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.
Sally Jones, a former punk rocker from Kent, United Kingdom, who gained notoriety as "Mrs Terror" after joining the Islamic State group (also called ISIS), was reportedly killed in a United States drone strike along with her 12-year old son Jojo in Syria as she tried to escape Raqqa, the Sun reported. Though Whitehall sources confirmed reports that Jones was killed, according to the Guardian, the Pentagon was unable to confirm the news. Maj Adrian Rankine-Galloway, a Pentagon spokesman, told the Guardian, "I do not have any information that would substantiate that report but that could change and we are looking into this." Rukmini Callimachi, a correspondent for the New York Times, also said two senior U.S. officials denied that Jones was dead. Fifty-years-old Jones was born in Greenwich, southeast London, and later moved to Kent.
As Artificial Intelligence (AI) is coming into its own, it is creating a significant impact in our everyday lives. The use of AI in self-driving cars, industrial mechanics, space exploration and robotics are some of the examples that show how it is paving its path into the future. But the technology has also found its way into the defense industry leading to a worrisome increase in the manufacture of autonomous weapons. The so-called "thinking weapons" were described by the Air Force Gen. Paul Selva, Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, in a 2016 presentation at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in the U.S. State Department of Defense. But robotic systems to do lethal harm… a Terminator without a conscience," he said while referring to the 1984 cult science fiction film starring Arnold Schwarzenegger, "Terminator."
The U.S. Army ordered units to halt the use of DJI drones, it was revealed last week, but officials still won't say why it banned the company's products. DJI told International Business Times it reached out to officials about the direction to discontinue the use of its drones, but the U.S. army did not respond to them. "The US Army has not explained why it suddenly banned the use of DJI drones and components, what'cyber vulnerabilities' it is concerned about, or whether it has also excluded drones made by other manufacturers," DJI said. In a letter obtained by sUAS News, the U.S. Army Research Lab and U.S. Navy found there were operational risks associated with DJI products. The memo cited a classified report, "DJI UAS Technology Threat and User Vulnerabilities," and a U.S. Navy memo, "Operational Risks with Regards to DJI Family of Products."
The U.S. Army has ordered units to cease the use of DJI drones, according to a memo obtained by sUAS News. The letter, dated this week, said the U.S. Army Research Lab and U.S. Navy found there were operational risks linked to DJI equipments. Officials cited a classified report called "DJI UAS Technology Threat and User Vulnerabilities," as well as a U.S. Navy memorandum called "Operational Risks with Regards to DJI Family of Products." The report and the memo were both dated May 2017, which suggests officials have been looking into this for a while. In the letter, the U.S. Army's Lieutenant General Joseph Anderson said: "DJI Unmanned Aircraft Systems [UAS] products are the most widely used non-program of record commercial off-the-shelf UAS employed by the Army.
A U.S. Military DARPA program is putting $65 million into the creation of an implantable device that will provide data-transfer between human brains and the digital world. The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), the emerging technology organization under the U.S. Department of Defense, announced Monday that five research institutions and one private corporation will be recipients of the brain-to-computer research grants. The program seeks to heighten hearing, sight and other sensory perception as well as creating a digital brain implant to relay neuron transmissions directly to digital devices. The recipients of the $65 million Materials for Transduction (MATRIX) program grants are: Brown University; Columbia University; University of California, Berkeley; Fondation Voir et Entendre (The Seeing and Hearing Foundation); John B. Pierce Laboratory and San Jose, California-based Paradromics, Inc. CEO Matt Angle's Paradromics Inc. is the mind-to-machine "Broadband for the brain" research company set to rake in as much as $18 million from the contract. He tells MIT Technology Review that the funding comes with a "moonshot" list of requirements, including the implant's size being smaller than a nickel and the mandatory ability to send signal back into the brain.
The move was the second time in a week that it shot down a pro-Syrian government aircraft in the sky. "The armed pro-regime Shaheed-129 UAV was shot down by a U.S. F-15E Strike Eagle at approximately 12:30 a.m. Carla Babb, the Pentagon correspondent for Voice of America (VOA) tweeted Tuesday saying the sources have confirmed that the Iranian-made drone shot down by the U.S. fighter jet was being operated by the Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps. Pentagon spokesman Navy Captain Jeff Davis said the U.S. military shot down the Shahed 129 as it approached an established coalition combat outpost near al-Tanf in southeast Syria, where the U.S. is holding training sessions for local fighters against the Islamic State group, VOA reported. Officials also said that the shot Iranian aircraft was the same type of drone that a U.S. warplane had shot down June 8 after it attacked U.S.-backed fighters in southern Syria.
U.S. officials reportedly are rethinking the advisability of allowing the Chinese to invest in sensitive technologies seen as vital to national security. Reuters reported Wednesday U.S. officials are concerned such cutting-edge technologies as artificial intelligence and machine learning could be used by the Chinese to augment their military capabilities and achieve greater advancements in strategic industries. Technology is the fastest growing industry in the United States, and China has funneled $45.6 billion into U.S. acquisitions and Greenfield investments in the last year, Rhodium Group found. That investment is expected to double this year. Read: What Is Artificial Intelligence?
North Korea has been accused of spying on South Korea after a suspected Pyongyang drone was spotted on the site of a U.S. missile interceptor system, Seoul's military officials said Tuesday. The Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) anti-missile system, which is designed to intercept and destroy ballistic missiles, is being deployed in Seongju in order to protect South Korea from Pyongyang's growing threats. According to Yonhap News, the small unmanned aerial vehicle equipped with a Sony-made camera was found last week on a mountain near the inter-Korean border. The drone had apparently crashed close to the THAAD site. The South's military took the drone in custody and analysed the content of the 64-gigabyte memory chip.
Connecting the human brain to computers is quickly becoming one of the hottest ideas in Silicon Valley, with Tesla's Elon Musk and Facebook's Mark Zuckerberg among the many top tech entrepreneurs leading the charge. In March, Musk launched Neuralink, a medical research company that creates brain-computer interfaces (BCIs). Musk has previously expressed the importance of upgrading human cognition in order to ensure people are not made obsolete by artificial intelligence. BCIs would initially be used for medical research, with the ultimate goal being to blur the lines between people and artificial intelligence. Read: Will Robots Take Your Job? Elon Musk Thinks We Have 30 Years Until AI Is Better Than Us At Everything Neuralink has been registered as a medical research company, and Musk said they will produce a product to help people with severe brain injuries within four years, the Washington Post reports.