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AI

Musk, Woz, Hawking, and Robotics/AI Experts Urge Ban On Autonomous Weapons 313

An anonymous reader writes: An open letter published by the Future of Life Institute urges governments to ban offensive autonomous weaponry. The letter is signed by high profile leaders in the science community and tech industry, such as Elon Musk, Stephen Hawking, Steve Wozniak, Noam Chomsky, and Frank Wilczek. It's also signed — more importantly — by literally hundreds of expert researchers in robotics and AI. They say, "The key question for humanity today is whether to start a global AI arms race or to prevent it from starting. If any major military power pushes ahead with AI weapon development, a global arms race is virtually inevitable, and the endpoint of this technological trajectory is obvious: autonomous weapons will become the Kalashnikovs of tomorrow. Unlike nuclear weapons, they require no costly or hard-to-obtain raw materials, so they will become ubiquitous and cheap for all significant military powers to mass-produce."
Microsoft

How Machine Learning Ate Microsoft 96

snydeq writes Yesterday's announcement of Azure Machine Learning offers the latest sign of Microsoft's deep machine learning expertise — now available to developers everywhere, InfoWorld reports. "Machine learning has infiltrated Microsoft products from Bing to Office to Windows 8 to Xbox games. Its flashiest vehicle may be the futuristic Skype Translator, which handles two-way voice conversations in different languages. Now, with machine learning available on the Azure cloud, developers can build learning capabilities into their own applications: recommendations, sentiment analysis, fraud detection, fault prediction, and more. The idea of the new Azure offering is to democratize machine learning, so you no longer need to hire someone with a doctorate to use a machine learning algorithm."
Google

Andy Rubin Is Heading a Secret Robotics Project At Google 162

sfcrazy writes "The creator of the most sought after 'Android' of the world has been secretly working on creating a robotics division within Google. The search engine giant has acquired over seven robotics companies recently to create the robotics unit which is being headed by none other than Andy Rubin himself. Andy made the disclosure in an interview given to the New York Times." Their initial goal is to automate the woefully manual process of electronics manufacturing.
Earth

NOAA Goes Live With New Forecasting Supercomputers 53

dcblogs writes "The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Thursday switched on two new supercomputers that are expected to improve weather forecasting. The supercomputers are each 213 teraflops systems, running a Linux operating system on Intel processors. The U.S. is paying about $20 million a year to operate the leased systems. The NWS has a new hurricane model, Hurricane Weather Research and Forecasting (HWRF), which is 15% more accurate in day five of a forecast both for forecast track and intensity. That model is now operational and running on the new systems. In nine month, NWS expects to improve the resolution of the system from 27 kilometers to 13 kilometers. The European system, credited with doing a better job at predicting Sandy's path, is at 16 kilometers resolution. In June, the European forecasting agency said it had a deal to buy Cray systems capable of petascale performance."
AI

Google Puts Souped-Up Neural Networks To Work 95

holy_calamity writes "A machine learning breakthrough from Google researchers that grabbed headlines this summer is now being put to work improving the company's products. The company revealed in June that it had built neural networks that run on 16,000 processors simultaneously, enough power that they could learn to recognize cats just by watching YouTube. Those neural nets have now made Google's speech recognition for U.S. English 25 percent better, and are set to be used in other products, such as image search."
Cloud

Ask Slashdot: What Will IT Look Like In 10 Years? 444

An anonymous reader writes "The IT industry is a lot different than it was 10 years ago; it underwent a huge boom in terms of labor and services required to keep up with the times. Now, we are entering a consolidation phase. The cloud makes it easier for companies to host e-mail, so now instead of organizations having their own Exchange guy, they will outsource it to the cloud. Instead of having a bunch of network engineers, they will deploy wireless and no longer need cabling or current levels of network engineering services. What do you think the long-term consequences of this will be? What skills do you think will be useful in 10 years? Is IT going to put its own out of work, like we did with the post office and libraries?"
Robotics

Volkswagon Shows Off Self-Driving Auto-Pilot For Cars 140

thecarchik writes "The future of driving, in major cities at least, is looking more and more likely to be done by high-tech computers rather than actual people, at least if the latest breakthroughs in self-driving vehicle technology mean anything. Internet search engine giant Google has logged some 140,000 miles with its self-driving Toyota Prius fleet and Audi has had similar success with its run of autonomous cars. Now, Volkswagen has presented its Temporary Auto Pilot technology. Monitored by a driver, the technology can allow a car to drive semi-automatically at speeds of up to 80 mph on highways."
Google

Nevada Authorizes Development of Driverless Car Rules 122

DrEldarion writes "Via Forbes: 'The State of Nevada just passed Assembly Bill No. 511 which, among other things, authorizes the Department of Transportation to develop rules and regulations governing the use of driverless cars, such as Google's concept car, on its roads.' Pretty soon, cars will be able to dump their own dead bodies into the Nevada desert."
Android

Google's Android Ambitions Go Beyond Mobile 174

PolygamousRanchKid writes "Android has become the top smartphone operating system in the United States, but Google's ambitions for it go well beyond tablet computers and smartphones, even beyond the mobile Web. Now Google says Android can also become the first mass-market bridge between the virtual world and the physical world, allowing smartphone apps to control light bulbs and home medical devices. Hoping to spark a wave of creativity similar to what Apple started when it opened the iPhone app store, Google distributed hundreds of circuitry kits to developers at last month's I/O conference. The Android Open Accessory Development Kit (ADK) allows Android's software to operate and communicate with motors, sensors, controllers and relays, allowing developers to create an interface in which a smartphone app could control or collect data from a thermostat, a lawn irrigation system or a group of lighting fixtures. 'The opportunity exists to dramatically change how you control your home,' said Tom Benton of Lighting Science. Over time, 'we're talking about the elimination of the wall switch.'"
Power

Solar Cells Integrated In Microchips 38

cylonlover writes "In a new, more efficient approach to solar powered microelectronics, researchers have produced a microchip which directly integrates photovoltaic cells. While harnessing sunlight to power microelectronics isn't new, conventional set-ups use a separate solar cell and battery. What sets this device apart is that high-efficiency solar cells are placed straight onto the electronics, producing self-sufficient, low-power devices which are highly suitable for industrial serial production and can even operate indoors."
The Military

A Peek At South Korea's Autonomous Robot Gun Turrets 298

cylonlover writes "If there's one place you don't want to be caught wandering around right now, it's the demilitarized zone that separates North and South Korea. Especially since South Korean military hardware manufacturer DoDAMM used the recent Korea Robot World 2010 expo to display its new Super aEgis 2, an automated gun turret that can detect and lock onto human targets from kilometers away, day or night and in any weather conditions, and deliver some heavy firepower."
Android

Android Phone Solves Rubik's Cube In 12.5 Seconds 76

DeviceGuru writes "A Lego Mindstorms robotics kit controlled by an HTC Nexus One smartphone successfully untangled a Rubik's Cube puzzle in 12.5 seconds at this weeks ARM technical conference in Silicon Valley. The current 3x3x3 cube-solvers's 15-second average represents a substantial improvement over the 25-second solutions of an earlier version, which was powered by a circa-2006 Nokia N95 smartphone, thanks to a faster (1GHz) CPU, more RAM, and revamped cube-solving algorithms. ARM Engineer David Gilday, who created the robotic cube-solver, claims the current version's algorithms can handle cube complexities up to 100x100x100, assuming he build the mechanics. In terms of racing humans, Gilday says the Lego robotics kits can only manage around 1.5 moves per second, whereas human players can make between 5 and 6 moves per second, amazingly enough." Update: 11/12 03:45 GMT by T : Apologies to creator David Gilday, whose name was earlier misspelled.

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