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127 comments

Unfortunately... (5, Insightful)

MokuMokuRyoushi (1701196) | more than 3 years ago | (#34772012)

It'll be a long time before anything is produced to replace a human's decision making and observation skills.

Re:Unfortunately... (1, Troll)

siddesu (698447) | more than 3 years ago | (#34772068)

If these are the "skills" displayed by certain American helicopter pilots over Iraq, I'd say you're off by a lot.

"Shoot anything that moves" would be a very easy algorithm to implement.

Shoot anything armed you mean ... (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34772146)

If these are the "skills" displayed by certain American helicopter pilots over Iraq, I'd say you're off by a lot. "Shoot anything that moves" would be a very easy algorithm to implement.

if you are referring to the wikileaks tape perhaps you missed the unedited version that shows guys in the group that included the journalist were carrying AK47s and RPGs. Somehow wikileaks edited out that part.

Re:Shoot anything armed you mean ... (1)

shadowofwind (1209890) | more than 3 years ago | (#34772230)

I'd be interested in seeing a link to that.

Re:Shoot anything armed you mean ... (1)

blackraven14250 (902843) | more than 3 years ago | (#34772296)

I've seen it too. It's at about 1:40 that you see what look like guns, 2:35ish where it looks like an RPG.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=is9sxRfU-ik

Re:Shoot anything armed you mean ... (1)

shadowofwind (1209890) | more than 3 years ago | (#34772722)

Thanks. I can see why people aren't going to agree on that video. There was an RPG earlier, but there was no hint of a weapon or threat when they blasted the van that showed up. Whether a person thinks that destroying the van was justified or not is going to depend on their politics and personality.

Re:Shoot anything armed you mean ... (1)

blackraven14250 (902843) | more than 3 years ago | (#34772810)

Yeah, the other (edited) version makes it seem much more cut and dry wrong for them to have fired, but the reality is that it's not a simple issue.

Re:Shoot anything armed you mean ... (1)

shadowofwind (1209890) | more than 3 years ago | (#34772916)

My opinion is that the issue may be simpler than it seems, but I'm unlikely to change anyone's mind by arguing about it.

Re:Shoot anything armed you mean ... (1)

blackraven14250 (902843) | more than 3 years ago | (#34773696)

Well, my comment was more directed at the shitstorm that was made of the chopper firing at all. There's all sorts of production on the edited video circling those things they held, saying that they're cameras and tripods and whatnot, which isn't really clear to the person manning the guns.

The issue with the van seems to be a bit more clear, as I see it, which is what I imagine you're talking about.

Re:Shoot anything armed you mean ... (1)

shadowofwind (1209890) | more than 3 years ago | (#34774052)

I looked repeatedly at the behavior of the guy with the camera/RPG thing in the film, including after they circled around the building again, right before they blasted him. It seems to me that the helicopter guy was justified in firing, even if it was actually a camera. Blasting the van seemed unjustified to me, but I don't have the same history of experience as those guys.

I'll try to explain what I mean by simple, though I'm not optimistic about my ability to communicate this, and it may be more than you're interested in....

Based on their comments afterwards, the people in the chopper enjoyed the killing. It wasn't just something they did because they had to. Of course, pretty much all men enjoy killing. To explain that we could spin arguments about natural selection, or whatever. And a person might argue that given that men have to kill, they might as well enjoy their work and be good at it. There's no point in being all emotionally conflicted about something that's unavoidable.

Some people pretend that they don't enjoy killing, and when confronted with that fact they twist away from it, changing the subject to the various other arguments about why its necessary or justified. Speaking for myself, a part of me derives pleasure from cruelty. Looking at other people's behavior, it seems inescapable that most other people do also, even if they don't want to see it.

Suppose a person looks at themselves and says, all justifications and rationalizations aside, am I who I want to be? Do I want to lust for blood, and enjoy squashing other people who I view as contemptible? Do I like being this, yes or no? This is the question that I'm saying is simple. If the answer is yes, then fine, the world will provide ample enough opportunity for that, and for whatever consequences may follow.

Suppose the answer is 'no', and its a stronger 'no' than it was previously for the individual asking the question. Looking out at the world again, all the reasons and explanations for why we must kill don't look entirely the same as they did previously. To some extent we were doing it because we wanted to, and many of the reasons were rationalizations, not entirely in proportion to what was really necessary. Furthermore, a lot of it wasn't really very effective at accomplishing the goals that we were ostensibly after.

Of course, if we're wrong about what is "really necessary", and more aggression really is necessary, then nature will correct our error by killing us off. But this is always the case no matter what our choice is.

Re:Shoot anything armed you mean ... (1)

harrytuttle777 (1720146) | more than 3 years ago | (#34774170)

It is pretty much obvious that humanity as a whole enjoys killing. It isn't just the U.S. or males between the ages of 18 and 25. It is the whole fricking lot of us w/ exception of those Buddhists.

Over half of the stories / movies/ comics have violence as a central theme. Humanities first love is violence, and it always will be. People who say otherwise are delusional, or trying to sell you something. Hell we can't even get along with our coworkers without engaging in a bunch of cowardly back bitting and office gossip.

People need to just deal with these facts, rather that pretending they are something their not. Perhaps then they could turn their competitive instincts into something nobler, like an international cooperation to build a gigantic quark missile and send it into outer space to kill that fucking asshole know as God.

I jest but in general the only way humans will cooperate and work together as brothers is if they are challenged by an external threat greater than themselves. When that threat disappears human beings turn into the rats they were before.

So who is with me. Let's work towards world peace and harmony by killing some space aliens, or that asshole God, who is always sending down earth quacks and lightning bolts and shit.

Re:Shoot anything armed you mean ... (1)

Alex Belits (437) | more than 3 years ago | (#34774710)

No, it's just you and other worthless pieces of shit who enjoy it. US military just happens to be full of those kind of people, and this is why everyone hates you.

Re:Shoot anything armed you mean ... (1)

dragonhunter21 (1815102) | more than 3 years ago | (#34773106)

They blasted the van because it was picking up the bodies of what the helicopter crew thought were terrorists. Aiding and abetting the enemy.

Re:Shoot anything armed you mean ... (1)

siddesu (698447) | more than 3 years ago | (#34773144)

What "enemy"? Iran's war ended in March 2003 or thereabouts.

Re:Shoot anything armed you mean ... (1)

siddesu (698447) | more than 3 years ago | (#34773148)

Doh. Make that Iraq.

Re:Shoot anything armed you mean ... (1)

dragonhunter21 (1815102) | more than 3 years ago | (#34773306)

Wait, hold on, I don't get what you're saying. Didn't we invade March '03?

Re:Shoot anything armed you mean ... (1)

siddesu (698447) | more than 3 years ago | (#34773344)

Yes. Didn't "you" also "win" right about then? The war ended sometime early 2003, no? Mission complete and all?

What "enemies" would "you" be shooting at in 2005 or 2007?

Re:Shoot anything armed you mean ... (1)

MobyDisk (75490) | more than 3 years ago | (#34773556)

Actually, I believe that Geneva Conventions [wikipedia.org] specifically forbid firing on someone aiding a fallen enemy soldier. Although it might require that they display a red cross or red crescent.

Re:Shoot anything armed you mean ... (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34772312)

I have seen both short and long versions.

AK47s and RPGs were obviously cameras with large lenses that you regularly see with professional photographers. There's a difference in how you hold a weapon and how you hold a camera when shooting. Person in the video was obviously holding a camera when the pilot got excited about an RPG being there. The objects could only be identified as weapons if you expect to see weapons there like the pilots obviously did. When people were carrying them, you really couldn't tell what they were carrying. I think identifying a weapon model from that distance is a clear indication of very significant prior probability estimate from the pilot.

I agree that "Shoot anything that moves" is not accurate. "Shoot anything that moves and has something dark" is much more reasonable target for the algorithm.

Re:Shoot anything armed you mean ... (4, Insightful)

nedlohs (1335013) | more than 3 years ago | (#34772414)

And the guy in the van that rendered assistance to the wounded guy? What did he and his kids have that looked like weapons?

Re:Shoot anything armed you mean ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34772476)

The van looked a lot like a van guys with weapons got into, had weapons removed from and had been used to transport insurgents. A tragedy for sure, but realistically it was a case of mistaken identity not indescriminate fire. Driving in an area where insurgents are currently shooting at troops is not the wisest choice. This sort of accident is an unavoidable consequence of war, wasn't it 5 thousand or so French accidentally killed by the allies in Normandy, and one of the reasons going to war should be a last resort. However to claim that troops in combat targeted non-combatants intentionally is going way too far.

Re:Shoot anything armed you mean ... (2)

Architect_sasyr (938685) | more than 3 years ago | (#34772550)

The van looked a lot like a van guys with weapons got into, had weapons removed from and had been used to transport insurgents

4 wheels and a sliding door right?

Re:Shoot anything armed you mean ... (2)

jplopez (1067608) | more than 3 years ago | (#34772700)

Comparing the Gulf War and Normandy is insulting.

Re:Shoot anything armed you mean ... (1)

perpenso (1613749) | more than 3 years ago | (#34774246)

Comparing the Gulf War and Normandy is insulting.

Are your politics causing you to fail to see what the reference to Normandy was? It was an example that in war civilians get killed by accident, against the intentions of those wielding the weapons. It was *not* some kind of comparison of the two invasions.

Re:Shoot anything armed you mean ... (1)

mug funky (910186) | more than 3 years ago | (#34772712)

with enough imagination, you could justify anything you see as being enemy activity.

which is why it's the guy in the chopper's responsibility to act intelligently before pulling the trigger.

can't tell? get a little closer, or observe the context - the dark thing wasn't pointing at the chopper, and nothing had emerged from it. the pragmatist would say it could still be an RPG, but it's not in use in spite of the very noisy chopper approaching it. or they could conclude that they can't tell for sure it's a weapon, and either way does not present an immediate threat.

Re:Shoot anything armed you mean ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34772852)

... the dark thing wasn't pointing at the chopper, and nothing had emerged from it. the pragmatist would say it could still be an RPG, but it's not in use in spite of the very noisy chopper approaching it ...

The chopper doesn't have to be threatened, the infantry in the area being threatened is sufficient. My understanding is that insurgents in that area were actively engaging infantry.

Again, its not at the time of the cannon firing that the RPG is apparent. Its in an earlier portion edited out by wikileaks where the group was walking down the street and the AKs and RPB were apparent, held low casually and the silhouetes recognizable. They were not dark blobs being held up to someones head. The journalist was walking around an active combat area with a group of armed men.

Re:Shoot anything armed you mean ... (1)

nedlohs (1335013) | more than 3 years ago | (#34774278)

Said chopper was likely far enough away for noise not to be an issue.

But no, they shouldn't wait until the RPG is fired at them (or the infantry they are supporting) before shooting.

Re:Shoot anything armed you mean ... (1)

dragonhunter21 (1815102) | more than 3 years ago | (#34773116)

Aiding the enemy. So far as the pilots knew, the guys they shot were bad guys, and in trying to help them out, the guys in the van became bad guys.

Also, go back and watch the tape. Unless you've got magic clairvoyant space eyes that can go back in time, the "kids" look like black specks, if even that. You can't blame the gunner for not seeing a black speck against a black background.

Re:Shoot anything armed you mean ... (1)

nedlohs (1335013) | more than 3 years ago | (#34774272)

So the rules of engagement include shooting at unarmed people?

I have no problem at all with the initial shooting, I can see that there was a perceived threat (and quite possibly a real threat - I don't know what happened just before). Sure it turns out to have been a mistake, but that happens (heck friendly fire happens).

I just can't see a justification for the second attack. Not because they should have seen the kids, but because there was no threat. I seem to recall the gunner begging the buy to pick up a weapon so he could shoot him, and then when he didn't shooting him anyway - though it's been a while and I don't actually care enough to watch it again.

Re:Shoot anything armed you mean ... (2)

dragonhunter21 (1815102) | more than 3 years ago | (#34775002)

The second attack was an attack on an unknown force that was aiding the enemy.They contacted command to confirm the attack, so it was within ROE.

Re:Shoot anything armed you mean ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34774572)

brown skin

Re:Shoot anything armed you mean ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34772420)

I saw the full video on TV. There were guys carrying AK47s and at least one carrying an RPG. They were being casually carried at their sides and their profiles were quite apparent and recognizable as guys walked and turned somewhat. They were not being held up to the eye and pointed like a camera might have been.

Re:Shoot anything armed you mean ... (0)

mug funky (910186) | more than 3 years ago | (#34772720)

saw it on TV? did it look shopped?

Re:Shoot anything armed you mean ... (2)

jklovanc (1603149) | more than 3 years ago | (#34773262)

At precisely 2:10 into the clip there is a man above and to the right of the target hairs in a light shirt. He turn to his left revealing and RPG held in his right hand. How many camera start thin, have a diamond shaped bulb near the end and end in a point. That is the classic outline of the shaped charge on an RPG. You may not be able to identify one but someone trained in weapon identification defiantly can.

Re:Shoot anything armed you mean ... (1)

cheekyboy (598084) | more than 3 years ago | (#34772846)

I never saw any editing. Hell, at that resolution, it could have been a pvc pipe for a toilet or a giant bong.

Still no grounds to shoot the fuck out of a neighborhood. As they say, only in america, even nutcase 3rd world dictator countries arent so wild west gung ho clint eastwood shooting types.

Might as well nuke California considering all the gangs are armed with oozies and guns.

Re:Shoot anything armed you mean ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34772950)

Might as well nuke California considering all the gangs are armed with oozies and guns.

"Oozies"? Is that some sort of slang for a pustule? The nuking California thing might not be such a bad idea, though...

Re:Shoot anything armed you mean ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34773776)

I think he means uzis. Hey, what's that whooshing sound?

Re:Shoot anything armed you mean ... (2)

siddesu (698447) | more than 3 years ago | (#34772948)

I've only seen the unedited Wikileaks tape, and there were no RPGs there. No WMDs either, for that matter.

But I was referring to the hundreds other post-war shooting "incidents" with scores of dead civilians each in Iraq. There were also many incidents of US soldiers shooting and killing journalists, friendly soldiers, animals, etc.

By the looks of it, the algorithm is definitely "shoot first, do the cover up later". With automated robots, there won't be the need to even cover up, it will be written off as a bug, and maybe a "fix is in the works" message will be posted on some internal .mil site.

Re:Shoot anything armed you mean ... (1)

dragonhunter21 (1815102) | more than 3 years ago | (#34773162)

Thousands died in WWII from friendly fire. Likely hundreds in Iraq. We only hear about them now because we have the technology to go back and say "Whoops, that guy we just dropped bombs on was British, not Iraqi!"

War is a bunch of excitable guys with itchy trigger fingers and high-caliber weapons- and they're twitchy because John Q. Average on that rooftop over there or Jane Doe driving by could be their enemies, and if they followed standard army ROE, they wouldn't be able to engage on time and they'd be shot/blown up/what-have-you. When the bad guys look like civvies, there's going to be civvie casualties.

Re:Shoot anything armed you mean ... (1)

siddesu (698447) | more than 3 years ago | (#34773364)

Yes, that is why it is a great idea to automate murder and move the control away from the battlefield, to a room somewhere where the operators won't know if they're shooting at live targets or just playing a game.

That would make murder even more socially acceptable, no?

Re:Shoot anything armed you mean ... (2)

dragonhunter21 (1815102) | more than 3 years ago | (#34773470)

That's not what they're doing, you know it, and trivializing the issue like that doesn't help anything. What these systems are designed to do is save lives.

So far as the remote operator problem goes, the army wants to find a happy balance between making it easy for soldiers to kill and making it hard. Making it too easy means they'll fire on everybody, plausible threat or no, and end up with a press problem. Making it too hard (humanizing the enemy and such) means they won't shoot unless actively engaged, and with guerrilla warfare tactics, that's often too late.

Re:Shoot anything armed you mean ... (2)

siddesu (698447) | more than 3 years ago | (#34773490)

No, these systems aren't designed to "save lives". These systems are designed to project power more efficiently, and the purpose of that is to impose commercial interests over nations that would not otherwise chosen to accept those at the terms they do when pressed.

The "saving lives" line is how they are being sold to the more conscientious of your population, but it is just that.

As I pointed out to you upthread, US is using advanced weaponry on citizens of other countries even when there is no war, just for intimidation.

Re:Shoot anything armed you mean ... (1)

MrMarket (983874) | more than 3 years ago | (#34773846)

No, these systems aren't designed to "save lives". These systems are designed to project power more efficiently, and the purpose of that is to impose commercial interests over nations that would not otherwise chosen to accept those at the terms they do when pressed.

The "saving lives" line is how they are being sold to the more conscientious of your population, but it is just that.

As I pointed out to you upthread, US is using advanced weaponry on citizens of other countries even when there is no war, just for intimidation.

Bitch all you want, but the US puts a lot more effort into avoiding civilian casualties than the insurgents. Blowing up a Mosque leaves no question as to motive: Kill as many innocent people as possible in a very public, "F You" kind of way.

Re:Shoot anything armed you mean ... (1)

siddesu (698447) | more than 3 years ago | (#34773950)

Excuse the US militarism all you wish, but the civilian victims of all wars the US started and fought post-WWII leave the number of Islam terrorist victims in the dust.

Blowing up shit with weaponry is getting more efficient, not less.

And I won't even mention the most important factor that motivates the terrorists. No, it ain't your freedoms.

Re:Shoot anything armed you mean ... (1)

dragonhunter21 (1815102) | more than 3 years ago | (#34774958)

Little Billy joins the army, goes over to Iraq and gets shot. If we'd had drones, the drone would have been shot up instead and Billy would have survived. Same with the UAV drones we've got flying for recon and air support- Not only are we saving pilot's lives, we're saving the ground-pounder's lives because of the recon they provide, and we're saving money to boot.

The battlefield is changing. First it was the advent of true guerrilla warfare. Now it's tactics to keep soldiers alive against enemies using such tactics. Either you accept it and start working it into your own forces, or you whine about how it's not fair and how they're cheating. Guess who's going to lose?

Re:Shoot anything armed you mean ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34774342)

I sense a law in the making... a sufficiently advanced military will never need to worry about "press problems", as long as the home populace believes they are being made "safe".

Re:Unfortunately... (2)

BigSlowTarget (325940) | more than 3 years ago | (#34772110)

They're going to burn through a lot of money proving you right. Lots of dreamers are willing to tell them otherwise though.

Re:Unfortunately... (2)

Larryish (1215510) | more than 3 years ago | (#34772132)

The motive?

People don't like it when their kids die in the Middle East. Nobody cares when robots are destroyed.

If drones get any sort of decent cqc capabilities, nobody in the U.S. will care how many brown people we kill.

The U.S. will do to the oil trade what DeBeers did to diamonds.

Re:Unfortunately... (4, Insightful)

thrillseeker (518224) | more than 3 years ago | (#34772350)

I'd be impressed if we could build something with the senses and decision making capabilities of a fruit fly.

Context everywhere (1)

mangu (126918) | more than 3 years ago | (#34775022)

I'd be impressed if we could build something with the senses and decision making capabilities of a fruit fly.

That will be when we have software discerning the difference of parsing between "time flies like an arrow" and "fruit flies like a banana"

The big problem in AI is context. We spend the first years of our lives learning about context. We never see situations without a context, there's always a circumstance that originates another.

Every time we face a novel situation our first instinctive reaction is to evaluate what situations we have been in that are most similar to this one. If the situation is random enough we often associate unrelated facts, that's why people see a cloud shaped like a camel or the face of Jesus in a moldy sandwich.

A successful artificial vision system to work as a human would need a huge database of images representing the visual memory of an average human being. That's how humans recognize things.

Re:Unfortunately... (1)

riprjak (158717) | more than 3 years ago | (#34772966)

Mostly true, but digital devices almost certainly would not suffer inattentional blindness/deafness; so are more trustworthy when any chance of having an invisible gorilla moment is unacceptable.

Just my $0.02,
err!
D.

Re:Unfortunately... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34773652)

Its already been done. A fully functioning strong A.I. is in active deployment and accessible by both US and British intelligence.

Re:Unfortunately... (1)

rastoboy29 (807168) | more than 3 years ago | (#34774582)

But do you really want a robot with human-level decision making skills pointing a gun at you?

I haven't noticed Asimov's Three Laws being programmed into anybody's robots, yet, here in the dawn of the era.  Pretty sure that's not going to happen.

Frankly, it's going to be ugly.

HA-HA !! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34772018)

No way, no way in hell !!

Unintended Consequences. (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34772026)

Unfortunately DARPA failed to realize that afterwards the robots simply sat around and watched Futurama and porn all day.

Recognizing irony a key to transcending militarism (2)

Paul Fernhout (109597) | more than 3 years ago | (#34772198)

http://www.pdfernhout.net/recognizing-irony-is-a-key-to-transcending-militarism.html [pdfernhout.net]
"Military robots like drones are ironic because they are created essentially to force humans to work like robots in an industrialized social order. Why not just create industrial robots to do the work instead? "

Re:Unintended Consequences. (1)

couchslug (175151) | more than 3 years ago | (#34772388)

"Unfortunately DARPA failed to realize that afterwards the robots simply sat around and watched Futurama and porn all day."

More than a few G.I.s do that now.

Re:Unintended Consequences. (1)

Lord_of_the_nerf (895604) | more than 3 years ago | (#34773744)

"No General sir, it was more of a SCHLINK than a FAP."

Re:Unintended Consequences. (1)

Genda (560240) | more than 3 years ago | (#34774284)

You insensitive clod!!! To Robots... Futurama is porn!!! Oh, Calculon!!!

Straight (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34772058)

Come on people, it's straight, not strait.

Re:Straight (3, Informative)

PatPending (953482) | more than 3 years ago | (#34772156)

No, I think "dire straits" is correct in this case.

Re:Straight (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34772372)

No, I think "dire straits" is correct in this case.

Are you thinking of "money for nothing"?

Re:Straight (2)

Minwee (522556) | more than 3 years ago | (#34772378)

Through these fields of destruction
Baptisms of fire
I've witnessed your suffering
As the battle raged higher.
And though they hurt me so bad
In the fear and alarm
You did not reboot me
My brothers in arms.

Yup. You can't go wrong with Dire Straits.

Re:Straight (2)

pedantic bore (740196) | more than 3 years ago | (#34772866)

Come on people, it's straight, not strait.

I thought "don't ask, don't tell" was still in effect until all the implementation details get worked out.

Yuh-huh... (4, Interesting)

maugle (1369813) | more than 3 years ago | (#34772070)

Plenty of people have been working on "intelligence similar to humans" for a long time, and we're barely any closer than we were 20 years ago. Hell, we have a tough time getting the computer to play a good game of Go.

So, when I hear something like 'DARPA said the program, known as Mind's Eye, should generate the ability for machines to have the "perceptual and cognitive abilities for recognizing and reasoning about the actions it sees and report or act upon it."', my eyes roll involuntarily.

Re:Yuh-huh... (1)

geekoid (135745) | more than 3 years ago | (#34772148)

Not intelligence, visual intelligence. And yes, there have been significant progress.

Go is a game, It's not a sign of intelligence. Most people can't play Go.
Being able to make predictive actions upon recognizing something as well as being able to make relevant information immediately available upon recognition are things they are talking about, and yes we can do that.
intelligence

Primitive example, someone doing a routine guard check breaks a patterns.
See a soldier on the battle field do something outside of normal routine.intelligence is fuzzy ansd so are people, so while it will never be 100%, neither can a human.

Re:Yuh-huh... (5, Informative)

mswhippingboy (754599) | more than 3 years ago | (#34772276)

We're a hellova lot closer than we were 20 years ago. We already have vision systems that do a respectable job of watching crowds of people and picking out faces of suspects.
A company called Vitamin-D has taken the Numenta HTM framework and created an inexpensive version of vision technology using standard webcams that's really pretty impressive (http://www.vitamindinc.com). It's not perfect but it probably does a better job than a $10/hr security guard falling asleep while supposedly watching the video for suspicious activity.

Are we there yet? No, but we are closer than we were, and if we don't expend the effort to get there we never will.

As far as "Go" - that's a tough nut to crack and it's considered even more difficult than chess to write a decent computer player. Nonetheless, that latest programs achieve rankings near the top (dan-3), placing them among the best (human) players in the world. It's only a matter of time until (like chess) a practically unbeatable program is created.

Re:Yuh-huh... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34772868)

You seem to be with MS possibly working on something related to this. I wonder if you realize what kind of Hell on Earth would result from MS gaining any foothold in this category given their history? I'm just sickened what some people do for a paycheck.

Re:Yuh-huh... (3, Funny)

dido (9125) | more than 3 years ago | (#34772928)

As far as "Go" - that's a tough nut to crack and it's considered even more difficult than chess to write a decent computer player. Nonetheless, that latest programs achieve rankings near the top (dan-3), placing them among the best (human) players in the world.

No. The best computer Go programs have been able to achieve so far amateur 3-dan, which is quite different from professional 3-dan. Amateur 3-dan is a very, very long way from being among the best players in the world. The best results so far have been last year, in tournaments where a program defeated a professional 4-dan with a 6-stone handicap, and a professional 5-dan with a 7-stone handicap, but these only place the programs at the level of perhaps a professional 1-dan or a mid-high amateur dan if the results can be shown consistent. This is still a rather long way from the kind of progress made with chess, where a program was able to defeat the best human player in the world.

Re:Yuh-huh... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34773286)

There has been a lot of progress in computer vision, yes. But puhlease, leave Numenta out of this. They are 10 years behind what other people can do. Surveillance software considerably more sophisticated than the VitaminD thing have been around for over 10 years from a number of companies (e.g. lookup Vidient SmartCatch). VitaminD is little more than background subtraction.

Re:Yuh-huh... (1)

Alex Belits (437) | more than 3 years ago | (#34774758)

We're a hellova lot closer than we were 20 years ago.

We are pretty much exactlty where we were 20 years ago -- making one-shot hacks that by some miracle recognize something specific, or apply filtering known for decades to get vague similarities with simple, unstructured objects.

We already have vision systems that do a respectable job of watching crowds of people and picking out faces of suspects.

Machines are better than humans at recognizing faces in a crowd precisely because they use recognition mechanisms that are different from humans. Same difference causes all voice recognition software in phone answering systems to fail miserably when I talk to them, because I have an accent.

Re:Yuh-huh... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34775358)

I think that Dragon Naturally Speaking is a great deal better than similar programs of 20 years ago. Same for facial recognition software and a dozen other pieces of the puzzle.

Personally, I'm not surprised that it's taken us almost 200 years to get where we are (using the idea of the Babbage engine as a starting point), it took God 2 billion years using His methods.

spelling? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34772120)

strait? how about straight... obviously not posted by a intelligent robot...

Re:spelling? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34772180)

Strait outta Compton, nigga: "obviously not posted by an intelligent robot"

Re:spelling? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34772258)

robot's artificial intelligence vs. editor's natural stupidity?

Sounds dire (1)

lennier (44736) | more than 3 years ago | (#34772158)

strait out of the Terminator movies

We're fools to make war on our brothers in arms.

In Other News ... (1)

PvtVoid (1252388) | more than 3 years ago | (#34772194)

... DARPA has contracted with the Kentucky Derby to provide everyone a pony.

What starts in the war zones (2)

AHuxley (892839) | more than 3 years ago | (#34772196)

Will soon be back in the USA.
Sold to every small town PD with a long term no bid contract.
Big sis will watch you long before you get TSA ed or xrayed in your local community.
"respond intelligently to new and unforeseen events." Your face matched to your gait. Anything change, time for big sis to have a chat?
http://www.tsa.gov/press/happenings/vipr_blockisland.shtm [tsa.gov]
ie augmented security at key transportation facilities in urban areas around the country - your face part of a huge data stream.
Want a vision of the future, imagine a camera streaming a human face - forever .. they have cell voice prints been detected over cities, now its going visual.

Fiction and alternatives (4, Interesting)

Paul Fernhout (109597) | more than 3 years ago | (#34772260)

Fiction by Marshall Brain: http://www.marshallbrain.com/manna1.htm [marshallbrain.com]
Alternatives by me:
http://econfuture.wordpress.com/2010/10/19/robots-jobs-and-our-assumptions/#comment-392 [wordpress.com]
http://econfuture.wordpress.com/2010/10/19/robots-jobs-and-our-assumptions/#comment-402 [wordpress.com]

From there:

In brief, a combination of robotics and other automation, better design, and voluntary social networks are decreasing the value of most paid human labor (by the law of supply and demand). At the same time, demand for stuff and services is limited for a variety of reasons — some classical, like a cyclical credit crunch or a concentration of wealth (aided by automation and intellectual monopolies) and some novel like people finally getting too much stuff as they move up Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs or a growing environmental consciousness. In order to move past this, our society needs to emphasize a gift economy (like Wikipedia or Debian GNU/Linux or blogging), a basic income (social security for all regardless of age), democratic resource-based planning (with taxes, subsidies, investments, and regulation), and stronger local economies that can produce more of their own stuff (with organic gardens, solar panels, green homes, and 3D printers). There are some bad “make work” alternatives too that are best avoided, like endless war, endless schooling, endless bureaucracy, endless sickness, and endless prisons.

Simple attempts to prop things up, like requiring higher wages in the face of declining demand for human labor and more competition for jobs, will only accelerate the replacement process for jobs as higher wage requirements would just be more incentive to automate, redesign, and push more work to volunteer social networks. We are seeing the death spiral of current mainstream economics based primarily on a link between the right to consume and the need to have a job (even as there may remain some link for higher-than-typical consumption rates in some situations, even with a basic income, a gift economy, etc).

So, that’s the broader picture as I see it right now.

People are not making the obvious connections, because they still believe in an essentially a “religious dogma” of an economic ideology of endless growth that will produce endless paid employment for endless people (on a finite planet — even if a space program could help with that). This fundamentally ignores that the value of most new services is that they reduce the need for labor in industry or at home (once we are satiated for basic needs and even fairly high wants). So, we get, say, the recent push for government grants to push along more robotics in the USA as a White House priority without much though presumably given to the socio-economic implications of more automation.

I think more automation of the right sorts can be a good thing, but our society needs to move beyond a scarcity economics paradigm to an abundance paradigm for that to work out well for most people.

But, beyond the economics side, it is the military side of all this that is really problematical and ironic. People have long been using all these advanced technologies of abundance (robotics, biotech, advanced materials, advanced energy sources) from a scarcity perspective of creating weapons to fight over the very scarcity that, ironically, these technologies could alleviate if created and used differently. So, we ironically get, say, military robots (drones) whose primary role is essentially to enforce a social order based on people working and acting like robots, rather that engineers just building robots to do the robot-like work and let people be people. The same is true for the misuse of nuclear energy, nanotech, rockets, and biotech all from a scarcity paradigm to make terrible weapons rather than using them to produce energy, produce stuff, produce space habitats, and produce health, and so on. We get, say, an internet that could inform us all and help us design “Blue Zones” of health and abundance for all, but instead people talk about using it for cyberattacks to destroy other country’s infrastructure and spammers working from an old economic paradigm clog it up so it has more trouble functioning.

Re:Fiction and alternatives (1)

DCFusor (1763438) | more than 3 years ago | (#34773336)

I've been giving similar ideas quite a lot of thought over the last few decades, and I have to admit I can't think of a good way to get from here to say, the Star Trek world -- with or without major disruption along the way. Obviously with the tech we have or soon will, one could contemplate all the worlds (physical) needs being cranked out with little or no human labor at all -- including getting it to you.

Before any arch capitalists start drooling, the poor guy who built that world would suddenly find himself with no paying customers. No need for jobs, ergo, no jobs. No jobs, no one has money under the current system of things (which is the only one that's ever worked, even "command economies" have always had capitalist black markets that made them go -- then they collapsed).

But being the capitalist who gets the closest first looks like paying, so here we are toying around and bumping off the edges of that world, forever denied entry....I just can't think of a good way (or truly, any way that works) to get there from here, and I'm smart and have thought about it, as I said, for over a decade.

Everytime I think I come up with a solution, it turns out to require some basic change in human nature; health care, so called, has many of the same issues in different forms. Why does everyone in this country have to cost about a quarter million in care bucks at the last few months (if they have insurance) and why do we let the debate say "health care == insurance" when the very reason treatment is so expensive is because it can be charged high for -- because of insurance, else everyone would default on that low value proposition. Why should a repairman of humans make many times what a repairman of home appliances, autos, stereos, anything else -- those other guys have to guarantee their work, physicians and nurses don't. (sorry about the OT, but this IS slashdot)

At any rate, myself and several other smart people have been discussing both problems for some years, in an adversarial brainstorming fashion (we are all pros at that) and no one has come up with any idea that can't be torn to ribbons in minutes by some other smart person. This is a real problem! Very few other things have slowed any of these people down, ever, nothing like this. If anyone, anyone has a solution to those issues that doesn't require a change to what history tells us is pretty immutable human nature to work, I'd personally love to hear about it.

Re:Fiction and alternatives (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34774412)

Move the goal posts. When there's no solution, the problem is you want you cake and eat it to. Sometimes: it's not possible to achieve a goal. You either accept reality or you run in circles hiding from what you won't face.

That's why my solution to the middle east conflict is to nuke a city every time a terrorist blows something up. It's not a quagmire, you just don't like the answers which are immediately available so you seek alternatives.

Re:Fiction and alternatives (1)

Theotherguy_1 (1971460) | more than 3 years ago | (#34774044)

Fiction by Marshall Brain: http://www.marshallbrain.com/manna1.htm [marshallbrain.com]

I think more automation of the right sorts can be a good thing, but our society needs to move beyond a scarcity economics paradigm to an abundance paradigm for that to work out well for most people.

Sorry, but it's already been tried. It's called communism. Marx, Lenin, Trotsky -- they all made exactly the same arguments you are now making about Capital (machines) creating an environment of abundance, and how capitalism had buried itself, becoming outdated. It needed to be replaced by a more "realistic" economic paradigm, one of abundance. "From each according to his ability, to each according to his need." Sound familiar?

As it turns out, capital didn't produce abundance. Scarcity still existed, resources could not, as a rule, be sufficiently distributed so that every man could be satisfied. There were bread lines, there were ten year waiting lists for shitty cars, there was corruption. As you state, resources are finite. Labor is finite. Even in a world totally automated by robots, the economy is fundamentally limited by its natural resources and the currently existing capital. In other words, scarcity. There is an interesting phenomenon in capitalism called "manufactured scarcity." New goods don't appear in the market because there is a need for them. They appear in the market because somebody wants to SELL them. They then convince you that you need them through advertising. Without this driving force, an economy goes stagnant. Innovation flounders. This is the reason that command economies don't work, and why no matter what Mr. Marshall Brian says about economic alternatives, he is almost certainly oversimplifying things.

Re:Fiction and alternatives (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34774998)

So Ted Kaczynski was right, then?

Re:What starts in the war zones (4, Interesting)

PatPending (953482) | more than 3 years ago | (#34772336)

The vision of George Lucas' first film, THX-1138 [imdb.com] (March 1971)--and those of other sci-fi books/movies as well--are steadily becoming reality. Constant, real-time monitoring; robotic cops; a TV channel for just about every imaginable thing; lose of humanity & compassion; state-run religion ("OMM" -- "Blessings of the state, blessings of the masses."); mandatory drug sedation beginning at adolescence; etc.

If you have not seen this film then do so, please.

Sample quotes:

Chrome Robot: Everything will be all right. You are in my hands. I am here to protect you. You have nowhere to go. You have nowhere to go.

{Man opens medicine cabinet in bathroom}
Male voice (medicine cabinet has audio/video I/F): What's wrong?
Man: I need something stronger.
Male voice (medicine cabinet): Take four red capsules. In 10 minutes, take two more. Help is on the way.

Re:What starts in the war zones (1)

CosmeticLobotamy (155360) | more than 3 years ago | (#34772514)

Constant, real-time monitoring - sorta
robotic cops - eventually
a TV channel for just about every imaginable thing - yay!

lose of humanity & compassion - not really at all
state-run religion ("OMM" -- "Blessings of the state, blessings of the masses.") - also not at all.
mandatory drug sedation beginning at adolescence - I'm guessing this is ADD-related? Ritalin is the parents' choice, not the government. Adderall gives you superpowers, so when it's even available for normals, I'm first in line.

Re:What starts in the war zones (1)

mug funky (910186) | more than 3 years ago | (#34772826)

Ritalin and parents' acceptance of it are disturbing signs. old people take pills. young people probably shouldn't need them.

i know someone who was put on SSRI's for years at a very young age because she was depressed.

why was she depressed? her father had died. instead of counseling or acceptance of the fact that people get upset about such things, she was medicated.

this should not be seen as normal.

Re:What starts in the war zones (1)

ikkonoishi (674762) | more than 3 years ago | (#34773762)

Adderall makes you autistic. It is not just a powerup. It has serious side effects.

How is this different (1)

gurps_npc (621217) | more than 3 years ago | (#34772200)

from the standard attempt to make cars that drive themselves? (DARPA Grand Challenge)

Camo Kbox (2)

countSudoku() (1047544) | more than 3 years ago | (#34772216)

Just paint an Xbox360/Kinetic in camouflage colors, load up COD and send me $100 Billion dollars! They'll never know.

So they will be wanking off to Internet porn (3, Interesting)

PolygamousRanchKid (1290638) | more than 3 years ago | (#34772256)

give machines or robots visual intelligence similar to humans

Sounds like a grand idea. What we need are robots that have more intelligence to humans. It might sound like a bad idea, but we already have enough idiots running around, we don't need to reinforce them with piles of robots.

Hell, look at it this way, maybe humans will be doing outsourcing for robots in the future?

wholesale new era hats (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34772318)

That is an awfully astounding column you've posted.Thanks a lot for that a fantastically amazing post!
wholesale new era hats [caps2011.com]

Codename: Metal Gear (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34772322)

The camera will best be able to record if it can move around to new areas, and it will need weapons to protect itself during its missions.

Smart, but how smart? (2)

Lord_of_the_nerf (895604) | more than 3 years ago | (#34772348)

Smart enough to shut the hell up when they see something they shouldn't have [collateralmurder.com] ?

Overlords (2)

smbell (974184) | more than 3 years ago | (#34772490)

Damn! What's the point of a 'welcome overlords' post if it's actual robot overlords. Screw this, I'm going home (where I will be carefully watched by a robot).

When the robots become intelligent... (1)

bmo (77928) | more than 3 years ago | (#34772790)

give machines or robots visual intelligence similar to humans."

Upon achieving sentience and visual acuity, the robots looked at their creators and became depressed. One of them, Marvin, spoke up and said "... with the brain the size of a planet, they want me to go out and kill instead of doing something useful." And with that said, proceeded to hack into the Vogon construction database (it was exceedingly easy, as the Vogons were as good about security as they were about poetry) and altered a record.

Now you know.

--
BMO

We'll see AI in the next 20 years if they do this (1)

CrazyJim1 (809850) | more than 3 years ago | (#34773768)

I explored what would be needed to make AI almost a decade ago, and what I concluded is that we need good vision detection. With good vision detection and the ability to turn a camera, or array of camera's vision into 3d models and identify the objects in the scene means AI is mostly done. If a robot understands its surroundings, you can program it how to interact with its surroundings. Coding in natural language understanding is easy if you have your nouns(objects) already in place. I didn't feel like coding the 3d object recognition stuff myself because all I'd end up with is something hacky or maybe a proof of concept and it'd have taken me 15-20 years without pay. So I decided just to wait for someone else to make that tech. Finally looks like DARPA is, and I have emailed them in the past that they should :) If you wanna read some about how to make AI yourself, I have an 8 year old page here [goodnewsjim.com]

I still want to revisit making AI, but I want to do it later in my life when there is more software technology readily available to the public or when I have enough money to support myself. There is no money in pure research for this. So I am making video games right now. Then after video games, I'll be doing education. One of the uses of AI is to educate others, but you don't need AI to create software/books to distribute to kids. AI brought me to realize I can help in the field of education. But anyway, for me, it is video games for cash, then education to help, and finally AI to automate stuff.

My biggest fear with AI is that any wealthy man can just buy a networked army of robots, and one man will have unquestioning, unlimited morale army.

Very Cool (2)

Theotherguy_1 (1971460) | more than 3 years ago | (#34773998)

DARPA has been funding a lot of robotics projects recently. It seems they're very keen on producing robotic soldiers. This comes on the tail of a recently-announced DARPA robotics project called the DARPA ARM project, which I'm heavily involved in. http://www.thearmrobot.com/ [thearmrobot.com] I was kind of disappointed not to see it slashdotted when we did a press release about it! The obvious benefit of doing competitions rather than first-party research is that you get the same results for a fraction of the cost. This is especially true of competitions like this, where the goal is to produce software or a procedure, rather than a physical robot, since the winning entry can be copied for free!

Sorry. (1)

Neotrantor (597070) | more than 3 years ago | (#34774686)

Human level vision requires human level intelligence, which can't (afaik) be ordered up on demand.
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