Robot A-10s, Just Chillin’

Your Countdown to Skynet news of the day: DARPA’s looking to wire up stock A-10s to fly by remote control to provide on-demand death from above. The Pentagon’s advanced research arm wants an aircraft 30 miles from a firefight to be able to attack within six minutes of a request by a JTAC. The airman would access the plane’s targeting sensors, enter coordinates to multiple targets and send ammo flying. Officials with the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency expect to award a contract for the venture later this year; a live-fire demonstration is proposed for the last quarter of fiscal 2014. The contractor will modify an A-10 already in the fleet. Now I’m not saying that some AI will inevitably hack into the system and send squadrons of flying tanks hither and yon seizing power for the Roomba elite.  I’m just saying that we welcome our new robot overlords and […]

Machinimals to Protect the Rest from Us

A whale washed up on the beach in Washington state with a stomach full of trash.  Treehugger mentions that along with the usual assortment of algae and swallowable sea creatures there was “20 plastic bags, small towels, surgical gloves, sweat pants, plastic pieces, duct tape, and a golf ball” in its gut. I’ve speculated in the past on the utility of filling the ocean full of garbage-eating whales to clear up trash clogged gyres but the key difference is that those whales would be designed by us to process such junk.  No such luck for the dead juvenile gray whale. Seeing as that we can’t seem to help bilging out awful crap directly into the mouths of majestic but sorta dumb animals, isn’t it about time we put an actively protective layer between us and the natural world?  We’ve gotten pretty good at deploying low-cost semi-autonomous drones for distributing shrapnel […]