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German Parliament May Need To Replace All Hardware and Software To Stop Malware 189

jfruh writes: Trojan spyware has been running on computers in the German parliament for over four weeks, sending data to an unknown destination; and despite best efforts, nobody's been able to remove it. The German government is seriously considering replacing all hardware and software to get rid of it. From the ITWorld article: "After the attack, part of the parliament’s traffic was routed over the federal government’s more secure data network by the Federal Office For Information Security, Der Spiegel reported. Some Germans suspect that the Russian foreign intelligence service SVR is behind the attack. On Thursday, the parliament will discuss how to address the situation."

"Hello Barbie" Listens To Children Via Cloud 163

jones_supa writes For a long time we have had toys that talk back to their owners, but a new "smart" Barbie doll's eavesdropping and data-gathering functions have privacy advocates crying foul. Toymaker Mattel bills Hello Barbie as the world's first "interactive doll" due to its ability to record children's playtime conversations and respond to them, once the audio is transmitted over WiFi to a cloud server. In a demo video, a Mattel presenter at the 2015 Toy Fair in New York says the new doll fulfills the top request that Mattel receives from girls: to have a two-way dialogue. "They want to have a conversation with Barbie," she said, adding that the new toy will be "the very first fashion doll that has continuous learning, so that she can have a unique relationship with each girl." Susan Linn, the executive director of Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood, has written a statement in which she says how the product is seriously creepy and creates a host of dangers for children and families. She asks people to join her in a petition under the proposal of Mattel discontinuing the toy.
The Military

US May Sell Armed Drones 131

An anonymous reader writes: Nations allied with the United States may soon be able to purchase armed, unmanned aircraft, according to an updated U.S. arms policy. Purchase requests will be evaluated on a case-by-case basis, and foreign military bodies would have to agree to a set of "proper use" rules in order for the U.S. to go ahead with the sale. For example: "Armed and other advanced UAS are to be used in operations involving the use of force only when there is a lawful basis for use of force under international law, such as national self-defense." These rules have done nothing to silence critics of the plan, who point out that the U.S. has killed civilians during remote strikes without much accountability. The drones are estimated to cost $10-15 million apiece.
Data Storage

Former NATO Nuclear Bunker Now an 'Airless' Unmanned Data Center 148

An anonymous reader writes A German company has converted a 1960s nuclear bunker 100 miles from network hub Frankfurt into a state-of-the-art underground data center with very few operators and very little oxygen. IT Vision Technology (ITVT) CEO Jochen Klipfel says: 'We developed a solution that reduces the oxygen content in the air, so that even matches go outIt took us two years'. ITVT have the European Air Force among its customers, so security is an even higher priority than in the average DC build; the refurbished bunker has walls 11 feet thick and the central complex is buried twenty feet under the earth.

Comment Re:The solution is simple (Score 1) 227

That is harder than you might think. From Smarter than us ( ):

"Why aren’t they a solution at all? It’s because these empowered
humans are part of a decision-making system (the AI proposes cer-
tain approaches, and the humans accept or reject them), and the hu-
mans are the slow and increasingly inefficient part of it. As AI power
increases, it will quickly become evident that those organizations that
wait for a human to give the green light are at a great disadvantage.
Little by little (or blindingly quickly, depending on how the game
plays out), humans will be compelled to turn more and more of their
decision making over to the AI. Inevitably, the humans will be out of
the loop for all but a few key decisions.

Moreover, humans may no longer be able to make sensible de-
cisions, because they will no longer understand the forces at their
disposal. Since their role is so reduced, they will no longer compre-
hend what their decisions really entail. This has already happened
with automatic pilots and automated stock-trading algorithms: these
programs occasionally encounter unexpected situations where hu-
mans must override, correct, or rewrite them. But these overseers,
who haven’t been following the intricacies of the algorithm’s decision
process and who don’t have hands-on experience of the situation, are
often at a complete loss as to what to do—and the plane or the stock
market crashes. "

"Consider an AI that is tasked with enhancing shareholder value
for a company, but whose every decision must be ratified by the (hu-
man) CEO. The AI naturally believes that its own plans are the most
effective way of increasing the value of the company. (If it didn’t be-
lieve that, it would search for other plans.) Therefore, from its per-
spective, shareholder value is enhanced by the CEO agreeing to what-
ever the AI wants to do. Thus it will be compelled, by its own pro-
gramming, to present its plans in such a way as to ensure maximum
likelihood of CEO agreement. It will do all it can do to seduce, trick,
or influence the CEO into agreement. Ensuring that it does not do so
brings us right back to the problem of precisely constructing the right
goals for the AI, so that it doesn’t simply find a loophole in whatever
security mechanisms we’ve come up with."

Comment Re:Fear (Score 1) 227

>If you are nice to others they will generally be nice to you.
Only really matters if you and the others are roughly equal.
>Making other people happy makes you feel good to.
This is only relevent if you care about the other people.
>Games allow the experience of emotions that would require hurting people in the real world.
>If you're smart it's better to uphold the law and not hurt others.

A lot of reasons (such as most of the ones you listed) that people can argue it is reasonable to be nice to other people are only relevant if we have reasonably similar amounts of power. If you want me to not worry about AI argue that it is reasonable to be kind to ants, because that will be the level of power difference.

Personally, I think it is more important that we concentrate on the AIs being ethical in general, than doing exactly what we want.

Comment Smarter than us (Score 1) 227

I would recommend that anyone thinking about machine intelligence read Smarter Than Us by Stuart Armstrong. You can get pay what you want for it from or since it is CC BY-NC-SA 3.0, you can also just download it

The book contains the following summary:

1. There are no convincing reasons to assume computers will remain unable to accomplish anything that humans can.
2. Once computers achieve something at a human level, they typically achieve it at a much higher level soon thereafter.
3. An AI need only be superhuman in one of a few select domains for it to become incredibly powerful (or empower its controllers).
4. To be safe, an AI will likely need to be given an extremely precise and complete definition of proper behavior, but it is very hard to do so.
5. The relevant experts do not seem poised to solve this problem.
6. The AI field continues to be dominated by those invested in increasing the power of AI rather than making it safer.

The only one of those statements I have much doubt about is 4. Even if the AIs are safe, they still probably will not be under human control.


An Open Letter To Everyone Tricked Into Fearing AI 227

malachiorion writes If you're into robots, AI, you've probably read about the open letter on AI safety. But do you realize how blatantly the media is misinterpreting its purpose, and its message? I spoke to the organization that released letter, and to one of the AI researchers who contributed to it. As is often the case with AI, tech reporters are getting this one wrong on purpose. Here's my analysis for Popular Science. Or, for the TL;DR crowd: "Forget about the risk that machines pose to us in the decades ahead. The more pertinent question, in 2015, is whether anyone is going to protect mankind from its willfully ignorant journalists."
The Military

How the Pentagon's Robots Would Automate War 117

rossgneumann writes: Pentagon officials are worried that the U.S. military is losing its edge compared to competitors like China, and are willing to explore almost anything to stay on top—including creating robots capable of becoming fighting machines. A 72-page document throws detailed light on the far-reaching implications of the Pentagon's plan to monopolize imminent "transformational advances" in biotechnology, robotics and artificial intelligence, information technology, nanotechnology, and energy.

NVIDIA Begins Requiring Signed GPU Firmware Images 192

An anonymous reader writes: In a blow to those working on open-source drivers, soft-mods for enhancing graphics cards, and the Chinese knock-offs of graphics cards, NVIDIA has begun signing and validating GPU firmware images. With the latest-generation Maxwell GPUs, not all engine functionality is being exposed unless the hardware detects the firmware image was signed by NVIDIA. This is a setback to the open-source Nouveau Linux graphics driver but they're working towards a solution where NVIDIA can provide signed, closed-source firmware images to the driver project for redistribution. Initially the lack of a signed firmware image will prevent some thermal-related bits from being programmed but with future hardware the list of requirements is expected to rise.

Google Testing Drone Delivery System: 'Project Wing' 52

rtoz writes: Google's research division, Google X, is developing a fleet of drones to deliver goods. This drone delivery system is called "Project Wing," and Google X has been developing it in secret for the past two years. During a recent test in Australia, drones successfully delivered a first aid kit, candy bars, dog treats, and water to a couple of Australian farmers. The self-flying vehicle uses four electrically-driven propellers to get around, and it has a wingspan of about five feet. It weighs just under 19 pounds and can take off and land without a runway. Google's long-term goal is to develop drones that could be used for disaster relief by delivering aid to isolated areas.

IBM Opens Up Its Watson Supercomputer To Researchers 28

An anonymous reader writes IBM has announced the "Watson Discovery Advisor" a cloud-based tool that will let researchers comb through massive troves of data, looking for insights and connections. The company says it's a major expansion in capabilities for the Watson Group, which IBM seeded with a $1 billion investment. "Scientific discovery takes us to a different level as a learning system," said Steve Gold, vice president of the Watson Group. "Watson can provide insights into the information independent of the question. The ability to connect the dots opens up a new world of possibilities."

Securing the US Electrical Grid 117

An anonymous reader writes The Center for the Study of the Presidency & Congress (CSPC) launched a project to bring together representatives from the Executive Branch, Congress, and the private sector to discuss how to better secure the U.S. electric grid from the threats of cyberattack, physical attack, electromagnetic pulse, and inclement weather. In this interview with Help Net Security, Dan Mahaffee, the Director of Policy at CSPC, discusses critical security challenges.

Robo Brain Project Wants To Turn the Internet Into a Robotic Hivemind 108

malachiorion writes Researchers are force-feeding the internet into a system called Robo Brain. The system has absorbed a billion images and 120,000 YouTube videos so far, and aims to digest 10 times that within a year, in order to create machine-readable commands for robots—how to pour coffee, for example. From the article: "The goal is as direct as the project’s name—to create a centralized, always-online brain for robots to tap into. The more Robo Brain learns from the internet, the more direct lessons it can share with connected machines. How do you turn on a toaster? Robo Brain knows, and can share 3D images of the appliance and the relevant components. It can tell a robot what a coffee mug looks like, and how to carry it by the handle without dumping the contents. It can recognize when a human is watching a television by gauging relative positions, and advise against wandering between the two. Robo Brain looks at a chair or a stool, and knows that these are things that people sit on. It’s a system that understands context, and turns complex associations into direct commands for physical robots."

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