h+ Magazine has a fascinating interview with Dr. Ronald Arkin, the director of Georgia Tech's Mobile Robot Lab who literally wrote the book on the ethics of robots that kill. The book, titled Governing Lethal Behavior in Autonomous Robots, lays out Arkin's research across law, philosophy, military ethics, and engineering to address dilemmas we'll face in the future as we build even more complex killing machines. From h+:
h+: How does the process of introducing moral robots onto the battlefield get bootstrapped and field tested to avoid serious and potentially lethal "glitches" in the initial versions of the ethical governor? What safeguards should be in place to prevent accidental war?
RA: Verification and validation of software and systems is an integral part of any new battlefield system. It certainly must be adhered to for moral robots as well. What exactly the metrics are and how they can be measured for ethical interactions during the course of battle is no doubt challenging, but one I feel can be met if properly studied. It likely would involve the military's battle labs, field experiments, and force-on-force exercises to evaluate the effectiveness of the ethical constraints on these systems prior to their deployment, which is fairly standard practice. The goal is not to erode mission effectiveness, while reducing collateral damage.
A harder problem is managing the changes and tactics that an intelligent adaptive enemy would use in response to the development of these systems... to avoid spoofing and ruses that could take advantage of these ethical restraints in a range of situations. This can be minimized, I believe, by the use of bounded morality –- limiting their deployment to narrow, tightly prescribed situations, and not for the full spectrum of combat.
A flashlight review that begins with the promise “I’m about to hike through a remote canyon to an abandoned mine, and I gotta tell you there’s a storm raging outside” should end on an interesting note, and this one does. [via] Disturbing, strange sounds. That’s exactly what I caught on video while filming and documenting […]
Reflectacles, the hyper-reflective Ray Ban-style $75 glasses frames that Scott Urban is Kickstarting have a new feature: now you can get ones doped with materials that reflect the infrared light that CCTVs kick out to let them capture images in low light, which blind cameras’ sensors. Cool!
Typewriter historian Martin Howard (previously) writes, “I was able to pick up a rare and exquisite Waverley typewriter (1896) this summer in Scotland and have just the other day posted it to my website all cleaned and ready to show.”
The Pocket Tripod PRO had massive Kickstarter success in 2013, raising almost $85,000 in a single month. But this isn’t just another case of pre-release product hype. This ingenious little device folds out from a credit-card-shaped plastic slab into a sturdy stand with a surprisingly wide range of motion. In portrait orientation, your phone slides […]
Loot Crate is a totally different kind of subscription service that mails subscribers monthly boxes filled with curated geek, pop culture, and gamer paraphernalia. Its cult following awaits a box every month filled with everything from bobble heads to T-shirts to special edition collectibles. But nothing gets Loot Crate fans as excited as the limited […]
The ARMOR-X Mini Flexible Phone Tripod is a smartphone tripod that is designed with flexible legs to rest on virtually any type of surface. Other tripods have proved useless unless I conveniently have a flat surface in front of me, which is why this particular tripod was appealing enough to try out. The ARMOR-X is compact and easy […]