DARPA’s developing capabilities still hover at or near a proof-of-concept stage. But that’s close enough to have drawn investment from some of the world’s richest corporations.
DARPA has dreamed for decades of merging human beings and machines. Some years ago, when the prospect of mind-controlled weapons became a public-relations liability for the agency, officials resorted to characteristic ingenuity. They recast the stated purpose of their neurotechnology research to focus ostensibly on the narrow goal of healing injury and curing illness. The work wasn’t about weaponry or warfare, agency officials claimed. It was about therapy and health care. Who could object? But even if this claim were true, such changes would have extensive ethical, social, and metaphysical implications. Within decades, neurotechnology could cause social disruption on a scale that would make smartphones and the internet look like gentle ripples on the pond of history.
Most unsettling, neurotechnology confounds age-old answers to this question: What is a human being?
II. High Risk, High Reward
In his 1958 State of the Union address, President Dwight Eisenhower declared that the United States of America “must be forward-looking in our research and development to anticipate the unimagined weapons of the future.” A few weeks later, his administration created the Advanced Research Projects Agency, a bureaucratically independent body that reported to the secretary of defense. This move had been prompted by the Soviet launch of the Sputnik satellite. The agency’s original remit was to hasten America’s entry into space.
During the next few years, arpa’s mission grew to encompass research into “man-computer symbiosis” and a classified program of experiments in mind control that was code-named Project Pandora. There were bizarre efforts that involved trying to move objects at a distance by means of thought alone. In 1972, with an increment of candor, the word Defense was added to the name, and the agency became DARPA. Pursuing its mission, DARPAfunded researchers who helped invent technologies that changed the nature of battle (stealth aircraft, drones) and shaped daily life for billions (voice-recognition technology, GPS devices). Its best-known creation is the internet.
The agency’s penchant for what it calls “high-risk, high-reward” research ensured that it would also fund a cavalcade of folly. Project Seesaw, a quintessential Cold War boondoggle, envisioned a “particle-beam weapon” that could be deployed in the event of a Soviet attack. The idea was to set off a series of nuclear explosions beneath the Great Lakes, creating a giant underground chamber. Then the lakes would be drained, in a period of 15 minutes, to generate the electricity needed to set off a particle beam. The beam would accelerate through tunnels hundreds of miles long (also carved out by underground nuclear explosions) in order to muster enough force to shoot up into the atmosphere and knock incoming Soviet missiles out of the sky. During the Vietnam War, DARPA tried to build a Cybernetic Anthropomorphous Machine, a jungle vehicle that officials called a “mechanical elephant.”
In a scathing report issued this week, researchers with the Science Policy Forum have accused the U.S. Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) of creating a technology—ostensibly used to genetically modify crops with insects—but that could be converted into a dangerous and illegal bioweapon.
A new technology in which insects are used to genetically modify crops could be converted into a dangerous, and possibly illegal, bioweapon, alleges a Science Policy Forum report released today. Naturally, the organization leading the research says it’s doing nothing of the sort.
The Pentagon on Friday announced it would spend more than $2 billion over the next five years to advance the foundations of artificial intelligence technology.
The Pentagon’s DARP agency has started to develop a hard-kill interceptor capable of hitting incoming hypersonic projectiles. The move follows news of Russia’s success in building top-class high-speed weapons. The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) has launched a high-tech project to develop an interceptor to shoot down enemy hypersonic missiles, the Drive reported.
The Pentagon’s research arm is looking for teams to build an artificial intelligence tool that can automatically generate, test and refine its own scientific hypotheses. By essentially automating steps of the scientific process, the tool would let top decision-makers take discoveries from the lab and rapidly apply them to the real world, according to the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency.
The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency’s (DARPA) latest creation of the Fast Lightweight Autonomy (FLA) program, a new class of algorithms for quick drone navigation in cluttered environments, reminds us of the 2013 American post-apocalyptic science fiction film, Oblivion.
IBM has put its Watson artificial intelligence system to work on a variety of problems, including caring for cancer patients. Watson's oncology system has helped care for more 84,000 patients around the world, and while the tech company says the program is a success, a Stat News report said internal documents tell a different story. The publication reviewed the documents from 2017 in which medical experts discuss "multiple examples of unsafe and incorrect treatment recommendations."
Pratt & Whitney, a division of United Technologies corp., announced last Thursday a ‘Growth Option 2.0’ upgrade for the F135 engine, which powers the fifth-generation Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning II, that could provide increased power and thermal management system (PTMS) capacity.
By now it’s not exactly news that the U.S. military would love nothing more than to create mind-controlled soldiers. Since the inception of Activist Post we’ve been reporting about technologies such as transcranial magnetic stimulation that could be added to soldiers’ helmets as a way of altering their brain activity.
The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency’s (DARPA) Ground X-Vehicle Technologies (GXV-T) program to boost mobility, survivability, safety, and effectiveness of future combat vehicles, has unveiled a high-tech Reconfigurable Wheel-Track (RWT) that transitions from a round wheel to a triangular track and back again while the vehicle is on the move, per a DARPA press release.
The Pentagon’s research arm, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), will start assessing bids this week from space industry vendors as it wants to disrupt the military space business. DARPA last week published a broad agency announcement ( HR001118S0032 ) for the Blackjack program to develop and demonstrate a low earth orbit (LEO) constellation of spy satellites that provides persistent global coverage.
The government has already prepared some scripts to use on the terrified public should the United States ever be attacked with a nuclear weapon. The US government prepares for all sorts of threats, but none match the pomp and circumstance they’ll display in the event of a nuclear explosion.
On May 10, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) unveiled the Urban Reconnaissance through Supervised Autonomy (URSA) program, which addresses the issues of reconnaissance, surveillance, and target acquisition within urban environments.
In both the sense of macro images and general memetics, the United States military is now openly exploiting these phenomena for propaganda purposes and meme warfare. I have been warning for years about the destructive nature of dependence on macro images (memes) as a communication device on the internet. It is a compulsive behavior devoid of any merit. It is a swashbuckling smorgasbord of signaling that programs its participants towards ever greater depths of reductionism. And now that they have realized we have conditioned and dumbed ourselves down enough by it, the military wants to weaponize it against us.
RAM researchers at Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center and the University of Southern California published in the Journal of Neural Engineering that they have demonstrated the first successful implementation in humans of a proof-of-concept system for restoring memory function by facilitating memory encoding using the patient’s own neural codes. Volunteers in the study demonstrated up to 37 percent improvement in short-term, working memory over baseline levels.
I’ve recently been covering the widening use of predictive algorithms in modern-day police work, which frequently has been compared to the “pre-crime” we have seen in dystopian fiction. However, what is not being discussed as often are the many examples of how faulty this data still is.
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