The world is full of connected devices – and more are coming. In 2017, there were an estimated 8.4 billion internet-enabled thermostats, cameras, streetlights and other electronics. By 2020 that number could exceed 20 billion, and by 2030 there could be 500 billion or more. Because they'll all be online all the time, each of those devices – whether a voice-recognition personal assistant or a pay-by-phone parking meter or a temperature sensor deep in an industrial robot – will be vulnerable to a cyberattack and could even be part of one. Today, many "smart" internet-connected devices are made by large companies with well-known brand names, like Google, Apple, Microsoft and Samsung, which have both the technological systems and the marketing incentive to fix any security problems quickly.
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."
The world's leading Artificial Intelligence (AI) and robotics experts, including Tesla's Elon Musk and Google's Mustafa Suleyman, have urged the United Nations to take action to prevent the development of killer robots before it is too late. The letter signed by 116 experts from 26 countries opens with the words, "As companies building the technologies in Artificial Intelligence and Robotics that may be repurposed to develop autonomous weapons, we feel especially responsible in raising this alarm." Though none has been build yet, conceptually a killer robot is fully autonomous and can engage, target and kill humans without any human intervention. Unlike a cruise missile or a remotely piloted drone, where humans make all the target decisions, a quadcopter with AI, for example, can search and destroy people that meet pre-defined criteria on its own. "Retaining human control over use of force is a moral imperative and essential to promote compliance with international law, and ensure accountability," Mary Wareham, advocacy director, Arms Division, Human Rights Watch, wrote in January.
Ahmad Hasan Abu Khayr al-Masri, al Qaeda's second in command, reportedly was killed Sunday in a drone strike in Syria. Israeli broadcaster Arutz Sheva cited unconfirmed reports saying a U.S. drone strike near al-Mastoumeh in Idlib province killed al-Masri, who has been described as the general deputy to al Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri. Video of the aftermath was posted on YouTube by the Smart News Agency. Al-Masri, 59, was in Iranian custody for a dozen years until 2015 when he was released and moved to Syria. Pictures of the car in which al-Masri reportedly was traveling were posted on Twitter.
The apocalyptic future shown in sci-fi films--the ones where robots have gain consciousness and destroy humanity--is not one you need to worry about according to a report from the United States Department of Defense. The document, produced by JASON--an independent advisory group comprised of scientists and experts that brief the government on matters of science and technology--outlines trends in the field of artificial intelligence as it pertains to the U.S. military. According to the report, most computer scientists believe the possible threats posed by AI to be "at best uninformed" and those fears "do not align with the most rapidly advancing current research directions of AI as a field." It instead says these existential fears stem from a very particular--and small--part of the field of research called Artificial General Intelligence (AGI), which is defined as an AI that can successfully perform any intellectual task that a human can. The report argues we are unlikely to see the reality of an AGI come from the current artificial intelligence research and the concept "has high visibility, disproportionate to its size or present level of success."
A suspected U.S. drone strike killed four members of al Qaeda's Yemen branch, including a local commander, two unidentified officials in Yemen said Saturday. A vehicle traveling east of the capital Sanaa was reportedly hit by the drone. Officials told Reuters the attack was carried out in Marib province, which is controlled by forces loyal to exiled President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi, late Friday. Abu Khaled al-Sanaani, the local commander of Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), was among the four dead, officials said. The latest attack was the second drone strike in two days to target a local commander of the militant group, which is regarded by U.S. officials as one of the most dangerous branches of al Qaeda.