With the recent launch of the website AI.gov as "Artificial Intelligence for the American People," AI will clearly be an integral part of our future. While some may still wonder, "what can AI do for us?," many more may be asking, "what can AI do to us?" given some recent tragic events. The crashes of the Boeing 737 MAXs and Uber and Tesla's self-driving car fatalities point to AI's unintended consequences and highlight how technologists as well as users of AI have both fallen short at making proper guardrails in deploying AI technology. People often think of AI as the panacea that will enable technology to solve our most pressing problems. In that way, AI brings to mind a seeming panacea of an earlier age: aspirin.
LONDON, / CHICAGO – Boffins at U.K. engineering giant Rolls-Royce proudly displayed an array of miniature robots at this year's Farnborough air show, best known as a major marketplace for passenger planes but also a test bed for the aviation industry's wilder imaginings. Designed to speed up engine overhauls, the manufacturer's tiny cockroach-like drones would remove the need for power plants to be detached from aircraft during maintenance work. The "swarming" bots, less than half an inch across, are designed to roam engine turbines in gangs, beaming pictures back to inspection crews after being deposited by so-called "snake" hosts that work their way through the engine. If the bots don't get you the drones will. The biannual air show was awash with unmanned aerial vehicles, or UAVs, ranging from delivery craft that guarantee to gently deposit a parcel by your door to the latest military types intent on blowing stuff up.
Look alive, stateside drone pilots: the Federal Aviation Administration's initial set of operational rules for commercial UAV flights officially goes into effect today. Those rules were finalized back in June and govern any unmanned UAV under 55 pounds that is flown for "non-hobbyist purposes." As a quick refresher, drones that meet those qualifications can only operate during daylight hours (until dusk if the drone is equipped with warning lights) and must fly within the pilot's line of sight. Commercial drone pilots are also required to be at least 16 years old and will need to pass an Aeronautical Knowledge Test at a certified testing center before they can get their remote pilot certificate. Fully automated flights like the Amazon's planned delivery service or automated surveying devices are still not allowed.
Early in his career, Andrew Hall, an old-school Miami attorney whose Coconut Grove firm has sued governments from Cuba to Sudan, worked on a lawsuit that lasted three full years. The case was cartoonishly complex. The Vietnam War was sputtering to an end and McDonnell Douglas Aircraft, then America's largest manufacturer of jet airplanes, had defaulted on a contract involving the delivery of 99 jets to Eastern Airlines. There were over a million documents put into evidence and almost 300 witnesses. The massive operation employed so many lawyers, clerks and paralegals, they resembled a legal militia more than a legal team.