John A. Morris (johnmorris) Sun 10 May 09 08:09
Our universities used to fill that role before the Golden Fleece awards.
Peter W Singer (peterwsinger) Sun 10 May 09 19:31
That is an interesting issue, which is actually related to one of the discussion questions I propose for book clubs or evil professors making up essay assignments (others at http://wiredforwar.pwsinger.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=5 7&Itemid=63): What will the robotics industry look like 20 years from now?
John Payne (satyr) Sun 10 May 09 19:44
Hopefully a lot of standard, interchangeable parts, in stock and ready to ship, with software components to match.
John Payne (satyr) Sun 10 May 09 20:00
Interfaces are critical, including mechanical interfaces, as between two parts that are supposed to connect together, like a hand that plugs into an arm, electrical connectors, and software interfaces, which shouldn't assume any particular operating system or language. Such things need standardization.
John Payne (satyr) Mon 11 May 09 07:13
Peter, thereâs still another couple of days, but just to be sure I get this in in time, Iâd like to say that I hope you make use of your WELL account to look around a bit. Besides conferences already mentioned, early on, you might find these interesting... Current Events <current.> Politics <politics.> New York <ny.> (Thereâs an cluster of WELL users in NYC.) Writers <writers.> Byline <byline.> Who knows, you might even decide to stay. ;-)
Peter W Singer (peterwsinger) Tue 12 May 09 08:39
Thank you, John!
John Payne (satyr) Tue 12 May 09 09:01
Hoping to keep things rolling a bit longer, answering another of the questions from the page linked above... > Do you believe in the idea of the Singularity? > If not, why not? No, at least not in the sense of a relatively sudden change precipitated by the development of a superintelligence. Everything about AI (as an academic discipline) has proven harder than we expected it to be, and progress has only come stepwise. Even if some particular AI were to pass the Turing test, it wouldn't necessarily be extraordinarily intelligent, nor necessarily interested in becoming so, nor necessarily have a clue how to design one that is. (IMHO, a better test than that proposed by Turing is whether switching off an AI feels like murder, or something approaching it.) But if you're satisfied with a singularity that plays out over a century or two, still an instant in geological time, proceeding at the pace of ordinary human intelligence and realities like amortization rates, and resulting from better tools and teaching methods, filled-in gaps in our basic understanding (the nature of gravity, for example), and delusional ideas left behind, then yes, that's something I can believe in, provided we don't make the planet unlivable first.
pardon my amygdala (murffy) Wed 13 May 09 10:20
If you're still around, Peter, a question just occured to me. Have there been any clever things opposing forces have come up with (low tech or high tech) that have been used to thwart robots and drones?
(dana) Wed 13 May 09 10:52
Peter, thank you for joining us. We're beginning a new discussion today, but you're welcome to keep the conversation going here as long as you like.
Michael C. Berch (mcb) Wed 13 May 09 15:24
And thanks from me as well. Hope you'll stick around and explore the Well!
John A. Morris (johnmorris) Wed 13 May 09 17:46
To the above list please add <attack>
John Payne (satyr) Thu 14 May 09 07:59
<attack.> if you want it to be an Engaged link.
Peter W Singer (peterwsinger) Thu 14 May 09 08:14
Murffy (58), An excellent question. And one that illustrates one of the aspects I write about in the book how, no matter how great your technology, the enemy still has a vote and there will be even tougher dilemmas to figure out. We are starting to see both high and low tech responses. These range from attempts at jamming the communications link for the system to building specially designed boobytraps for robots, such as "tiger traps." There was also an amusing rumor that went through Afghanistan that the robots could read people's thoughts (the Brits happily pushed this along), so some militants started wearing tinfoil on their heads to block it. But the most common and effective response has been the mode of "lawfare." That is, a deliberate choice to take advantage of the laws of war, not by respecting them but by violating them, such as by hiding out in sites that should be kept from war like a school or mosque or surrounding oneself with women and children. The strikes into Pakistan have had a gruesome number of civilian losses, by some accounts as many as 700. Some of this is through bad intelligence and misses and some of it is via deliberate attempts by those on the ground to enhance the number of civilians killed. It is this dilemma that is at the heart of the challenge to the laws of war in the 21st century. They were written in the 20th century and are so old they would qualify for Medicare if they were people. But they are being asked to respond to 21st century technology like a Predator drone, which is being used to target a 21st century actor in war like an AQ leader, who thinks its a good thing to hide his explosives in a hospital or make sure women and children live in the bunker with him. So the existing laws of war are being placed under siege from both sides.
John A. Morris (johnmorris) Thu 14 May 09 08:17
The Israelis have had that problem for years and have not figured out a solution.
John Payne (satyr) Fri 15 May 09 08:32
> attempts at jamming the communications link for the system Which is one of the factors pushing autonomous operation, right? Can't have a UAV start flying in circles if it loses contact with the outside world.
Michael C. Berch (mcb) Fri 15 May 09 15:54
> The Israelis have had that problem for years and have not figured > out a solution. I'm not sure there *is* a solution that is palatable to our sensibilities. I don't see a short- or medium-term technological solution to it, either. In the really blue-sky future I can think of micro- or nano-sized probes that can enter a building and somehow distinguish between targets and noncombatants. Or something like an artificial insect that can fly into a room, land on a human, and take a tiny blood or DNA sample for identification, then take out the intended target.
John Payne (satyr) Sun 17 May 09 17:58
This Danger Room article... <http://www.wired.com/dangerroom/2009/05/drone-kills-25-calls-for- moratorium-hit-new-york-times/> http://tinyurl.com/pakstrikes ...links to several sources, principally to this New York Times Op-Ed calling for a moratorium on drone strikes in Pakistan... <http://www.nytimes.com/2009/05/17/opinion/17exum.html?pagewanted=1&_r=3>
John Payne (satyr) Mon 18 May 09 07:26
Another, belated, thumbs up for Peter's presentation on TED.com http://www.ted.com/index.php/talks/pw_singer_on_robots_of_war.html
John Payne (satyr) Thu 21 May 09 10:51
I caught a midnight showing of Terminator Salvation. No recommendation, one way or the other. You already know whether you're planning on seeing this movie, right? Just don't expect to see the 2018 version of what's been under discussion here, for the most part. There are some details, like a small robotic aircraft capable of hovering in place, like a helicopter can, that are plausible, but most of the technology is over the top for nine years in the future.
John A. Morris (johnmorris) Thu 21 May 09 18:43
I'm going anyway. I need to know what happens next.
Sharon Lynne Fisher (slf) Sat 23 May 09 01:39
I didn't much care for it. I liked the tv show much better.
John Payne (satyr) Sat 23 May 09 08:06
There's another upcoming movie that takes the idea of remote operation (a.k.a. telepresence) about as far as it can be taken, to a situation in which just about everyone lives their lives through human-appearing robotic surrogates. Surrogates (9/25/09) http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0986263/
John Payne (satyr) Sun 24 May 09 11:23
If the military relevance of that last is obscure, imagine an operator suspended in a gimbal, as in the movie Lawnmower Man, connected to a humanoid machine in the field.
John Payne (satyr) Mon 22 Jun 09 18:10
Plan to teach military robots the rules of war http://tinyurl.com/rulesofwar (newscientist.com)
John Payne (satyr) Sun 28 Jun 09 17:38
Ultra-precision glide bombs, dispensed up to ten at a time, are on a rush order presumably for use in (Iraq and) Afghanistan. The system is called Gunslinger, and while it falls short of the nuggets of pure information dispensed by another Gunslinger (epic poem by Ed Dorn), it may represent an all-time high information:explosives ratio for real world munitions. That said, it's still a bomb. <http://www.wired.com/dangerroom/2009/06/spec-ops-shops-for-10-pack-of-precisio n-glide-bombs/> http://tinyurl.com/lh6h63
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