us government

AI Judges and Juries

Communications of the ACM

When the head of the U.S. Supreme Court says artificial intelligence (AI) is having a significant impact on how the legal system in this country works, you pay attention. That's exactly what happened when Chief Justice John Roberts was asked the following question: "Can you foresee a day when smart machines, driven with artificial intelligences, will assist with courtroom fact-finding or, more controversially even, judicial decision-making?" His answer startled the audience. "It's a day that's here and it's putting a significant strain on how the judiciary goes about doing things," he said, as reported by The New York Times. In the last decade, the field of AI has experienced a renaissance.

Trump administration proposal could target exports of the tech behind Siri, self-driving cars and supercomputers

Washington Post

Amazon, Apple, Google, IBM and their peers could be subject to new restrictions on how they export the technology behind voice-activated smartphones, self-driving cars and speedy supercomputers to China under a proposal floated Monday by the Trump administration. For the U.S. government, its pursuit of new regulations marks a heightened effort to ensure that emerging technologies, including artificial intelligence, don't fall into the hands of countries or actors that might pose a national security threat. The official request for public comment, published in the Federal Register, asks whether a long list of AI tools should be subject to stricter export-control rules. The Trump administration's potential targets include image-recognition software, ultrafast quantum computers, advanced computer chips, self-driving cars and robots. Companies that make those products and services might, for instance, have to obtain licenses before selling them to foreign governments or partnering with some researchers in certain countries.

NASA successfully tests OSIRIS-REx robotic arm ahead of arrival


NASA's spacecraft OSIRIS-REx is just 75 miles from its destination and, just like you would near the end of a light, it's starting to stretch out. The craft successfully tested its Touch-and-Go Sample Acquisition Mechanism (TAGSAM), a robotic arm that will allow it to grab samples from the surface of the asteroid Bennu. According to NASA, the test run went as planned. OSIRIS-REx, with the help of engineers from Lockheed Martin, showed off the full range of motion of its arm. The test's success was confirmed by telemetry data and photos captured by an onboard camera.

China surveillance firms face backlash amid Xinjiang crackdown

Al Jazeera

Shenzhen, China - The video screen shows a constant procession of Chinese citizens moving past a camera at what appears to be a public festival, park or central city plaza. Their faces are bracketed by yellow squares with various numbers hovering below, including each person's estimated age and gender. If the person is known to the system, their name appears too. The facial recognition technology was just one of dozens of such systems at the China Hi-Tech Fair in the southern city of Shenzhen this month. But while other companies tried to bring some levity to the dystopian feel by making cute dog heads appear on the faces of passers-by, others had no qualms about showcasing the Orwellian nature of their products.

This Seth Meyers Segment Has a Joke About the Swedish Chef, Which Is Reason Enough to Embed a Bunch of Swedish Chef Videos


On tonight's "A Closer Look" segment, Seth Meyers Donald Trump's bizarre claim that Californians should begin raking their forests like he's somehow gotten it into his head they do in Finland. This is only the latest in a long line of weird fictions our weird president has made up about other countries, from the terror attack he invented in Sweden to his mysterious friend Jim, who is always telling him that Paris sucks now. Like most things having to do with Donald Trump, it's funny but also very, very depressing: Watching Donald Trump boast that he's seen nicer mansions than the bunker complex where Osama bin Laden was killed was enough for this writer to finally cross the threshold from "I feel existential dread about where this man is taking the planet" to "I didn't think there were any pain receptors in the human brain, but I was obviously so, so wrong." Watching other people make fun of Donald Trump requires thinking about Donald Trump, and we've all had just about enough of that for one lifetime. But Meyers' joke about the Swedish Chef suggests at least a temporary solution: Watching a bunch of Swedish Chef videos for medicinal purposes while your mind repairs the damage caused by prolonged exposure to the rotting pile of Armour Potted Meat Food Product we've entrusted with nuclear weapons.

In search for life on Mars, NASA’s 2020 Rover mission will land in an ancient lakebed


Drumroll, please... after five years of deliberation over more than 60 candidate sites, NASA has finally decided where the Mars 2020 rover will land. An artist's conception shows the descent of NASA's Curiosity rover to the Martian surface. Humans won't be on it, but now we know where NASA's next mission to search for signs of life on Mars will land. After searching and debating the possibilities for five years, NASA chose the ancient Jezero Crater lakebed as the landing site for its upcoming Mars 2020 robot rover mission, the agency announced Monday. "The landing site in Jezero Crater offers geologically rich terrain, with landforms reaching as far back as 3.6 billion years old, that could potentially answer important questions in planetary evolution and astrobiology," NASA's Thomas Zurbuchen said in a statement.

How Autonomous Vehicles Will Upend Transportation - Knowledge@Wharton


Autonomous vehicle technology is advancing rapidly, and hard-core promoters contend that driverless cars could soon be the norm rather than the exception. Many other knowledgeable analysts, however, say widespread adoption of fully autonomous cars is many years -- perhaps decades -- away. The chief reason for the delay is the years it will take to generate the vast amount of data required to make self-driving cars fully safe. But whenever it finally takes over, driverless technology will do much more than ease daily commutes: It will also have a profound impact on the world's economy, notes Lawrence Burns, a former corporate vice president of research, development and planning for General Motors who supervised and encouraged GM's development of robotic driving technology. His new book with Christopher Shulgan is titled, Autonomy: The Quest to Build the Driverless Car -- And How It Will Reshape Our World. He joined the Knowledge@Wharton show on SiriusXM to talk about how a driverless world will map out. An edited transcript of the conversation follows.

Is this the next big spectrum block for IoT? - Stacey on IoT Internet of Things news and analysis


This week, the Federal Communications Commission begins an auction for two chunks of radio waves that have long been considered useless. Thanks to new technologies and demand for wireless broadband, the market is ready to buy 24GHz and 28GHz spectrum. Meanwhile, in the unlicensed band, which anyone can use and isn't sold off by the FCC, another of the so-called millimeter wave spectrum bands is gaining interest. Roughly a decade ago, engineers had hoped to use the 60GHz band for sending fat files over short distances using a technology called ultra-wideband. At the time, the market didn't see a compelling need for the technology, so it was shelved.

The First Film Adaptation of Frankenstein Has Been Restored, and You Can Watch It Right Here


The Library of Congress has restored the first film adaptation of Mary Shelley's Frankenstein, an Edison production from 1910 directed by J. Searle Dawley. We tend to think of effects-driven spectacles as a product of the modern era, but decades before that checkerboard floor in Terminator 2: Judgement Day started moving, studios were selling films on the basis of single FX shots. Here's how the Edison company described their Frankenstein: To those who are not familiar with the story, we can only say that the film tells an intensely dramatic story by the aid of some of the most remarkable photographic effects that have yet been attempted. The formation of the hideous monster from the blazing chemicals of a huge caldron in Frankenstein's laboratory is probably the most weird, mystifying, and fascinating scene ever shown on a film. Frankenstein's creation is no longer the most weird, mystifying, and fascinating scene ever shown on film, but it's a fun trick-shot, using reversed footage of a dummy that has been set on fire to give the impression of a body knitting itself together from nothing.

The Future of War: Autonomous AI and the Threat of 'Killer Robots' - Report


As artificial intelligence (AI) advancements -- including cutting-edge robotics and silicon-based image recognition technology -- have now pushed the once-fantastic idea of'killer robots' onto the global stage, modern autonomous war machines that fire live ammo could soon seek and destroy battlefield combatants, leading many to wonder if there is an'off' switch. Among other nations, China and the US are working to make advancements in artificial intelligence, machine image recognition and semi-autonomous robotics to be used in combination with sensors and targeting computers, according to a New York Post published Thursday. Britain and Israel are currently using missiles and drones with autonomous features; such weapons can attack enemy radar, vehicles or ships without human commands. Technology for weapon systems to autonomously identify and destroy targets has existed for several decades. In the 1980s and 90s, Harpoon and Tomahawk missiles, which could identify targets autonomously, were developed by US war planners.