Military


The Pentagon wants to buy thousands of battlefield robots

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Robotics manufacturers are scrambling for more than a half billion dollars in Pentagon contracts for battlefield robots that will defuse bombs and scout ahead for soldiers on the battlefield. That's according to a new Associated Press report about the U.S. military's efforts to purchase thousands of "backpack-sized" robots that troops can deploy to take bullets in dangerous situations -- and its fear that it could be outpaced by similar efforts by China and Russia. These battlefield robots aren't killer bots capable of using lethal force autonomously, a class of machine that is currently being debated worldwide. Rather, U.S. military leaders are interested in intermediary devices like Endeavor Robotics' treadmill-sporting Centaur bot, which can perform reconnaissance and disable explosives -- bots that soldiers can put in harm's way instead of themselves.


Struggling couples could soon get relationship help from AI 'woebots'

Daily Mail

AI'woebots' could be the answer to the growing demand for counselling in the UK, the head of Britain's largest relationship charity said today. A need for more human counsellors has also opened to door to emotional support offered by computers via online chat, text or WhatsApp. Aidan Jones, chief executive of Relate, says that AI chatbots can in some cases offer couples support in the same way a human can. Experts also claim that some people can'open up' more away from a counselling room. Similar'woebots' including one called'Ellie' have already been tested on US Army soldiers with post-traumatic stress disorder.


U.S. Army looks for a few good robots, sparking industry battle

The Japan Times

CHELMSFORD, MASSACHUSETTS - The U.S. Army is looking for a few good robots. Not to fight -- not yet, at least -- but to help the men and women who do.


'Unpredictable' killer robots could go 'off the rails'

Daily Mail

Introducing self-governing killer robots to the battlefield could have horrific consequences for mankind, a leading academic has warned. The lethal technology is being developed around the world and is slowly being used in warfare as countries try to stay ahead of other nations. A global initiative to prohibit the use of fully autonomous killing machines that do not require any human oversight to choose and execute people was blocked earlier this year. A handful of countries including Australia, Israel, the US, Russia and South Korea prevented the worldwide ban - citing the need for further talks on the'benefits and advantages of autonomous weapons'. Richard Moyes, an honorary fellow at the University of Exeter and founding member of the Campaign to Stop Killer Robots (CSKR), has revealed the long-term use of killer robots, without human controllers, may result in unnecessary loss of life to both civilians and soldiers.


104. Critical Thinking: The Neglected Skill Required to Win Future Conflicts

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Many experts in education and psychology argue that critical thinking skills are declining. In 2017, Dr. Stephen Camarata wrote about the emerging crisis in critical thinking and college students' struggles to tackle real world problem solving. He emphasized the essential need for critical thinking and asserted that "a young adult whose brain has been "wired' to be innovative, think critically, and problem solve is at a tremendous competitive advantage in today's increasingly complex and competitive world."3 Although most government agencies, policy makers, and businesses deem critical thinking important, STEM fields continue to be prioritized. However, if creative thinking skills are not fused with STEM, then there will continue to be a decline in those equipped with well-rounded critical thinking abilities. In 2017, Mark Cuban opined during an interview with Bloomberg TV that the nature of work is changing and the future skill that will be more in-demand will be "creative thinking."


Pentagon looks to exoskeletons to build 'super-soldiers'

The Japan Times

WASHINGTON – The U.S. Army is investing millions of dollars in experimental exoskeleton technology to make soldiers stronger and more resilient, in what experts say is part of a broader push into advanced gear to equip a new generation of "super-soldiers." The technology is being developed by Lockheed Martin Corp. with a license from Canada-based B-TEMIA, which first developed the exoskeletons to help people with mobility difficulties stemming from medical ailments like multiple sclerosis and severe osteoarthritis. Worn over a pair of pants, the battery-operated exoskeleton uses a suite of sensors, artificial intelligence and other technology to aid natural movements. For the U.S. military, the appeal of such technology is clear: Soldiers now deploy into war zones bogged down by heavy but critical gear like body armor, night-vision goggles and advanced radios. Altogether, that can weigh anywhere from 40 to 64 kilograms (90 to 140 pounds), when the recommended limit is just 23 kg (50 pounds).


Pentagon looks to exoskeletons to build 'super-soldiers'

Daily Mail

The U.S. Army has awarded a $6.9m contract to develop an'Iron Man' exoskeleton to give soldiers superhuman strength and endurance. Called Onyx, the battery-operated exoskeleton uses a suite of sensors, artificial intelligence and other technology to aid natural movements. It is being built by Lockheed Martin, and was originally designed to help people with mobility problems. 'It supports and boosts leg capacity for physically demanding tasks that require lifting or dragging heavy loads, holding tools or equipment, repetitive or continuous kneeling or squatting, crawling, walking long distances, walking with load, walking up or down hills, or carrying loads on stairs,' Lockheed Martin said. 'When human strength is challenged, ONYX makes the difference, reducing muscle fatigue, increasing endurance, and reducing injury.'


The facial recognition software that could identify thousands of faces in Civil War photographs

Daily Mail

Facial recognition is being used to identify American Civil War soldiers who may have otherwise been lost in the sands of time. Computer scientist and history buff Kurt Luther created a free-to-use website, called Civil War Photo Sleuth, that uses facial recognition technology to cross-reference vintage photographs with a database and hopefully assign a name to unknown subjects. Luther was inspired to launch the website after he stumbled upon a wartime portrait of his great-great-uncle, who was a Union corporal in the Civil War. Then, the site's facial recognition technology goes to work, mapping as many as 27 'facial landmarks.' It uses those facial landmarks to compare the photo to the more than 10,000 identified photos in the site's archive.


Artificial Intelligence and the Resort to Force

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Big data technology and machine learning techniques play a growing role across all areas of modern society. Machine learning provides the ability to predict likely future outcomes, to calculate risks between competing choices, to make sense of vast amounts of data at speed, and to draw insights from data that would be otherwise invisible to human analysts. Despite the significant attention given to machine learning generally in academic writing and public discourse, however, there has been little analysis of how it may affect war-making decisions, and even less analysis from an international law perspective. The advantages that flow from machine learning algorithms mean that it is inevitable that governments will begin to employ them to help officials decide whether, when, and how to resort to force internationally. In some cases, these algorithms may lead to more accurate and defensible uses of force than we see today; in other cases, states may intentionally abuse these algorithms to engage in acts of aggression, or unintentionally misuse algorithms in ways that lead them to make inferior decisions relating to force. This essay's goal is to draw attention to current and near future developments that may have profound implications for international law, and to present a blueprint for the necessary analysis. More specifically, this article seeks to identify the most likely ways in which states will begin to employ machine learning algorithms to guide their decisions about when and how to use force, to identify legal challenges raised by use of force-related algorithms, and to recommend prophylactic measures for states as they begin to employ these tools.


Mutant troops with incredible strength, speed and night vision 'could be fighting by 2048'

Daily Mail

If you think mutant soldiers with unstoppable physical and mental powers sound like nothing more than science fiction, you may be in for a shock. A chilling Government report today warns that the breeding of genetically-modified troops could be a reality within a generation. The creation of bionic soldiers would allow countries to increase their military capability and improve performance of fighting forces. Within 30 years, mutant soldiers could be able to lift huge weights and run at high speeds over extreme distances, the report by the Ministry of Defence's think-tank says. They could also have infra-red night vision and be capable of transmitting their thoughts through electronically-aided telepathy.