Like an army, science needs the high ground. This is true when it comes to oil exploration and especially so in the rugged landscape of Norway. The Virtual Outcrop Geology (VOG) group at the Norwegian Centre for integrated petroleum research (CIPR) is working to capture this vantage point in a distinctly 21st century way, by using UAVs to seek out oil by helping geologists build 3D models of the terrain. We tend to think of oil exploration as taking place on desert plains or out in the ocean, but finding oil deposits depends on having a comprehensive understanding of local geology
The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Wednesday offered to help private businesses zero in on the zero-day vulnerabilities being used to compromise their networks. The DHS pitch: We’ll share intelligence gleaned from the U.S. government’s vast stockpile of zero-day vulnerabilities — purchased from bug hunters and resellers — to help block zero-day threats. gPrivate businesses would pay for the service, which would be offered by telecommunications firms and defense contractors.
The process that created Dolly the sheep in 1996 has now been proven successful in humans. Scientists have made an embryonic clone of a person, using DNA from that person’s skin cells. In the future, such a clone could be a source of stem cells, for super-personalized therapies made from people’s own DNA.
It’s unlikely that this clone could develop into a human, say the scientists, a team of biologists from the U.S. and Thailand. The team plans to publish a paper in the future detailing why not, Nature reported.
Master Of All Remotes: (ONR) has developed a remote controller for military ground, air and undersea unmanned systems
This Office of the Secretary of Defense (OSD)-prescribed data model is a piece of software that enabled development of the Common Control System, which is comprised of many different common control services. TheUnmanned Aerial Systems (UAS) Control Segment (UCS) software can be added to any unmanned system to make it able to communicate and work with any other. It will run on any type of platform or hardware, and it can overlay existing systems running on propriety software to make them work with any others.
Russia is developing a hypersonic weapon program. It involves more than 60 companies and is scheduled for completion this summer. Launched in the former USSR, hypersonic weapon research was resumed in post-Soviet Russia in 2009 under the umbrella of the state-owned Tactical Missiles Corporation.
Hypersonic missiles can travel at a speed surpassing that of sound (1,200 km/h) by ten or more times and are capable of penetrating any missile defense, says Alexander Khramchikhin, deputy head of the Institute for Political and Military Analysis in Moscow.
The FBI is asking for is the ability to fine those companies that don’t comply with a wiretap order, even if they’re technically unable to do so within a time limit set by the FBI.
In other words, if you can’t provide the feds with a back door to your system, the government will keep piling on fines until you go out of business. The idea, of course, is to compel companies that provide secure communications to also build in a means for the feds carry out get their wiretaps.
Enter the Drone Shield, created by an aerospace engineer who is seeking backing on Indigogo to bring the device to market. Essentially, the Drone Shield is built around the wildly popular Raspberry Pi, along with a signal processor, microphone and analysis software to scan for specific audio signatures. The Shield is apparently capable of comparing recorded audio signatures against sounds created by known drone aircraft. When the system identifies a specific drone, it alerts the user via e-mail or SMS.
A team of scientists in China has created hybrid viruses by mixing genes from H5N1 and the H1N1 strain behind the 2009 swine flu pandemic, and showed that some of the hybrids can spread through the air between guinea pigs. The results are published inScience1. Flu hybrids can arise naturally when two viral strains infect the same cell and exchange genes. This process, known as reassortment, produced the strains responsible for at least three past flu pandemics, including the one in 2009. There is no evidence that H5N1 and H1N1 have reassorted naturally yet, but they have many opportunities to do so.
Should Facebook, Google and similar sites be forced to adapt their infrastructure so that the FBI and other law enforcement agencies can easily tap suspects’ communications in real time? That’s the impetus behind new wiretap guidelines being drawn up by a government panel, according to the Washington Post. The draft guidelines, championed by the FBI, would allow courts to impose escalating fines on any business that didn’t immediately comply with a court-ordered request for real-time communications interception, regardless of whether the Web service provider said such interception was technically feasible.
Areva has secured a contract from the Korean KAERI/DAEWOO consortium to supply nuclear fuel elements for the Jordan Research and Training Reactor (JRTR), which is currently being built in Jordan. Under the deal, Areva will supply nuclear fuel for the first reactor core and a reload batch. After completion, the JRTR will generate thermal power of about 5MW, which can be extended further to 10MW in the future. France-based Areva said the power will be used for neutron beam research, neutron irradiation services like medical radioisotope production, and training of Jordanian engineers and scientists.
The technologies of interest are potential “game-changers”: biotechnologies (e.g., human enhancements), energy (e.g., lasers and superefficient batteries), materials (e.g., 3D printing), hardware (e.g., robots), and software (e.g., electromagnetic and cyberweapons). But this particular wargame was dedicated to their ethics, policy, and legal issues, helping to identify friction points as well as to test how they can be integrated better in national-security planning and military-technology development.
The U.S. government is testing drones that are a civil rights double whammy – not only can they spy on you from above, but they can also determine whether you’re carrying a gun.
The drone will be able to “distinguish between unarmed and armed (exposed) personnel.” Citizens carrying around an assault rifle or a holster might send up a red flag, but people with concealed weapons will evade the drone’s gun-seeking camera. The Oklahoma Training Center for Unmanned Systems, a unit of the University Multispectral Laboratories under Oklahoma State University and Anchor Dynamics, has been performing research with the new drone.
After successful demonstrations of UAV shootdowns by the U.S. Air Force and U.S. Navy, the Navy looks to put laser systems to the test in the real world, installing a laser defense system on the U.S.S. Ponce. The U.S.S. Ponce is an amphibious transport dock class vessel used in joint land-sea operations with the U.S. Marines. The vessel was originally commissioned in 1971, built by Lockheed’s Lockheed Shipbuilding unit (which closed prior to Lockheed’s merger to become Lockheed Martin Corp. (LMT)).
The production of embryos using sperm and eggs generated with stem cells rather than through sex would also be useful in studying genetic diseases and for drug testing. But Dr Sparrow points out that it would be splendid for eugenics. Generations of people could be created in Petri dishes, eliminating unsatisfactory genes in the quest for better human beings. “In effect,” he writes enthusiastically, “scientists will be able to breed human beings with the same (or greater) degree of sophistication with which we currently breed plants and animals.”
In a twist that evokes the dystopian science fiction of writer Philip K. Dick, neuroscientists have found a way to predict whether convicted felons are likely to commit crimes again from looking at their brain scans. Convicts showing low activity in a brain region associated with decision-making and action are more likely to be arrested again, and sooner.The researchers used functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) to scan the prisoners’ brains during computer tasks in which subjects had to make quick decisions and inhibit impulsive reactions.
Electroencephalography, which is widely known as a medical diagnostic test has more potential uses. An EEG device is typically a headset with a small number of electrodes placed on different parts of the skull in order to detect the electrical signals made by your brainwaves.
One company, Government Works Inc., is developing BCI headsets for lie detection and criminal investigations. By measuring a person’s responses to questions and images, the company claims to be able to determine whether that person has knowledge of certain information or events (leading to conclusions, for instance, about whether that person was at a crime scene).
Whether it’s rescue rat-bots or bomb-sniffing beetle drones, electronics are helping us create new beasts of burden, allowing us to conscript creatures into the modern animal workforce. These animals’ brains are being taken hostage, their nervous systems forced to cooperate with our plans. As Maharbiz wrote in an account of his research, “[W]e wanted to be sure we could deliver signals directly into the insect’s own neuromuscular circuitry, so that even if the insect attempted to do something else, we could provide a countercommand. Any insect that could ignore our commands would make for a crummy robot.”
During his nearly half-hour talk, CIA CTO Ira Hunt said that the agency is interested in “really big data,” or storage capacity on a scale unlike anything currently existing on the planet, so they can “connect the dots” with what’s happening in real time.“Since you can’t connect dots you don’t have, it drives us into a mode of, we fundamentally try to collect everything and hang on to it forever.”“It is really very nearly within our grasp to be able to compute on all human generated information,” he added, explaining that nearly all mobile phones now contain a camera, a microphone, a light sensor, an accelerometer and GPS, among other sensors.
At BGI Shenzhen, scientists have collected DNA samples from 2,000 of the world’s smartest people and are sequencing their entire genomes in an attempt to identify the alleles which determine human intelligence. Apparently they’re not far from finding them, and when they do, embryo screening will allow parents to pick their brightest zygote and potentially bump up every generation’s intelligence by five to 15 IQ points. Within a couple of generations, competing with the Chinese on an intellectual level will be like challenging Lena Dunham to a getting-naked-on-TV contest.
The researchers at the government’s “high-risk, high-payoff research” group, Intelligence Advanced Research Projects Activity (IARPA) want to know how alternate reality environments such as games in particular can help it develop “high-quality behavioral and psychological research in near real-world contexts.”
The UK’s Ministry of Defense (MoD) is said to be soon testing a superdrone called Taranis. The drone is designed to fly intercontinental missions at supersonic speeds, undected by radar—and almost completely free of human direction. Named after the Celtic god of thunder, Taranis is a £142.5 million ($223.25 million) project under development by British aerospace firm BAE and the MoD since December 2006. BAE says Taranis will “push the boundaries” of stealth and autonomy.
Temporary electronic tattoos could soon help people fly drones with only thought and talk seemingly telepathically without speech over smartphones, researchers say. Commanding machines using the brain is no longer the stuff of science fiction. In recent years, brain implants have enabled people to control robotics using only their minds, raising the prospect that one day patients could overcome disabilities using bionic limbs or mechanical exoskeletons. His team is developing wireless flexible electronics one can apply on the forehead just like temporary tattoos to read brain activity.
The increasing power and accessibility of genetic technology may one day give parents the option of modifying their unborn children, in order to spare offspring from disease or, conceivably, make them tall, well muscled, intelligent or otherwise blessed with desirable traits.
Would this change mean empowering parents to give their children the best start possible? Or would it mean designer babies who could face unforeseen genetic problems? Experts debated on Wednesday evening (Feb. 13) whether prenatal engineering should be banned in the United States.
Philadelphia Courts Begin Using Computer Forecasts to Predict Future Criminal Behavior, Determine Jail Time
Judges in the Philadelphia court system are now taking advantage of powerful new computer models to help determine how much jail time an offender should get. Computers have been forecasting weather and economic trends for years, but applying algorithms to human behavior is relatively new. University of Pennsylvania professor Richard Berk, a pioneer in the field, his forecasts, which use an algorithm to predict whether someone will offend again, have been used by city probation and parole officers for about three years, to decide how much supervision a defendant needs.
The EU and a large Israeli military contractor are co-funding research to build drones that can stop moving boats and cars.
Launched in January, the three-year-long Aeroceptor project, according to its own literature, aims to help law enforcement authorities to stop “non-cooperative vehicles in both land and sea scenarios by means of Unmanned Aerial Vehicles.”
Israel’s ministry of public security, global weapons manufacturer Israel Aerospace Industries and Israeli-based Rotem Technological Solutions are among the list of 12 participants, most of which are based in the EU.
The U.K. plans to install an unspecified number of spy devices along the country’s telecommunications network to monitor Britons’ use of overseas services such as Facebook and Twitter, according to a report published Tuesday by Parliament’s Intelligence and Security Committee.
The devices—referred to as “probes” in the report—are meant to underpin a nationwide surveillance regime aimed at logging nearly everything Britons do online, from Skype calls with family members to visits to pornographic websites. The government argues that swift access to communications data is critical to the fight against terrorism and other high-level crime.
The European Commission has selected the Human Brain Project (HBP) as one of its Future and Emerging Technologies and will send it up to €1.19b over ten years so it can build a supercomputer capable of simulating the human brain.
The HBP wants to build a simulated brain because we don’t know enough about our grey matter. The project’s web site says we lack even a “casual understanding of the way [brain] events … produce cognition and behaviour,” while more than a century of research has yielded little understanding of “how changes in the synapses between neurons help us to remember important events in our past”.
All personal information stored by British internet users on major “cloud” computing services including Google Drive can be spied upon routinely without their knowledge by US authorities under newly-approved legislation, it can be disclosed.
Cloud computing has exploded in recent years as a flexible, cheap way for individuals, companies and government bodies to remotely store documents and data. According to some estimates, 35 per cent of UK firms use some sort of cloud system. But it has now emerged that all documents uploaded on to cloud systems based in the US or falling under Washington’s jurisdiction can be accessed and analysed without a warrant by American security agencies.
The United States of America is planning to establish a drone base in Niger, a country sandwiched between Nigeria and Mali, two nations that have been under attack from Islamic militants.
The drone base, according to a report in last Sunday’s edition of the New York Times, will give the US military command increased unmanned surveillance missions on the activities of Boko Haram and other extremist groups in West Africa that are affiliated to Al Qaeda and other sectarian groups.
Researchers at the University of Maryland, College Park and Towson University are reporting that they have created multiple universes inside a laboratory-created multiverse — a world first.
To be exact, the researchers created a metamaterial — like those used to fashion invisibility cloaks — that, when light passes through it, multiple universes are formed within it. These universes, called Minkowski spacetimes, are similar to our own, except they more neatly tie up Einstein’s theory of special relativity by including time as a fourth dimension.
A new DARPA program called VAPR, for Vanishing Programmable Resources, is seeking to create “transient electronics” that can ‘vapr’ize themselves when they’re no longer being used:
“Transient electronics developed under VAPR should maintain the current functionality and ruggedness of conventional electronics, but, when triggered, be able to degrade partially or completely into their surroundings. Once triggered to dissolve, these electronics would be useless to any enemy who might come across them.”
It’s ever so hard to not write about DARPA when it keeps doing so much cool stuff. Today, we’ve got an update on the Phoenix program, which aims to create a new network of communications satellites by sending up robots to harvest body parts from old communications satellites. Insert space zombie joke here.*
A big part of the reason that satellites are so expensive is that getting them from Earth into space takes rockets, and rockets don’t come cheap. And not matter how carefully you build your hardware, sooner or later it’s going to fail or go obsolete, and from that point on, your space-based investment is useless to everybody.
This startlingly orange gun isn’t something from a sci-fi film set. Instead, it’s a new firearm, from UK-based Selectamark, that fires non-lethal pellets—and marks its targets with DNA for later identification.
Designed for use by police and military, the gun fires soft little green pellets, pictured below. Weighing just one gram, when they hit a target they leave an enduring biological mark.
Our first foray into laser-equipped combat aircraft was the Airborne Laser Testbed, a Boeing 747 with a gigantic chemically-pumped megawatt laser turret in its nose. It was pretty awesome from a conceptual standpoint, but it didn’t work very well, and was scrapped last year. This doesn’t mean that the idea of high-powered lasers on aircraft doesn’t make a lot of sense, and DARPA is still for ways to make it work. It’s working on two at the moment: the High Energy Liquid Laser Area Defense System (HELLADS), and Aero-Adaptive/Aero-Optic Beam Control (ABC).
Earlier this month, a report funded by the Greenwall Foundation examined the legal and ethical implications of using biologically enhanced humans on the battlefield. Given the Pentagon’s open acknowledgement that it’s working to create super-soldiers, this is quickly becoming a pertinent issue. We wanted to learn more, so we contacted one of the study’s authors. He told us that the use of cyber-soldiers could very well be interpreted as a violation of international law. Here’s why.
“Too often, our society falls prey to a ‘first generation’ problem — we wait until something terrible has happened, and then hastily draw up some ill-conceived plan to fix things after the fact, often with noxious unintended consequences,” Abney told io9.
At the forefront of the military operation in Mali, France has according to several experts information American drones and satellites, in addition to its own intelligence capabilities, which are one of keys to success. Bilateral exchanges of human intelligence (agents) and techniques (tapping, imagery …) for ages, the military intelligence and French civilians maintain ongoing relationships but with the utmost discretion their American and European counterparts.
n this case, between the DIA (Defense intelligence agency, intelligence agency of the U.S. defense) and the Directorate of Military Intelligence (DRM, France) and from the American CIA and the sprawling NSA (National security agency, tapping U.S.) on the one hand and the General Directorate for External Security (DGSE) and the Central Directorate of Internal Intelligence (DCRI) on the other.”
One of the most disturbing trends in law enforcement in recent years is the hyper-paramilitarization of local police forces. Much of the funding for tanks for Fargo’s hometown cop shop comes from the Department of Homeland Security. The feds have a lot of money to throw around in the name of preventing terrorism, and municipalities want to get that money. As anyone who has done budgeting knows, the best way to ensure your funding stays high is to request a lot of money and spend it all.
DARPA is planning to build drones that would hibernate in deep-sea capsules for years before waking up when commanded and releasing their payloads into the sky. The Upward Falling Payloads program envisages the use of deployable, unmanned, distributed systems that lie on the deep-ocean floor at strategic locations before releasing, say, small unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) for reconnaissance. “The goal is to support the Navy with distributed technologies anywhere, anytime over large maritime areas. If we can do this rapidly, we can get close to the areas we need to affect, or become widely distributed without delay,” says DARPA program manager Andy Coon.
That figure is on top of the 85,570 similar cameras that it has bought in the past three years, with the total cost running to more than £6.22 million, according to South Korea’s Chosun Ilbo newspaper.
Citing Chinese export statistics on its trade with North Korea, the paper quoted analysts as saying that many of the cameras are being positioned at key points along the long border the two nations share in order to detect and capture would-be defectors from the North.
On Jan. 2 the Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC) published 190 pages of documents released by the National Security Agency under a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request.
The documents confirm key details of the program, known as PerfectCitizen, which was revealed by The Wall Street Journal in an article published in July 2010. The project, for example, includes a major effort to find and remediate vulnerabilities in sensitive control systems (SCS). Technology giant Raytheon received the contract for the program valued at approximately $100 million.
The MRK-27 BT is similar to the American SWORDS robot. The Point of Combat is a mobile track-type chassis with an entire arsenal of assault weapons mounted on it: a Pecheneg machine gun, two RShG-2 grenade launchers, two Shmel flame-throwers and six smoke-screen grenades.
The 440-pound robot is radio-controlled and can be operated at a distance of up to one kilometer (just over half a mile). The machine is armored and can withstand explosions the equivalent of 800 grams (6.5 cups) of TNT. A global positioning device will be installed on it in the future.“Despite the serious weapons carried by the robot, it is doubtful that it will be adopted by the armed forces, if only for the fact that the military has no conceptual idea about the tactics of using such machines in combat,”
Amid reports that China is gearing up to conduct one more anti-satellite weapons test (ASAT) putting US Global Positioning System (GPS) at risk, Chinese state media today asserted that Beijing had the right to carry out the test as it is a “trump card” against Washington.
China may be gearing up to perform a controversial ASAT test this month, perhaps in the next week or two, US media report said. “In 2007 and 2010, China conducted anti-satellite (ASAT) weapons tests, both on January 11. Rumours circulating for the past few months suggest that some within the US defence and intelligence community believe China is preparing to conduct another ASAT test,”
Governments should promote “national intelligence” to cope with the advancement of high technology such as IT and biotechnology rather than just creating national wealth, a leading futurist said Wednesday.
Jerome Glenn, co-founder and director of the Millennium Project, stressed the state’s active role in preparing for the future, saying governments should set as a long-term goal raising the intellectual capabilities of individuals and strongly pushing ahead with the plan.
Mr Schmidt will be travelling to North Korea on a private trip led by former New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson that could take place as early as this month, sources told The Associated Press news agency. The sources, two people familiar with the group’s plans, asked not to be named because the visit had not been made public.
The trip would be the first by a top executive from US-based Google, the world’s largest internet search provider, to a country considered to have the most restrictive internet policies on the planet.
Flight data recorders, commonly known as “black boxes,” have been a standard feature in airliners since the early 1960s. More recently, various companies have started offering apps and dedicated devices that essentially serve as black boxes for cars, keeping a record of the vehicle’s parameters and location when involved in an accident. Now, the U.S. Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) is proposing that similar devices become mandatory in all new light passenger vehicles sold in the U.S. by September 1st, 2014.
Online giant Google will have eyes everywhere, including your wallet and spending habits! The company plans to start a new service that will combine online intelligence with offline consumer data. So, Google will make it possible for advertisers to target clients. The search engine will offer advertising companies an access to people’s Web and real life activities.
A few days ago, Google announced the launch of a new ad project called Conversions API. The service will allow companies to make profiles of their users using not only their Internet search history, but also their in-store shopping activities.
Although the Pentagon has routinely dismissed some of China’s very publicly touted military advances as being decades behind the United States, they are still significant. Just because someone gets a new piece of tech later than you doesn’t mean that you will always be better at using it than they are. So, we thought we’d bring you a list of the eight most noteworthy military enhancements that China is making by buying, stealing and innovating
Newly released files show a secret National Security Agency program is targeting the computerized systems that control utilities to discover security vulnerabilities, which can be used to defend the United States or disrupt the infrastructure of other nations.
The NSA’s so-called Perfect Citizen program conducts “vulnerability exploration and research” against the computerized controllers that control “large-scale” utilities including power grids and natural gas pipelines, the documents show. The program is scheduled to continue through at least September 2014.
Quantum Stealth is a material that renders the target completely invisible by bending light waves around the target. The material removes not only your visual, infrared (night vision) and thermal signatures but also the target’s shadow.
Two separate command groups within the U.S. Military and two separate Canadian Military groups as well as Federal Emergency Response Team (Counter Terrorism) have seen the actual material so they could verify that I was not just manipulating video or photo results; These groups now know that it works and does so without cameras, batteries, lights or mirrors…
Surveillance State: Ecuador Implements “World’s First” Countrywide Facial- and Voice-Recognition System
Ecuador has installed a nationwide system that lets government officials ID “several million” people by their voices and faces, Slate reported. If an Ecuadorian agency taps a phone line, for example, it is now able to match the voices in a call with a database of “voiceprints” of known criminals, suspects and persons of interest. The voice system is 97 percent accurate, says the system’s maker, SpeechPro
The intelligence community is developing a single cloud computing network to allow all its analysts to access and rapidly sift through massive volumes of data. When fully complete, this effort will create a pan-agency cloud, with organizations sharing many of the same computing resources and information. More importantly, the hope is the system will break down existing boundaries between agencies and change their insular cultures.
Each year, IBM releases a set of predictions about where the world of computing will be in just 5 short years. Of course, when it comes to computing, 5 years is really a long time.
According to IBM, these cognitive computers will be able to feel, hear, see and touch and respond accordingly. “One of the most intriguing aspects of this shift is our ability to give machines some of the capabilities of the right side of the human brain,” writes IBM’s chief innovation officer Bernard Meyerson in the company’s blog.
The U.S. government green-lighted a program in March to retain data on U.S. citizens for up to five years as part of a counterterrorism monitoring and analysis effort, despite privacy concerns raised by high-ranking homeland-security and justice officials.
The concerns, first reported in the Wall Street Journal this week, suggest that the National Counterterrorism Center (NCTC) is trying to build an extensive monitoring system that can find terrorists using large datasets. Established in 2004, the NCTC brings together analysts from a variety of agencies and tasks them with sifting through intelligence reports for signs of terrorism activity.
It should be fairly obvious why, all technological considerations aside, there has been much more research into letting machines extract our thoughts, rather than insert them. Mind reading is a scary-enough concept all on its own — but mindwriting? It calls to mind the hacker deities of cyber punk novels; skinny, trench-swathed Neos projecting e-thoughts into the skulls of passing civilians.
There is really so much junk floating around in space the government needs help keeping track of it all. This week the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency announced a program to utilize amateur astronomers to help watch space for any dangerous junk that maybe be threatening satellites or other spacecraft and even the Earth.
Most cryptography is based on public-key infrastructure, a 35-year-old encryption and decryption technique that underlies the secure electronic communications of law enforcement, government agencies, financial institutions, and even billions of dollars of consumer e-commerce. To crack such systems, a code breaker would need to compute the lengthy prime numbers that are mathematical factors of huge numbers. That’s been a daunting challenge — so far.
The U.S. government’s capability to monitor public health trends and unusual occurrences through social media analytics is set for enhancement. Accenture Federal Services said it received a one-year, $3 million contract from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security to assist in the Office of Health Affairs to manage, link and analyze data from social media networks in real time to protect the public in the event of a national health emergency.
It’s 2025 and an American “triple canopy” of advanced surveillance and armed drones fills the heavens from the lower- to the exo-atmosphere. A wonder of the modern age, it can deliver its weaponry anywhere on the planet with staggering speed, knock out an enemy’s satellite communications system, or follow individuals biometrically for great distances. Along with the country’s advanced cyberwar capacity, it’s also the most sophisticated militarized information system ever created and an insurance policy for U.S. global dominion deep into the twenty-first century.
The Carnegie Mellon pair disclosed details about their Army-funded research in a paper earlier this week, at the Semantic Technology for Intelligence, Defense, and Security conference at George Mason University. Their paper, “Using Ontologies in a Cognitive-Grounded System: Automatic Action Recognition in Video Surveillance,” presents the knowledge infrastructure of a high-level artiﬁcial visual intelligent system.
At the San Diego convention of the International Association of Police Chiefs — the world’s oldest and largest nonprofit organization of police chiefs — AeroVironment pitched the force on tiny surveillance drones small enough to fit in a police cruiser’s trunk.
According to a report on U-T San Diego, the military supply company used a booth at the huge convention to show off its line of small unmanned military drones to local police officials. That model weighs five pounds and is just three feet in length, yet it can fly as high as 500 feet and stay airborne for 40 minutes.
The team will build models of the systems in the brain that govern a honey bee’s vision and sense of smell. Using this information, the researchers aim to create the first flying robot able to sense and act as autonomously as a bee, rather than just carry out a pre-programmed set of instructions.
If successful, this project will meet one of the major challenges of modern science: building a robot brain that can perform complex tasks as well as the brain of an animal. Tasks the robot will be expected to perform, for example, will include finding the source of particular odours or gases in the same way that a bee can identify particular flowers.
The FBI Biometric Center of Excellence said that voice recognition systems are “a popular choice for remote authentication due to the availability of devices for collecting speech samples (e.g., telephone network and computer microphones) and its ease of integration.” Furthermore, the FBI believes voice biometrics will be a “reliable and consistent means of identification for use in remote recognition.” Deploying voice recognition requires no “special equipment” other than a good quality microphone which most of us have thanks to our mobile phones.
People can be tricked into reversing their opinions on moral issues, even to the point of constructing good arguments to support the opposite of their original positions, researchers report today in PLoS ONE.
The researchers, led by Lars Hall, a cognitive scientist at Lund University in Sweden, recruited 160 volunteers to fill out a 2-page survey on the extent to which they agreed with 12 statements — either about moral principles relating to society in general or about the morality of current issues in the news, from prostitution to the Israeli–Palestinian conflict.
Developed by a team of researchers from HRL Laboratories, Quantum Applied Science and Research, Advanced Brain Monitoring, and the University of California San Diego, the CT2WS system uses a combination of a 120-megapixel wide-field digital video camera, image processing software, and an electroencephalogram (EEG) “cap” that is worn by the operator. Scanning a 120-degree arc with its digital camera, the system presents up to 10 images per second to the sensor operator, monitoring for a specific type of brain activity—the P-300 brainwave
Morgan Marquis-Boire works as a Google engineer and Bill Marczak is earning a Ph.D. in computer science. But this summer, the two men have been moonlighting as detectives, chasing an elusive surveillance tool from Bahrain across five continents.
What they found was the widespread use of sophisticated, off-the-shelf computer espionage software by governments with questionable records on human rights. While the software is supposedly sold for use only in criminal investigations, the two came across evidence that it was being used to target political dissidents.
The software proved to be the stuff of a spy film: it can grab images of computer screens, record Skype chats, turn on cameras and microphones and log keystrokes. The two men said they discovered mobile versions of the spyware customized for all major mobile phones.
The FBI recently announced that it will distribute free facial recognition software to law enforcement agencies following a pilot program of the system, reported Slate.com. Police will be able to use the Universal Face Workstation (UFW) program, which grants access to a central database of about 13 million images. Police departments will also be able to submit and enhance their own image files to be cross-referenced with existing images in the database to identify matches.
UFW, which was piloted in February in Michigan, is part of a $1 billion biometrics FBI program called Next Generation Identification, which will create a database for scars and tattoos.
The Substitutional Reality (SR) system, developed by researchers at the RIKEN Brain Science Institute’s Laboratory for Adaptive Intelligence, is made of cheap, commercially available electronic components: a panoramic video camera used for recording, a computer for storing the recorded footage, and a head-mounted visual display that can switch seamlessly between the recorded footage and a live feed captured by a camera and microphone attached to it.
“In a dream, we naturally accept what is happening and hardly doubt its reality, however unrealistic it may seem on reflection.” says Keisuke Suzuki, the lead author of a recent paper describing the SR system. “Our motivation is to explore the cognitive mechanisms underlying our strong conviction in reality. How can people trust what they perceive?
With a chilling hint of the not-so-distant future, researchers at the Usenix Security conference have demonstrated a zero-day vulnerability in your brain. Using a commercial off-the-shelf brain-computer interface, the researchers have shown that it’s possible to hack your brain, forcing you to reveal information that you’d rather keep secret.
In a real-world scenario, the researchers foresee a game that is specially tailored by hackers to extract sensitive information from your brain — or perhaps an attack vector that also uses social engineering to lull you into a false sense of security. It’s harder to extract data from someone who knows they’re being attacked — as interrogators and torturers well know.
DARPA’s sister agency — the Intelligence Advanced Research Projects Activity, which funds experimental projects for the U.S. intelligence community — is running a four-year, $50-million program that pays people willing to predict major world events, including wars and terrorist strikes. Unlike the earlier scheme, participants can’t profit from their predictions.
The study, known as Aggregative Contingent Estimation, is designed to see whether the 17 agencies in the U.S. intelligence community can aggregate the judgment of its thousands of analysts — rather than rely on the expertise of just a few — to issue more accurate warnings to policy makers before and during major global events.
Researchers in England have created a prototype surveillance device that can be used to spy on people inside buildings and behind walls by tracking the frequency changes as Wi-Fi signals generated by wireless routers and access points bounce off people as they move around The device, which is about the size of a suitcase and has two antennae and a signal processing unit, works as a “passive radar system” that can “see” through walls, according to PopSci.com. It was able to successfully determine the location, speed, and direction of a person behind a one-foot-thick brick wall, but can not detect people standing or sitting still, the article said.
CitizenLab has exposed spying activity targeting Bahraini anti-government activists using a version of the FinFisher intrusion and remote monitoring capabilities made by Gamma International.
The FinFisher surveillance software attained notoriety during the Arab Spring when protestors in Egypt stormed the Egyptian state security headquarters and found documents showing that state security was in talks with Gamma to purchase the software.
SCOTTISH scientists have developed a computer model which could help predict how the conflict in Afghanistan might unfold.
The team from the University of Edinburgh analysed military logs from Afghanistan between 2004 and 2009 to develop a model to see how events would occur in troublespots in 2010.
They say their program was more than 80 per cent accurate in determining which provinces were going to have increases or decreases in violence.
At the Devils Lake home of the North Dakota Army National Guard, pilots train on MQ-1 Predator drones — the most prevalent unmanned attack vehicle in the military arsenal. In late June the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) published an updated set of rules and regulations covering Devils Lake, creating several large restricted airspaces over the Camp Gilbert C. Grafton military base.
The reason: the Air Force plans to begin tests of potentially dangerous lasers shot remotely from the drone.
Harvard University scientists are working on an Iron Man-like smart suit that could improve soldiers’ endurance in war zones.
The suit, which is expected to include sensors and its own energy source, will be designed to delay the onset of fatigue, enabling soldiers to travel further in the field, while also supporting the body and protecting it from injuries when the soldier is carrying heavy loads.
A brain in a bot is just a way station to Nirvana, which would ultimately involve downloading the brain’s contents into a computer. That and other tweaks to the technology will take a few decades, Itskov says, which is why he calls his project the2045 Initiative. It held its first meeting in Moscow in February and has just opened an office in San Francisco. It is planning a big meeting in New York’s Lincoln Center in June 2013.
In ages past, those who would cheat Death generally talked of an elixir, but nowadays their line of patter tends to run in a cybernetic vein.
A University of Texas at Austin research team successfully demonstrated for the first time that the GPS signals of an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV), or drone, can be commandeered by an outside source – a discovery that could factor heavily into the implementation of a new federal mandate to allow thousands of civilian drones into the U.S. airspace by 2015.
Known as “spoofing,” the technique creates false civil GPS signals that trick the vehicle’s GPS receiver into thinking nothing is amiss – even as it steers a new navigational course induced by the outside hacker.
The March of Laser Technology The year 2010 in particular was a great year for laser weapons. Just how great? The open-source world brims with myriad “ﬁrsts” and breakthroughs heralding great change. Here are some of the more recent, perhaps ominous ones:
● Breaking the 100 kW threshold with a solid state laser.
● The Army testing green lasers for defense.
● The U.S. Navy shooting down unmanned aerial vehicles.
● The Army planning to test lasers in shooting down incoming rockets and mortars.
So: want to have Superman-like strength? The military is developing exoskeletons that strap onto soldier’s bodies and do the heavy lifting, literally. Soldiers in the field typically tote upwards of 100 pounds on their backs. Strap-on exoskeletons could make this vastly less stressful while also reducing the back injuries that are endemic in the army. Want to stave off the cognitive deficits caused by too little sleep?
Or how about getting by on four hours a night? Something called transcranial magnetic stimulation can help you do that. Or maybe you’d like to move objects using only the power of your mind? It’s possible – and you don’t have to be Uri Geller. In 2011, the Guinness Book of World Records issued an award to the NeuroSky MindWave, a brainwave reader, for the “heaviest machine moved using a brain control interface.”
More than 685 million continually updated images of license plates gathered in a commercial database soon will be available to federal authorities for pinpointing the hideouts of escaped illegal immigrants, according to a contract slated to be finalized Tuesday.
The National Vehicle Location Service program, commonly used in law enforcement, is intended to replace manual field surveillance of fugitives, Homeland Security Department officials said. Fugitive aliens are non-U.S. citizens who have not complied with deportation orders.
For the first time, a person lying in an fMRI machine has controlled a robot hundreds of kilometers away using thought alone.
.”The ultimate goal is to create a surrogate, like in Avatar, although that’s a long way off yet,” says Abderrahmane Kheddar, director of the joint robotics laboratory at the National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology in Tsukuba, Japan.
Teleoperated robots, those that can be remotely controlled by a human, have been around for decades. Kheddar and his colleagues are going a step further.
DARPA plans to use the recordings in the development of a military training simulator that will use artificial intelligence to read and react to a trainee’s body language and facial expressions. DARPA is dumping $32.5 million into Good Stranger and related projects; the agency states that the training module will eventually be cheaper than arranging live role-players to train soldiers.
DARPA hopes to learn how officers react to language barriers and cultural differences, and how their responses can de-escalate potentially volatile interactions. Andraychak says SFPD is “honored” to have been selected, and the departments will get more than just bragging rights — they’ll eventually receive one of those artificial intelligence training modules of their own.
A recent study suggests that computers could be better than seasoned police analysts at predicting when and where crime will strike next in a busy city.
Software tested in Los Angeles was twice as good as human analysts at predicting where burglaries and car break-ins might happen, according to a company deploying the technology.
Any celebrations China’s space officials kicked off after launching the nation’s first female astronaut this month may have been dampened a few hours later by the news that another spacecraft — an American military space plane — had returned to Earth a world away.
Just hours after China’s Shenzhou 9 capsule roared into space on June 16 with three astronauts aboard, including the nation’s first female spaceflyer Liu Yang — the U.S. Air Force’s robotic X-37B space plane touched down in California after 15 months orbiting Earth on a hush-hush mission.
The Air Force insists the X-37B is just testing out technologies for future satellites, but China has a deep suspicion of the vehicle and its activities, experts say.
Today’s military lasers can blind spy satellites or burn enemy vehicles, but tomorrow’s could guide lightning bolts to strike and destroy battlefield targets.
A U.S. Army lab is testing how lasers can create an energized plasma channel in the air — an invisible pathway for electricity to follow. The laser-guided lightning weapon could precisely hit targets such as enemy tanks or unexploded roadside bombs, because such targets represent better conductors for electricity than the ground.
“We never got tired of the lightning bolts zapping our simulated (targets),” said George Fischer, lead scientist on the project at the U.S. Army’s Armament Research, Development and Engineering Center at Picatinny Arsenal in New Jersey.
Delhi and Mumbai, India;s two biggest metropolitan cities, have been chosen for DRDO’s Ballistic Missile Defense system that can be put in place at short notice.
A detailed proposal is being prepared for final clearance from the Cabinet Committee on Security. The strategic planning has already begun to install the BMD system in the two cities and the final proposal will be put before the government after detailed analysis of the entire project, sources told PTI here.
The sites for installing radars to track enemy missiles and storing counter-attack projectiles will be determined during the planning stage, they said, adding that these locations must have adequate stealth feature and protection against enemy sabotage.
San Francisco’s Municipal Transit Authority (MUNI), the latest purchaser, is using AISight software to continuously monitor more than 150 “objects and activities” at 12 train stations via real-time video feeds.
The software uses artificial intelligence to learn which items and movements could indicate a potential threat. Video clips of suspicious activity and SMS text message alerts are automatically sent to MUNI employees upon detection.
A leading security researcher has suggested Microsoft’s core Windows and application development programming teams have been infiltrated by covert programmer/operatives from U.S. intelligence agencies.
According to Mikko Hypponen, chief research officer of antivirus and security software vendor F-Secure, the scenario that would make it simplest for programmers employed by U.S. intelligence agencies to create the Stuxnet, Duqu and Flame viruses and compromise Microsoft protocols to the extent they could disguise downloads to Flame as patches through Windows Update is that Microsoft has been infiltrated by members of the U.S. intelligence community.
An unmanned U.S. air force space plane steered itself to a landing early Saturday at a California military base, capping a 15-month clandestine mission.
The spacecraft, which was launched from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida in March 2011, conducted in-orbit experiments during the mission, officials said. It was the second such autonomous landing at the Vandenberg Air Force Base, 209 kilometres northwest of Los Angeles. In 2010, an identical unmanned spacecraft returned to Earth after seven months and 146 million kilometres in orbit.
The latest homecoming was set in motion when the stubby-winged robotic X-37B fired its engine to slip out of orbit, then pierced through the atmosphere and glided down the runway like an airplane.
The palm-sized devices at the U.S. military’s disposal aren’t listening devices per se, but they would detect anyone moving nearby and report the movement back to an intelligence outpost, letting special operators know when a remote mountain pass or a known smuggling trail is being utilized. Some of the sensors could be buried, others disguised as rocks or other geological artifacts. The point is, they would be littered all across Afghanistan’s landscape, a lingering legacy of a decade-long conflict that would last 20 years more.
Trojan Horse: Researchers find vulnerability that could allow spying in Chinese chips used by US army
A team of researchers from Cambridge University say they have found evidence that a Chinese-manufactured chip used by US armed forces contains a secret access point that could leave it vulnerable to third party tampering.
The researchers tested an unspecified US military chip — used in weapons, nuclear power plants to public transport – and found that a previously unknown ‘backdoor’ access point had been added, making systems and hardware open to attack, the team says.
We’ve seen virtual reality used to simulate the experience of being in space, to train engineers and even to help patients regain mobility, so it’s no surprise that the military is recognizing VR’s potential, too. The US Special Operations Command recently announced that it will employ NeuroTracker — a system currently used to train athletes in the NFL and NHL — to assess and improve commandos’ response times and perceptive capabilities.
The VR setup tasks commandos with following the movements of four different balls projected on a 3D screen, the catch being that four “decoy” objects are also bouncing around. NeuroTracker assesses how well an individual can keep track of the designated targets, and also helps determine how he or she would be able to predict trajectories in the field.
Microsoft is looking to unify electrical appliances within the home and establish itself in the burgeoning “smart home” market with the development of HomeOS. Essentially a lightweight “smart home” operating system that aims to make it easy for users to manage their home networks and ease the creation of applications by third party developers, HomeOS is designed to provide a central hub through which various household devices can be controlled.
Like a personal computer that instantly recognizes attached devices such as a USB mouse, Microsoft is seeking to overcome the problem of getting various, currently incompatible devices to communicate with each other.
Larry Smarr’s large intestine appears to float in the middle of the room, nestled like a stuffed sausage between his other virtual organs.
Smarr, a computer science professor, adjusts the dark-tinted 3D glasses perched on his nose and picks up an electronic pointer. “And this is where the wall of my colon is inflamed,” he says, pointing out a spot where the intestinal walls are indeed noticeably swollen.
A supercomputer combined MRI images of the 63-year-old professor to create the three-dimensional illusion now projected on the wall. It gives the impression that the viewer could go for a stroll inside the researcher’s abdomen.
“Wouldn’t it be wonderful if everybody could look inside their own bodies like that?” asks Smarr, director of the California Institute for Telecommunication and Information Technology (Calit2) in La Jolla, near San Diego.
As militaries develop autonomous robotic warriors to replace humans on the battlefield, new ethical questions emerge. If a robot in combat has a hardware malfunction or programming glitch that causes it to kill civilians, do we blame the robot, or the humans who created and deployed it?
Some argue that robots do not have free will and therefore cannot be held morally accountable for their actions. But psychologists at the University of Washington are finding that people don’t have such a clear-cut view of humanoid robots.
The researchers’ latest results show that humans apply a moderate amount of morality and other human characteristics to robots that are equipped with social capabilities and are capable of harming humans.
Experts from the science and research center of Russia’s Defense Ministry are testing a unique electromagnetic weapon with non-lethal effects, Interfax news agency reported Tuesday.
As the center’s director, Dmitry Soskov said, the weapon would be most effective in local conflicts, where there is no solid frontline. It would also be very useful while suppressing mass riots in cities.
“The new weapon is designed to have non-lethal effects on humans. It has a striking factor in the form of electromagnetic radiation of very high frequency. The directed ray causes intolerable pain,” Soskov said.
“The complexity of the brain, with its billions of interconnected neurons, makes it hard for neuroscientists to truly understand how it works. Simulating it will make it much easier – allowing them to manipulate and measure any aspect of the brain,” he said.
Housed at a facility in Dusseldorf in Germany, the ‘brain’ will feature thousands of three-dimensional images built around a semi-circular ‘cockpit’ so scientists can virtually ‘fly’ around different areas and watch how they communicate with each other.
It aims to integrate all the neuroscience research being carried out all over the world – an estimated 60,000 scientific papers every year – into one platform.