1) A machine-learning competition to overcome scarcity in the radio frequency which is INSANELY fascinating and, if they pull it off, hugely impactful -> https://spectrumcollaborationchallenge.com
2) A program to build technology to drive “swarm sprint” exercises to inform tactics and technologies for large groups of unmanned air and ground robots in urban environments. Yes, like how do we build a collaborative air drone army.
And PS they are having a hacker fest in the bay in a couple of weeks, registration is closed but bet you can get in if you email via - https://darpahackfest.com
Any cool hacket events here?
One can go to the dawn of self-driving cars, the Internet, really any potentially game-changing technology, and throw this out. It's an inconsequential assertion that provokes no follow-on thought. Just emotion.
Graduating this seed from FUD to a chain of critical thought involves asking how the technology in question might evolve detrimentally and what we can do, today and specifically, preferably in a technical capacity, to mitigate that risk.
Most obvious example would be the Vietnam disaster. It was eventually shut down because of "bring our boys home". Not because of international reputation, human rights violations or the capability to win or lose the war.
Another example would be how Germany used mechanized forces and air power in the start of WWII as force multipliers. Without sophisticated war machines, attacking France and Great Britain would have been suicidal. Simply because they combined matched German population.
The best bet to mitigate such technology? In those examples it was probably MANPAD that killed helicopter cavalry after Vietnam war. And evolutionary steps of Bazooka helped to keep west Europe from soviet tank invasion during cold war. Those specific inventions increased the manpower requirement while adding relatively small and very specific firepower advantage.
Anything that (a) improves peoples' lives and (b) has a logistical dependency, e.g. requires or becomes better with electricity, an Internet connection, package delivery, et cetera, improves the standing of a centralized power. This will be true as long as those logistical dependencies are subject to economies of scale.
Leaving society in the 18th century, before electricity, antibiotics or daily disposable contact lenses, wasn't easy. But you'd have to give up fewer luxuries to do that then that you would today because there are more luxuries today.
This is why saying "this will be used for evil things that centralized powers do" is so inane. It's a corollary of economic progress.
Except the thing is that geopolitics is the dictating form of politics. Everything else comes after that.
Let's say US government needs lots of manpower to stay as global hegemon. Then say that there is culture in US where people will gladly "defend the land of the free". Now if you mimic a degree of freedom, you get that manpower relatively easily.
Then you can innovate things that connect to the grid as much as you want. As long as the DoD needs grunts, they will give you civil rights and freedom simply because they have to. They probably would do that most of the time because they want to. But given enough time, you will see clusters of bad apples to get office.
It's kinda ironic that US has to be "free" and "powerfull" compared to the enemies. If China opens up their internet bit more, US citizens will get net neutrality without fighting. Also if China produces weapons that take away the technological edge or US, then America needs more manpower to the armed forces. That would lessen political polarization, corruption etc. Nothing unites like common enemy. Except capable common enemy.
I mean there's so much more to life than new technology and the corresponding progress in economies. But beyond that,do you genuinely believe that lawmakers are going to keep up with the necessary rules and regulations to keep sufficiently advanced AI under control in more hedonistic acting entities? Obviously that's the extreme case but it's a good thought experiment to test these models of innovation just for the sake of innovation and money.
As someone whose job is innovating where the current state of the art is, it's getting beyond ridiculous that everyone is ignoring the bloated elephant in the room.
Attacking Britain was suicidal and the myth of Britain, alone and standing firm is quite intentional, but untrue. The force multiplier wasn’t the tools, it was how they were used, and it took the allies a while to get the hang of things. The most surprising part is how far Germany got with such a weak position.
Britain’s War Machine by David Edgerton covers this well and somehow avoids it being a dry pile of charts.
If Polad would have been taken with only infantry and field artillery and supplied by railway and horses (like WWI was fought), the conflict would have lasted way way more than one month. If the Polish campaign would have lasted long enough, Germany would not have even attempted to attack France.
Landing on British isles was correctly identified as suicidal. So what did Germany do...
Mechanized armies needed enormous amounts of supplies. If you can't transport them by rail, and you don't have the diesel to run trucks (the only source of oil the Germans had access to was Romania,) you have to do it by horse.
They had to give up horses in the 60's because you could no longer find young men who could drive horse carts. The good mobility of horse in boggy and snowy terrain was only matched in the 80's with Bandvagn 206 carrier.
Fuel shortages for the fascists in WWII were so bad, in the later years of the war, they used horses to pull fighter planes from their hangars, to their runways. They did not have enough fuel to taxi under their own power.
It's not FUD to point out that a particular technology will be primarily used for the latter.
We generally don't hold people responsible for direct effects of their work. Working on drones that will kill people for the military is a direct effect.
'Game-changing potential', whatever that means for this kind of work, is not a first order effect.
the same arguments against the drone fleet is the same against the atomic bomb. What something is designed for (death in both cases) is not always their effect. For example, the atomic bombs were used to incredible devastation and death when used but it could be argued they prevented the next war with Russia since a war between two nuclear powers meant total destruction on both sides.
I'll venture into prediction here. Do you think a regional warlord or rogue state ( ISIS or whatever comes after it ) would enter a conflict with another state that was backed by the US? They might, knowing that the US would be unlikely to do more than give airstrike and strategic support. But what if the US had a drone army/fleet that could do close air-support, block to block firefighting, differentiate combatants and non-combatants? It could mean a tougher fight for a group like that since little but money is risked on the side of the US.
Expecting terrorist orginisations or rogue states to act in a rational way is the same as expecting the US to back down when their pride or national interest is threatened.
This is not gunpowder, the printing press, or the cotton gin and to compare them you're either naive or being disingenuous.
There is little hope for us to deviate from this path barring significant technological regression due to cataclysmic events or mass enlightenment of the human character. The former is a problem in and of itself and the latter is comically unlikely.
The same could be said of the atomic bomb. A weapon made purely for mass scale indiscriminate destruction of humanity. But if not us, then who would we trust to develop such a technology?
If the table were turned will you still feel this way, i wonder.
And p.s i am not an Arab, I am African so yes i do sympathize somewhat with what they go through. I also do not hate the U.S but i do feel it that it was time the rest of the world closed the military and technological gap the U.S and the west really had over the rest of the world as this will stop a lot of their bullshit.
I obviously don't want any single powerful entity to have access to this technology, but I can see the reality of it, which is that someone will have it. Who will it be?
The My Lai was reported by the American close air support crew, not a Vietnamese journalist.
Of these people, only the Americans have used them, and they used them on population centers.
I’m not taking a position on whether this was right or wrong. I’m just pointing out that you are trusting the only government that has ever killed thousands with these weapons and distrusting several governments that have not.
The atomic bomb is a blunt instrument with no finesse. The ability to vaporize large groups of people in a flashy infrastructure destroying display is not particularly conducive to control.
Atomic bombs don't let you watch, record, and analyze the movements of millions of people. They don't let you record and analyze the personal lives, conversations, and secrets of millions of people. They don't eliminate the need for human labor.