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The Military

Snowden: NSA Working On Autonomous Cyberwarfare Bot 194

WIRED published a long piece on Edward Snowden today (worth a read on its own), and simultaneously broke news of "MonsterMind," an NSA program to monitor all network traffic and detect attacks, responding with a counterattack automatically. From the article: Although details of the program are scant, Snowden tells WIRED in an extensive interview with James Bamford that algorithms would scour massive repositories of metadata and analyze it to differentiate normal network traffic from anomalous or malicious traffic. Armed with this knowledge, the NSA could instantly and autonomously identify, and block, a foreign threat. More than this, though, Snowden suggests MonsterMind could one day be designed to return fire — automatically, without human intervention... Snowden raised two issues with the program: the source of an attack could be spoofed to trick the U.S. into attacking an innocent third party, and the violation of the fourth amendment since the NSA would effectively need to monitor all domestic network traffic for the program to work. Also in Bamford's interview are allegations that the NSA knocked Syria offline in 2012 after an attempt to install intercept software on an edge router ended with the router being bricked.
Science

Researchers Build Evolving Brain Computer? 114

destinyland writes "'We have mimicked how neurons behave in the brain,' announces an international research team from Japan and Michigan Tech. They've built an 'evolutionary circuit' in a molecular computer that evolves to solve complex problems, and the molecular computer also exhibits brain-like massive parallel processing. 'The neat part is, approximately 300 molecules talk with each other at a time during information processing,' says physicist Ranjit Pati of Michigan Tech. When viewed with a scanning tunneling microscope, the evolving patterns bear an uncanny resemblance to the human brain as seen by a Functional MRI. Using the electrically charged tip of a tunneling microscope, they've individually set molecules to a desired state, essentially writing data to the system. And while conventional computers are typically built using two-state (0, 1) transistors, the molecular layer is built using a hexagonal molecule, and can switch among four conducting states — 0, 1, 2 and 3, suggesting it may ultimately have more AI potential than quantum computing."
Robotics

Machine Prints 3D Copies Of Itself 341

TaeKwonDood writes "Automated machines have been around for decades. They have basically been dumb devices that do simple assembly tasks. But RepRap takes that a step further because, instead of assembling pre-fabricated parts, it creates 3-D objects by printing them — squirting molten plastic in layers — and then building them up as the plastic solidifies. It works on coat hooks, door handles and now it can even make working copies ... of itself. The miracle of additive fabrication, coming soon to a robotic overlord near you."
GNU is Not Unix

3D Self-Replicating Printer to be Released Under GNU License 313

Rob O'Neill writes "A Kiwi open source developer is working on a self-replicating 3D printer, RepRap, to be made available under the GNU license. 'The 3D printer works by building components up in layers of plastic, mainly polylactic acid (PLA), which is a bio-degradable polymer made from lactic acid. The technology already exists, but commercial machines are very expensive. They also can't copy themselves, and they can't be manipulated by users, says Vik Olliver. RepRap has a different idea. The team, which is spread over New Zealand, the UK and the US, develops and gives away the designs for its much cheaper machine, which also has self-copying capabilities. It wants to make the machine available to anybody — including small communities in the developing world, as well as people in the developed world, says Olliver. Accordingly, the RepRap machine is distributed, at no cost, under the GNU (General Public License).'"

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