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.
Assassin's Creed Odyssey is aptly named. It is an enormous, meandering journey through ancient Greece at the beginning of the Peloponnesian war as the struggle between Sparta and Athens begins to reshape the Greek world. It will shock you with its breadth and depth: the sea hides sunken ruins, the detail of temple paintings is impeccable, authentically clothed characters wander enormous cities whilst chatting in Greek, soldiers clash on roads as citizens scatter. You play a mercenary, choosing between the equally statuesque and self-assured Kassandra or Alexios. There is an element of family drama that propels the story forward in counterpart to the overarching historical drama of the setting.
According to mainstream video games, modern warfare is all about cyborg arms, laser shields and jarheads blowing up baddies under the guidance of recognisable character actors. However, the frenetic antics of the Call of Duty series and its ilk are behind the times. The drone pilot protagonist of 2012's free indie game Unmanned is a more accurate representation of a modern soldier: a man who plays video games with his son every weekend, and who has also killed countless foreigners from a grey-walled cubicle in Nevada. You play an American warrior, square of jaw and beefy of build, who works from an office out in the desert. A click of his mouse sends tons of missile plummeting from anonymous drone planes with an eerie blank space where you'd expect to see a cockpit.
Killing comes in degrees of intimacy. At one extreme there is the example of Freddie Oversteegen, a hero of the Dutch resistance, who as a 14-year-old-girl used to pick up German soldiers and collaborators in bars, lure them into the woods, and once in a secluded spot shoot them dead. Long after the war, she told an interviewer that when seeing a man she had just shot fall, "you want to help them to get up". At the far extreme, perhaps, were the crew of Enola Gay, who killed 80,000 civilians with one bomb, dropped on Hiroshima from miles above. Drone pilots are even safer and further from their victims than high-altitude bombers.
Britain has successfully trialled using AI to scan for hidden attackers in a mock urban battlefield environment in Montreal, Canada. The AI, called SAPIENT, was developed in the UK with the aim of using sensors to detect potential unseen dangers to soldiers. SAPIENT is more efficient than manually scanning live feeds and frees up more soldiers to be used for operational means elsewhere. Canada and the UK maintain a close security partnership as part of the so-called'Five Eyes' alliance which also includes Australia, New Zealand, and the United States. SAPIENT was tested alongside other high-end military technologies including exoskeleton suits and new surveillance and night vision equipment.
Artificial intelligence (AI) has a growing number of applications in the security and military areas. It facilitates manoeuvres in the field, and can save lives when things go wrong. It also boosts the performance of armies by providing robot allies to combat forces. According to some experts, Lethal Autonomous Weapons Systems (LAWS) are creating a "Third Revolution" in warfare, after gunpowder and nuclear weapons. It is time we start worrying about the day when armies of robots are capable of conducting hostilities with full autonomy, without humans to command them.
Artificial intelligence will inevitably be one of those leap-ahead technologies that enable Soldiers to survive on the battlefield and win, said Vice Chief of Staff of the Army Gen. James C. McConville. McConville spoke here at the National Defender Investigator Association-sponsored Army Science & Technology Symposium and Showcase, Aug. 21. Artificial intelligence involves software algorithms that enable a computational device to learn as it processes information and to change courses of action automatically based on parameters set by the machine's designer. AI can process data at extremely high speeds as well. AI programs can also sift through enormous amounts of data, determine which data are important, simplify the data and present options to operators or commanders.
I GET KNOCKED DOWN, BUT I GET UP AGAIN. Robots are an increasingly important weapon in the military's arsenal, but they aren't much use to soldiers if they are rendered useless if they're easily toppled over. To avoid that issue, researchers from the U.S. Army Research Laboratory (ARL) and the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory (APL) developed a software program that can analyze a robot's ability to right itself from any overturned position. The software, which would act as a sort of diagnostic tool for falls, would help the military figure out how to fix a robot so it falls less. They could also use it on a robot they haven't yet purchased to determine if it's sure on its feet.
Based on feedback from Soldiers at an Army training course, ARL researcher Dr. Chad Kessens began to develop software to analyze whether any given robot could get itself "back on its feet" from any overturned orientation. "One Soldier told me that he valued his robot so much, he got out of his vehicle to rescue the robot when he couldn't get it turned back over," Kessens said. "That is a story I never want to hear again." Researchers from Navy PMS-408 (Expeditionary Missions) and its technical arm, the Indian Head Explosive Ordnance Disposal Technology Division, agree. They teamed up with JHU/APL and the prime contractor, Northrop Grumman Remotec, to develop the Advanced Explosive Ordnance Disposal Robotic System, or AEODRS, a new family of EOD robotic systems featuring a modular opens systems architecture.
Researchers are developing software that will help military robots be more independent. The new software aims to ensure that a robot can always get itself back up after a fall, no matter what its orientation. The ability for robots to get back on their own feet means soldiers wouldn't have to risk their own lives to come to the aid of autonomous systems. Army researchers are developing new software that aims to ensure that a robot can always get itself back up after a fall, no matter what its orientation. The latest effort from the US Army Research Lab and Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Lab builds on feedback from soldiers at an Army training course.