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weblog archives
eXTReMe Tracker
Wednesday, February 19, 2003
Interesting, and chilling, Register piece about the robot armies of the future. We especially liked this flip comment: ’Hunter-Killer's ability to strike deep into enemy territory, no matter how dangerous, should allow the US military to dispense entirely with Europeans, except maybe for sweeping up afterwards.’ The full report is here at DARPA, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency. It makes for frightening reading. 'Augmented Cognition,' that will 'directly (but non-invasively) measure human cognitive load so that information can be presented to the warfighter or commander in a way that does not overload human cognition when mental processes are pressed to the limit, and that takes advantage of spare mental 'processing power'.'

The robotic battlefield concept is trying hard to undermine the cute image of the robot, carefully cultivated by the consumer giants that stand to benefit from mass-market penetration (more 'consumer robots': I, II, III, report). Instead, DARPA are proposing things like the Software for Distributed Robotics program, which will 'enable very large groups of very small, very inexpensive robots to perform useful tasks'. What exactly constitutes a 'useful task' isn't stipulated. The age of (semi-) intelligent machines draws closer. And these are just things they're actually telling us about.

Elsewhere. Weatherwatch. Snowy images from East Coast weblogs: I, II, III, IV (makes the light dusting we received last month look rather puny in comparison). Also, Caterina recommends tea. The Catfunt weblog slowly limbers up. Cute cats (and flash movies) at Meomi. New-look news. Slot machines for home use. A gallery of station wagons.