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Ignorance of history is a badge of honour in Silicon Valley. "The only thing that matters is the future," self-driving-car engineer Anthony Levandowski told The New Yorker in 20181. Levandowski, formerly of Google, Uber and Google's autonomous-vehicle subsidiary Waymo (and recently sentenced to 18 months in prison for stealing trade secrets), is no outlier. The gospel of'disruptive innovation' depends on the abnegation of history2. 'Move fast and break things' was Facebook's motto. Another word for this is heedlessness. And here are a few more: negligence, foolishness and blindness.
A group of nongovernmental organisations called on the Trump administration to clarify its policy on drone use, saying they are concerned about reported changes to US rules and a lack of transparency in the decision-making process. "We are deeply concerned that the reported new policy, combined with this administration's reported dramatic increase in lethal operations in Yemen and Somalia, will add to an increase in unlawful killings and in civilian casualties," a joint statement said. The organisations include Amnesty International, the US-based Center for Constitutional Rights, Human Rights Watch, the ACLU and others. President Donald Trump signed the 2018 National Defense Authorization Act in December. The act funds the US military but also requires Trump to make known to Congress any changes to previous drone policies by March 12.
British science fiction writer and futurist, Arthur C. Clarke once said, "any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic". Artificial Intelligence (AI) brings in a host of real-world applications which had earlier merely been a subject of science fiction novels or movies. AI empowered cars are already under rigorous testing and they are quite likely to ply on the roads soon. The social humanoid robot Sophia became a citizen of Saudi Arabia in 2017. Apple's intelligent personal assistant, Siri, can receive instructions and interact with human beings in natural language. Autonomous weapons can execute military missions on their own, identify and engage targets without any human intervention. In the words of John McCarthy, AI, is the "science and engineering of making intelligent machines, especially intelligent computer programs". As a burgeoning discipline of computer science, AI enables intelligent machines that can execute functions, similar to human abilities like speech, facial, object or gesture recognition, learning, problem solving, reasoning, perception and response.
It was supposed to be an easy $1,000 job. All 25-year-old Jorge Edwin Rivera had to do was pilot a drone, carrying a lunchbox filled with 13 pounds of methamphetamine, from one side of the US-Mexico border to the other where an accomplice could retrieve the smuggled cargo. What he didn't count on was Border Patrol agents spotting the UAV in flight and tracking it back to his hiding spot, 2,000 yards from the national divide. This isn't the first time that smugglers have used commercially-available drones to carry contraband. In 2015, the Border Patrol caught a two people dropping off 28 pounds of heroin in Calexico, California, and, in the same year, caught another drug ring delivering 30 pounds of cannabis to San Luis, Arizona.