The Pentagon is seeking bids to improve its Advanced Targeting and Lethality Automated System (ATLAS) so that it can "acquire, identify, and engage targets at least 3X faster than the current manual process."
When this public tender sparked concern that the Pentagon's autonomous tanks were gaining automated targeting and firing capabilities -- that is, that they would be autonomous killbots -- the Pentagon updated the tender to reassure critics that "development and use of autonomous and semi-autonomous functions in weapon systems, including manned and unmanned platforms, remain subject to the guidelines in the Department of Defense (DoD) Directive 3000.09" and that "All uses of machine learning and artificial intelligence in this program will be evaluated to ensure that they are consistent with DoD legal and ethical standards."
Why does any of this matter? The Department of Defense Directive 3000.09, requires that humans be able to “exercise appropriate levels of human judgment over the use of force,” meaning that the U.S. won’t toss a fully autonomous robot into a battlefield and allow it to decide independently whether to kill someone. This safeguard is sometimes called being “in the loop,” meaning that a human is making the final decision about whether to kill someone.
U.S. Army Assures Public That Robot Tank System Adheres to AI Murder Policy [Matt Novak/Gizmodo]
U.S. Department Of Energy Secretary Rick Perry gave “six secret authorizations by companies to sell nuclear power technology and assistance to Saudi Arabia,” Reuters reports, based on a copy of a document seen by reporters on Wednesday.
Last November, the Pentagon's Inspector General presented Congress with a "little-noticed" report on whistleblowing in the US military, revealing that those who come forward with claims of misconduct including sexual harassment and safety problems face a "culture of retaliation" including black marks on their service records, demotion, and suspension of security clearance; the IG also […]
In 1960, the US Air Force asked the RAND Corporation to evaluate the possibility of using stationary rockets to pause the Earth’s rotation in the event of a nuclear attack. Called “Project Retro,” the idea was that the “a huge rectangular array of one thousand first-stage Atlas engines… (would) be fastened securely to the earth […]
If you’ve taken a busted car to a new mechanic, you know the drill. They take a while to find what’s wrong, then find four other issues that need attention. You take their word for it, and an arm and a leg later, you start saving up for the next breakdown. No wonder more the […]
Want to focus more at work? Some of us put on a little music, whether it’s to tune out the chatter at the office or get us comfortable in front of the computer at home. And that’s great – we all have our favorite songs. But if they’re not helping you actually work, what’s the […]
We shouldn’t be surprised that sponges – the very things you use to clean dishes – are breeding grounds for odor and germs. It’s a sponge, after all. It absorbs things, including all that muck from your plates. Which is why calling the Better Sponge a sponge is a bit of a misnomer. It’s definitely […]