This article originally appeared in Motley Fool. Artificial intelligence (AI) is already impacting our lives in many ways. From intelligent video curation on Alphabet's (NASDAQ:GOOG) (NASDAQ:GOOGL) YouTube and Google web search to Apple's (NASDAQ:AAPL) Siri personal assistant, AI is already making our lives easier. AI can also help corporations and customers fight against rapidly evolving cyberthreats. For instance, FireEye's (NASDAQ:FEYE) Helix cybersecurity platform is able to automate threat detection and prevention with the help of this emerging technology.
The United States Department of Defense announced it is offering grants to build bat-like drones that can be powered by lasers as part of its Defense Enterprise Science Initiative. The opportunity is open to submissions through Feb. 28 as the Pentagon looks for emerging technology that can help it build "new paradigms for autonomous flight, with a focus on highly-maneuverable platforms and algorithms for flight control and decision making." In a Broad Agency Announcement adding detail as to what the Department of Defense is seeking through its grant, the announcement invokes bats and flying insects as inspiration for the project. "The biological study of agile organisms such as bats and flying insects has yielded new insights into complex flight kinematics of systems with a large number of degrees of freedom, and the use of multi-functional flight surface materials," the announcement reads. The description goes on to note that advances in technology--including improvements in sensors and miniaturization of powerful computing processors--as well as improvements of flight control algorithms should enable the creation of an autonomous drone that would operate akin to a free-flying creature like a bat.
An Australian man was taken into custody Saturday for allegedly acting as an economic agent for North Korea and attempting to sell missile parts, military intelligence and coal on the black market. The Australian Federal Police arrested Chan Han Choi, 59, in Sydney and charged him with brokering sales of weapons of mass destruction, according to the Australian Broadcasting Corporation. It is the first time a charge of this kind has been leveled against anyone in Australia. The sales would violate Australian and United Nations sanctions. "We believe this man participated in discussions about the sale of missile componentry from North Korea to other entities abroad as another attempt to try and raise revenue for the government in North Korea, again in breach of the sanctions," said Australian Federal Police Assistant Commissioner Neil Gaughan in a statement.
The state firefighting service of California collaborated with a unit of California Air National Guard and deployed military wartime drones in order to receive real time photos and videos of the massive wildfire which spread across the area. According to a report by USA Today, this is only the third time such collaboration had taken place. The Reaper MQ-9, operated by the 163d Attack Wing at March Air Reserve Base in the Riverside County, will fly five miles above and transmit relevant information to commanders on the ground. This also includes information about spot-fire detection. Scott McLean, Deputy Chief of California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection, said, "It's out of the way."
The Chinese military, Thursday, strongly condemned and opposed the trespassing of an Indian Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) into Chinese airspace. India, on the same day, claimed that the UAV "lost control" and entered into Chinese territory through the Sikkim (a state in India) border. According to a report by the Hindustan Times, an Indian news website, India replied to the incident, Thursday, claiming that the UAV was on a "regular training mission," lost control and crossed the border area from Sikkim. A statement by the Indian Defense Ministry said: "An Indian UAV which was on a regular training mission inside the Indian territory lost contact with the ground control due to some technical problem and crossed over the LAC [Line of Actual Control] in the Sikkim Sector. As per standard protocol, the Indian border security personnel immediately alerted their Chinese counterparts to locate the UAV."
South Korea planned to introduce a new counter to North Korea's burgeoning nuclear weapons program: drones. South Korean news wire agency Yonhap reported Tuesday that the nation planned to roll out a new weaponized drone unit next year. "The Army plans to set up a special organization to lead the development of dronebots, establish a standard platform and expand the dronebot program by function," an Army official told Yonhap, asking not be named because they weren't authorized to discuss the matter. "To begin with, we will launch a dronebot combat unit next year and use it as a'game changer' in warfare." The drones primary function will be for surveillance -- North Korea has launched a number of ballistic missile tests this year and many of them came without warning.
Science fiction has a funny habit of becoming science fact after enough time has passed. The wide-eyed wonder of children sitting cross-legged in front of the TV eventually becomes inspiration for incredible feats of engineering, or the means of our own destruction. The latest example of this phenomenon is a new, powered up exoskeleton the U.S. Army is testing, per Scout. There are tons of examples of this sort of thing in science fiction. It usually involves military personnel enhancing their combat capabilities with some manner of armor or exoskeleton.
Artificial Intelligence (AI) in warfare has been growing rapidly. Several weapons now use integrated AI software to slowly reduce the number of soldiers in direct mortal peril. These weapon systems can target and attack anyone without human intervention. But, the growth of this technology is raising a few eyebrows. Several prominent scientists have already questioned the future of AI machinery simply because of the unpredictability.
Russian president Vladimir Putin wanted world leaders to have regulations in store for superhuman soldiers in the future in case they turn in to mass killers who feel no pain or fear, The Express reported Monday. The statement came after he warned attendees of the "World Festival of Youth and Students" Saturday. Genetically-modified superhuman soldiers are a possible danger, because scientists are close to breaking the genetic code. "He can be a genius mathematician, a brilliant musician or a soldier, a man who can fight without fear, compassion, regret or pain," Putin said in his speech for the festival's closing ceremony, according to Express. "What I have just described might be worse than a nuclear bomb," Putin proclaimed, in front of the 20,000 young women and men attending the festival, which was held in the Olympic Park in Sochi.
The Falcon 9 used for the mission launched 10 Iridium satellites from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California. The launch got 10 satellites into orbit, SpaceX is contracted to launch 75 of these communication satellites for Iridium and with Monday's launch has successfully put 30 into orbit. After the launch and deployment of the satellites the first stage of the rocket then entered Earth's atmosphere again and landed upright on the drone ship "Just Read The Instructions." The third launch of a bath of 10 Iridium satellites took place at Vandenberg Air Force base in California.