Science, Space, Health & Robotics News - Page 162
Air Force Lt. Gen. Christopher Bogdan, head of the chaotic and expensive F-35 Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) program, has consistently heard criticism and complaints. Bogdan says the F-35 program is better than what the public perceives, despite schedule delays, technical and design issues, and huge cost problems.
Lockheed Martin, the F-35 JSF manufacturer, and Pratt & Whitney, the F-35 engine maker, are fighting for support - and urging the Pentagon not to slash budgets.
The cost of production has more than doubled, and the problem doesn't seem to be getting any better. Once the kinks are worked out, the F-35A for the Air Force will cost upwards of $110 million each, an F-35B for the USMC will be $134 million, and the Navy F-35C has a $129 million price tag.
Science for the Masses, an independent "citizen science" organization has theorised that Chlorin e6 (Ce6), a natural molecule that can be created from algae and other green plants, can be used to create an eye drop that would give wearers amplified eyesight in dark environments.
This molecule is found in some deep sea fish, and forms the basis of some cancer therapies, and has been used in previously prescribed intravenously for night blindness. The lab's medical officer, Jeff Tibbets, said: "There are a fair amount of papers talking about having injected it in models like rats and it's been used intravenously since the 60s as treatments for different cancers. After doing the research, you have to take the next step".
After that, the scientists had to moisten the eyes of biochemical researcher Gabriel Licina, with 50 microliters of Ce6. The effect was reportedly almost instantanous, and after an hour, Licina could distinguish shapes from 10m (32 feet) away in the dark, and after a little while longer, even further distances. Licina said: "We had people go stand in the woods. At 50 metres, I could figure who they were, even if they were standing up against a tree".
The escalating cost of the already expensive F-35 Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) increased $4.3 billion in 2014 alone - as the project already racked up more than $113 billion than original expected costs, the Government Accountability Office (GAO) discovered.
The US Air Force, Marine Corps and Navy all will have F-35 aircraft designed to one day replace legacy fighter jets. However, the F-35 designed for the USMC won't be operational until this summer, if all goes according to plan, while the Navy won't receive aircraft until 2018.
"Affordability is our number one priority, making the F-35 affordable... there's been a lot of improvements and a lot of changes," said Joe DellaVedova, Pentagon F-35 program spokesperson, when asked by ABC News regarding major cost issues. "We have done a lot to reduce the cost of the program... it is going to be able to deliver on the capabilities that the warfighter is going to need."
We've heard Elon Musk talk about artificial intelligence before, with not-so-great things to say, and he is back saying that when AI gets to the point of being smarter than people, they will treat us like 'pet Labradors'.
The quote is coming out of a recent interview with Neil deGrasse Tyson, where Musk was warning the world on superintelligence. According to author Nick Bostrom, superintelligence is "any intellect that greatly exceed the cognitive performance of humans in virtually all domains of interest". Musk said to Tyson: "I mean, we won't be like a pet Labrador if we're lucky".
Tyson and Musk had a great back-and-forth talk about superintelligence, where Tyson continued saying "we'll be their pets", with Musk replying that "it's like the friendliest creature". Tyson replied with "no, they'll domesticate us", with Musk agreeing, but adding "Yes. Or something strange is going to happen" to which Tyson replied "they'll keep the docile humans and get rid of the violent ones". Musk agreed, saying "yeah" while Tyson added "and then breed the docile humans".
The NASA Opportunity Mars Rover has completed a marathon on the Red Planet of Mars, taking 11 years and two months to complete the distance. The rover landed on Mars on January 25, 2004, and continues to surpass all expectations, as project managers only expected a three-month mission.
"This is the first time any human enterprise has exceeded the distance of a marathon on the surface of another world," said John Callas, Opportunity rover project manager at the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory. "A first time happens only once."
Opportunity continues to collect information related to an ancient wet climate on Mars - and while the marathon milestone is impressive, program managers want to continue making scientific discoveries. NASA is using Opportunity for additional bonus extended missions, with a focus on tracking signs of water.
The United States military is embracing virtual reality and other advanced technologies in an effort to better train soldiers. The US Air Force and NATO allies will soon participate in the Red Flag mock battles event, though the 2015 edition will utilize a fully virtual war environment.
The test will utilize Live-Virtual Constructive (LVC) integration, using physical trucks on the Nellis Air Force Base to create a more dynamic target mission.
"The benefits to the warfighter of integrating 'virtual' into Red Flags are that it allows us to bring in more of the combat-realistic threat envelope, and we're now able to maximize the air tasking order with the most amount of 'Blue Forces' in both the virtual and live sides of a joint air operations area that is 1,200 by 1,100 nautical miles, compared to the Nevada Test and Training Range which is about 100 by 100 nautical miles," said Lt. Col. Kenneth Voigt, commander of the 505th Test Squadron, in a statement.
Now is the time for chief information officers (CIOs) and other business leaders to begin developing ethical programming protocols for smart machines, according to the Gartner research group.
Smart machines must build - and maintain - trust with human counterparts, and it will take ethical programming to ensure that happens. One day, it will be up to the machine to be self-aware and understand that it is responsible for its own behavior - but humans must be able to program them to adapt to these changes, Gartner believes.
"Clearly, people must trust smart machines if they are to accept and use them," said Frank Buytendijk, research VP at Gartner. "The ability to earn trust must be part of any plan to implement artificial intelligence (AI) or smart machines, and will be an important selling point when marketing this technology."
Google's Eric Schmidt isn't too worried about artificial intelligence potentially trying to end human civilization anytime in the near future. Even with Elon Musk, Stephen Hawking, Bill Gates and other well-known tech visionaries showing AI concern, Schmidt believes humanity will be secure for the immediate future as AI developments continue.
"I think that this technology will ultimately be one of the greatest forces for good in mankind's history simply because it makes people smarter," said Eric Schmidt, Google Chairman, during a SXSW keynote address. "I'm certainly not worried in the next 10 to 20 years about that. We're still in the baby step of understanding things. We've made tremendous progress in respect to [artificial intelligence]."
AI is used in smartphones, tablets, PCs, vehicles, and countless other products and services currently available - and will continue to expand in the years to come. Google is one of the companies at the forefront of AI, and Schmidt wants to reduce concerns that AI will one day try to fight back against humans.
Google has reportedly reached a milestone in its artificial intelligence research, showing off an algorithm that could beat a human being playing Atari video games. Not only playing it, but it was learning from the experience, just as we would, according to a paper published by Nature last week.
Demis Hassabis, one of the authors from the paper said: "We can go all the way from pixels to actions as we call it and actually it can work on a challenging task that even humans find difficult. We know now we're on the first rung of the ladder and it's a baby step, but I think it's an important one". The team started their work at DeepMind, which is the London-based start up that Google acquired back in January 2014. When they joined Google, they began looking at ways of baking their intelligence into Google products.
The researchers then began working with Atari games, which had more complicated 3D environments, which Hassabis says the algorithm would be able to beat those games within the next five years. Hassabis added: "Ultimately the idea is that if this algorithm can race a car in a racing game then also essentially with a few extra tweaks it should be able to drive a real car. But that's again, even further away than that".
Demis Hassabis is an artificial intelligence expert and founder of the now Google-owned DeepMind Technologies - so he has a unique insight into AI research.
Hassabis and his team have developed a custom algorithm giving AI the ability to learn in a similar fashion to humans - a groundbreaking notion that will give some people greater fear of AI one day taking over. Even so, Hassabis believes it will be quite some time before humans have to worry about their own wellbeing due to AI:
"We're many, many decades away from anything, any kind of technology that we need to worry about," said Hassabis, speaking during a recent news conference. "But it's good to start the conversation now and be aware of as with any new powerful technology it can be used for good or bad."