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Archive for the ‘military’ category: Page 3

Sep 6, 2022

Can a Seattle Start-Up Launch a Fusion Reactor Into Space?

Posted by in categories: military, nuclear energy, satellites, sustainability

Practical nuclear fusion is, famously, always 10 years in the future. Except that the Pentagon recently gave an award to a tiny startup to launch a fusion power system into space in just five.

There is no shortage of organizations, from VC-backedstartups to nation states, trying to realize the dream of cheap, clean, and reliable power from nuclear fusion. But Avalanche Energy Designs, based near a Boeing facility in Seattle, is even more ambitious. It is working on modular “micro fusion packs,” small enough to hold in your hand yet capable of powering everything from electric cars to spaceships.

Last month, the Pentagon’s Defense Innovation Unit (DIU) announced it had awarded Avalanche an unspecified sum to develop its Orbitron fusion device to generate either heat or electricity, with the aim of powering a high-efficiency propulsion system aboard a prototype satellite in 2027. The contract to Avalanche was one of two awarded by the DIU—the second going to Seattle-based Ultra Safe Nuclear for development of its radioisotope battery.

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Sep 5, 2022

Joscha Bach — Strong AI: Why we should be concerned

Posted by in categories: biological, economics, governance, military, robotics/AI

Title: Strong AI: Why we should be concerned about something nobody knows how to build.
Synopsis: At the moment, nobody fully knows how to create an intelligent system that rivals or exceed human capabilities (Strong AI). The impact and possible dangers of Strong AI appear to concern mostly those futurists that are not working in day-to-day AI research. This in turn gives rise to the idea that Strong AI is merely a myth, a sci fi trope and nothing that is ever going to be implemented. The current state of the art in AI is already sufficient to lead to irrevocable changes in labor markets, economy, warfare and governance. The need to deal with these near term changes does not absolve us from considering the implications of being no longer the most intelligent beings on this planet.
Despite the difficulties of developing Strong AI, there is no obvious reason why the principles embedded in biological brains should be outside of the range of what our engineering can achieve in the near future. While it is unlikely that current narrow AI systems will neatly scale towards general modeling and problem solving, many of the significant open questions in developing Strong AI appear to be known and solvable.

Talk held at ‘Artificial Intelligence / Human Possibilities’ event as adjunct to the AGI17 conference in Melbourne 2017.

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Sep 5, 2022

Russia has allegedly lost more than 1,000 of its tanks in six months of conflict

Posted by in category: military

It is still a fraction of the resources it can dedicate to the fight.


Wikimedia Commons.

On February 24 when Russian troops began crossing over the border of Ukraine, little did anybody think that the conflict would go on for months. With a massive advantage of the sheer number of troops, military equipment, and technology, the Russian ‘special operation’ should not have even lasted weeks.

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Sep 2, 2022

Revolutionizing Infrared Sensing Could Transform Imaging Applications

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, chemistry, food, health, military, quantum physics

The infrared (IR) spectrum is a vast information landscape that modern IR detectors tap into for diverse applications such as night vision, biochemical spectroscopy, microelectronics design, and climate science. But modern sensors used in these practical areas lack spectral selectivity and must filter out noise, limiting their performance. Advanced IR sensors can achieve ultrasensitive, single-photon level detection, but these sensors must be cryogenically cooled to 4 K (−269 C) and require large, bulky power sources making them too expensive and impractical for everyday Department of Defense or commercial use.

DARPA’s Optomechanical Thermal Imaging (OpTIm) program aims to develop novel, compact, and room-temperature IR sensors with quantum-level performance – bridging the performance gap between limited capability uncooled thermal detectors and high-performance cryogenically cooled photodetectors.

“If researchers can meet the program’s metrics, we will enable IR detection with orders-of-magnitude improvements in sensitivity, spectral control, and response time over current room-temperature IR devices,” said Mukund Vengalattore, OpTIm program manager in DARPA’s Defense Sciences Office. “Achieving quantum-level sensitivity in room-temperature, compact IR sensors would transform battlefield surveillance, night vision, and terrestrial and space imaging. It would also enable a host of commercial applications including infrared spectroscopy for non-invasive cancer diagnosis, highly accurate and immediate pathogen detection from a person’s breath or in the air, and pre-disease detection of threats to agriculture and foliage health.”

Sep 2, 2022

Google Workers Step Up Protests of $1.2 Billion Israeli Contract

Posted by in categories: government, military, robotics/AI

Google employees are ratcheting up pressure on the internet-search giant to abandon its artificial intelligence work with the Israeli government, planning public demonstrations to draw greater attention to the controversial cloud-computing contract.

A handful of current and former workers spoke on Wednesday alongside Palestinian rights activists in San Francisco to call for the Alphabet Inc.-owned company to end Project Nimbus, a $1.2 billion contract through which Google and Amazon.com Inc. provide the Israeli government and military with AI and cloud services. The seven-year contract went into effect in July 2021. A petition protesting the agreement has received 800 signatures from Google employees, according to one of the organizers.

Sep 2, 2022

Space communications node offers DARPA model for rapid acquisition

Posted by in categories: government, military, satellites

WASHINGTON — The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency said it selected teams to help develop an on-orbit satellite communications translator within just eight days of releasing a formal solicitation. Now, the Pentagon agency charged with making investments in transformational technology wants to apply that quick approach to other programs.

DARPA announced last month that 11 teams would participate in Phase 1 its Space-Based Adaptive Communications Node program, dubbed Space-BACN, an in-space terminal designed to help government and commercial satellites communicate.

The capability is increasing in relevance as companies such as SpaceX and organizations including the Space Development Agency launch large constellations of satellites to low Earth orbit, within 1,000 kilometers of the planet’s surface. Awardees range from universities to commercial companies, some of which have never worked with the U.S. Department of Defense. DARPA didn’t announce the total value of the agreements.

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Sep 2, 2022

Army electronic warfare office seeks to adapt now for future threats

Posted by in categories: military, terrorism

In the last three or four years, he said, “we’ve gone through three different versions of our dismounted gear. So we’re able to quickly pivot to the next technology and not necessarily go down long-term production of the same solution when the technology is iterating and the threat is iterating.”

The Army is reinvigorating its networks, sensors, EW arsenal and related tools following decades of counterterrorism operations — a period when troops engaged with forces sporting less-advanced gear and communications were less at risk.

The U.S. is now preparing for potential fights against China and Russia, two world powers that spend significantly on military science and technology. The targeting of networks and other battlefield systems seen in the Russia-Ukraine war is only adding to the sense of urgency.

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Sep 1, 2022

How People Adapt to Cybersickness From Virtual Reality

Posted by in categories: entertainment, military, virtual reality

Summary: Those who are prone to motion sickness have a harder time adapting to cybersickness and different virtual reality environments. However, people can adapt to the effects of VR-associated cybersickness by playing the same game repeatedly.

Source: Iowa State University

While virtual reality has been around for decades, a combination of higher-resolution graphics, smoother tracking of the user’s movements and cheaper, sleeker headsets has propelled the immersive technology into arenas beyond gaming and military training.

Sep 1, 2022

Robot Dogs and Drones 3D Mapping ‘Ghost Ships’ with Laser-based Sensors

Posted by in categories: drones, mapping, military, robotics/AI, virtual reality

Sounds like a sci-fi movie right? But it’s not. Naval Surface Warfare Center, Philadelphia Division is testing laser-based sensors on robot dogs or drones as a way to perform battle damage assessment, repair, installation, and modernization – all remotely.

NSWCPD’s Advanced Data Acquisition Prototyping Technology Virtual Environments (ADAPT.VE) engineers and scientists are testing new applications for light detection and ranging (LiDAR) to build 3D ship models aboard the ‘mothballed’ fleet of decommissioned ships at the Philadelphia Navy Yard.

Sep 1, 2022

Quantum Computing: Race for the Next Manhattan Project | China In Focus

Posted by in categories: cybercrime/malcode, military, particle physics, quantum physics

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