Mind Matters Natural and Artificial Intelligence News and Analysis

CategoryMilitary

closeup-of-hummingbird-hawk-moth-butterfly-macroglossum-stellatarum-feeding-of-red-valerian-flowers-centranthus-ruber-in-flight-its-a-species-of-hawk-moth-found-across-temperate-regions-of-eurasi-stockpack-adobe-stock
Closeup of Hummingbird Hawk-moth butterfly (Macroglossum stellatarum) feeding of red valerian flowers (Centranthus ruber) in flight. Its a species of hawk moth found across temperate regions of Eurasi

Machine Uses Live Hawk Moth Antenna for Smell Detection

Human-created sensors are not sensitive, fast, or discerning enough to identify and process smells in the danger zones for which the Smellicopter was designed

We’ve often written about electronic prostheses that link up with the human nervous system — which essentially means controlling the prosthesis by thoughts alone. A reversal is also possible, as the University of Washington demonstrated in 2020: A machine (the “Smellicopter”) used an insect’s antenna to identify and seek out smells: “Nature really blows our human-made odor sensors out of the water,” said lead author Melanie Anderson, a UW doctoral student in mechanical engineering. “By using an actual moth antenna with Smellicopter, we’re able to get the best of both worlds: the sensitivity of a biological organism on a robotic platform where we can control its motion.” Sarah McQuate, “The Smellicopter is an obstacle-avoiding drone that uses a live moth…

robot-with-artificial-intelligence-observing-human-skull-in-evolved-cybernetic-organism-world-3d-rendered-image-stockpack-adobe-stock
Robot with Artificial Intelligence observing human skull in Evolved Cybernetic organism world. 3d rendered image

Researcher Warns: AI Can Develop Lethal Chemical Weapons Swiftly

Much public discussion of AI’s dangers turns on AI “taking over.” That’s hardly the serious risk we face

The dangers of out-of-control artificial intelligence (AI) are sometimes misrepresented. The sci-fi version is that AI decides to take over from mere humans, like the iconic HAL 9000 in 2001: A Space Odyssey: (1968). A more likely danger is bad actors using enormous computing power to cause harms that they could not have managed on their own. Here’s a sobering example: It took less than six hours for drug-developing AI to invent 40,000 potentially lethal molecules. Researchers put AI normally used to search for helpful drugs into a kind of “bad actor” mode to show how easily it could be abused at a biological arms control conference. All the researchers had to do was tweak their methodology to seek out,…

army-aerospace-engineers-work-on-unmanned-aerial-vehicle-drone-uniformed-aviation-experts-talk-using-laptop-industrial-facility-with-aircraft-for-surveillance-warfare-tactics-air-strike-stockpack-adobe-stock
Army Aerospace Engineers Work On Unmanned Aerial Vehicle / Drone. Uniformed Aviation Experts Talk, Using Laptop. Industrial Facility with Aircraft for: Surveillance, Warfare Tactics, Air Strike

Marks Tells Medved: Top Gun (2022) Is Way Out of Date

Computer science prof Robert J. Marks argues in Non-Computable You, that in the 21st century, drones offer significant advantages over fighter pilots

In the “Top Gun, HAL 9000, and Jobs of the Future” podcast (September 15, 2022), WBC director Robert J. Marks discusses a theme from his new book Non-Computable You with talk show host Michael Medved: Can drones should replace pilots in warfare? Dr. Marks, a professor of computer engineering at Baylor University, is also the author of The Case for Killer Robots: https://mindmatters.ai/wp-content/uploads/sites/2/2022/09/Mind-Matters-Episode-204-Robert-J-Marks.mp3 A partial transcript, notes, and Additional Resources follow. Michael Medved: Why shouldn’t we be able to replace all those hotshot pilots, like the ones being trained in the movie Top Gun: Maverick — one of the most successful movies ever made, by the way, in terms of its box office receipts? That’s showing pilots doing death-defying, astonishing…

brown-brick-wall-stockpack-unsplash
brown brick wall

New Military Technology Can “See” Through Walls

Military? How long before our nosy civilian neighbors have one?

Xaver 1000TM, a new gadget from Israel-based imaging specialist firm Camero, doesn’t provide a video of what’s going on behind the wall; it detects and pinpoints evidence of activity: The technology can display live objects, behind walls, in such high resolution that it can detect whether a person is sitting, standing, or lying down, even if they have been motionless for a significant period. Specific body parts are also detectable, the company said. Operating it is easy and requires minimal training, Shephard Media reported, and it only requires a single user to make use of a simple interface on an embedded 10.1-inch touchscreen display. It can penetrate through most common building materials, Camero-Tech said. Joshua Zitser, “New Israeli military technology…

us-drone-attack-on-the-convoy-of-the-iranian-general-qassem-soleimani-3d-render-baghdad-airport-iraq-stockpack-adobe-stock
US drone attack on the convoy of the Iranian general Qassem Soleimani, 3d render. Baghdad airport, Iraq.

Top Gun Maverick: Thrilling but Outdated by Today’s AI

How realistic is the continued use of manned aircraft in light of today’s technology?

I just saw Top Gun: Maverick. Everyone I know agrees that the movie is masterfully done and is thrilling entertainment. My emotions were whiplashed throughout the movie and by the end I was exhausted. But how realistic is the continued use of manned aircraft in light of today’s technology? Considering what today’s military drones can do, the story premise of the new Top Gun is technically outdated. The mission could be better executed by today’s drones, without risk of human life. Instead of riding your horse to the restaurant during a lightning storm, drive your Tesla or — better yet — get Uber Eats to deliver. Use the latest technology. The latest technology in drones is impressive. Consider some of…

a-moody-science-fiction-concept-of-a-figure-standing-in-a-field-with-ufo-lights-glowing-in-the-sky-on-a-foggy-spooky-night-with-a-vintage-grunge-edit-stockpack-adobe-stock
A moody science fiction concept, of a figure standing in a field with UFO lights glowing in the sky. On a foggy spooky night. With a vintage, grunge edit

NASA Cuts Out the Yuk Yuks, Gets Serious About UFO Research

This fall the space agency is hiring top scientists to tackle “some of the most perplexing mysteries”

A leading science news release site tells us that NASA is officially joining the hunt for UFOs. The nine-month project, which will see leading scientists examine the most puzzling images, is expected to begin in the fall and last nine months: “Over the decades, NASA has answered the call to tackle some of the most perplexing mysteries we know of, and this is no different,” Daniel Evans, the NASA scientist responsible for coordinating the study, told reporters on a call. News, “NASA gets serious about UFOs” at Phys.Org (June 9, 2022) Phys.org comments, “The announcement comes as the field of UFO study, once a poorly-regarded research backwater, is gaining more mainstream traction,” adding “Another overarching goal of NASA is to…

3d-render-background-illustration-of-ancient-greek-temple-ruins-with-female-goddess-statue-rocks-and-columns-burning-on-dark-war-backdrop-stockpack-adobe-stock
3d render background illustration of ancient greek temple ruins with female goddess statue, rocks and columns burning on dark war backdrop.

Ancient Inventions That Feel Like Modern Ones

Tim Brinkhof looks at inextinguishable Greek fire and the 2000-year-old Chinese seismograph, among other wonders

New York City-based journalist Tim Brinkhof opens a window into the past on conceptually advanced technology from centuries ago or even ancient times. Take “Greek fire,” for example, that could set both enemy ships and the sea around them ablaze in an inextinguishable fire: Constantinople used it to sink the fleet of the Ummayid Caliphate in 678. The now-lost recipe probably involved petroleum, sulfur, or gunpowder. However, what makes Greek fire so impressive is not the chemistry of the fire itself but the design of the pressure pump the Byzantines used to launch it in the direction of their enemies. As the British historian John Haldon discusses in an essay titled “‘Greek Fire’ Revisited,” researchers struggle to recreate an historically…

the-ufo-shines-on-a-man-standing-on-the-mountain-stockpack-adobe-stock
The UFO shines on a man standing on the mountain

Pentagon aims to reduce “stigma” around reporting UFOs

The UAPs (formerly UFOs) could be undocumented weather phenomena, returned space junk, or advanced surveillance craft that hostile powers are not telling the United States about. Or…

From Futurism, we hear that government officials are clashing over how much of their accumulated UFO (now called UAP) information they should share with Congress and the public: In interviews with Politico, government officials — who, unsurprisingly, spoke on condition of anonymity — said that there are those within the Pentagon who are “protecting very interesting information” from being released to the public, even as others within and outside the Defense Department are trying to bring daylight to this subject of increasing interest. “They fetishize their secret society,” one intelligence official told Politico in interviews ahead of tomorrow’s House Intelligence Committee hearings on unidentified aerial phenomenon (UAPs, which is the military’s rebranding of what were previously known as UFOs), the…

prohibited-development-of-bioweapon-in-a-lab-a-dropper-and-a-petri-dishes-with-human-blood-sample-and-a-row-of-ampoules-with-a-bio-hazard-sign-close-up-selected-focus-stockpack-adobe-stock
Prohibited development of bioweapon in a lab. A dropper and a Petri dishes with human blood sample and a row of ampoules with a bio-hazard sign, close-up, selected focus.

Will AI Start the Next Pandemic? It Easily Could.

It’s a bigger risk than we might think, as an experiment written up in a Nature journal has shown

In a recent paper at Nature Machine Intelligence, three drug discovery researchers share an unsettling result from their experiment with AI drug discovery. Their normal practice when getting AI software to motor through thousands of possibilities (which might take human researchers years) is to penalize toxicity and reward bioactivity. They wondered what would happen when they decided to reward both toxicity and bioactivity — to challenge their artificial intelligence — modeled on open source software — to create a lethal bioweapon: To narrow the universe of molecules, we chose to drive the generative model towards compounds such as the nerve agent VX, one of the most toxic chemical warfare agents developed during the twentieth century — a few salt-sized grains…

definition-of-deepfakes-stockpack-adobe-stock
definition of deepfakes

What Happened When a Deepfake Got Weaponized in the Ukraine War…

“Zelensky surrenders” wasn’t a world class effort so it got found out. But Nixon’s (fictional) eulogy for astronauts won awards…

On March 16, Ukrainians were surprised by a video shared at Facebook and YouTube in which their president Volodymyr Zelensky told them to surrender to the invading Russians: A fake video emerged on Facebook and YouTube in which a strangely motionless version of Zelensky asked Ukrainian troops to lay down their weapons in a voice different from his usual tone. The clip was also posted to Telegram and Russian social network VKontakte, according to the US think tank the Atlantic Council. TV Channel Ukraine 24 said hackers defaced its website with a still from the video and inserted a summary of the fake news into a broadcast’s scrolling chyron. Minutes after the TV station posted about the hack, Zelensky himself…

surreal-image-of-a-transparent-mirror-concept-of-door-to-freedom-stockpack-adobe-stock
surreal image of a transparent mirror; concept of door to freedom

Invisibility Is No Longer Science Fiction (or Magic). It’s Here.

A new technique, the “invisibility shield,” which offers the user near invisibility, is reaching the marketing stage

Have you ever wanted to be invisible just to get some privacy? Maybe when using a bank machine or sunbathing in the backyard? Experimentation over the last few years has come up with an “invisibility shield” that offers near invisibility without blocking the light. A British startup, Invisibility Shield Co., is raising seed money for a commercial venture that offers to ship the ones already manufactured to backers. A scam? It seems not: It wouldn’t likely shield anyone from the police or bill collectors but if all you want is privacy with sunlight, it’s certainly an option: The science behind the invention isn’t perfect. The shield can’t perfectly replicate the scene behind the subject, but rather recreates it as a…

power-outage-electricity-missing-blackout-concept-stockpack-adobe-stock
Power outage. Electricity missing. Blackout concept.

What Would It Take To Survive an EMP Attack?

Remember, almost all conventional power sources and the entire internet would be knocked out and might take many months to replace

We are increasingly vulnerable to both natural disruptions and military attacks on our power grids. Earlier this month I wrote about electromagnetic pulse impulses (EMPs), which would destroy your electronics, leaving you and your surroundings intact — but without easy means of survival. Force of nature: Sometimes the sun is to blame for knocking out the power supply Natural disruptions can give us some idea what to expect. When lightning destroys a transformer atop a power pole, nearby businesses and residence must get by without power until the transformer is replaced but it usually doesn’t last long. Far more damage can occur in the rare event that the sun erupts with a major coronal mass ejection (CME) of plasma and…

aerial-view-of-nuclear-explosion-over-a-city-stockpack-adobe-stock
Aerial view of nuclear explosion over a city.

What Would Surviving a Nuclear Explosion Be Like?

Nuclear war has been in the news lately but we naturally try to avoid thinking about its effects

The Russian invasion of Ukraine has led to renewed concerns about the use of nuclear weapons. We hear a variety of responses ranging from “real but not immediate danger” through “a wake-up call for the world.” Here’s what would happen if a nuclear weapon was detonated in an average American community: Pete and Judy Bradley are relaxing on a Sunday afternoon following a Thanksgiving weekend with family members. Highways and airports are filled with travelers on their way home. While the Bradleys are looking at the digital photos they took during the holiday, their darkened living room is suddenly, brilliantly illuminated by a blinding flash of light. The photo of their granddaughter displayed on their computer screen disappears. The Bradleys…

dozens-of-drones-swarm-in-the-cloudy-sky-stockpack-adobe-stock
Dozens of Drones Swarm in the Cloudy Sky.

Robert J. Marks: Straight Talk About Killer Robots

Dr. Marks, the author of Killer Robots, shares his expertise with Gretchen Huizinga of the Beatrice Institute

In the first segment of the recent podcast, “What Does It Mean to Be Human in an Age of Artificial Intelligence?”, Walter Bradley Center director Robert J. Marks discussed what artificial intelligence can and can’t do and its ethical implications with veteran podcaster Gretchen Huizinga In the second segment, they discussed “How did all the AI hype get started?” Then, in this third part, the discussion turned to the use of artificial intelligence in warfare. Dr. Marks is the author of The Case for Killer Robots, which looks at the issues raised in some detail. Here he gives a brief overview. The entire interview was originally published by Christian think tank, the Beatrice Institute (March 3, 2022) and is repeated…

warhead-on-transport-stand-against-a-rocket-weapons-of-mass-destruction-nuclear-weapons-chemical-weapons-a-bomb-stockpack-adobe-stock
warhead on transport stand, against a rocket. Weapons of mass destruction. Nuclear weapons, chemical weapons, a bomb.

What Would a Real-World Nuclear Attack Be Like?

We know some of what it would be like from the records and reconstruction of the atomic bomb attack on Hiroshima

Since 1992, I’ve made annual visits to one of the most tranquil places I know, Hawaii’s Mauna Loa Observatory 11,200 feet above the Pacific Ocean. After calibrating my atmospheric instruments, every evening I photograph the sunset while thinking about the horrors of nuclear war. That’s because I’m standing behind the old Atomic Energy Commission Building, from where nuclear tests over the Pacific were once photographed. The origin of those tests occurred 38 minutes before sunrise on July 16, 1945, when the pitch-black sky over New Mexico’s Jornada del Muerto (Journey of Death) desert was instantaneously transformed into a blinding white glare. Scientists and technicians observed this phenomenon from miles away through welder’s glass to protect their eyes. What they saw…

dangerous-world-stockpack-adobe-stock
dangerous world

Putin vs. Ukraine: New Weapons Target Your Electronics, Not You

Putin’s recent warning about “consequences that you have never experienced” could refer to EMPs that target the computer-based systems that keep us all alive today

On February 24, Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered his military to strike Ukraine. He also made a public statement that included a dangerous warning: Whoever tries to interfere with us, and even more so, to create threats for our country, for our people, should know that Russia’s response will be immediate and will lead you to such consequences that you have never experienced in your history. We are ready for any development of events. All necessary decisions in this regard have been made. David Brennan , Tom O’Connor and Naveed Jamali, “NATO States May Give Sanctuary to Fleeing Ukraine Forces as Russia Advances” at Newsweek (February 25, 2022) This warning has been widely viewed as a threat to employ nuclear…

abstract-virtual-microscheme-illustration-on-flag-of-china-and-blurry-cityscape-background-big-data-and-database-concept-multiexposure-stockpack-adobe-stock
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…

YanDavos_on_SPOT

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…

extraterrestrial-aliens-spaceship-fly-above-small-town-ufo-with-blue-spotlights-in-dark-stormy-sky-stockpack-adobe-stock
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…

viking-longships-approaching-at-sunset-illustration-stockpack-adobe-stock
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…