North America Government

Pentagon's artificial intelligence programs get huge boost in defense budget


On Monday, President Trump signed the the $717 billion annual National Defense Authorization Act, which was easily passed by Congress in weeks prior. Much attention has understandably been placed on big-ticket items like $7.6 billion for acquiring 77 F-35 fighters, $21.9 billion for the nuclear weapons program, and $1.56 billion for three littoral combat ships--despite the fact that the Navy requested only one in the budget. What has gotten less attention is how the bill cements artificial intelligence programs in the Defense Department and lays the groundwork for a new national-level policy and strategy in the form of an artificial intelligence commission. As artificial intelligence and machine learning algorithms are integrated into defense technology, spending on these technologies is only going to increase in years to come. While spending for many AI programs in the NDAA is in the tens of millions at present, one budget for a project that did not go through the normal appropriations process could have a total cost of $1.75 billion over the next seven years.

Quantum-inspired computational imaging


Imaging technologies, which extend human vision capabilities, are such a natural part of our current everyday experience that we often take them for granted. However, the ability to capture images with new kinds of sensing devices that allow us to see more than what can be seen by the unaided eye has a relatively recent history. In the early 1800s, the first ever photograph was taken: an unassuming picture that required days of exposure to obtain a very grainy image. In the late 1800s, a photograph was used for the first time to see the movement of a running horse that the human eye alone could not see. In the following years, photography played a pivotal role in recording human history, ranging from influencing the creation of the first national parks in the United States all the way to documenting NASA's Apollo 11 mission to put a man on the Moon.

Alex Jones radio channel taken offline – but not because of his conspiracy theories or controversies

The Independent

Alex Jones's flagship radio channel is now silent – but not for the same reason as everyone else took him offline. The Federal Communications Commission has taken down Jones's flagship radio station, Liberty Radio, according to reports. It was taken offline because it was operating as a pirate radio station, the Association Press said. The lawsuit filed against those behind the station claimed that Liberty Radio had been broadcasting since at least 2013. It was doing so without a license, apparently from an apartment in Austin, Texas.

The National Artificial Intelligence Research And Development Strategic Plan


Artificial intelligence (AI) is a transformative technology that holds promise for tremendous societal and economic benefit. AI has the potential to revolutionize how we live, work, learn, discover, and communicate. AI research can further our national priorities, including increased economic prosperity, improved educational opportunities and quality of life, and enhanced national and homeland security. Because of these potential benefits, the U.S. government has invested in AI research for many years. Yet, as with any significant technology in which the Federal government has interest, there are not only tremendous opportunities but also a number of considerations that must be taken into account in guiding the overall direction of Federally-funded R&D in AI.

The "neuropolitics" consultants who hack voters' brains

MIT Technology Review

Maria Pocovi slides her laptop over to me with the webcam switched on. My face stares back at me, overlaid with a grid of white lines that map the contours of my expression. Next to it is a shaded window that tracks six "core emotions": happiness, surprise, disgust, fear, anger, and sadness. Each time my expression shifts, a measurement bar next to each emotion fluctuates, as if my feelings were an audio signal. When I look back at Pocovi, I get the sense she knows exactly what I'm thinking with one glance. Petite with a welcoming smile, Pocovi, the founder of Emotion Research Lab in Valencia, Spain, is a global entrepreneur par excellence.

Meet Santiago Siri, the Man With a Radical Plan for Blockchain Voting


In a café on the Upper East Side of Manhattan, a one-time videogame developer turned political theorist named Santiago Siri is trying to explain to me how his nonprofit startup, Democracy.Earth, aims to fix the world's broken politics with the help of the blockchain. The conversation has already covered a dizzying amount of ground. We've discussed the emergence of the Westphalian order of nation-states in the 17th century, Russia's interference in the 2016 US election, the total collapse of Venezuelan society, and Siri's own experience of political corruption in his native Argentina. But he finally boils it all down to one short sentence. "We want to tokenize the like," Siri says.

NASA picks three winners in Freelancer robotic arm contest


NASA has announced three winners in a crowdsourced contest to design an arm for a space robot named Astrobee. The contest, which is being run through job site, is one of several crowdsourcing campaigns the space agency is running to bring in novel engineering ideas from around the world. Astrobee is a NASA-designed ruggedized cube that will float around the International Space Station and perform routine tasks, such as system inspections, basic housekeeping, and serving as on-call camera-bot. Like terrestrial robots, Astrobee will rely on specialized equipment to interact with the environment around it. NASA has been drawing up plans for a lightweight articulated arm that folds into a compartment inside the robot's body, but it has also been running a crowdsourcing contest to solicit outside designs for various mechanisms and components that will make up the arm.

Stern of World War II destroyer Abner Read found 75 years after it was ripped off by a Japanese mine

Daily Mail

The stern of a US destroyer that was blown off the ship by a Japanese mine 75 years ago, killing 71, has been found off Alaska. The fragment of the USS Abner Read was found in the Bering Sea off the Aleutian island of Kiska, where it sank after being torn off by an explosion while conducting an anti-submarine patrol. The remaining crew managed to save the ship, which was repaired after the attack. On July 17, a NOAA-funded team of scientists from Scripps Institution of Oceanography at the University of California San Diego and the University of Delaware discovered the missing 75- foot stern section in 290 feet of water off of Kiska, one of only two United States territories to be occupied by foreign forces in the last 200 years. After sonar mounted to the side of the research ship Norseman II identified a promising target, the team sent down a deep-diving, remotely operated vehicle to capture live video for confirmation.

Oracle open sources Graphpipe to standardize machine learning model deployment


Oracle, a company not exactly known for having the best relationship with the open source community, is releasing a new open source tool today called Graphpipe, which is designed to simplify and standardize the deployment of machine learning models. The tool consists of a set of libraries and tools for following the standard. Vish Abrams, whose background includes helping develop OpenStack at NASA and later helping launch Nebula, an OpenStack startup in 2011, is leading the project. He says as his team dug into the machine learning workflow, they found a gap. While teams spend lots of energy developing a machine learning model, it's hard to actually deploy the model for customers to use.

Tech Giants Pledge to Ease Patient, Provider Access to Health Data WSJD - Technology

WASHINGTON--Major tech companies committed Monday to removing technological barriers that have hindered patient and provider access to health-care data online. At a Trump administration event focused on developing more health-care apps, companies including Inc., Alphabet Inc. unit Google and Microsoft Corp. said they would "share the common quest to unlock the potential in health care data, to deliver better outcomes at lower costs." That promise would help accelerate what many regard as a coming data-driven revolution in health care, as patients, providers and researchers gain more access to records. It could help the development of more calibrated and cost-effective treatments. Improving communications and data exchanges among health information-technology systems and devices could lead to more than $30 billion a year in savings, according to some estimates.