The Pentagon is seeking bids to improve its Advanced Targeting and Lethality Automated System (ATLAS) so that it can "acquire, identify, and engage targets at least 3X faster than the current manual process."
When this public tender sparked concern that the Pentagon's autonomous tanks were gaining automated targeting and firing capabilities -- that is, that they would be autonomous killbots -- the Pentagon updated the tender to reassure critics that "development and use of autonomous and semi-autonomous functions in weapon systems, including manned and unmanned platforms, remain subject to the guidelines in the Department of Defense (DoD) Directive 3000.09" and that "All uses of machine learning and artificial intelligence in this program will be evaluated to ensure that they are consistent with DoD legal and ethical standards."
Why does any of this matter? The Department of Defense Directive 3000.09, requires that humans be able to “exercise appropriate levels of human judgment over the use of force,” meaning that the U.S. won’t toss a fully autonomous robot into a battlefield and allow it to decide independently whether to kill someone. This safeguard is sometimes called being “in the loop,” meaning that a human is making the final decision about whether to kill someone.
U.S. Army Assures Public That Robot Tank System Adheres to AI Murder Policy [Matt Novak/Gizmodo]
Captain Elle Ekman is a US Marine Corps logistics officer; in a New York Times op-ed, she describes how the onerous conditions imposed by manufacturers on the US armed forces mean that overseas troops are not permitted to fix their own mission-critical gear, leaving them stranded and disadvantaged.
Abbie Hoffman and Martin Carey arrive at The Pentagon to do a literal hand-count on how many protestors will be needed to encircle the building for a protest. On the way out they apply for, and receive, a permit to initiate an Exorcism to rid the base of its evil demons. Part one of “LEVITATION […]
The US Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL) has developed a new form of liquid metal with very strange conductive properties. Usually, when a flexible, conductive material is stressed or stretched, its electrical conductivity drops and resistance increases when it’s stress or stretched. Just the opposite, Air Force’s novel “Polymerized Liquid Metal Networks… can be strained […]
There are few intellectual exercises better than a good game of chess against a capable opponent, which is why a lot of old hands at the gameplay it online. But there’s still nothing like the tactile thrill of moving a knight into checkmate. (Or sweeping the pieces off dramatically when you lose.) That’s why we’re […]
Got a real music junkie on your list this year? It’s a good bet that they already have a solid pair of earbuds, but probably nothing quite like these Seeds Earphones. Here’s the thing: Wireless earbuds are all the rage right now, and there are a lot of good reasons for that. But for true […]
When it comes to the qualities of a good project manager, you hear a lot of talk about “soft skills” like leadership ability and confidence. And where does confidence come from? It comes from people who are dead certain they know the right steps to take. In other words, you’ve got to master the hard […]