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Mars rover Perseverance goes for a 'spin'

The Japan Times

Washington – The Mars rover Perseverance has successfully conducted its first test drive on the red planet, the U.S. space agency NASA said Friday. The six-wheeled rover traveled about 6.5 meters (21.3 feet) in 33 minutes on Thursday, NASA said. It drove 4 meters forward, turned in place 150 degrees to the left, and then backed up 2.5 meters, leaving tire tracks in the Martian dust. "This was our first chance to'kick the tires' and take Perseverance out for a spin," said Anais Zarifian, Perseverance mobility test bed engineer at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California. Zarifian said the test drive went "incredibly well" and represented a "huge milestone for the mission and the mobility team."

Drones With 'Most Advanced AI Ever' Coming Soon To Your Local Police Department


Three years ago, Customs and Border Protection placed an order for self-flying aircraft that could launch on their own, rendezvous, locate and monitor multiple targets on the ground without any human intervention. In its reasoning for the order, CBP said the level of monitoring required to secure America's long land borders from the sky was too cumbersome for people alone. To research and build the drones, CBP handed $500,000 to Mitre Corp., a trusted nonprofit Skunk Works that was already furnishing border police with prototype rapid DNA testing and smartwatch hacking technology. They were "tested but not fielded operationally" as "the gap from simulation to reality turned out to be much larger than the research team originally envisioned," a CBP spokesperson says. This year, America's border police will test automated drones from Skydio, the Redwood City, Calif.-based startup that on Monday announced it had raised an additional $170 million in venture funding at a valuation of $1 billion. That brings the total raised for Skydio to $340 million.

Integrating AI into ABC: The Practicality of Tech-ed for Kids


The innovations we make today are going to impact posterity in many ways. But is it necessary to keep technology and innovations away from our young kids? In fact, these young minds can become creators and thinkers by learning various technologies and computational skills. Don't you think the youth and kids should be engaged more with coding, robotics, and AI? An ISTE article Keri Gritt, technology co-ordinator at St. Stephen's and St.Agnes school in Virginia, who teaches coding to kindergartners says, "Before using programs or robots, she ties sequencing and commands to physical movement by having students follow a program listed with cards on a whiteboard, starting and stopping with begin and end commands. Students then write programs to guide a peer across the room, making turns and avoiding obstacles. They then move on to robots."

Cops across the U.S. are buying AI drones


Skydio has been making headlines lately for being the first U.S.-based drone manufacturer to be valued at more than $1 billion in fundraising. The company has found a willing customer base in police forces across the United States, too, according to a report from Forbes. Nothing to be concerned about, surely, just flying artificial intelligence controlled by a group known for its abuses of power. At least 20 police agencies across the country own drones from Skydio, based on information Forbes obtained through Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests and Skydio's own public announcements. Those agencies include major cities like Boston and Austin, according to the report.

Biden limits drone strikes outside war zones, rolling back Trump policy

FOX News

General Jack Keane, Fox News senior strategic analyst, reacts to the decision on'Fox & amp; Friends.' The Biden administration has ordered temporary limits on drone strikes outside war zones, rolling back a Trump-era policy, as President Biden reviews "legal and policy frameworks governing these matters," the National Security Council told Fox News. National Security Council spokeswoman Emily Horne, in a statement to Fox News, said that at the beginning of the Biden administration the president "established new interim guidance concerning the United States' use of military force and related national security operations." "The purpose of the interim guidance is to ensure the President has full visibility on proposed significant actions into these areas while the National Security Council staff lead a thorough interagency review of the extant authorizations and delegations of Presidential authority with respect to these matters," Horne said. Horne told Fox News that Biden's review "is now underway and will include an examination of the legal and policy frameworks governing these matters."

Apple Is Once Again Eyeing the Smart Car Market


Early in February, rumor had it that Apple is once again eyeing the smart car market, both electric and self-driving. Improved batteries and new environment regulations might make smart cars a promising new business area. According to USA Today, the "iCar" is certain to be an electric vehicle costing over $40,000. But a self-driving car could introduce a "longer timeframe" in part due to Apple CEO Tim Cook's cautious approach to unveiling new products, Ives said. Automakers and tech companies have yet to solve the thorniest challenges associated with autonomous driving.

Annual index finds AI is 'industrializing' but needs better metrics and testing


China has overtaken the United States in total number of AI research citations, fewer AI startups are receiving funding, and Congress is talking about AI more than ever. Those are three major trends highlighted in the 2021 AI Index, an annual report released today by Stanford University. Now in its fourth year, the AI Index attempts to document advances in artificial intelligence, as well as the technology's impact on education, startups, and government policy. The report details progress in the performance of major subdomains of AI, like deep learning, image recognition, and object detection, as well as in areas like protein folding. The AI Index is compiled by the Stanford Institute for Human-Centered Artificial Intelligence and an 11-member steering committee, with contributors from Harvard University, OECD, the Partnership on AI, and SRI International.

Panel on artificial intelligence urges US to boost tech skills amid China's rise


An artificial intelligence commission led by former Google CEO Eric Schmidt is urging the U.S. to boost its AI skills to counter China, including by pursuing "AI-enabled" weapons – something that Google itself has shied away from on ethical grounds. Schmidt and current executives from Google, Microsoft, Oracle and Amazon are among the 15 members of the National Security Commission on Artificial Intelligence, which released its final report to Congress on Monday. "To win in AI we need more money, more talent, stronger leadership," Schmidt said Monday. The report says that machines that can "perceive, decide, and act more quickly" than humans and with more accuracy are going to be deployed for military purposes -- with or without the involvement of the U.S. and other democracies. It warns against unchecked use of autonomous weapons but expresses opposition to a global ban.

SpaceX uses robotic dog to investigate wreckage of SN10 that exploded ten minutes after landing

Daily Mail - Science & tech

The SpaceX team is clearing a mangled Starship from the launch after the rocket exploded following its first high latitude test Wednesday evening. The crew returned to the site the day after Starship Serial Number 10 (SN10) exploded 10 minutes following its'soft landing' and they brought along some help – Zeus the robotic dog. The yellow, four-legged robot was spotted prancing around SpaceX's testing facility in Boca Chica, Texas Thursday as it inspected the aftermath of the fallen rocket. Images of the wreckage have also surfaced on Twitter, showing the crushed body of SN10 and smashed Raptor engines – each of which costs $150 million. SpaceX returned to the site the day after Starship Serial Number 10 (SN10) exploded 10 minutes following its'soft landing' and they brought along some help – Zeus the robotic dog SpaceX has yet to reveal what caused SN10 to burst into flames, but some speculate it was caused by landing legs that did not deploy.

Science-Fiction: A Mirror for the Future of Humankind – Idees


Digital technologies have become part of our everyday lives and are increasingly acting as intermediaries in our workplaces and personal relationships or even substituting them. The Internet of things, social networks, programs that learn by interacting with humans, assistive and companion robots, computer games with a purpose, serious games for social impact, roboadvisors, webs that offer digital immortality… These tools can, in a short time, modify the job market, flip someone's reputation, transform a district, change our relationships --not just at work, but also within our families and close contacts-- or extend what a person leaves behind after dying, which now includes a digital footprint. The growing interaction with'intelligent' machines is not just a further step in the social transformation that started with the industrial revolution. Although these new information technologies do also free humans from repetitive tasks and provide them with more time to spend in creative and enjoyable ways, the difference is that they enter domains previously considered to be exclusive of humans, such as decision-making, emotions and social relationships, which may compromise human values, as well as decisively shape society and our way of life. This poses a series of ethical questions that were not relevant for other types of machines and about which we have no previous experience, nor can we reliably predict how they will ultimately influence the evolution of humankind.