Tracking the Future
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Tracking the Future
Explore the most important technology and science trends! News, Analysis, Interviews, Presentations, Documentaries. All in one place at Tracking the future magazine
Curated by Szabolcs Kósa
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The New Rules of Robot/Human Society

As technology speeds forward, humans are beginning to imagine the day when robots will fill the roles promised to us in science fiction. But what should we be thinking about today, as robots like military and delivery drones become a real part of our society? How should robots be programmed to interact with us? How should we treat robots? And who is responsible for a robot's actions? As we look at the unexpected impact of new technologies, we are obligated as a society to consider the moral and ethical implications of robotics.

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Special Ops Uniform Will Transform Commandos Into an Iron Man Army

Special Ops Uniform Will Transform Commandos Into an Iron Man Army | Tracking the Future | Scoop.it

Army researchers are developing an advanced military uniform that would turn a special ops commando into Iron Man.

The Tactical Assault Light Operator Suit, or TALOS, will deliver “superhuman strength with greater ballistic protection” by providing a powered exoskeleton to haul heavier equipment, liquid armor capable of stopping bullets, built-in computers and night vision, as well as the ability to monitor vital signs and apply wound-sealing foam. Put together, the capabilities would make the already elite Special Operation Forces nearly invincible in the field, says the Army.

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Alida langlois's curator insight, April 23, 2015 2:24 AM

This will enable soldiers to become more resistant to hazards in the field.  It will also help neutralize the danger of damaging the muscles and skeleton when having to haul heavy equipment.  

 

The idea of wound sealing foam can greatly improve chances of survival until medical attention can be gained.  

 

Liquid armor has the capacity to help survival rates and decrease injuries from weapons and shrapnel.  The hazard is not eliminated but has become easier to control and preventative measures are implemented to decrease the effects of this hazard.

 

However the issue of development means this type of hazard prevention is far from being available to the every day soldier.  Also does this pose a risk in itself by allowing soldiers to become to reliant on the equipment.  This is always a risk in areas that are hard to access like combat zones.

 

The idea of losing the equipment and then not having trained certain muscles could cause fatigue and result in further injuries to the musculoskeletal zones.

 

The cost of such a technological piece of equipment would be dear.  Would this then mean only certain parts of the armed forces have access to this equipment which still allows for the basis of the hazard to still be current 

 

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Very interesting and sometimes heated conversation with Michio Kaku

The technological revolution of the 20th century has brought the world unprecedented prosperity as well as unimaginable horrors. Will science liberate humanity or shackle it like never before? To hash out these issues, Oksana is joined by Dr Michio Kaku, a world-renowned theoretical physicist and author.

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The World's First Supersonic UAV Is Ready for Takeoff

The World's First Supersonic UAV Is Ready for Takeoff | Tracking the Future | Scoop.it

The ability to drop bombs on targets a continent away can be a huge tactical advantage (even if it is just saber-rattling). Doing so at supersonic speeds, nearly automatically, is even better. That's why the UK has spent the better part of a decade developing the Taranis, one of the biggest and fastest UAV in existence. Now it just needs to prove it can actually fly.

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Laser Weapon System (LaWS)

120804-N-ZZ999-001 SAN DIEGO, Calif. (Jul. 30, 2012) The Laser Weapon System (LaWS) temporarily installed aboard the guided-missile destroyer USS Dewey (DDG 105) in San Diego, Calif., is a technology demonstrator built by the Naval Sea Systems Command from commercial fiber solid state lasers, utilizing combination methods developed at the Naval Research Laboratory. LaWS can be directed onto targets from the radar track obtained from a MK 15 Phalanx Close-In Weapon system or other targeting source. The Office of Naval Research's Solid State Laser (SSL) portfolio includes LaWS development and upgrades providing a quick reaction capability for the fleet with an affordable SSL weapon prototype. This capability provides Navy ships a method for Sailors to easily defeat small boat threats and aerial targets without using bullets. (U.S. Navy video by Office of Naval Research/ Released)

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The Robotics Revolution

Whether it is a report about the latest drone strike into Pakistan or an awesome web video of a cute robot dancing in the latest style, it seems like robots are taking over the world, figuratively if not yet literally. But within their growing appearance in the news is perhaps something bigger, a story that is reshaping the overall history of war and politics, and even humanity.
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Ban ‘Killer Robots’ Before It’s Too Late

Ban ‘Killer Robots’ Before It’s Too Late | Tracking the Future | Scoop.it

Governments should pre-emptively ban fully autonomous weapons because of the danger they pose to civilians in armed conflict, Human Rights Watch said in a report released today. These future weapons, sometimes called “killer robots,” would be able to choose and fire on targets without human intervention.
The 50-page report, “Losing Humanity: The Case Against Killer Robots,” outlines concerns about these fully autonomous weapons, which would inherently lack human qualities that provide legal and non-legal checks on the killing of civilians. In addition, the obstacles to holding anyone accountable for harm caused by the weapons would weaken the law’s power to deter future violations.

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'Moral' Robots: the Future of War or Dystopian Fiction?

'Moral' Robots: the Future of War or Dystopian Fiction? | Tracking the Future | Scoop.it

The dawn of the 21st century has been called the decade of the drone. Unmanned aerial vehicles, remotely operated by pilots in the United States, rain Hellfire missiles on suspected insurgents in South Asia and the Middle East.

Now a small group of scholars is grappling with what some believe could be the next generation of weaponry: lethal autonomous robots. At the center of the debate is Ronald C. Arkin, a Georgia Tech professor who has hypothesized lethal weapons systems that are ethically superior to human soldiers on the battlefield. A professor of robotics and ethics, he has devised algorithms for an "ethical governor" that he says could one day guide an aerial drone or ground robot to either shoot or hold its fire in accordance with internationally agreed-upon rules of war.


Via Martin Talks
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Should Robots Have A License to Kill?

Should Robots Have A License to Kill? | Tracking the Future | Scoop.it

Way back in 1942, science fiction author Isaac Asimov proposed his famous Three Laws of Robotics in a short story entitled “Runaround”:

1.) A robot may not injure a human being or, through inaction, allow a human being to come to harm.

2.) A robot must obey orders given it by human beings except where such orders would conflict with the First Law.

3.) A robot must protect its own existence as long as such protection does not conflict with the First or Second Law.

Despite the enduring influence of these tenets, there’s nonetheless a push underway to give robots what’s been termed “lethal autonomy” – that is, the ability to kill without direct human involvement. Killing by algorithm. That’s no longer science fiction. Not only has it become technologically possible but increasingly likely to occur, if not here, then overseas. For some, the advantages of automation in human conflict are just too great a temptation. That’s a fundamental shift that could very well change our geopolitical landscape.

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March of the robots

March of the robots | Tracking the Future | Scoop.it

Fighting forces and intelligence services worldwide are equipping themselves with all manner of robots that operate on land and sea, and in the air. The conduct of war is being transformed—and largely, it seems, to the West’s advantage. But knotty ethical quandaries are cropping up as the mechanical guts, electronic sensors and digital brains of robots continue to improve. Some fear that robots, which are ingeniously mobile and can collect and process huge quantities of data, make it too easy to launch attacks. Others worry whether robots can be trusted to make their own decisions while in combat.

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James Miller - Economics & Intelligence Amplification

James D. Miller, Associate Professor of Economics at Smith College and author of Singularity Rising: Surviving and Thriving in a Smarter, Richer, and More Dangerous World, discusses the economics of the singularity, or the point of time in which we'll either have computers that are smarter than people or we will have significantly increased human intelligence.
According to Miller, brains are essentially organic computers, and, thus, applying Moore's law suggests that we are moving towards singularity. Since economic output is a product of the human brain, increased brainpower or the existence of computers smarter than humans could produce outputs we cannot even imagine.
- another excellent interview by Adam Ford

Szabolcs Kósa's insight:

 the first part of this interview is available here> http://youtu.be/vLlySUEcWhQ

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How the helicopters of the future are shaping up

How the helicopters of the future are shaping up | Tracking the Future | Scoop.it

The Pentagon is looking ahead several decades toward future fleets of rotorcraft -- and working now to lay the plans for getting there

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The X-47B Drone Has Landed on a Carrier, And War May Never Be the Same

The X-47B Drone Has Landed on a Carrier, And War May Never Be the Same | Tracking the Future | Scoop.it

It's not often that we get to witness aviation history being made, but when we do, it's often awesome. Such is the case with the U.S. Navy's X-47B which just became the first unmanned aircraft to land on an aircraft carrier.

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The Pros and Cons of Killer Robots

The Pros and Cons of Killer Robots | Tracking the Future | Scoop.it

The United Nations on Thursday was dealing with a surprisingly pressing issue: killer robots.
In Geneva, the U.N.'s special rapporteur on extrajudicial executions, Christof Heyns, called for a moratorium on the development of drones that are programmed to target and fire without human intervention. “War without reflection is mechanical slaughter,” he said. “In the same way that the taking of any human life deserves at the minimum some deliberation, a decision to allow machines to be deployed deserves a collective pause, in other words, a moratorium.”

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Genetically Engineered Bioweapons: A New Breed of Weapons for Modern Warfare

Genetically Engineered Bioweapons: A New Breed of Weapons for Modern Warfare | Tracking the Future | Scoop.it

Although bioweapons have been used in war for many centuries, a recent surge in genetic understanding, as well as a rapid growth in computational power, has allowed genetic engineering to play a larger role in the development of new bioweapons. In the bioweapon industry, genetic engineering can be used to manipulate genes to create new pathogenic characteristics aimed at enhancing the efficacy of the weapon through increased survivability, infectivity, virulence, and drug resistance. While the positive societal implications of improved biotechnology are apparent, the “black biology” of bioweapon development may be one of the gravest threats we will face.

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Hacking the Human Brain: The Next Domain of Warfare

Hacking the Human Brain: The Next Domain of Warfare | Tracking the Future | Scoop.it
It’s been fashionable in military circles to talk about cyberspace as a “fifth domain” for warfare, along with land, space, air and sea. But there’s a sixth and arguably more important warfighting domain emerging: the human brain.
This new battlespace is not just about influencing hearts and minds with people seeking information. It’s about involuntarily penetrating, shaping, and coercing the mind in the ultimate realization of Clausewitz’s definition of war: compelling an adversary to submit to one’s will. And the most powerful tool in this war is brain-computer interface (BCI) technologies, which connect the human brain to devices.
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'A Period of Persistent Conflict' - By Micah Zenko

'A Period of Persistent Conflict' - By Micah Zenko | Tracking the Future | Scoop.it

Why the United States will never have another peacetime president.

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The Robots We Build To Kill For Us

The Robots We Build To Kill For Us | Tracking the Future | Scoop.it

While Isaac Asimov's famous (fictional) robot laws are all about protecting human life, it seems that at an ever-faster rate we fragile humans are actually using our robots to wage war in real life or deliver police authority from the sky.

That's prompted an interesting blog posting this week at the Wall Street Journal. Referencing Asimov's three laws, the blog asks "should robots have a license to kill?" It's a key question because we actually are giving some of our robots weapons that are trained on humans, and there's rarely a couple of weeks that go by without mention of the "drone war" on targets in the hills of Afghanistan or Pakistan. Drones work well in these inaccessible regions and can loiter in the area before being commanded to fire on a target they've detected with their sensors. Yet it's a tactic that doesn't always result in the right outcome.

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Technology & the Future of Violence

Technology & the Future of Violence | Tracking the Future | Scoop.it

How should our defense strategy evolve in a world of easily accessible mini-drones, lethal nanobots, and DIY warfare?

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olsen jay nelson's comment, August 20, 2012 9:36 AM
This is a great one!
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Fault Lines - Robot wars

What is the role of robots and drones in wars and how will they shape the future of the US military?

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