Mind Matters Natural and Artificial Intelligence News and Analysis

CategoryMilitary

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Abstract virtual microscheme illustration on flag of China and blurry cityscape background. Big data and database concept. Multiexposure

The Great Race for Military AI and Quantum Computing Is On

And China is far ahead in both, analysts told COSM 2021

On the second day of the COSM 2021 conference, speakers asked — with appropriate skepticism — whether we could ever produce true Artificial General Intelligence (AGI). But the final day of the conference hosted a conversation on the realistically achievable forms of AI and quantum computing that may pose existential threats to modern life. Robert J. Marks, Director of the Walter Bradley Center for Natural and Artificial Intelligence (which hosted COSM) — also Distinguished Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering at Baylor University — spoke first. The title of his 2020 book, The Case for Killer Robots: Why America’s Military Needs to Continue Development of Lethal AI , provides an unsubtle hint at his position. Marks thinks that AI will…

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Boston Dynamics’ Famous Robot Dog Being Put to Work

Long stalled in the area of research and development, "Spot" is now being prepared for its first job

Boston Dynamics is a robotics innovation company that has been best known for “converting capital into viral YouTube videos.” Their first sensation was over a decade ago, when they released the legendary breakthrough “Big Dog” robot video. What was unique about the robot dog was its ability to traverse a diverse array of terrain. Additionally, as can be seen in the video, it even handled sudden impacts well. Boston Dynamics continued to develop these multi-terrain walkers, coming up with a more humanoid design with “Pet Man.” While Boston Dynamics’ robots have long been an area of research and development, they have recently been put to work. The current incarnation, known as “Spot,” is currently being outfitted for doing what it…

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Extraterrestrial aliens spaceship fly above small town, ufo with blue spotlights in dark stormy sky.

Elon Musk Keeps Buzz About Extraterrestrials in the News

He has said that we may be ET’s sims. Then this year he created an uproar by doubting UFOs — and another one months later by implying that they do exist. Huh?

Self-driving car and private space travel entrepreneur Elon Musk has been all over the map recently as far as ET is concerned. He has claimed that our universe may have been simulated by extraterrestrials. He has hinted that he himself is an extraterrestrial. Earlier this year, he apparently reversed course and identified (on Twitter) the strongest argument for the idea that ET doesn’t even exist: ‘Strongest argument against aliens,’ Musk tweeted, along with two charts that shows camera resolution has advanced, but UFO pictures have remained the same. The post concludes that extraterrestrials do not exist, due to most images showing floating blobs, but many of the comments argue otherwise. One user responded with ‘that’s exactly what an alien would…

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Viking Longships Approaching at Sunset - illustration

Expert in Defense and Technology To Speak at COSM

By looking to the past, historian Arthur Herman charts a hopeful path into the future

This November, historian Arthur Herman will be addressing the use of artificial intelligence in military preparedness at COSM 2021, an exclusive national summit exploring the myriad ways in which technology is shaping the world around us. Herman received his B.A. from the University of Minnesota and his Ph.D. from Johns Hopkins University in history and classics. Since then, he has written nine books, including New York Times bestseller How the Scots Invented the Modern World, Pulitzer Prize finalist Gandhi and Churchill: The Epic Rivalry that Destroyed an Empire and Forged Our Age, and Freedom’s Forge: How American Business Produced Victory in World War II, which was named one of the Economist’s Best Books of 2012. Herman is now a senior…

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Dozens of Drones Swarm in the Cloudy Sky.

EMPs Could Combat Vast Drone Swarms Better Than Weapons

Electromagnetic pulses (EMPs) that knock out electronics could be weaponized to disable swarms of enemy drones, a predicted new warfare development

In “EMPs from the sun can wipe computers — and streetlights,” Walter Bradley Center director Robert J. Marks spoke with electrical engineer Sarah Seguin about electromagnetic pulses (August 12, 2021). Whether natural or designed, these surges can wreck unexpected havoc with electronics. In this third podcast, “EMPs and Warfare,” engineers Marks and Seguin talk about the national defense implications of, for example, using EMPs to knock out key electronics systems in submarines or drone swarms, thus dooming them (August 19, 2021): https://episodes.castos.com/mindmatters/Mind-Matters-Episode-148-Sarah-Seguin.mp3 This portion begins at 09:45 min. A partial transcript, Show Notes, and Additional Resources follow. Robert J. Marks: Okay. Well, let’s talk a bit about EMPs and warfare. Clearly anybody that has a capability of doing a thermonuclear…

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burning wires on the computer power on a black background, close-up, burnt computer equipment

EMPs From the Sun Can Wipe Computers — and Streetlights

Electromagnetic pulses (EMPs) can do that as accidents of nature. But they can also be weaponized. Russia and China both have the technology to detonate at EMP from space.

In “Are your electronics protected against sudden surges?, Walter Bradley Center director Robert J. Marks spoke with electrical engineer Sarah Seguin about electromagnetic pulses. (August 5, 2021) Whether natural or designed, these surges can wreck unexpected havoc with electronics. In this second podcast, “EMPs. Be afraid. Be very afraid,” Marks, himself a computer and electrical engineer, and Seguin delve further into the risks (August 12, 2021). For example, in 1989, an electromagnetic coronal mass ejection from the sun infiltrated power plants across North America and northern Europe and destroyed a nuclear power plant’s transformer: https://episodes.castos.com/mindmatters/Mind-Matters-147-Sarah-Seguin.mp3 This portion begins at 00:13 min. A partial transcript, Show Notes, and Additional Resources follow. Robert J. Marks: Welcome to Mind Matters News. I’m your…

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shamanic girl with frame drum on abstract structured space background.

A Glimpse of Sci-Fi in a World of Panpsychism — Sci-fi Saturday

Shamanism isn’t science, of course, but it makes more fictional sense in a sci-fi world where everything has a soul than one where nothing does

“The Shaman” at DUST (July 30, 2021) by Marco Kalantari (2015 at IMDB, 16:16) The dark year 2204, in a world that has seen 73 years of continuous war. Recently mankind re-discovered the arts of Shamanism. The Shaman’s school of thought believes that every person or object has a soul. During battle Shamans step over into the Netherworld to find and convert the souls of their enemies’ giant battle machines. This tactic enables a single man to overcome an invincibly seeming steel monster. This is the story of Joshua, a Shaman, who is sent on a mission to convert the soul of a giant battle colossus. He does not yet know that the soul is prepared for his coming and…

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They Knows.

The Pentagon’s UAP (UFO) Report Signals a Sharp Attitude Change

The brass have committed themselves to going “wherever the data takes us”

As promised, the Pentagon released its UAP (UFO) report. And what did they find? First, they … lack sufficient data to determine the nature of mysterious flying objects observed by American military pilots including whether they are advanced earthly technologies, atmospherics or of an extraterrestrial origin. Steve Gorman, “Watershed U.S. UFO report does not rule out extraterrestrial origin” at Reuters via Yahoo News (June 25, 2021) But read on: The report marked a turning point for the U.S. government after the military spent decades deflecting, debunking and discrediting observations of unidentified flying objects and “flying saucers” dating back to the 1940s. Steve Gorman, “Watershed U.S. UFO report does not rule out extraterrestrial origin” at Reuters via Yahoo News (June 25,…

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hand of ants

The Most Promising Defense Against Militarized Drone Swarms

An EMP ray beam could disable an AI swarm like a can of bug spray against a swarm of ants

Want to be scared about a use of artificial intelligence in the military? Watch the leftist video Slaughterbots or the beginning of the movie Angel Has Fallen starring drone-targeted Morgan Freeman. Swarms are hard to defeat. Kicking over an ant hill and stomping on most of the agents in a swarm doesn’t derail the ants’ collective mission. Come back in a week and the anthill is rebuilt. Likewise, if all of the agents in a drone swarm aren’t taken out, the drone swarm can still accomplish its mission. As I mention in The Case for Killer Robots, autonomous swarms of drones are among the scariest applications of AI in military weapons. Russia has developed and tested military drone swarms. So has the United States military. General John…

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Flying saucers

The UAPs (UFOs) Are “Not Caused by Any U.S. Advanced Technology”

And that’s all the Pentagon probably really knows

June 25, the U.S. Department of Defense will release a report on UAPs (unidentified aerial phenomena), a term now preferred to UFOs (unidentified flying objects). A number of unusual sightings since 2017 prompted Congress to ask for a report. According to space industry reporter Leonard David, the justification is airspace safety and control, not an effort to support or refute claims about alien spacecraft: “The report’s firmest conclusion, it seems, is that the vast majority of UAP happenings and their surprising maneuvers are not caused by any U.S. advanced technology programs.” That might mean, for example, UAP are entirely homegrown products of revolutionary and clandestine technological advances, whether by other countries now challenging American airspace or by the U.S. itself…

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Drones fly over the island of Mauritius in the Indian Ocean. A natural landscape with drones flying over it. quadrocopter

Marks: We Can’t Do Without Autonomous Killer Robots in Combat

As an expert in swarm intelligence, he thinks drone swarms offer specific advantages

Over a year ago, Robert J. Marks argued in The Case for Killer Robots for developing autonomous military weapons. As an expert in swarm intelligence, he thinks drone swarms should be given priority: Two battling drone swarms can have numerous agents who, in order to be effective in combat, individually require reaction times in the milliseconds. Humans cannot react quickly enough for one, let alone hundreds, of interacting swarm agents. Autonomous operation can be appropriate. Marks asks us to picture two gunslingers in the Old West, facing each other on Main Street. The faster draw wins. The second fastest draw is usually dead. Military strategists call the response to a threat the OODA loop: observe–orient–decide–act. Swarm conflict, in Marks’s view,…

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Electronics Engineer Works with Robot Checking Voltage and Program Response time. Computer Science Research Laboratory with Specialists Working.

Has the United States Lost Silicon Valley?

Once on friendly terms with the U,S, Department of Defense, Silicon Valley must consider the views of its friends in China

Recently, we learned that China had, for the first time, surpassed the United States in AI patent filings: The development was revealed by Li Yuxiao, Deputy Head of the Chinese Academy of Cyberspace Studies at the 7th World Internet Conference (WIC), reports SCMP. With this, China is now bolstering its position of being a leader in AI. As per the report, China had filed more than 110,000 artificial intelligence patents last year, more than the patents filed by the United States but the number of patents filed by the country has not been disclosed. “China surpasses US for the first time in artificial intelligence patent filings” at TECHregister (November 27, 2020) Now, people have been claiming that innovative competitiveness is…

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High-Ranking Military Man holds a Briefing to a Team of Government Agents and Politicians, Shows Satellite Surveillance Footage.

Sci-fi Saturday Books: Will World War III Be the U.S. vs. China?

One thing that is certain is that it will be a cyber war

Wired Magazine devoted its entire February 2021 issue to the first four chapters of a book depicting a near-future dystopia in which the U.S. goes to war with China. You can read the first part of the book here. The authors of 2034: A Novel of the New World War have military backgrounds and were inspired by Cold War literature that speculated on the worst-case scenario if the U.S. and Russia had gone to war. The reason for the Wired editors’ interest is that 2034 is no ordinary thriller. Admiral James Stavridis comes with a wealth of experience in how such a conflict might play out. He is a retired four-star U.S. naval officer who has received numerous medals and…

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New York, NY - MARCH, 2019: Deepfake Face Manipulation of Asian Male

Today’s Russian Diplomacy: Deepfakes and Radioactive Poisons

Because deepfakes are getting harder to spot, American news platforms waste time and energy trying to root them out

In a recent podcast, Walter Bradley Center director Robert J. Marks hosted Denise Simon, an intelligence analyst, talking about the way hostile foreign powers can use AI to generate false information. Denise Simon discusses both deepfake attacks—and some much more sinister ones. https://episodes.castos.com/mindmatters/Mind-Matters-119-Denise-Simon.mp3 A partial transcript follows. This portion begins at about 17:50. Show notes and links follow. Denise Simon: That [the Maskirovka Technique of deception and deepfakes] is another component of how we try to decipher what’s real coming out of the Kremlin and what isn’t real. And even if it isn’t real, what consequences it has on influence and activities. Robert J. Marks: One of the things that Russia is invested in is artificial intelligence. Vladimir Putin has…

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Binary digits stolen computer data, cyber attack threat

How Russia Uses New Tech to Create Chaos in the United States

Information warfare is part of the new Russian warfare strategy known as the Gerasimov and Primakov doctrines

In last Thursday’s podcast, Walter Bradley Center director Robert J. Marks hosted Denise Simon, an intelligence analyst, talking about the way hostile foreign powers can use AI to generate false information. Denise Simon describes that and other techniques as a “new art form” and this time she explains how Russia uses it against the United States. https://episodes.castos.com/mindmatters/Mind-Matters-119-Denise-Simon.mp3 A partial transcript follows. This portion begins at about 09.33. Show notes and links follow. Robert J. Marks: We’ve been talking primarily about disrupting media with fake news. What other sort of things are the Russians doing? Denise Simon: They will create fake companies in the United States. They will hide money and people in the United States. In fact, they just found…

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military RC military drone flies flies against backdrop of beautiful clouds on blue sky background. Elements of this image furnished by NASA

#6 AI Smash Hit 2020!: AI Defeats Fighter Pilot Hands Down

The future of warfare may involve more machine waste but less human carnage

Our Walter Bradley Center director Robert J. Marks is back with Jonathan Bartlett and Eric Holloway, assessing their Top Ten real advances (“Smash Hits”) in AI in 2020. Readers may recall that we offered a fun series during the holidays about the oopses and ums and ers in the discipline (typically hyped by uncritical sources). So now we celebrate the real achievements. Our nerds think that #6 is what happened when AI won all the aerial dogfights in a simulated closed-world contest that was closely watched: According to Javorsek, fighter pilots need to be convinced of the capabilities and utility of AI in combat beyond current practice. DARPA’s AlphaDogfight is a step in this direction. By posing relevant questions, DARPA’s…

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Two young businesspeople or scientists with robotic hand standing in office, talking.

Computer Prof: Feds Should Avoid University, Seek Entrepreneurs

Too much time at the U is wasted on getting papers into theoretical journals, not enough time spent on innovation, he contends

In a recent podcast, Walter Bradley Center director Robert J. Marks spoke with Robert D. Atkinson and Jackie Whisman at the prominent AI think tank, Information Technology and Innovation Foundation, about his recent book, The Case for Killer Robots—a plea for American military brass to see that AI is an inevitable part of modern defense strategies, to be managed rather than avoided. It may be downloaded free here. In this fourth part (here are Part 1, Part 2, and Part 3), the discussion turned to what the government’s top priority in tech policy should be: https://episodes.castos.com/mindmatters/Mind-Matters-109-Robert-Marks.mp3 The discussion of a top priority in tech policy begins at 20:31 (A portion of the transcript follows. The whole transcript is here. Notes…

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Black and Caucasian Female Scientists have Work Related Discussion, Male Researcher Joins Them. They Work in a Modern Laboratory/ Research Center.

Is the Research Money for AI Spent at Universities Just Wasted?

A computer engineering prof tells an AI think tank about the time a four-star general visited his university

In a recent podcast, Walter Bradley Center director Robert J. Marks spoke with Robert D. Atkinson and Jackie Whisman at the prominent AI think tank, Information Technology and Innovation Foundation, about his recent book, The Case for Killer Robots—a plea for American military brass to see that AI is an inevitable part of modern defense strategies, to be managed rather than avoided. The book may be downloaded free here. In this third part (here are Part 1 and Part 2), the discussion turned to stalled AI research at universities: https://episodes.castos.com/mindmatters/Mind-Matters-109-Robert-Marks.mp3 The discussion of the state of AI research begins at 17:48 (A portion of the transcript follows. The whole transcript is here. Notes and links follow below.) Rob Atkinson: You…

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Robot Close Up

AI Is Not Nearly Smart Enough to Morph Into the Terminator

Computer engineering prof Robert J. Marks offers some illustrations in an ITIF think tank interview

In a recent podcast, Walter Bradley Center director Robert J. Marks spoke with Robert D.Atkinson and Jackie Whisman at the prominent AI think tank, Information Technology and Innovation Foundation, about his recent book, The Case for Killer Robots—a plea for American military brass to see that AI is an inevitable part of modern defense strategies, to be managed rather than avoided. It may be downloaded free here. In this second part ( here’s Part 1), the discussion (starts at 6:31) turned to what might happen if AI goes “rogue.” The three parties agreed that AI isn’t nearly smart enough to turn into the Terminator: Jackie Whisman: Well, opponents of so-called killer robots, of course argue that the technologies can’t be…

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Swarm of drones surveying, flying over city

Is the U.S. Military Falling Behind in Artificial Intelligence?

What is the likely outcome of allowing those with very different value systems to have control of global AI warfare technology?

In a recent podcast, Walter Bradley Center director Robert J. Marks spoke with Robert D. Atkinson and Jackie Whisman at the prominent AI think tank, Information Technology and Innovation Foundation, about his recent book, The Case for Killer Robots—a plea for American military brass to see that AI is an inevitable part of modern defense strategies, to be managed rather than avoided. (The book may be downloaded free here.) As they jointly see the problem, There’s a lot of doomsday hype around artificial intelligence in general, and the idea of so-called “killer robots” has been especially controversial. But when it comes to the ethics of these technologies, one can argue that robots actually could be more ethical than human operators.…