Mind Matters Natural and Artificial Intelligence News and Analysis

CategoryMilitary

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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…

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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…

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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…

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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…

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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…

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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…

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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…

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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…

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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…