Lethal Autonomous Weapon Systems are on the way

Long Range Anti-Ship Missile (LRASM)

Chinatopix reports that a new missile with on-board Artificial Intelligence will be deployed by both the U.S. Navy and U.S. Air Force by 2018. The AI will be able to pick out the correct ship to target with a fleet. In addition, the article states that multiple LRASMs can share information, and attack as a swarm.

While not completely autonomous, this nevertheless represents a serious step towards ceding control of ordinance to a machine. Given the current poor understanding of how a lot of machine-learning actually works, this is a dangerous step.

Recently, the United Nations debated such Lethal Autonomous Weapon Systems (LAWS), with many countries pushing for an outright ban. With AI-based missiles in development, the UN and the international community will have to speed up their deliberations in order to prevent such weapons ever being deployed.

Source: LRASM, First US Missile with Artificial Intelligence, to be Deployed by 2018 : Science : Chinatopix

Toyota Pursuing Alternative AI Car Strategy

Toyota is investing $50m into driver-assisted Artificial Intelligence, in partnership with MIT and Stanford, according to Fortune. The research will be focused on helping human drivers avoid accidents by adding AI to their cars.

This is in contrast to the seemingly much more ambitious self-driving cars being pursued by Google and others. Although Toyota itself demonstrated it’s own self-driving Lexus in 2013, it seems that they also believe that people will still want to drive their own cars. By investing in AI technology to augment human drivers, Toyota seems to be hedging its bets.

There is still a long way to go before we will see fully autonomous cars and trucks commonly on the roads. The fruits of this research may be installed in your car much sooner than that.

Sources:

Toyota partners with MIT and Stanford on artificial intelligence – Fortune

Toyota sneak previews self-drive car ahead of tech show

Google’s Schmidt On NSA Snooping, Drones, Artificial Intelligence And More | Androidheadlines.com

Google's Eric Schmidt

Quote from Eric Schmidt on Artificial Intelligence and autonomous cars.

Talking about something that has hitherto strictly been in the domain of science-fiction, but is slowly becoming a reality, Mr. Schmidt asserted his belief, that the use of AI (Artificial Intelligence) makes people more productive. That’s where Google’s much talked about experiments with drones and self-driving cars come in. He pointed out that Google only “added software and navigational capability and particularly high quality laser which runs on the top of the car. We’re actually able to watch what’s going on better than you are. The laser sees better than the human eye”.

Google’s Schmidt On NSA Snooping, Drones, Artificial Intelligence And More | Androidheadlines.com.

A self-driving car to die for: The Chevrolet-FNR

Now this is work of art! Chevrolet’s autonomous electric car is straight out of the Tron: Legacy movie. With it’s sleek lines and electric blue colours, it’s certain to be a hit.

Chevrolet’s autonomous electric concept car has a swivel chair driver’s seat | Ars Technica

Sadly though, like most concept cars, it’s very unlikely to appear at  your local showroom.

Chevrolet’s autonomous electric concept car has a swivel chair driver’s seat | Ars Technica.

Would you fly in a plane without a human pilot?

Aer Lingus Airbus A319-100 (EI-EPT) departs London Heathrow Airport, England, on 2nd July 2014 This is interesting. Imagine if passenger aeroplanes were autonomous, with computers handling the navigation, flight controls, traffic avoidance and all the other things that the pilots do today.

It makes sense that if Google is able to create a car that can navigate through the complexity of a modern urban landscape, it should be possible for an autonomous plane to go from one airport to another safely. After all, air traffic is much more controlled than automotive traffic. Routes are standard, and restricted to passenger traffic. There are fewer potential hazards en route too.

The only question is would you fly in one?

Source: Planes Without Pilots | News | Communications of the ACM.