to process video frames, and can even keep track of multiple people simultaneously. This capability could ease human-robot interactions and pave the way for more interactive virtual and augmented reality as well as intuitive user interfaces.


Toyota’s latest humanoid robot can mimic your movements

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Video - Toyota has revealed its third generation humanoid robot, the T-HR3, which can be controlled and synchronized with the operator’s movements. The user wears data gloves and an HTC Vive VR headset that’s linked to cameras to show the robot’s perspective. T-HR3 stands 1.54 meters tall and weighs 75kg ( 5 feet, 1 inches / 165 pounds) and was developed to explore the possibility of assisting humans in the home, medical facilities, construction sites, disaster areas, and even in space, Toyota says.

The operator can control the robot’s entire body using what's called the Master Maneuvering System (MMS) — 16 torque servo modules in the chair, motion and force sensors at the feet, and 29 more torque servo modules located in the robot’s joints.

When the user moves, the MMS signals to the robot’s 29 body parts (including 10 fingers) to move. The operator can move the robot forwards or laterally by making walking movements while remaining in place. The robot also has balance control, so if it collides with an object, it can keep its balance. Force can be controlled as well, as highlighted by the video when the robot gently picks up a balloon-like ball.
“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 24 Nov 2017, 13:22:22

Why is Russia Sending Robotic Submarines to the Arctic?

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http://www.hisutton.com/Russian_Arctic_Update.html

In much the same way as extracting oil from the North Sea was considered to be an engineering challenge in the 1970s as nobody had operated drilling platforms so far north in such difficult weather conditions before, the Arctic poses similar barriers today. With water up to 5km (3.1 miles) deep in places and largely covered with ice, the Arctic is arguably the hardest place in the world to drill for oil.

But then, nobody has attempted anything like Project Iceberg before.

The Foundation for Advanced Studies, the Russian equivalent of America’s Darpa, states it is planning “fully autonomous underwater, under-ice, development of hydrocarbon fields in the Arctic seas with severe ice conditions”. In other words: oil-seeking robotic submarines.

But there are some who suggest Iceberg’s stated goals are unrealistic – and that they may be a smokescreen for the development of military systems that can be deployed under the ice.

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The centrepiece of Iceberg is the 182m-long (600 ft) Belgorod, the largest nuclear submarine ever built. The Belgorod will carry out underwater surveys and lay communication cables under the ice, but its main role will be to act as a mothership for a flotilla of smaller submarines.

“The Belgorod submarine is a platform for deployment of various systems, including ones that do not yet exist,” says Vadim Kozyulin, a defence analyst at PIR Centre, a thinktank focusing on security issues.

This is the reason for the sub’s enormous size: a new 30m (100 ft) section has been added with docking facilities for both manned and unmanned submarines.

But perhaps the most ambitious part of Project Iceberg are the plans for the word’s first underwater nuclear power plants to act as pitstops for the swarms of submarines that will be deployed.

These underwater power stations will sit on the sea bed and act as recharging points for passing unmanned subs. The current design is for a 24-megawatt reactor with a lifetime of 25 years. Each one will operate almost entirely autonomously with technicians only visiting once a year for routine maintenance.

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But Russia has a poor record on nuclear safety at sea, having lost seven nuclear submarines since 1961, some of them because of reactor problems. Accidents on board vessels operated by the former Soviet Union account for 14 of the most deadly nuclear incidents to have occurred at sea. In one case the entire sub was exposed to high radiation levels, while another suffered a loss of coolant and a partial reactor meltdown. One such accident was dramatised in the Hollywood movie K-19: The Widowmaker.

The underwater reactors are said to be at an advanced stage of development, with the aim of having the first one operational by 2020. And while there will be some humans involved in this aspect of Project Iceberg, many other routine operations will be carried out by robots alone.

The workhorses will be deepwater unmanned submarines or autonomous underwater vehicles (AUVs). AUVs are currently used in small numbers by many nations, and generally under close operator control rather than roving freely. Russia has previously lagged in this area, but they seem to be catching up.

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The Harpsichord-2R-PM AUV has been developed for Iceberg, and is intended to be the forerunner of a whole family of different underwater vehicles. This two-tonne, 6m-long (20ft) torpedo-like craft is currently being tested in the Black Sea but has also being used to help in the recovery of crashed aircraft. In 2009, one of these AUV’s located a Russian Navy plane, which had crashed killing all 11 people on board during a training flight. The plane had come down in the sea off Sakhalin, a Russian island near Japan, but the search on the surface was hampered by ice and severe weather. The AUV’s ability to operate by itself beneath the waves allowed it to successfully recover the black box flight recorders needed to help determine the cause of the crash.

While AUVs are often already used for underwater surveying, there is no precedent for using them to drill on the sea bed. Igor Vilnit, head of Russia’s largest submarine design company the Rubin Central Design Bureau for Marine Engineering, claims they are on course to have a working AUV drill in action in as little as five years.

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At a conference in March, Russian Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin said development of the Arctic region would help to build neighbourly relations with surrounding states and that it should be a "territory of peace and cooperation". But this is hardly consistent with other Russian activity in the area.

Some 50 former Soviet Arctic military bases have recently been reactivated. The Russian army has new Arctic Brigades, and showed off special military vehicles for polar operations in this year’s May Day parade. Russia‘s Northern Fleet is also to get its own nuclear-powered icebreaker, as well as “ice capable” patrol vessels, essentially mini-icebreakers armed with anti-ship missiles and lasers.

Kozyulin is dubious about the chain of underwater nuclear recharging stations that are planned under Project Iceberg, calling them “too fantastic”. He asks:
... why, if this is supposedly a commercial drilling operation, are Gazprom or one of Russia’s other oil companies not involved?

Kozyulin finds it easier to believe Iceberg’s true purpose is a military one. The underwater water reactors might, for example, be used to power Russia’s planned sonar fence, known as Harmony, which detects and tracks Nato submarines.

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HARMONY Submarine Detection Network

Analysis suggests that the main special mission of Belgorod will be the covert placement of large underwater systems on the sea floor. Russia is working on a new multi-sensor submarine detection network similar in concept to the US Navy’s classic SOSUS system which is intended to detect submarines operating under the arctic at ranges of 100km or more. According the sources quoted in the Russian media (Izvestia, 20th July 2016) the new system will involve ‘underwater sensors’ - sonar arrays and possibly pressure or wake detectors - and sonar buoys, and will communicate with control stations via satellites. The system itself, or components of it, are codenamed HARMONY.

This system will require the exact placement of a series of underwater constructions. Placement under the ice cap (which is implied) will be extremely complex, especially considering the need to power the system. Cables from the shore are difficult to place without surface ships above which is both impracticable and indiscrete, and are vulnerable to USN tracing and interference. The answer that the Russian planners have come up with it to place a series of self-contained nuclear power plants. These ATGU (Automated installation of the nuclear turbine generator) will be carried into position on the back of the submarine, and placed by the midget submarine (see below).

The ATGU has an integral Pressurized Water Reactor, a small-sized turbine generator installation, a simple thermal-hydraulic circuit and the minimum of ancillary equipment. It is enclosed in a cylindrical ‘Energokapsule’ which is 14m (45ft) long and 8m (25ft) in diameter.

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“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 24 Nov 2017, 14:28:45

North Korea Sees Manhattan, White House and Pentagon as Top Nuclear Targets, New Report Shows

Manhattan, the White House and the Pentagon are among North Korea's top nuclear targets, according to a new report released Wednesday by the European Council on Foreign Relations. "Major American cities," Guam, Hawaii and U.S. military bases in the Pacific also are listed as primary targets in the report.

"North Korea lacks a clear distinction between the use of nuclear weapons against military targets and their use against civilian targets," the report states. In other words, Pyongyang seems to view both military and civilian targets fairly equally.

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The researchers who compiled the report concluded Kim has made it clear he will not consider denuclearization and that his nuclear philosophy is driven by North Korea's technological inferiority. "Without certainty that its arsenal could survive a first strike by its enemies, Pyongyang’s deterrence relies on the threat of launching the first strike itself," the report states.

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Pyongyang’s official statements show that it is prepared to carry out a pre-emptive nuclear strike, that it would consider strikes against both military and civilian targets, and that it is focused on deterrence by punishment, but dreams of achieving deterrence by denial. This does not constitute a fully formed doctrine, but the beginning of doctrinal thinking. Taken together, these elements evoke the model of “asymmetric escalation” described by nuclear scholar Vipin Narang. For Narang, asymmetric escalation is a posture adopted by states trying to deter more powerful adversaries from launching conventional or nuclear attacks by threatening to use nuclear weapons first.


Top General Says He Would Reject An ‘Illegal’ Nuclear Strike Order From Trump

... “We’re not stupid people,” nuclear commander Gen. John Hyten said at a forum Saturda

“If you execute an unlawful order, you will go to jail,” Air Force Gen. John Hyten told an audience at the Halifax International Security Forum in Nova Scotia. “You could go to jail for the rest of your life.”
“Donald Trump can launch nuclear codes just as easily as he can use his Twitter account,” ... “I don’t think we should be trusting the generals to be a check on the president.”

- Sen. Ed Markey - Senate Foreign Relations Committee


If Trump Wants To Use Nuclear Weapons, Whether It’s ‘Legal’ Won’t Matter

... “legality” is the wrong issue altogether. For a general to affirm that he would not obey an “illegal” order is not a strong stance — it’s a simple refusal to willingly commit a war crime, the bare minimum we should expect from a high-ranking American officer. The rest of Hyten’s statement makes clear that he sees his role as a bargainer who would advise the president how to accomplish his desired ends by facilitating a legal alternative.

In other words, this is not a principled form of resistance. It is, in the end, “not that complicated”: The president, one way or another, will probably get what he wants.


Doomsday Scenarios: The UK’s Hair-Raising Admissions About the Prospect of Nuclear War and Accident

Every few years, the MoD updates its studies concerning the nature of global developments. The third edition of the Strategic Trends Programme predicts trends between the years 2007-2036. It states (MoD’s emphases):
... Accelerating nuclear proliferation will create a more complex and dangerous strategic environment, with the likely clustering of nuclear-armed states in regions that have significant potential for instability or have fears about foreign intervention. For example, North Korean, Pakistani and potentially, Iranian nuclear weapon capability will increase significantly the risks of conflict in Asia if a system of mutual deterrence does not emerge. In addition, nuclear possession may lead to greater adventurism and irresponsible conventional and irregular behaviour, to the point of brinkmanship and misunderstanding. Finally, there is a possibility that neutron technologies may reemerge as potential deterrent and warfighting options.

Neutron weapons supposedly kill living things but do not harm property. The report also notes a potential “revival of interest” among “developed states” in “neutron and smarter nuclear technologies.” Neutron bombs could become “a weapon of choice for extreme ethnic cleansing in an increasingly populated world.” The document concludes rather casually, stating:Many of the concerns over the development of new technologies lie in their safety, including the potential for disastrous outcomes, planned and unplanned.” Note the word planned. It goes on to say:
... “Various doomsday scenarios arising in relation to these and other areas of development present the possibility of catastrophic impacts, ultimately including the end of the world, or at least of humanity.


Japan-Based US F-35s Plan "Show of Force" Near Korean Peninsula

The Air Force is planning an F-35A show of force in the Pacific in coming weeks now that 12 F-35A’s have deployed to Japan for a six-month rotation, service officials said.

... The 12 F-35s, now based at Kadena Air Base, Japan, arrived from Utah’s 34th Fighter Squadron, Hill Air Force Base, officials with Pacific Air Forces said in a statement.


US Marines F-35 Squadron Trains to Fight Through Nuclear War Against North Korea

As part of the "all options on the table" approach to North Korea often pushed by President Donald Trump and his cabinet, the US has been training the first operational Marine Corps F-35 squadron to fight through nuclear war if needed.

In mid-November, US Marine Corps pilots and support crew donned Mission Oriented Protective Posture (MOPP) gear to train for war fighting under the strain of chemical, biological, or radiological hazards.

The Marines wore MOPP gear level four, the highest grade of protective gear available to the US military, while executing a "hot refueling," or a fast-paced exercise where the pilot keeps the F-35's engines on while it takes on more gas, so it can take off in a moment's notice.

Hot refueling, as well as hot reloading, where F-35s take in more ordnance while the engines stay on, both represent tactics devised specifically with fighting in the Pacific in mind.

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8 Million People Could Die in a Nuclear War with North Korea

The truth is that a war with North Korea could be nothing like the First Gulf War, Yugoslavia, Kosovo, Afghanistan, the Second Gulf War or Libya. Such a conflict could be an epic struggle in which millions of people, on the Korean Peninsula, in Japan and even in the continental United States, could perish. The best path forward is to practice the foreign-policy doctrine that ended the Cold War peacefully: containment. Containment, rather than open conflict or outright appeasement, is not a panacea, but under the circumstances it is the best of the options that Washington can pursue. As during the Cold War, a patient and vigilant strategy can wait out a hostile regime in the expectation that it will eventually crumble. A look at the possible outcomes of a nuclear conflict shows why it is more prudent to adopt this approach than to strike first. ....

... For example, Kim could order an attack on South Korea’s vast civilian nuclear infrastructure, unleashing deadly plumes of radioactive fallout.
... Seoul operates twenty-four nuclear power plants that could all come under various forms of North Korean attack, though they are relatively far from the North. With many of these facilities lumped together, Pyongyang could fire a salvo of missiles at these plants, creating an immediate humanitarian crisis.

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If North Korea were to destroy just a few reactors, a disaster eclipsing Chernobyl could occur, killing tens of thousands and leaving millions of acres of South Korea an uninhabitable wasteland for generations.
... The last war game scenario is the most shocking of them all. We assumed a similar scenario, with allied forces preparing for a possible invasion, but this time Kim decides to launch a preemptive attack on the U.S. homeland—to take as many people to the grave with him as possible, a goal the North Koreans have declared in the past. In this last war game, North Korea attacks the cities in the second scenario with atomic weapons, but also launches successful nuclear strikes on Los Angeles, San Francisco, Seattle and Portland. We were shocked to discover that the combined body count, across Asia and America, came to over three million people—before America’s nuclear counterattack, which would add millions more. After North Korea retaliates with every weapon it has, launching more nuclear attacks along with chemical- and biological-weapons strikes, eight million people have lost their lives.


Study: S. Korean Nuclear Disaster Would Hit Japan the Hardest

At events in Japan and South Korea, Kang, 51, has repeatedly warned about East Asia’s vulnerability to a severe nuclear accident, saying the region shares the “same destiny” regardless of the location of such a disaster.

The Kori nuclear complex is home to seven of the country’s 25 commercial reactors, making it one of the largest in South Korea. Its oldest reactor--and the first in the country--went online in 1978.

Spent nuclear fuel at the Kori plant is cooled in on-site storage pools next to reactors.

An estimated 818 tons of spent fuel was being stored at the pool of the Kori No. 3 reactor as of the end of 2015, the most at any reactor in the country.

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Special Report - Nuclear Strategists Call for Bold Move: Scrap ICBM Arsenal

Of all weapons in the U.S. nuclear arsenal, the ICBM is the one most likely to cause accidental nuclear war, arms-control specialists say. It is for this reason that a growing number of former defense officials, scholars of military strategy and some members of Congress have begun calling for the elimination of ICBMs.

They say that in the event of an apparent enemy attack, a president’s decision to launch must be made so fast that there would not be time to verify the threat. False warnings could arise from human error, malfunctioning early warning satellites or hacking by third parties.

Once launched, America’s current generation of ICBM missiles, the Minuteman III, cannot be recalled: They have no communication equipment because the United States fears on-board gear would be vulnerable to electronic interference by an enemy.

Skeptics of the nuclear modernization program also have cited the new U.S. president’s impulsiveness as further reason for opposing the hair-trigger ICBM fleet. The enormously consequential decision to launch, said Former Def. Sect. William Perry, requires a president with a cool and rational personality. “I’m particularly concerned if the person lacks experience, background, knowledge and temperament” to make the decision, he said.

A spokesperson for the White House National Security Council dismissed any suggestion that Trump lacks the skills to handle the arsenal. “The president is pre-eminently prepared to make all decisions regarding the employment of our nuclear forces,” she said.

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Re: Fully Automated Combat Robots Pt. 2

Unread postby vox_mundi » Fri 24 Nov 2017, 16:02:02

Walmart Testing a Self-driving, Floor-scrubbing Robot

Video - Walmart has been testing autonomous floor-cleaning robots in five of its stores, LinkedIn reports. The floor scrubber, developed by Brain Corp., is equipped with cameras, sensors and LiDAR to help it maneuver down aisles and around obstacles. And it can largely navigate itself after first being driven by a person in order to learn its path.

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The machine, named EMMA, roams around the store like the cross between a Zamboni and a Roomba.

A Walmart spokesperson told Fox, "The maintenance team is actually quite excited to work with new technology like this." But that doesn't seem to apply to everyone. As one Walmart employee told LinkedIn, "Nobody in my store likes it." - Video

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Walmart Tests Shelf-scanning Robots in 50-plus Stores

... Machines from Bossa Nova Robotics will roam the Walmart aisles to check for stock levels, pricing and misplaced items, saving human staffers the hassle of checking everything themselves. There will be technicians on-site just in case, but the bots are fully autonomous. Thanks in part to 3D imaging, they can dodge around obstacles and make notes to return later if their path is completely blocked. The robots can scan shelves three times faster and more accurately than humans, who can scan shelves only twice a week.

Walmart is fond of cutting costs whenever possible, and doesn't exactly put its staff on pedestals. While jobs are safe from automation for the foreseeable future, it's easy to imagine robots eventually taking over those positions that don't require human-to-human interaction. Shelf checks can cost a major retailer hundreds of millions of dollars per year. However expensive the robots may be, they could pay for themselves very quickly.

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Walmart Does Grocery Pickups with Automated Kiosks

The retailer is testing the kiosk in Oklahoma City that lets you pick up your online groceries at any time of the day or week. Instead of parking and waiting for a staffer to bring out your food, you enter a pickup code and wait for the kiosk to automatically fetch the order from bins inside.

Walmart is already exploring a similar concept in the UK, however, and it's also experimenting with vending machine-like "Pickup Towers" in five cities across the US (Atlanta, Bentonville, Detroit, Houston and Raleigh) that streamline the process of retrieving non-food orders.

If Walmart doesn't automate some of the shopping experience, there's a risk that Amazon will snap up those customers reeled in by the prospect of faster shopping.


How Many Robots Does It Take to Fill a Grocery Order?

It once took online grocer Ocado two hours to put together a box of 50 food items. Now machines can do it in five minutes.

The U.K.'s biggest online grocer hit a milestone this year: Ocado Group Plc put together an order of 50 items, including produce, meat and dairy, in five minutes. Fulfilling a similar order at one of the company’s older facilities takes an average of about two hours. The secret: a fleet of 1,000 robots that scurry about a warehouse snatching up products and delivering them to human packers.

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https://www.theengineer.co.uk/grocery-4 ... utomation/


Walmart Cutting 7,000 Jobs Due to Automation

National Australia Bank (NAB) to Axe 4,000 Jobs in Shift Towards Automation

National Australia Bank (NAB) said it would axe 4,000 jobs — about 12 per cent of its workforce — over the next three years in an effort to automate and simplify its business using new technologies.

As we simplify, we automate processes and things move to digital channels, we will need less people and as that happens we estimate that there will be 6,000 less people needed in three years’ time,” said Andrew Thorburn, NAB chief executive.

Having said that, we’re hiring 2,000 people with different capabilities: data scientists, AI, robotics, automation, technology people, digital people, so the net [loss] will be 4,000 and that’s just a reshaping that’s going to happen.”

NAB’s job cuts follow a global pattern as lenders introduce new technologies such as artificial intelligence to replace customer support staff and digital channels that eliminate in-branch jobs.


Truck Drivers Like Me Will Soon Be Replaced by Automation. You're Next

I’ve been driving big trucks since shortly after my 21st birthday in 1980 and I always figured I’d be able to stay on the road until retirement. Now I’m not so sure. Alphabet, Amazon, Apple, Daimler, Tesla, Uber, Ford and Toyota are all investing billions of dollars in driverless vehicles.

I’m sure about one thing, though: driverless trucks will be here before driverless cars because that’s where the early money is going to be made. With some of the world’s most aggressive and best capitalized companies racing to be first with a viable driverless vehicle, I don’t give myself very good odds on choosing when to hang up my keys.

The only humans left in a modern supply chain are truck drivers. Today’s cutting-edge warehouses buzz with automated forklifts and robots that load and unload trucks while drivers stand around sipping coffee – and getting paychecks and health insurance. That’s the kind of thing that drives corporate finance types crazy. The best option is to eliminate drivers.

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Automation Is Coming for Truckers. But First, They're Being Watched.

... Legislation set to take effect in December 2017 will require that all American truck drivers equip their vehicle with an electronic logging device — ELD for short. These small computers monitor speed, location, and driving schedules, and report that information back to an employer or a third-party monitoring service.

The ELDs are also seen as a gateway to more intrusive monitoring technologies, like SmartCap’s EEG-monitoring hats, or Seeing Machines’ computer vision-equipped inward facing cameras. And for truckers, privacy issues are especially divisive, because their trucks often serve as workplace, home, and vehicle when they are out on the road.


Artificial Intelligence Could Bring Nasty Surprises, Warns Financial Stability Board

The rapid use of artificial intelligence in banking could trigger financial stability risks and some unexpected surprises unless proper testing and training is put in place, the Financial Stability Board has warned.

Banks, insurers and asset managers are rushing to swap humans with computer systems able to do the same jobs, with 'smart' robots able to crunch data, automate client interaction, spot fraud or price insurance contracts.

But the race to replace people with machines "has the potential to amplify financial shocks" and could be used by cybercriminals to manipulate market prices, the FSB said, adding that firms were in an 'arms race' to adopt AI because their competitors are.

"These competition issues – relevant enough from the perspective of economic efficiency – could be translated into financial stability risks if and when such technology firms have a large market share in specific financial market segments," the FSB wrote.

The 45-page report also called for more specialist staff to oversee the models, which could lead to "unintended consequences" if they are too opaque.

"If multiple firms develop trading strategies using AI and machine learning models but do not understand the models because of their complexity, it would be very difficult for both firms and supervisors to predict how actions directed by models will affect markets," it said.

The FSB, which represents central banks and regulators for the G20 economies, also noted that many of these systems had been developed in a period of low volatility and so "the models may not suggest optimal actions in a significant economic downturn or in a financial crisis".


McKinsey Report on Container Shipping in 2067 Predicts Autonomous 50K TEU vessels

In 50 years, containerships will operate autonomously and will be nearly three times the size of the largest current vessels. There may only be three or four major liner companies, and they will operate either as digitally enabled independents or as small units of tech giants. Freight forwarding as a stand-alone business will become extinct, because digital interactions will reduce the need for intermediaries to manage logistics services among multiple stakeholders. Customers, whether they seek deep relationships with carriers or just the lowest rates in transactional form, will take service transparency and reliability as a given.

Those are the some of the projections to come out of a study released last week by consultancy McKinsey & Co. on how the global liner industry, today one of the world's most technologically hidebound businesses, can re-invent itself for the digital age. The authors, Steve Saxon and Matt Stone, framed their findings with a historical perspective: In 1967, McKinsey was commissioned by the British Transport Docks Board to assess the impact of seagoing containers, which had been developed in the U.S. a decade earlier. The first ships expressly designed to transport this equipment had just been launched, and McKinsey advised its client—with great prescience—that containerization would forever transform the economics of ocean shipping.

Looking out to 2067, Saxon and Stone foresee ships with a capacity of 50,000 twenty-foot equivalent unit (TEU) containers plying the seas, perhaps alongside modular, drone-like floating containers. A fully autonomous transport chain will extend from loading, stowage, and sailing to unloading directly onto autonomous trains and trucks, with last-mile deliveries by drones, they said.


The “Amazon Amendment” Would Effectively Hand Government Purchasing Power Over To Amazon

Language buried in Section 801 of the House-passed version of the National Defense Authorization Act, which is being hashed out in a conference committee with the Senate, would move Defense Department purchases of commercial off-the-shelf products to “online marketplaces.” Theoretically, that means any website that offers an array of options for paper clips or office furniture; in reality that signals likely dominance for Amazon Business, the company’s commercial sales platform.

Section 801 stipulates that the program should be designed “to enable Government-wide use of such marketplaces.” Scale, then, is key. Over time, this change would give platforms like Amazon access to all $53 billion in federal government commercial item purchases.

“It seems like Amazon wrote it,” said Stacy Mitchell of the Institute for Local Self-Reliance, which has written critical reports about Amazon in the past. “It will accelerate the transfer of more and more government spending to Amazon.”

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“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 02 Dec 2017, 11:32:07

Homeland Security Thinks DJI Is Using Its Drones to Spy on America

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(U) DJI’s Target Customers

(U//LES) DJI targets key federal, state, and local law enforcement entities through exhibits at trade shows across the United States. These shows are an attractive outlet for DJI to market its UAS since a large number of resellers and product representatives are present at each show. Since 2015, DJI has specifically targeted Sheriff’s Departments and Search and Rescue teams that attended the shows.

(U//LES) SIP Los Angeles assesses with high confidence that outside of DJI’s goal to attain law enforcement customers, DJI’s criteria for selecting accounts to target appears to focus on the account holder’s ability to disrupt critical infrastructure. As a result, DJI has amassed customers such as American Water, Union Pacific, and American Electric Power, some of the biggest utility and transportation companies in the United States.

The accusations point to a broadening debate in both the United States and China over how to secure vast data reserves that are being vacuumed up by commercial technology companies. Likened by metaphor-minded tech types to gold or oil, data has become a hugely valuable way to suss out market trends and target ads.

Now equipped with remote sensing technology to monitor crops, infrared scanners to scrutinize power lines, cameras and tracking systems, drones — much like smartphones — are the stuff of espionage dreams. Customers often have little knowledge of where their data might end up, experts said, while D.J.I. and others give themselves considerable leeway in the fine print of their user agreements to transfer data across borders.

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Chinese officials expressed similar concerns in the wake of Edward J. Snowden’s disclosures that American companies aid in Washington’s electronic espionage efforts.


Security Drones to be Set Upon Criminals

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Burglars can now be set upon by security guard drones equipped with infra-red cameras, floodlights and possibly sirens and human voices.
Kiwi-owned and operated company VigilAir today launched its semi-autonomous aerial surveillance drones onto the global market -- a product it says that has potential to change the face of the global security industry.

"Drones will help catch perpetrators as everything's recorded, which is gold for any eventual prosecutions. And importantly, the ongoing cost will be lighter on operational budgets," ... "A security drone will also be an effective deterrent."

When not flying, the drone sits in an enclosure, or "nest", located on a business site.

When an alarm sensor is triggered they can be dispatched to fly over the site to investigate, recording and live-streaming high definition video footage to whoever's monitoring the action. Before leaving its nest, the technology checks weather data then the drone flies a pre-determined flight route that is geo-fenced to preserve neighbours' privacy and comply with flight regulations.

A future product would allow the drone to follow any fleeing suspects, capturing images of them and their vehicle license plate number as they evade, Marr said. The drone then returns to its nest to recharge.

As if that wasn't Bladerunner, the company is working on robotic technology in the hope of one day launching fully autonomous "foot patrol" robots to work in conjunction with its security drones.


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... The Hound represents government control and manipulation of technology. Originally, dogs served as the rescuers for firemen. They were given the job of sniffing out the injured or weak. However, in this dystopia, the Hound has been made into a watchdog of society. Like the Furies, the Mechanical Hound has been programmed (by the government) to avenge and punish citizens who break society's rules. The ones who are not loyal to the rules must especially be punished, and the Hound serves as the enforcer of these rules.
- Fahrenheit 451


Marines Plan New Test Flights for Battlefield Delivery Drones

The Russian 'hulk' drone that can lift a 400lb payload and fly for up to eight hours



MIT Developing Mach 0.8 Rocket Drone for the Air Force

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Military-Grade Killer Drones Are Starting to Hit the Market

The recent explosion of the consumer drone market has had far-reaching effects, the deadliest being their adaptation to weapons of war. Now, military-grade killer drones operable by a crew of one or two and capable of carrying precision-guided microbombs are starting to make their way into the global defense market. One of the first is Velvet Wasp, the drone that can carry anything from bombs to first aid supplies.

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Pushed to speeds of up to 70 miles an hour by eight propellers, the killer drone has a single hard point—or a multi-carriage launcher—for launching lethal munitions at the enemy. It has a laser designator, for marking its own targets, and the control signals are encrypted to prevent someone else from hacking in and taking control of it.
“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 02 Dec 2017, 13:57:05

North Korea's Missile took a Bizarre Path through Space, and Here's Why it Deeply Worries Weapons Experts

The Hwasong-15 appears to be the longest-range missile ever tested by North Korea, which said it reached an altitude of 2,780 miles and flew a distance of 590 miles in 53 minutes. It would have had a range of 8,100 miles had it flown in a flat trajectory, according to calculations by David Wright, an expert at the Union of Concerned Scientists. That would make it capable of reaching Washington, D.C.

... current estimated accuracy of North Korea's weapons may be as poor as six to 12 miles. (US and Russian missiles can hit a target within a couple of hundred feet.) If North Korea targeted San Francisco, for example, there's a chance the bomb could miss the city entirely and detonate over the Pacific Ocean.

https://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2017/ ... iA0nlXtzcs

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It's a Titan II ripoff - Blame Monogram Plastic Model Rockets
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The Titan II Handbook: A Civilian's Guide to the Most Powerful ICBM America Ever Built: Capable of delivering a modified B53 varhead (W-53), with a yield of 9 megatons. The B53 was the most powerful weapon in the U.S. nuclear arsenal after the last B41 nuclear bombs were retired in 1976.

The B53 was the basis of the W-53 warhead carried by the Titan II Missile. Two variants were made: the B53-Y1, a "dirty" weapon using a U-238-encased secondary, and the B53-Y2 "clean" version with a non-fissile (lead or tungsten) secondary casing. Explosive yield was approximately nine megatons.

And just in case Bruce Willis needs one ...

... An April 2014 GAO report notes that the NNSA is retaining canned subassemblies (CSAs) " associated with a certain warhead indicated as excess in the 2012 Production and Planning Directive are being retained in an indeterminate state pending a senior-level government evaluation of their use in planetary defense against earthbound asteroids." In its FY2015 budget request, the NNSA noted that the B53 component disassembly was "delayed", leading some observers to conclude they might be the warhead CSAs being retained for potential planetary defense purposes.

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How Trump is Slowly Destroying America's National Security Agencies

Kremlin Instructs Russian Industry to Prepare for War Mobilization

Reports emerged yesterday in the British press that Russian President Vladimir Putin has ordered Russian industry to be prepared to divert all its efforts into war production. After Germany’s formal re-militarization of its foreign policy in 2014 and Sweden’s reintroduction of the draft, this makes clear that, just over a century after the outbreak of World War I in 1914, countries across Europe and the world are again preparing for total war. Putin said:
... “The ability of our economy to increase military production and services at a given time is one of the most important aspects of military security. To this end, all strategic and simply large-scale enterprise should be ready, regardless of ownership.”

In such a war, the military would take over the economy, slash production for civilian needs, and re-direct whatever industrial capacity survived mass air and missile raids towards the war effort.


I’m a Fallout 4 Nuclear Armageddon Survivor: Ask Me Anything

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Step one: Find a bunker

You’re better off in a bunker. Not just because that’s where the food is, but because it can keep others out. One of the first effects of nuclear warfare, and one that can hit before the bombs, is a breakdown in law and order as people try to self-evacuate from cities to the safer parts of the country—deep rural areas like northern Scotland and remote Wales. The roads will clog, petrol will run out as supply chains collapse, food supplies will be hoarded, and violence will break out.

We know this because the UK government ran three exercises in the late '70s and early '80s called Scrum Half, Square Leg, and Hard Rock, positing attacks of around 100-200 nuclear warheads. The results were a massive breakdown in infrastructure, starting as international tensions rose, and “vast destruction, enormous casualties and widespread chaos” as the bombs fell, with easily more than half the population dead in the first few days after the actual attack.

Step two: Stay in the bunker

Once you’re in the bunker—stay there. Assuming you haven’t been injured by the heat flash, initial radiation, or blast wave from a nuclear strike, your next major problem is fallout: the now-radioactive soil and other materials pushed into the air by the blast.

But how much radiation was out there to begin with? There’s no good news here: it’s impossible to tell unless you measure it. The UK government did maintain a large network of Royal Observer Corps stations equipped to determine some of this and report back to central HQ so that contamination could be tracked. Like the rest of the UK nuclear civil defence infrastructure, though, the ROC was dismantled in the 1990s. This was partially on the grounds of cost, but that was secondary to the main conclusion reached after the exercises: nothing anyone could do would make any difference whatsoever. Worse, everyone knew it.

... While you’re in the bunker, don’t get sick and do as you’re told. Being an arse will be punishable by death.

Leave the bunker, but only when you have to

Most gadgets will be useless after a nuclear attack. Despite its reputation as "being designed to withstand a nuclear attack," the Internet will have gone away, as will main electricity and the cellular networks.

One recent innovation that does have some potential for post-apocalyptic survival is the quadcopter/drone. No consumer drone comes as standard with radiation detectors, but Geiger counter kits as small as a matchbox are available and, if you have the requisite electronics skills, can be simply interfaced to a telemetry transmitter. It will give you a quick way to scout your immediate surroundings for radiation hot spots or insane cannibalistic survivors. It will also announce your presence and location to same, so use with discretion.

Other standard survivalist skills—trapping animals, staying hidden, navigation, improvising weapons, and so on—are less likely to be useful, unless you’re alone in an uncontaminated area. If it is, you won’t be. Leadership training and a good supply of printed pornography for trading will be more helpful. The bottle-tops in our knapsacks were supposed to stand in for money, but vintage copies of Knave would probably be more effective.

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Operation Square Leg Nuclear Target plots. Operation Square Leg was one of the exercises used to estimate the destructiveness of a Soviet nuclear attack in the 1984 BBC production Threads.

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How to Ride Out the Apocalypse in a Big City

Former Joint Chiefs Chairman: Likelihood of Nuclear War is Rising

Retired Adm. Mike Mullen, former chairman of the Joint Chiefs, said on ABC'S "This Week" that nuclear war has become "more probable than it used to be. And it scares me to death, quite frankly."
... They're the most dangerous weapons in the world. ... the president is in a position to give a legal order to use those weapons. And the likelihood that given that order that it would be carried out I think would be pretty high. ... And certainly if we have someone in North Korea that has a lethal legacy, is very, very unpredictable, and sees this as a way to solidify his future, that he could well not just attain them but potentially use them."

Mullen also said he has concerns about the fact that generals have taken such high-ranking and high-profile roles in the Trump administration, and that he was disappointed that John Kelly has shown he'll be "supportive of the president no matter what."


Former Defense Secretary William Perry Sounds the Alarm Over the Present Nuclear Danger

Former defense secretary William Perry: ... “Today, inexplicably to me, we are recreating the geopolitical hostility of the Cold War and we are rebuilding the nuclear dangers of the Cold War. We are doing this without any serous public discussion, or any real understanding of the consequences of these actions: we are sleepwalking into a new Cold War, and there is a very real danger we will blunder into a nuclear war.”
“Our chief peril is that the poised nuclear doom, much of it hidden beneath the seas and in remote badlands, is too far out of the global public consciousness. Passivity shows broadly.”

... And so: What to do with the world on the nuclear brink, with the very real potential for an outbreak of perhaps simultaneous crises between the United States, Russia, Iran and North Korea?


What Would Happen If North Korea Attacked Washington, DC with a Nuclear Weapon?

... The effects of a 250 kiloton North Korean nuke that blasted in Washington, D.C. would extend far outside what we typically refer to as the Beltway. The air blast of the explosion alone would destroy the White House, the International Spy Museum, the Washington Monument, the Smithsonian, the U.S. Capitol Building, and all of the fancy bars and restaurants that reporters and government officials use as rendezvous points to socialize over drinks and spill the dirt on their colleagues. Every building within the air-blast radius would be destroyed, with the fatality rate reaching as high as 100 percent. If you were a tourist at the very end of the Washington Mall, perhaps taking pictures as the Jefferson Memorial southwest of the White House, your chances of survival are higher. But the fatality rate would still be 50–90 percent, with blistering and radiation poisoning so unbearable that you may wish that you were killed instantaneously like White House staffers or congressional aides across town.

If you’re a student at Howard University, you are a bit luckier—but not by much. You may escape with your life (if you were in a building at the time of the explosion, there’s a very high probability that you would be crushed underneath concrete, cement and glass), but the physical side-effects of a nuclear attack would be the stuff of horror movies. Passengers waiting for their flights at Ronald Reagan International Airport across the Potomac can expect third-degree burns which destroy the nerve endings in the skin.

The final death tally based on the parameters of this particular nuclear strike: 412,880 fatalities and 527, 490 injuries, casualties approaching nearly a million people.


North Korea's Next Move (That Could Start a War): An Atmospheric Nuclear Test?

For logical and traceable reasons, the chances of war on the Korean peninsula have moved beyond “possible” and now solidly into “likely” territory. The combined actions, decisions, and positions of Presidents George W. Bush, Obama, and Trump, along with North Korean dictators Kim Il-sung, Kim Jong-il and Kim Jong-un, have perversely created a no-win situation in which war may now be unavoidable––a tragic and avoidable situation for which hundreds of thousands or millions of Americans, South Koreas, and Japanese may pay with their lives.


US Demands China Cut Off Oil to North Korea or the US Will

U.S. Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley said China must stop exporting crude to North Korea, or "we can take the oil situation into our own hands."
“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 02 Dec 2017, 14:43:35

The Trump Administration Is Mulling A Pitch For A Private “Rendition” And Spy Network

WASHINGTON — The White House and CIA have been considering a package of secret proposals to allow former US intelligence officers to run privatized covert actions, intelligence gathering, and propaganda missions, according to three sources who’ve been briefed on or have direct knowledge of the proposals.

One of the proposals would involve hiring a private company, Amyntor Group, for millions of dollars to set up a large intelligence network and run counterterrorist [b]propaganda efforts, according to the sources.[/b] Amyntor’s officials and employees include veterans of a variety of US covert operations, ranging from the Reagan-era Iran–Contra affair to more recent actions in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Another proposal presented to US officials would allow individuals affiliated with the company to help capture wanted terrorists on behalf of the United States. In keeping with that proposal, people close to the company are tracking two specific suspects in a Middle Eastern country, the sources said, for possible “rendition” (... a.k.a. kidnapping) to the United States.

They say that the people involved have the information and capabilities to snatch the two suspects and transport them to the US or a third country.

... CIA Director Mike Pompeo has publicly promised that the agency would become “much more vicious” and aggressive. He said in one speech that the administration “is prepared to engage in activities that are different from what America has been doing these past few years.”

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Substitute the name of Russia, China or any other country in there and ask yourself if that's a good idea.

Blackwater Founder Pitches Plan to Quell Libya Migrant Crisis with Private Police

The military contractor and Trump ally Erik Prince, who has faced scrutiny for his human rights abuses, has a ‘humane’ proposal to try to stop the flow of migrants.

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... in the style of ...


Blackwater in Baghdad: "It was a Horror Movie"

... Witness' observations are backed up by official accounts, including leaked FBI findings, which concluded that at least 14 of the 17 shooting deaths were unjustified, and statements by military officials disputing Blackwater's claim that its guards had been fired upon or under any sort of attack. The Iraq government's own investigation found no evidence that the guards had been provoked or attacked, and Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki's spokesperson called the shootings "deliberate murder."

... Haythem identified his son from what was left of his shoes. His forehead and brains were missing and his skin completely burned. He identified his wife of 20 years by a dental bridge.


US Jury Convicts Blackwater Guards in 2007 Killing of Iraqi Civilians

... Prosecutors had claimed Slatten, the convoy’s sniper, viewed killing Iraqis as “payback for 9/11” and often “deliberately fired his weapon to draw out return fire and instigate gun battles” or tried to smash windscreens of passing cars as his convoy rolled through Baghdad.

Prosecutors told the jury that Slatten triggered the incident by shooting the occupants of a civilian car during a traffic jam at a busy roundabout in Baghdad. ... It must have seemed like the apocalypse was here,” said Asuncion in his closing argument, as he described how many were shot in the back, at long range, or blown up by powerful grenades used by the US contractors.

“There was not a single dead insurgent on the scene,” claimed the prosecutor. “None of these people were armed.”


Erik Prince Believes Trump Will Eventually Privatize Afghanistan War

Prince's plan for Afghanistan would start with the naming of an all-powerful American "viceroy" who would report to the president and play a role like that of General Douglas MacArthur in post-World War II Japan.

... Prince, whose sister Betsy DeVos is Trump's education secretary, says he has received a sympathetic hearing from the president's chief strategist, Steve Bannon, and some members of Congress but a chilly reception from the Pentagon.

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Answerable to no one


White House Considering Replacing Tillerson with Pompeo

Here’s what Rumored Trump CIA pick Tom Cotton Thinks about Surveillance, Russia and Other Issues

Cotton strongly believes in intensive surveillance measures as a prophylaxis against terrorism — a hardline stance that’s vehemently opposed by privacy advocates.We’ve deprived very patriotic intelligence officials of critical tools that would keep this country safe,” he told Politico after losing a battle in favor of enhanced NSA surveillance measures.

Unsurprisingly, Cotton is a staunch supporter of Section 702, a controversial portion of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) that provisions warrantless surveillance of American citizens. As he wrote in September, Cotton supports a full reauthorization of Section 702:
... I’m pleased that Attorney General Sessions and Director Coats have joined me in calling for a clean and permanent reauthorization of FISA Section 702. It’s crucial to collecting the intelligence we need to keep our country safe, and it has all the necessary safeguards to protect Americans’ privacy rights. My bill would extend the program indefinitely, as requested by the Trump administration, and now is as good a time as any for the Senate to pass it. The threats to our nation won’t end anytime soon, and neither should this vital tool.

...In 2016, Cotton told CNN that he didn’t believe that the extreme interrogation practice of waterboarding qualified as torture:
Waterboarding isn’t torture. We do waterboarding on our own soldiers in the military,” Cotton told CNN’s Wolf Blitzer. “If experienced intelligence officials come to the President of the United States and say we think this terrorist has critical information and we need to obtain it and this is the only way we can obtain it — it’s a tough call. But the presidency is a tough job. And if you’re not ready to make those tough calls, you shouldn’t seek the office. Donald Trump’s a pretty tough guy, and he’s ready to make those tough calls.”


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Everyone that votes for it should experience it

A close Trump ally in Congress, Cotton has gestured toward his disbelief of the CIA’s own analysis of Russia’s interference in the 2016 U.S. election. In a Senate Intel hearing with Jeff Sessions earlier this year, Cotton lobbed Sessions softball questions, at one point eliciting a laugh from the Attorney General with the question “Have you ever, ever in any of these fantastical situations heard of a plot line so ridiculous that a sitting United States senator and an ambassador of a foreign government colluded at an open setting with hundreds of other people to pull off the greatest caper in the history of espionage?”
“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 02 Dec 2017, 15:34:31

Epson to Launch Autonomous Dual-Arm Robot

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Video - Seiko Epson Corporation has commercialized a "seeing, sensing, thinking, working" autonomous dual-arm robot that will expand the scope of automated production. Epson will roll out the new robot, named the WorkSense W-01, in stages beginning this winter.

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The autonomous dual-arm robot WorkSense W-01 is developed for easy mobility so that it can be wheeled from place to place to perform assembly, transport, and other tasks.


Army Tests New Super-Soldier Exoskeleton

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The Army is testing an exoskeleton technology which uses AI to analyze and replicate individual walk patterns, provide additional torque, power and mobility for combat infantry and enable heavier load-carrying, industry officials said.

Video - Army evaluators have been assessing a Lockheed-built FORTIS knee-stress-release-device exoskeleton with soldiers at Fort A.P. Hill as part of a focus on fielding new performance enhancing soldier technologies.

Using independent actuators, motors and lightweight conformal structures, lithium ion battery powered FORTIS allows soldiers to carry 180 pounds up five flights of stairs while expending less energy.

“We’ve had this on some of the Army’s elite forces, and they were able to run with high agility carrying full loads,” Keith Maxwell, senior program manager, exoskeleton technology, Lockheed Martin..said.

Lockheed engineers say FORTIS could prove particularly impactful in close-quarters urban combat because it enhances soldier mobility, speed and power.
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Pulse Rifle: "Remember, Smart, Controlled Bursts"

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The US Military is Testing Mood Altering, AI-Controlled Brain Implants in Humans

Two teams funded by the US military’s research arm, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), have begun preliminary trials of ‘closed-loop’ brain implants that use algorithms to detect patterns associated with mood disorders. These devices can shock the brain back to a healthy state without input from a physician.

The work, presented last week at the Society for Neuroscience (SfN) meeting in Washington DC, could eventually provide a way to treat severe mental illnesses that resist current therapies. It also raises thorny ethical concerns, not least because the technique could give researchers a degree of access to a person’s inner feelings in real time.

The researchers found that delivering electrical pulses to areas of the brain involved in decision-making and emotion significantly improved the performance of test participants. One challenge with stimulating areas of the brain associated with mood, he says, is the possibility of overcorrecting emotions to create extreme happiness that overwhelms all other feelings.

Other ethical considerations arise from the fact that the algorithms used in closed-loop stimulation can tell the researchers about the person’s mood, beyond what may be visible from behaviour or facial expressions. While researchers won't be able to read people's minds, “we will have access to activity that encodes their feelings,” says Alik Widge, a neuroengineer and psychiatrist at Harvard University in Cambridge, Massachusetts, and engineering director of the MGH team.

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The Surgeon Who Wants to Connect You to the Internet with a Brain Implant

The US Military Is Developing Brain Implants to Boost Memory

One of DARPA's many brain-improvement projects centers on implantable, wireless devices intended to aid troops' cognitive abilities both during and after wars.

... The Restoring Active Memory (RAM) project was first unveiled by President Obama in 2014, as part of the funding for DARPA’s wider brain initiative. At that time, the agency, working with the Veterans Affairs department and the Pentagon, announced it will spend the next five years—and nearly $80 million—developing “minimally invasive neurotechnologies that will increase the ability of the body and brain to induce healing,” according to The Washington Post.

As part of the funding, DARPA is also researching building robotic limbs that humans can control with their minds, and ways for the human body to heal itself with remote controls.
http://www.abstractsonline.com/pp8/inde ... tion/11106

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Brain Implant Tested in Human Patients Found to Improve Memory Recall

Prior research has shown that inserting electrodes into the brains of animals can improve memory recall—in this new effort, the researchers discovered the same is true for humans.

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“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 » Mon 04 Dec 2017, 11:55:02

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Hawaii Tests Nuclear Alarms as North Korea Threat Escalates

KOLOA, Hawaii — Minutes before a cacophony of Cold War-era sirens blared across Hawaii on Friday, the staff of a Kauai Island adventure tour operator paused to gather at an outdoor parking area. Huddled in the partial shade of palm trees, five colleagues embraced an expectant moment of quiet. The silence was cut at 11:45 a.m., as the sirens wailed for the first time in a generation.

As nuclear tensions between North Korea and the United States foment, Hawaii has reinstated a test of a statewide nuclear attack warning system not utilized since the 1980s. The drill will be repeated on the first business day of the month for the foreseeable future.
“It was as anticlimactic as I expected, but I wanted to come outside and really hear it,” ... “Maybe they should be playing Broadway tunes if it’s the last sound we’re going to hear in the last 15 minutes of our lives.”

- Peggy Sowl, sales manager at Kauai Outfitters

In the event of a nuclear attack, the sirens islanders heard Friday will serve as a 15-minute warning to gather with loved ones and take cover. That’s how long experts say it would take a nuclear missile launched from North Korea to reach Hawaii and potentially destroy it.
“I have often thought that it’s impossible for people in my generation to imagine feeling vulnerable to the real threat of a nuclear war, like what my parents’ generation must have felt during the nuclear standoff with the Cuban missile crisis. And then today I realized, ‘Oh, this is how they felt.’ ”


South Korea, U.S. Launch Air Drills Amid North Korean Warnings of Nuclear War

SEOUL/BEIJING (Reuters) - The United States and South Korea went ahead with large-scale joint aerial drills on Monday, a move North Korea had said would push the Korean peninsula to “the brink of nuclear war”, ignoring calls from Russia and China to call them off.

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Actions & Consequences are a package deal.

Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi said it was “regrettable” that all parties had not “grasped the window of opportunity” presented by two months of relative calm before the North’s most recent test.


Pentagon Evaluating U.S. West Coast Missile Defense Sites - Officials

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SIMI VALLEY, Calif (Reuters) - The U.S. agency tasked with protecting the country from missile attacks is scouting the West Coast for places to deploy new anti-missile defenses, two Congressmen said on Saturday, as North Korea’s missile tests raise concerns about how the United States would defend itself from an attack.

The accelerated pace of North Korea’s ballistic missile testing program in 2017 and the likelihood the North Korean military could hit the U.S. mainland with a nuclear payload in the next few years has raised the pressure on the United States government to build-up missile defenses.

When asked about the plan, MDA Deputy Director Rear Admiral Jon Hill‎ said in a statement: “The Missile Defense Agency has received no tasking to site the Terminal High Altitude Air Defense System on the West Coast.” The Missile Defense Agency (MDA) is a unit of the U.S. Defense Department.

Congressman Rogers did not reveal the exact locations the agency is considering but said several sites are “competing” for the missile defense installations.

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In addition to the two THAAD systems deployed in South Korea and Guam in the Pacific, the U.S. has seven other THAAD systems. While some of the existing missiles are based in Fort Bliss, Texas, the system is highly mobile and current locations are not disclosed.

North Korea’s latest missile test puts the U.S. capital within range, but Pyongyang still needs to prove it has mastered critical missile technology, such as re-entry, terminal stage guidance and warhead activation, South Korea said on Friday.


McMaster: Potential for War with North Korea 'Increasing Every Day'

White House national security adviser HR McMaster said Saturday that North Korea represents "the greatest immediate threat to the United States" and that the potential for war with the communist nation is growing each day.

"There are ways to address this problem short of armed conflict, but it is a race because he's getting closer and closer, and there's not much time left," McMaster said, referring to North Korean leader Kim Jong Un. With every missile launch or nuclear test, Kim has improved his country's capabilities, McMaster said.


US Stealth Jets Arrive in South Korea as North Korean Rhetoric Heats Up

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The Folly of Deploying US Tactical Nuclear Weapons to South Korea

... Until recently, South Korean fears of US nuclear abandonment and the proposals they spawned for the re-deployment of US TNW were largely confined to the extreme right wing of the Korean opposition. This is no longer the case, mainly because of North Korea’s rapid progress toward an operational ICBM capability and growing doubts about the US commitment to South Korea arising from President Trump’s antagonistic behavior toward key alliance issues. According to recent polls, 68 percent of the South Korean public currently supports the re-introduction of US nuclear weapons in South Korea and 60 percent want South Korea to acquire its own nuclear weapons.


Dr. Strangelove Was a Documentary

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...
Ellsberg frankly notes that in the late 1950s, when he joined the ranks of elite nuclear strategists at RAND, the Air Force–funded think tank in Santa Monica, he was an entrenched Cold Warrior, fully convinced that the Soviet Union posed an imminent threat and that the best way to stave off its aggression was to threaten to kill at least 20 million of its citizens in response.
He worked 70-hour weeks and didn’t sign up for RAND’s generous retirement plan, figuring—he was 27 at the time—that he, like millions of others, would be killed in a nuclear war long before the premiums paid out.

But his first foray into the nuts and bolts of nuclear warfare—a study of command-and-control procedures that gave him access to top secret documents and chats with top commanders—set off a gradual unraveling of his worldview. It turned out that the nuclear war plan—and there was just one plan, with no room for flexibility—called for the rapid firing of America’s entire arsenal of nuclear weapons in response to any armed conflict, even a small conventional skirmish, with the Soviet Union. And once the orders came down, the bombs would rain down not just on the USSR but also on Communist China, even if the Chinese weren’t involved in the war. (The intelligence at the time viewed the two countries as all but unified.)

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Studies by Once Top Secret Government Entity Portrayed Terrible Costs of Nuclear War
0% survival in 'black' areas

Another shock: The president, contrary to popular belief, was not the only person with his finger on the button. Rather, President Eisenhower had signed an order delegating authority to a small group of four-star generals and admirals, all outside Washington, to launch nuclear weapons in case he was incapacitated.

But as Ellsberg learned during his study, the delegations “reverberated downward in a widening circle,” to the point where—in case the top generals and admirals were killed—fairly junior commanders onboard ships in the middle of the ocean had the authority to launch nuclear weapons on their own. Finally, once bombers had been given the “GO” order, it was very difficult to call them back to base. (Missiles, which came into the arsenal later, were, of course, impossible to recall after launch.)
Ellsberg writes of the afternoon when he and a colleague played hooky from work to go see Dr. Strangelove, Stanley Kubrick’s dark comedy about a lunatic general who launches a nuclear attack against the USSR on his own, using the pre-delegated authority that he’d been given in case of an attack on Washington (though, in this case, there hadn’t been such an attack). Walking out of the theater, Ellsberg turned to his friend, another nuclear denizen, and said, “That was a documentary.” Kubrick had dramatized the command-control system that actually existed—a war that could actually happen.

... When Ellsberg first took the job in early 1961, he sent a memo to the Joint Chiefs of Staff, under McNamara’s signature, asking how many people would die if the United States unleashed its full nuclear strike.

The answer came back in a memo for the president’s eyes only, though a few others, including Ellsberg, saw it: Between 275 million and 325 million in the USSR and China
This piece of paper should not exist,” Ellsberg remembers thinking when he looked at the single-sheet memo. “It depicted evil beyond any human project ever. … From that day on, I have had one overriding life purpose: to prevent the execution of any such plan.


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Trump’s Conspiracy Theory Delusions Will Likely Lead to Nuclear War with North Korea, Psychiatrists Warn

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GOP Senator: It's Time for Military Families to Leave South Korea

WASHINGTON — Sen. Lindsey Graham says North Korea is pushing the U.S. closer to military conflict and he believes it's time to start moving the families of American military personnel out of South Korea.

The South Carolina Republican said on CBS' "Face the Nation" he is also going to urge the Pentagon not to send any more dependents to South Korea.

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Graham, a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, says, "It's crazy to send spouses and children to South Korea, given the provocation of North Korea."

"Preemptive-war is becoming more likely as their technology matures. Every missile test, every underground test of a nuclear weapon, means the marriage is more likely.

... "If there's an underground nuclear test, then you need to get ready for a very serious response by the United States," Senator Lindsey Graham said on CBS' "Face the Nation."

His remarks echoed those of National Security Advisor HR McMaster, who told a security forum in Washington on Saturday that the potential for war with North Korea "is increasing every day."

The United States has demanded tougher international sanctions, including cuts in oil shipments to the isolated state, but both McMaster and Graham suggested that the risk of war is growing despite the diplomatic efforts.

"I think we're really running out of time. The Chinese are trying, but ineffectively," he said.
“There are three classes of people: those who see. Those who see when they are shown. Those who do not see.” ― Leonardo da Vinci

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 04 Dec 2017, 16:22:11

Google’s Artificial Intelligence Built an AI That Outperforms Any Made by Humans

Google's AutoML project, designed to make AI build other AIs, has now developed a computer vision system that vastly outperforms state-of-the-art-models. The project could improve facial surveillance, and how autonomous vehicles and next-generation AI robots "see."

AutoML acts as a controller neural network that develops a child AI network for a specific task. For this particular child AI, which the researchers called NASNet, the task was recognizing objects — people, cars, traffic lights, handbags, backpacks, etc. — in a video in real-time.

AutoML would evaluate NASNet’s performance and use that information to improve its child AI, repeating the process thousands of times. When tested on the ImageNet image classification and COCO object detection data sets, which the Google researchers call “two of the most respected large-scale academic data sets in computer vision,” NASNet outperformed all other computer vision systems.

Though the applications for NASNet and AutoML are plentiful, the creation of an AI that can build AI does raise some concerns. For instance, what’s to prevent the parent from passing down unwanted biases to its child? What if AutoML creates systems so fast that society can’t keep up? It’s not very difficult to see how NASNet could be employed in automated surveillance systems in the near future, perhaps sooner than regulations could be put in place to control such systems.

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Google DeepMind is Helping Neural Nets Decide How They Want to Learn

There is no one teaching style that works perfectly for every student, and it turns out that the same can be said for neural networks, the computing systems that power many of today’s smartest artificial intelligence programs.

Enterprises can waste a lot of time and money if they pick the wrong way to train their neural nets, but DeepMind Technologies Ltd. may have found a solution to that problem.

“Neural networks have shown great success in everything ... “But often overlooked is that the success of a neural network at a particular application is often determined by a series of choices made at the start of the research, including what type of network to use and the data and method used to train it.”

Jaderberg said that researchers currently make these choices, which are called hyperparameters, by either hand tuning them or by using automated processes that can be too random and require significant computational resources. He explained that DeepMind’s new method, which it calls Population Based Training or PBT, finds settings that are the best fit for a neural net without draining resources or requiring human intervention.

If a neural net is like a student, then DeepMind’s new method works a bit like cloning that student several times and teaching each clone in a slightly different way. As some students start pulling ahead of the rest, the ones who lag behind switch over to the more effective learning styles with a few random tweaks and then the process starts again. Eventually, the neural net settles the style that works best for it.

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According to Jaderberg, PBT quickly found training styles that “delivered results that were beyond state-of-the-art baselines.”

The company also used PBT on one of Google’s machine translation neural networks, which Jaderberg said are usually trained using carefully hand tuned settings. DeepMind’s PBT method found settings that “match and even exceed existing performance, but without any tuning and in the same time it normally takes to do a single training run.”

Jaderberg said that DeepMind believes that this is “only the beginning for the technique,” and the company will continue exploring new ways to improve neural nets with PBT.


The Robot Apocalypse Is Nigh

The New York Times this morning has an article about artificial intelligence.
There are basically three big questions about artificial intelligence and its impact on the economy: What can it do? Where is it headed? And how fast will it spread?

Three new reports combine to suggest these answers: It can probably do less right now than you think. But it will eventually do more than you probably think, in more places than you probably think, and will probably evolve faster than powerful technologies have in the past.

I think this basically gets things right.

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The best measures of AI aren’t numbers in a vacuum. They’re measures that compare the best software to the average human. In this case, both computers and humans are asked to read articles and then answer questions about the content of the articles. It’s still a bit artificial, but the general idea is to test general reading comprehension, surely a decent measure of what we commonly think of as “intelligence.” Computers are now only a finger’s breadth away from human performance. That’s pretty impressive, especially considering that a computer can come up with its average answer in a second or two, compared to several minutes for us meat types.


Researchers Have Created an AI System That Teaches Itself New Languages

Two new papers offer up a novel method for neural networks to tackle translation. Rather than using supervised machine learning, these studies let the systems figure out things for themselves.

Mikel Artetxe, a computer scientist at the University of the Basque Country (UPV) and the author of one of these papers, compares the situation to giving someone various books in Chinese and various books in Arabic, without any of the same texts overlapping - and learning how to translate from one to the other.


McKinsey: Automation May Wipe Out 1/3 of America’s Workforce by 2030

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In a new study that is optimistic about automation yet stark in its appraisal of the challenge ahead, McKinsey says massive government intervention will be required to hold societies together against the ravages of labor disruption over the next 13 years. Up to 800 million people—including a third of the work force in the U.S. and Germany—will be made jobless by 2030, the study says.

The transition compares to the U.S. shift from a largely agricultural to an industrial-services economy in the early 1900s forward. But this time, it's not young people leaving farms, but mid-career workers who need new skills. "There are few precedents in which societies have successfully retrained such large numbers of people," the report says, and that is the key question: how do you retrain people in their 30s, 40s and 50s for entirely new professions?

... In the eight-month study, the McKinsey Global Institute, the firm's think tank, found that almost half of those thrown out of work—375 million people, comprising 14% of the global work force—will have to find entirely new occupations, since their old one will either no longer exist or need far fewer workers. Chinese will have the highest such absolute numbers—100 million people changing occupations, or 12% of the country's 2030 work force.

I asked Chui what surprised him the most of the findings. "The degree of transition that needs to happen over time is a real eye opener," he said.

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Deutsche Bank says that it could replace half of its 97,000 employees with robots within the next 20 years. Setting aside the obvious economic implications –€“ if robots replace us, how are we supposed to earn a living? — this makes one wonder about the new meaning of robo-signings, the practice by many of the big banks during the housing melt down used to conduct illegal foreclosures. Meanwhile, as artificial intelligence becomes more of a thing, one wonders, will our new robotic banker overlords feel guilt?

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Trump Tax Plan Gives Jobs Away To Robots and Will Increase Unemployment

President Donald Trump's tax reform plan would give a big break to robots.

The plan that Republicans call a "jobs bill" in fact encourages corporations to send work offshore and replace labor with machines, negating Trump's campaign promise to bring back American jobs.

Tax advantages for businesses make up the vast majority of the Senate tax plan, at 60 percent of the total cost. Some of these incentives are structured to incentivize companies to automate and reduce American jobs.

“We are creating huge subsidies in our tax code for capital and encouraging employers to use machines instead of labor,” said Daron Acemoglu, an MIT economics professor.

The bill includes a provision called "Full and Immediate Expensing" that allows a company to deduct the cost of any new asset right away instead of when it sells the asset or as deductions depreciate over time. That means a company can take out a cheap loan, use it to purchase an expensive machine, and write it off immediately. Some economists argue that this could spur companies to favor automation over jobs and to invest in robots over people.

For example, if an employer had the option of hiring a worker and paying her $1 million over 10 years or buying a $1 million machine that will perform the same task, the machine ends up being cheaper because of the tax incentive.

“This is not the free market at work; we do not have a level playing field. The government clearly favors capital over labor,” Between 2000 and 2010, nearly 87 percent of manufacturing job losses came from an increase in automation and better technology.

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“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 07 Dec 2017, 16:15:43

AI Has Already Taken Over. It’s Called the Corporation.

Some of the leading thinkers of our time are unleashing a stream of warnings about the threat of artificial intelligence taking over from humans. These futurists are right to voice their concerns, but they’re missing the fact that humans have already created a force that is well on its way to devouring both humanity and the earth in just the way they fear. It’s called the Corporation.

When corporations were first formed back in the seventeenth century, their inventors—just like modern software engineers—acted with what they believed were good intentions. The first corporate charters were simply designed to limit an investor’s liability to the amount of their investment, thus encouraging them to finance risky expeditions to India and Southeast Asia. However, an unintended consequence soon emerged, known as moral hazard: with the potential upside greater than the downside, reckless behavior ensued, leading to a series of spectacular frauds and a market crash that resulted in corporations being temporarily banned in England in 1720.

Thomas Jefferson and other leaders of the United States, aware of the English experience, were deeply suspicious of corporations, giving them limited charters with tightly constrained powers. However, during the turmoil of the Civil War, industrialists took advantage of the disarray, leveraging widespread political corruption to expand their influence. Shortly before his death, Abraham Lincoln lamented what he saw happening with a resounding prophecy:
“Corporations have been enthroned ... An era of corruption in high places will follow... until wealth is aggregated in a few hands ... and the Republic is destroyed.”

The tipping point in their path to domination came in 1886 when the Supreme Court designated corporations as “persons” entitled to the protections of the Fourteenth Amendment, which had been passed to give equal rights to former slaves enfranchised after the Civil War. Since then, corporate dominance has only been further enhanced by law, culminating in the notorious Citizen United case of 2010, which lifted restrictions on political spending by corporations in elections.

... Corporations, just like a potential runaway AI, have no intrinsic interest in human welfare. They are legal constructions: abstract entities designed with the ultimate goal of maximizing financial returns for their investors above all else. If corporations were in fact real persons, they would be sociopaths, completely lacking the ability for empathy that is a crucial element of normal human behavior. Unlike humans, however, corporations are theoretically immortal, cannot be put in prison, and the larger multinationals are not constrained by the laws of any individual country.

Corporations wield their vast powers to control the minds of consumers, enthralling them into a state of perpetual consumption. In the early twentieth century, Paul Bernays, a mastermind of corporate empowerment, boldly stated his game plan as “the conscious and intelligent manipulation of the organized habits and opinions of the masses.” He declared ominously that “those who manipulate this unseen mechanism of society constitute an invisible government that is the true ruling power of this country.”
When it comes to targeting kid consumers, we at General Mills… believe in getting them early and having them for life.”

- Wayne Chilicki, chief executive of General Mills

Corporations are inserting themselves into international agreements, so they can further their interests even more effectively. At the 2015 World Economic Forum in Davos, a new Global Redesign Initiative set out an agenda for multinational corporations to engage directly in global governance. In fact, the current U.S. cabinet represents the most complete takeover yet of the U.S. government by corporations, with nearly 70% of top administration jobs filled by corporate executives. The takeover of global governance by multinational corporations has permitted them to undermine human welfare everywhere in the pursuit of profit.

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The Dollar General CEO Just Accidentally Made Clear How Screwed Up the Economy Is

Here’s a grim picture of the state of the American economy: The CEO of Dollar General explained to the Wall Street Journal why things are looking up for his company.

Dollar General, with about 14,000 stores across the country and a $22 billion market value, targets customers making $40,000 a year or less. They're numbers are expanding, CEO Todd Vasos told the Journal.

Why?

... “The more the rural U.S. struggles, company officials said, the more places Dollar General has found to prosper. “The economy is continuing to create more of our core customer”

- CEO Todd Vasos


Reporter goes Undercover at Amazon Warehouse Where 'Staff are Just Cattle to Serve Robots'

Alone in a locked metal cage, 10 feet from my nearest colleague, a robot approaches from the shadows and thrusts a tower of shelves towards me, writes Alan Selby.

I have nine seconds to grab and process an item to be sent for packing – a target of 300 items an hour, for hour after relentless hour.

As I bend to the floor then reach high above my head to fulfil a never-ending stream of orders, my body screams at me.

Welcome to Amazon’s picking floor. Here, while cameras watch my every move, a screen in front of me offers constant reminders of my “units per hour” and exactly how long each has taken.

Timed toilet breaks, impossible targets and exhausting, “intolerable” working conditions are frequent complaints. Staff have been paid less than the living wage, and it even emerged drivers had faced fines for “early” deliveries.

Since October Amazon has been racing to fill 1,500 roles at the warehouse, the size of 11 football pitches.

It is so vast that just walking to the toilet could take more than five minutes – almost a third of a mile from some of my workstations, and even longer when those on my floor were out of order, as they often were.
One asked: “Why are we not allowed to sit when it is quiet and not busy? We are human beings, not slaves and animals.”

It is a far cry from the singing, smiling faces that fill Amazon’s Christmas adverts on TV. Its army of 24,000 unhappy elves are paid as little as seven pence per item to help pack and deliver each one across the UK.

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This Amazon-Style Warehouse Robot Can Climb Massive Shelving Units to Stack 400 Parcels an Hour

Video - A French AI robotics start-up, Exotec Solutions has recently launched a warehouse robot that can climb shelves.

French e-commerce company Cdiscount has been testing the Skypods at its Bordeaux warehouse and seen order processing speed rise by a factor of four. The Skypod system is making an impact for three reasons.

First is the ability of the ‘3D mobile robots’ to scale shelves as well as roll around at ground level. Second is speed. Scuttling about at 10 mph, the robots can quickly transfer goods in the warehouse to human operators who handle packing and shipping. Third, according to Exotec, the robots’ laser scanner navigation system allows them to travel anywhere in the storage area, while carrying boxes weighing more than 60 pounds.

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US East Coast Labor Talks Break Down Over Automation In Ports

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HOLLYWOOD, Florida — Negotiations on a new International Longshoremen’s Association (ILA) contract broke off abruptly Wednesday as ILA president Harold Daggett accused employers of seeking to use automation to eliminate dockworker jobs.

Daggett said the ILA and United States Maritime Alliance (USMX) disagreed on the distinction between fully automated terminals, which he has pledged to fight, and semi-automated terminals that have automated features but are operated by dockworkers.
“When they’re talking about fully automated, they mean two or three people on the whole terminal,” ... “We’re not going to accept that. If they install a computer on any equipment, they need to provide a seat for a longshoreman next to it.”

Daggett said USMX proposed to define fully automated terminals as one in which unmanned vehicles transport containers between dockside gantry cranes and yard stacks. The two most highly automated ILA-staffed terminals, at the Port of Virginia and at GCT Bayonne in the Port of New York and New Jersey, use manned vehicles to shuttle boxes between dockside and remote-controlled yard stacking cranes.

The ILA president said USMX’s proposed definition would blur the distinction between semi-automated terminals, which the ILA has accepted, and fully automated terminals. He said it would allow terminals to sharply increase the level of automation but still call themselves semi-automated as long as they use manned transporters between dockside and the container stack.

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GM Surus Autonomous Truck


Robot Longshoremen Could Reduce Space Needed For Ports by Half

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Future shipping ports won’t need acres and acres of land to transfer and hold containers unloaded from ships. Instead, robotic carts and elevators will efficiently shuttle containers around multistory structures and deliver them to tractor-trailers that pull in below.

That’s the idea behind the Robotic Container Management & Storage System being proposed by Israel Aerospace Industries. The whole thing would be managed by an autonomous control system overseen by human operators.

IAI says the system can load and unload containers 1.5 times faster than currently possible while reducing space needed for operations by half.

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DeepMind’s AI Became a Superhuman Chess Player in a Few Hours, Just for Fun

In a paper, DeepMind describes how a descendant of the AI program that first conquered the board game Go has taught itself to play a number of other games at a superhuman level. After eight hours of self-play, the program bested the AI that first beat the human world champion Go player; and after four hours of training, it beat the current world champion chess-playing program, Stockfish. Then for a victory lap, it trained for just two hours and polished off one of the world’s best shogi-playing programs named Elmo (shogi being a Japanese version of chess that’s played on a bigger board).

One of the key advances here is that the new AI program, named AlphaZero, wasn’t specifically designed to play any of these games. In each case, it was given some basic rules (like how knights move in chess, and so on) but was programmed with no other strategies or tactics. It simply got better by playing itself over and over again at an accelerated pace — a method of training AI known as “reinforcement learning.”

What’s remarkable here is that in less than 24 hours, the same computer program was able to teach itself how to play three complex board games at superhuman levels. That’s a new feat for the world of AI.

This takes DeepMind just that little bit closer to building the generic thinking machine the company dreams of


Ford Now Plans to Move Production of Electric SUVs From Michigan to Mexico

Ford Motor Co. changing gears again on its production plans in Mexico, revealing it now plans to build a small electric-powered sport utility vehicle south of the border instead of at a Michigan factory.

Sending the electric vehicle to Mexico, where labor costs are lower, will help the business case for the costly model.
“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 08 Dec 2017, 14:46:28

This Israeli Presentation on How to Make Drone Strikes More “Efficient” Disturbed Its Audience

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The issue at hand boils down to one with which an MBA candidate or Deloitte consultant might grapple:
How can our organization make sense of an over-abundance of data and increase employee productivity by leveraging 21st century software techniques? The only difference here is that the organization in question is interested in the business of killing, and an increase in employee productivity means killing more easily.
In this world, the pilots ask questions that might sound absurd outside the context of aerial robot-aided killing: What happens when you want to kill someone, but they’ve run into a building, and you’re not sure where they’ll exit? What happens when a town has been so thoroughly destroyed, you can’t recognize it anymore and get lost?

This sort of work is central to a lot of applied data science: how to make things we’re already doing more efficient, more effective, less laborious. But what if we’re talking about shooting missiles at people from flying robots? Should drone warfare, already so remote and clinical, receive further layers of software abstraction? Should killing be engineered to be more efficient?

... The doctoral student who presented the research demonstrated how pioneering data visualization techniques could show a drone operator, using lines and arrows of varying thickness, which direction fast-moving people and vehicles were most likely to travel, for example, at an intersection or while fleeing a building. ... The “surveillance grid for an individual target received a very high efficiency ranking” from drone operators, Zak noted with pride:
It’s a bit like Netflix suggestions, only for people to fire missiles at.
... The presentation clearly angered at least some of the crowd, including the moderator, prompting hostile questions.

The segment’s moderator tried to press Zak on this point:
... We hear a lot of talk these days about predictive policing. About using algorithms, too, to make certain policy decisions. Be it policing policy, in our case, it is targeted assassination policy. Making life-and-death decisions based on data. What is the role, both of your data processing, and of the visualizations, in these complex ethical questions?
In his reply, Zak sidestepped the ethical issues, stating:
“In the big picture, our job is to make the work of a drone operator more efficient.”

If you can make those video screens as rich and information-packed as possible, well, why wouldn’t you? Isn’t it smarter? Better? But these completely ethics-agnostic replies — so reminiscent of Silicon Valley accountability dodging — are basically the “guns don’t kill people” of drone warfare. Accountability lies with the button-pushers, the reasoning goes, rather than the people who designed and built the buttons in the first place. The view of drone operators as merely passive consumers of content who need the best content available in order to make the best decisions possible allows us to avoid uncomfortable questions and debates over whether this system ought to be used to frequently in the first place and allows critics to be waved off with promises of better data just around the corner. Maybe the problem with the so-called kill chain used to authorize robotic killing isn’t that it’s an abstracted, desensitizing, information-centric form of remote assassination, but that we’re just not throwing enough good data in the war sluice?

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Google’s True Origin Partly Lies in CIA and NSA Research Grants for Mass Surveillance

Two decades ago, the US intelligence community worked closely with Silicon Valley in an effort to track citizens in cyberspace. And Google is at the heart of that origin story. Some of the research that led to Google’s ambitious creation was funded and coordinated by a research group established by the intelligence community to find ways to track individuals and groups online.

The intelligence community hoped that the nation’s leading computer scientists could take non-classified information and user data, combine it with what would become known as the internet, and begin to create for-profit, commercial enterprises to suit the needs of both the intelligence community and the public. They hoped to direct the supercomputing revolution from the start in order to make sense of what millions of human beings did inside this digital information network. That collaboration has made a comprehensive public-private mass surveillance state possible today.

Backstory: The intelligence community and Silicon Valley ...

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The Massive Digital Data Systems (MDDS) project ... MDDS was introduced to several dozen leading computer scientists at Stanford, CalTech, MIT, Carnegie Mellon, Harvard, and others in a white paper that described what the CIA, NSA, DARPA, and other agencies hoped to achieve.
“Not only are activities becoming more complex, but changing demands require that the IC [Intelligence Community] process different types as well as larger volumes of data,” the intelligence community said in its 1993 MDDS white paper. “Consequently, the IC is taking a proactive role in stimulating research in the efficient management of massive databases and ensuring that IC requirements can be incorporated or adapted into commercial products. Because the challenges are not unique to any one agency, the Community Management Staff (CMS) has commissioned a Massive Digital Data Systems [MDDS] Working Group to address the needs and to identify and evaluate possible solutions.”


The research arms of the CIA and NSA hoped that the best computer-science minds in academia could identify what they called “birds of a feather:”
Just as geese fly together in large V shapes, or flocks of sparrows make sudden movements together in harmony, they predicted that like-minded groups of humans would move together online.
The intelligence community named their first unclassified briefing for scientists the “birds of a feather” briefing, and the “Birds of a Feather Session on the Intelligence Community Initiative in Massive Digital Data Systems” took place at the Fairmont Hotel in San Jose in the spring of 1995.

... In 1995, one of the first and most promising MDDS grants went to a computer-science research team at Stanford University with a decade-long history of working with NSF and DARPA grants. The primary objective of this grant was “query optimization of very complex queries that are described using the ‘query flocks’ approach.” A second grant—the DARPA-NSF grant most closely associated with Google’s origin—was part of a coordinated effort to build a massive digital library using the internet as its backbone. Both grants funded research by two graduate students who were making rapid advances in web-page ranking, as well as tracking (and making sense of) user queries: future Google cofounders Sergey Brin and Larry Page.

When national security agencies need to identify and track people and groups, they know where to turn – and do so frequently. That was the goal in the beginning. It has succeeded perhaps more than anyone could have imagined at the time.


Private Companies Look To Cash in As Homeland Security Brings Facial Recognition to U.S. Borders

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In a crowded conference room earlier this month in Menlo Park, California, representatives from companies around the world listened intently as officials from the Department of Homeland Security explained the bidding process for contracts to develop facial recognition capabilities at land border crossings.

For the companies looking to get in on the action, the government has a test in mind: According to solicitation documents, the pilot program challenges bidding companies to accurately identify three individuals in a car traveling at roughly 25 mph through raised car windows and light rain, with one of the passengers in the vehicle’s backseat. While DHS officials acknowledged in Menlo Park that facial recognition is far from a mature technology and would accept up to a 70 percent error rate for initial projects, the short-term goals of both the government and private sectors are to drastically reduce inaccuracies. CBP officials already believe that technology is far more accurate than humans at identifying people.

The U.S. has not yet arrived at scenarios envisioned in science fiction, such as “Minority Report,” where authorities closely track citizens using ubiquitous biometric scanners, but the government’s entrée into using facial-recognition technology is well underway. ... The tipping point for facial recognition may be right around the corner as dozens of firms are fine-tuning the technology.


DARPA to Initiate Maritime Situational Awareness Development Program

White House Press Secretary Issues Bizarre Non-Denial of Private Spy Network Plans, While White House Official Confirms It

An AI That Makes Fake Videos May Facilitate the End of Reality as We Know It

Researchers from Nvidia have created an image translation AI that will almost certainly have you second-guessing everything you see online. The system can change day into night, winter into summer, and house cats into cheetahs with minimal training materials.

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AI Researchers are Trying to Combat How AI Can Be Used to Lie and Deceive

Video - Among researchers studying how AI can be used to lie and manipulate the world, there’s a feeling that 2017 has been the calm before the storm.

In an effort to get in front of this perceived threat, hundreds of AI researchers will gather today (Dec. 8) at Neural Information Processing Systems (NIPS), AI’s largest and most influential conference, to acknowledge the potential deceptive powers of artificial intelligence, and discuss countermeasures against them.

During a workshop on machine deception, attendees will focus on four main topics:
- Synthetic media, where AI is used to fake video footage or audio clips of someone speaking
- Fooling the machine, where adversarial examples are used to trick AI into seeing something that isn’t there
- Deceptive agents, AI-powered bots meant to sow disinformation and propaganda
- Policy and ethics, or how to advise regulators and shape ethics for pursuing this kind of research


AI Is Now So Complex Its Creators Can’t Trust Why It Makes Decisions

Controllable Swarming Cyborg Beetles
“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 » Sun 10 Dec 2017, 15:03:36

Nobel Peace Prize Winner ICAN Warns Nuclear War 'A Tantrum Away'

Accepting the Nobel Peace Prize on Sunday, Ican's executive director Beatrice Fihn said "the deaths of millions may be one tiny tantrum away".
"We have a choice, the end of nuclear weapons or the end of us"


North Korea Says Nuclear War on the Peninsula Is Inevitable and an 'Established Fact'

(SEOUL, South Korea) — North Korea says a nuclear war on the Korean Peninsula has become a matter of when, not if, as it continued to lash out at a massive joint military exercise between the United States and South Korea involving hundreds of advanced warplanes.


U.S. Athletes May Not Attend Olympics as Threat of Nuclear War with North Korea Rises, Haley Warns

Nikki Haley says it’s an “open question” whether the U.S. will participate in the Winter Olympics.

PyeongChang, in South Korea, is set to host the Winter Olympics in less than two months, but the city's location -- less than 50 miles from the border of North Korea -- has sparked some security fears, especially after the North Korean officials reported the successful launch of its largest and most powerful ballistic missile yet.

"The remaining question now is: when will the war break out?" a spokesman for the North's foreign ministry said late on Wednesday in a statement carried by North Korea's official KCNA news agency. "We do not wish for a war but shall not hide from it."

When asked if Haley would send family to the area if they were going to compete she hesitated...


China Paper Publishes Nuclear Attack Advice

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BEIJING — A state-run newspaper in a Chinese city near the border with North Korea on Wednesday published a page of "common sense" advice on how readers can protect themselves from a nuclear attack or explosion.

Nuclear weapons have five means of causing destruction: light radiation, blast waves, early-stage nuclear radiation, nuclear electro-magnetic pulses and radioactive pollution, the article explained.

People who find themselves outside during a nuclear attack should try to lie in a ditch, cover exposed skin in light-coloured clothing or dive into a river or lake to try and minimize the possibility of instantaneous death, it added.

Cartoon illustrations of ways to dispel radioactive contamination were also provided, such as using water to wash off shoes and using cotton buds to clean ears, as well as a picture of a vomiting child to show how medical help can be sought to speed the expulsion of radiation through stomach pumping and induced urination.


China Prepares Refugee Camps at Border with North Korea

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The day after a rather unusual Chinese news article was published about how citizens can better protect themselves in the event of a nuclear attack, a document circulating online has revealed the Chinese authorities’ plans to take in North Korean refugees in the event of a war.

The document, an internal memo from the Baishan City branch office of China Mobile, a state-owned telecommunications company, showed that Changbai County in Jilin Province—located just across the border with North Korea—had plans to set up five shelters for North Korean refugees, according to Hong Kong media HK01. The county government asked China Mobile to guarantee that areas surrounding the five shelters would have telecommunications signals. The company had finished conducting signal testing on December 2.


Only 90-120 seconds for an interceptor missile to hit an North Korean ICBM during the most vulnerable boost phase

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The best time to take out the North Korean ICBMs are before launch during the 3-4 minutes of the boost phase when they are first launched.

Taking out the ICBMs when they are about to hit their target is a far harder problem. The ICBMs can deploy decoys and they can alter course.

Hitting the North Korean ICBM during boost phase is still very hard. We will need faster missiles or we have quickly flood North Korean airspace with drones and fighters during the early stage of a conflict.

There are 90 to 120 seconds for an intercept after detection of a missile launch

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The solid inner circles indicate the required basing area if 30 seconds of decision time is allowed. The outer dashed circles show the basing area if interceptors are fired as soon as a firing solution is obtained, with no decision time. The crosses show the position of the last chance to intercept, in Chinese airspace in all cases.

6.5 km per second is Mach 19
10 km per second is Mach 29.

It does not appear in unclassified information that US has 6.5 km per second let alone 10 km per second interceptor missiles. The newest SM-3 Block II missiles are 4.5 km/second Mach 15 missiles. The THAAD missiles that are based in South Korea do not have the speed or range to cover North Korea to hit ICBMs as they launch.


Dubious Claim of Week: Air Force’s “EMP Missile” Could Disable N. Korean ICBMs

The White House officials have discussed using an experimental weapon to disrupt or disable a North Korean missile launch. The weapon in question, the product of the US Air Force's Counter-electronics High-powered Microwave Advanced Missile Project (CHAMP), uses bursts of microwave energy to disable electronic devices such as computers, communications and air defense radar systems.

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Officials from Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL) suggested CHAMP could be fully weaponized in a matter of weeks. But almost as a footnote, the NBC report noted that the weapon would have to pass very close to an ICBM before launch to affect it—which, despite CHAMP's classification as a non-lethal weapon, might be considered an act of war.

... And that's where the idea of using CHAMP against North Korean ICBMs gets dicey. If the US fired any sort of missile into North Korea, regardless of its lethality to humans, that would almost certainly be considered an act of war. The CALCM used in current configurations would, if detected by North Korean sensors, look a lot like any other cruise missile, and the sound of a turbofan flying overhead within North Korean borders just before launch systems for an ICBM failed would likely be met with the same sort of reaction as a conventional weapons strike.

In a wartime situation, targeting ballistic missiles with CHAMP-type weapons would be even more difficult. North Korea's mobile launchers could be hidden in tunnels across the country or in shielded shelters, and targeting them would require rapid collection of intelligence and prompt attack—probably not a task for a missile designed to take out electronics.


This Is How Nuclear War With North Korea Would Unfold

No one wants to fight a nuclear war. Not in North Korea, not in South Korea and not in the United States. And yet leaders in all three countries know that such a war may yet come — if not by choice then by mistake. ... But what if one of them stumbled, slipped over the edge and, grasping for life, dragged the others down into the darkness?

This is how that might happen, based on public statements, intelligence reports and blast-zone maps.


MARCH 2019:This time, the North Koreans went too far.

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... When a South Korean airliner strayed into North Korean airspace, a Northern air defense crew, already jumpy and anticipating the allied maneuvers in the Sea of Japan, mistook it for an American bomber. The crew fired a surface-to-air missile, sending the plane plunging into the ocean, killing all 250 people on board.

The South Korean public was outraged. Within hours, Moon ordered South Korean missile units to strike the air defense battery, as well as select leadership targets throughout North Korea. Moon’s limited missile strike might have been enough by itself to start the nuclear war of 2019. South Korean and American officials are still trading accusations. But the surviving members of the Moon administration insist that things would have been fine had President Trump not picked up his smartphone:
“LITTLE ROCKET MAN WON’T BE AROUND MUCH LONGER!”

It was an idle Twitter threat — Trump hadn’t yet been briefed about the missile strike, and it hadn’t yet been discussed on “Fox & Friends.” But how would Kim Jong Un know that? To him, with U.S. forces lurking nearby and South Korean missiles slamming into his military sites, the meaning of Trump’s tweet seemed clear: Trump was now using the shootdown as a pretext for the invasion he had wanted all along.

And so, facing what he believed was a massive American military invasion, Kim gave the order. The thread of history winds along on twists of fate, like Archduke Ferdinand’s driver missing a turn.

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...This time it wasn’t an exercise. In 2017, the U.S. intelligence community had assessed that North Korea had as many as 60 nuclear warheads and was adding about 12 a year. That number was a little high: Kim did not have 72 nuclear weapons. But he did have 48.

The Strategic Rocket Forces used 36 of them in the first wave. These missiles were largely extended-range Scuds and longer-range Rodongs. The launches looked exactly like the military exercises that the North Koreans had publicized year after year.

The targets in South Korea and Japan were largely located in urban areas. Yongsan Garrison, for example, was in the heart of Seoul. The Port of Busan, another important target, was in South Korea’s second-largest city. In Japan, many U.S. bases were concentrated in and around metropolitan Tokyo — Yokota and Atsugi air bases, Yokosuka naval base. Marine Corps Air Station Iwakuni, about 20 miles from Hiroshima, was also targeted.

Some of these missiles broke up in flight, failing to reach their targets. U.S. officials would later claim that they were intercepted by American and South Korean missile defenses — although most experts dispute that.

Many North Korean missiles did miss their targets in South Korea and Japan by a few kilometers. But these were fission devices, with yields similar to the nuclear weapons that destroyed Hiroshima and Nagasaki, and the bombs that fell off target still inflicted massive damage on urban areas. The blasts leveled buildings and were followed by massive firestorms that consumed large areas of Seoul, Busan and Tokyo. For at least a few hours, the North Koreans were able to follow the nuclear attack with waves of conventional missiles and long-range artillery. People would remark on the heroism of the surviving firefighters trying desperately to extinguish the flames as missiles, some armed with chemical weapons, continued to rain down on them. The suffering would play out over many days, as survivors, afflicted with acute radiation sickness, picked their way through the rubble to die at home. As it had been in Hiroshima and Nagasaki in 1945, the infrastructure to provide medical care was overwhelmed.

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... Kim gave the order to use the remaining nuclear-armed Hwasong-14 and Hwasong-15 ICBMs against targets in the United States — two each against naval bases in Pearl Harbor and San Diego, along with leadership targets in New York, Washington and — in a personal touch — a single missile aimed at Mar-a-Lago in Palm Beach, Fla., to bring the total to a dozen. The targets looked very much like the ones shown on a large map of the United States erected in Kim’s office, in front of which he had authorized the development of a nuclear strike plan in 2013.

The United States, of course, had a missile defense system in Alaska, along with a small number of interceptors in California. But the system was sized to deal with only 11 missiles. As it was, two-thirds of the North Korean missiles reached their targets.

It seemed more likely, the experts said, that four of the missiles had simply broken up as they reentered the earth’s atmosphere.

The remaining seven nuclear warheads landed in the United States. These missiles were no more accurate than the others — but with 200-kiloton warheads, 10 times the power of the bomb that destroyed Hiroshima, close was enough to count in most cases. Pearl Harbor took a direct hit with a single weapon, while San Diego was lucky: Both of the missiles aimed there failed to arrive.

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One warhead hit Manhattan — which North Korea’s state media had specifically mentioned as a target of its long-range missiles — while the two missiles pointed at Washington struck the Northern Virginia suburbs. Trump, in a makeshift bunker in the basement at Mar-a-Lago, felt the earth shudder as the last warhead landed in the town of Jupiter, Fla., about 20 miles away. The other two missiles fell wildly off course, detonating in the ocean or in rural, sparsely populated areas.

In the next few hours, Trump was informed that allied airstrikes had killed Kim. This was erroneous, but North Korea’s government had collapsed. Later, as U.S. and South Korean forces combed through the Pyongyang suburbs, they would find Kim in a bunker, dead by his own hand.

The direct hit on Manhattan killed more than 1 million people. An additional 300,000 perished near Washington. The strikes on Jupiter and Pearl Harbor each killed 20,000 to 30,000. These were just estimates; the scale of the destruction defied authorities’ ability to account for the dead. Hundreds of thousands perished in South Korea and Japan from the combination of the blasts and fires.

It would be years before the U.S. government could provide an accounting of the toll. The Pentagon would make almost no effort to tally the enormous numbers of civilians killed in North Korea by the massive conventional air campaign. But in the end, officials concluded, nearly 2 million Americans, South Koreans and Japanese had died in the completely avoidable nuclear war of 2019.


Apocalypse Alert: How India-Pakistan Nuclear War Will Kill 12 Million, Destroy Two Countries
“There are three classes of people: those who see. Those who see when they are shown. Those who do not see.” ― Leonardo da Vinci

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Re: Fully Automated Combat Robots Pt. 2

Unread postby vox_mundi » Tue 12 Dec 2017, 14:38:35

A Big Dutch Bank’s Fancy New AI System is Here to Help Human Traders—For Now

... Recall that last year ING said it would cut 5,800 jobs and change the jobs of an additional 1,200 employees as part of a $2-billion restructuring plan. Almost half of the money would go towards technology upgrades, the bank said at the time.


ING Launches Artificial Intelligence Bond Trading Tool Katana

Dutch lender ING has become the latest bank to embrace the trading room robot revolution with the introduction of technology that will help human traders to swiftly gather better bond prices.

Katana will use data from hundreds of thousands of trades to help the bank’s traders to get better bond prices faster. In a six-month trial at ING’s emerging markets desk, the AI tool led to faster pricing decisions for 90 per cent of trades, and cut trading costs by 25 per cent.

Katana is now being launched across ING’s fixed income business; its users will sharply increase from a “handful” of emerging markets traders to about 100 fixed income traders across the lender.

In the case of Katana, the bank believes better and faster pricing will help it win more business.These are highly competitive markets,” said Mr Braje. “Every price that we quote, we are competing with 10 people . . . We only win if we provide the best price.”

Other banks including JPMorgan and UBS have already introduced AI on their trading floors.


AI Does Not Have Enough Experience to Handle the Next Market Crash

Artificial intelligence is increasingly used to make decisions in financial markets. Fund managers empower AI to make trading decisions, frequently by identifying patterns in financial data. The more data that AI has, the more it learns. And with the financial world producing data at an ever-increasing rate, AI should be getting better.

But what happens if the data the AI encounters isn’t normal or represents an anomaly?


Globally, around 10 times more data (pdf) was generated in 2017 than in 2010. This means that the best quality data is also highly concentrated in the recent past—a world that has been running on cheap money, supplied by central banks through purchases of safe securities, which is not a “normal” state for the market. This has had a number of effects, from causing a rise in “zombie” firms to creating generational lows in volatility to encouraging unusually large corporate buybacks (pdf).

With so much data residing in this era, AI might not know what a “normal” market actually looks like.
- US stock market capitalization is now around 135% of GDP, the highest since 2000;
- Corporate debt is at record highs;
- Trading volume for 2017 on the New York Stock Exchange is down 51% from 2007, while the NYSE market capitalization is up 28%;
- Record low volatility where the US market has gone 12 months without a 3% correction.

Today’s volatility is “extraordinarily unusual,” Kaplan noted. Cheap credit makes markets less volatile. When credit is easy, a company can rely on the promise of cheap debt to support itself so the value of equity becomes less volatile. Markets have experienced periods of low volatility before—and each time they have ended with a shock.

If this current period ends violently, AI trained on predictable central-bank money flows will be unable to reconcile what it sees in new data from what it’s been trained on.

The question is, if and when a shock comes and an entirely unfamiliar situation arises, what will the financial AIs do? As the financial system gets more interconnected, AI could spread the impact of extreme shocks faster, making the entire system potentially less stable during a shock event. This is particularly true if data sources and AI strategies are shared, and then there is a shock to a particular data source.

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AI Is Learning How To Make You Cry At The Movies

... How do you teach emotions to AI? Make them watch movies. MIT’s machine learning model reviewed “thousands” of movies and eventually became able to track and label emotional arcs—not story beats exactly, but the shifts from happy to sad a viewer might feel as they watch the movie. Crucially, this research wanted AI to understand how the film triggered them, using music, dialogue, camera angles, etc.

Here's how the machine watched the infamously sad opening sequence from Up, discerning the story beats that had the most emotional impacts, both positive and negative.

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Emotion-Detection Might Predict Social Media Engagement

Though a long-term goal is for AI to create emotionally cogent and powerful stories on its own, for now, at least, they say the best way to use this tech is “to enhance [the work of storytellers] by providing insights that increase a story’s emotional pull—for instance, identifying a musical score or visual image that helps engender feelings of hope.”


LG’s new airport robots will guide you to your gate and clean up your trash

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The robot is fitted with capabilities of household cleaning robots as well as self-driving technology and the ability to avoid obstacles. The robot’s database contains a map of airport spaces that need cleaning, which is used by the robot to determine the most effective routes for cleaning.

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Meet Your Replacement


Kamikaze UAVs, Drones on Leashes, Information Bombs Top Pentagon’s Counterterror Wishlist

Expect to see these technologies in a grey-zone battlefield in the not-too-distant future.

Loitering Death Drones

In 2016, the Pentagon put out an urgent request for kamikaze drones that could loiter in the air for 15 minutes before striking their target. The CTTSO wants more of that, but better and smarter. They’re asking for a so-called “loitering munition” — basically a bomb or missile that can circle a specific area, waiting for a victim. As the BAA notes, current loitering munitions can’t hit things that are hiding behind walls and other obstacles, so CTTSO wants something that can outmaneuver an adversary’s best efforts to evade his fiery death. But they also want the drone bombs to be smart enough to identify and engage their targets: “A true VTOL loitering munition should possess enough endurance and adequate sensors to find, fix, and finish targets in a single man-portable platform,” the BAA reads.

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What does that look like? Imagine a cross between the bomb copters in the Slaughterbots short and the smart bullets in the classic 1984 robo-dystopia Runaway.
“There are three classes of people: those who see. Those who see when they are shown. Those who do not see.” ― Leonardo da Vinci

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Re: Fully Automated Combat Robots Pt. 2

Unread postby vox_mundi » Tue 12 Dec 2017, 14:53:56

Former Facebook Exec: 'You Don’t Realize It But You Are Being Programed'

Another former Facebook executive has spoken out about the harm the social network is doing to civil society around the world. Chamath Palihapitiya, who joined Facebook in 2007 and became its vice president for user growth, said he feels “tremendous guilt” about the company he helped make. “I think we have created tools that are ripping apart the social fabric of how society works,” he told an audience at Stanford Graduate School of Business, before recommending people take a “hard break” from social media.

"We curate our lives around this perceived sense of perfection, because we get rewarded in these short term signals: Hearts, likes, thumbs up"

"We conflate that with value and we conflate it with truth, and instead what it really is is fake, brittle popularity that's short term and leaves you even more vacant and empty before you did it.

"You don't realise it but you are being programmed."

Palihapitiya’s criticisms were aimed not only at Facebook, but the wider online ecosystem. “The short-term, dopamine-driven feedback loops we’ve created are destroying how society works,” he said, referring to online interactions driven by “hearts, likes, thumbs-up.” “No civil discourse, no cooperation; misinformation, mistruth. And it’s not an American problem — this is not about Russians ads. This is a global problem.”

He went on to describe an incident in India where hoax messages about kidnappings shared on WhatsApp led to the lynching of seven innocent people. “That’s what we’re dealing with,” said Palihapitiya.
“And imagine taking that to the extreme, where bad actors can now manipulate large swathes of people to do anything you want. It’s just a really, really bad state of affairs.”

He says he tries to use Facebook as little as possible, and that his children “aren’t allowed to use that shit.”

In his talk, he said that investors pump money into “shitty, useless, idiotic companies,” rather than addressing real problems like climate change and disease. Palihapitiya also notes that although tech investors seem almighty, they’ve achieved their power more through luck than skill. “Everybody’s bullshitting,” he said. “If you’re in a seat, and you have good deal flow, and you have precious capital, and there’s a massive tailwind of technological change ... Over time you get one of the 20 [companies that become successful] and you look like a genius. And nobody wants to admit that but that’s the fucking truth.”

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Facebook Mood Manipulation Experiment

Facebook’s News Feed—the main list of status updates, messages, and photos you see when you open Facebook on your computer or phone—is not a perfect mirror of the world. But few users expect that Facebook would change their News Feed in order to manipulate their emotional state.

We now know that’s exactly what happened two years ago. For one week in January 2012, data scientists skewed what almost 700,000 Facebook users saw when they logged into its service. Some people were shown content with a preponderance of happy and positive words; some were shown content analyzed as sadder than average. And when the week was over, these manipulated users were more likely to post either especially positive or negative words themselves.

This tinkering was just revealed as part of a new study, published in the prestigious Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. Many previous studies have used Facebook data to examine “emotional contagion,” as this one did. This study is different because, while other studies have observed Facebook user data, this one set out to manipulate it.

Not every item of news should be published. Rather must those who control news policies endeavor to make every item of news serve a certain purpose.

- Joseph Goebbels

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Trump's Mind-Numbing Media Manipulation Machine

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There is a very specific — and dangerous — formula for manipulating the media and hijacking the Twitter/cable/conventional media industrial complex. Trump sets this formulaic trap increasingly often. And news organizations keep falling for it.
- Step 1: Throw an early morning Twitter bomb, ...
- Step 2: The outrage machine kicks in. ...
- Step 3: The cable beast awakens. ...
- Step 4: The fringes foment. ...
- Step 5: Opinions fly. ...

Rinse. Repeat.
Think of the press as a great keyboard on which the government can play. ... Propaganda must facilitate the displacement of aggression by specifying the targets for hatred.

- Joseph Goebbels

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“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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