Category Archives: DARPA

CIA Psychic Agent Ingo Swann Passes Away

From STARpod.us:

BY EDITOR’S NEWS DESK STAFF


Sources are reporting that CIA superstar psychic spy Ingo Swann, known as the father of America’s secret remote viewing program, has died.

Swann’s story of recruitment by a covert black ops group in the 1970s was the inspiration for author Gary S. Bekkum’s book “To the Moon and Back, With Love.”

According to one of Swann’s psychic students, former U.S. government spy Paul Smith, “At the time of his death, on February 1, 2013, Ingo was well along in the process of creating a new book featuring his marvelous art work.”

Smith writes:

Supported by the military and intelligence communities, Ingo worked through the program at SRI-International to not only explore the boundary conditions of remote viewing, the consciousness-based skill that he had discovered and developed, but he used it operationally to discover some of the secrets America’s erstwhile Cold War opponents were trying to hide.

Here is an excerpt from the book “To the Moon and Back, With Love” about Ingo Swann’s encounter with a mysterious black ops leader called Mr. Axelrod and otherworldly beings on the lunar surface.

Government consultant Ingo Swann’s tale of covert extraterrestrial activity on the moon takes on a new twist, now that the CIA STAR GATE documents support many of his claims.


3 August 2006

(STARpod.us) — This is the bizarre true tale of Ingo Swann’s psychic work for the U.S government, at various agencies including the CIA and the DIA (now substantiated by the CIA release of roughly two thirds of the existing STAR GATE documents) and his personal allegations of a mysterious black operation that first contacted him during the peak of CIA sponsored testing at the Stanford Research Institute.

If Ingo Swann is to be believed, and this coming from a man with top secret clearance that in his day briefed and trained officers from the U.S. Air Force, the Defense Intelligence Agency, INSCOM, and many others too numerous to mention, then there is some truth to the rumors of an otherworldly intelligence working behind the scenes here on Earth. Not only are they already here, according to Swann’s testimony from a rare out-of-print book, self-published in 1998, but they are building something on the far side of the moon.

And they are not friendly.

The truth is stranger than fiction, and this story is guaranteed to stretch the imagination right back into reality. For Ingo Swann, the turning point leading into the cloak and dagger world of deep black ops and weird requests for psychic surveillance of the moon and beyond began in early 1975. When Swann published his tale in 1998, most of the CIA and DIA classified documents from the secret STAR GATE program were still unavailable to the general public. As this story goes to press, in the summer of 2006, more than 80,000 pages of documents are close at hand here at STARstream Research, including the results of medical and psychological tests conducted on Mr. Swann as a result of his CIA sponsored testing while working with SRI: The Stanford Research Institute, in the 1970′s.

The CIA STAR GATE Program

In the early 1970′s concerns began to float about the various intelligence agencies over a psychic war gap with the Soviet Union. Unknown to the general public, the Soviets were busy exploring fringe science: application of the dark shadow of the paranormal world for espionage.

Swann’s abilities had been tracked for some time, but they really attracted the powers that be in Langley with the recording of an apparent perturbation of delicate test equipment by Swann’s mental perception. In addition to disturbing the output of this sensitive instrument, Swann was able to produce a rough description of the device, which he had never seen previously.

In a letter dated June 27, 1972, Dr. Hal Puthoff of SRI wrote, “At the suggestion of Russell Targ I am writing you about an observation in the laboratory involving one Ingo Swann, a New York artist … An interesting side light of the experiment was that Ingo was able to describe rather well what the interior of the device looked like, apparently with some form of direct observation.” Although redacted, it is likely that the recipient of this letter was at the CIA. Apparently sponsorship of Dr. Puthoff’s interest in Swann’s mental interaction with the test equipment followed quickly.

Among the STAR GATE files is a Stanford Research Institute (SRI) Technical Memorandum dated 22 February, 1973, prepared by Dr. Hal Puthoff and Russell Targ, Contract Number 1471(S)73 and tagged by CIA/ORD # 1416-73:

“A program in biofield measurements was initiated in July, 1972 with a preliminary experiment with Mr. [Ingo] Swann. In this work using a shielded magnetometer, Mr. Swann apparently demonstrated an ability to increase and decrease at will the magnetic field within a superconducting magnetic shield. This experiment made use of an existing facility and we have confidence that Mr. Swann had no prior knowledge of either the apparatus or of our intended experiment.”

An August, 1972 memo to the Chief of TSD/BAB at the CIA notes that “[name redacted] and somebody named [redacted] from [CIA] Life Sciences are planning a trip to the West Coast on 11 August, when they will meet Ingo Swann and have a chance to watch him flex his sphincter … Life Sciences is planning on forming a coordinating committee to work on ESP and the data that is coming in …”

When we contacted the unnamed former officer from CIA Life Sciences, he confirmed the authenticity of the document, but denied any knowledge of Swann’s tale.

An undated draft memorandum from Deputy Director for Operations William Colby, addressed to the “Director of Central Intelligence,” reveals the clandestine nature of CIA involvement in research using human subjects:

“Recently, two individuals, Mr. Uri Geller and Mr. Ingo Swann, appear to have demonstrated certain of these abilities [paraphysical effects] under controlled laboratory conditions. The abilities of these individuals (unwitting of Agency [CIA] sponsorship) are being submitted to a serious scientific investigation, part of which is being supported by the above mentioned project.”

An anonymous source, working in the alternative energy and transportation industry recently commented, “Actually, they became interested in Swann when he RV’ed [psychically remote viewed] some of their well-hidden deep underground vaults, and the contents thereof. This was when they approached SRI because they were finally truly scared about the reality of RV [psychic remote viewing] as a tool in the hands of the Soviets.”

Based upon the available records in STAR GATE, no one seems to have seriously considered that all of these manifestations of the impossible were strong indications of interference in human affairs by higher intelligence with more powerful technologies at their disposal. Or did they? Swann’s account in his book suggests that someone lurking in the shadows was paying very close attention; someone whose reach included the often super-secret work done at SRI.

Arthur C. Clarke once said and I’m paraphrasing here, “Advanced extraterrestrial technology would be indistinguishable from magic.”

Now, I’m not sure Ingo Swann actually made mind contact with ETIs on the far side of the Moon or not and it certainly isn’t outside the realm of possibility.

My question is, “Why would an advanced civilization interfere with us in any meaningful way and what is it’s purpose?”

Even if they were interdimensional in nature, the same questions apply.

In the end, Ingo Swann had great influence on the U.S. Government via the work he did with the CIA and in the end proved there are pathways through other dimensions in which communications and observations are performed.

Just ask DARPA.

Happenings at the Skinwalker Ranch

Gary S. Bekkum, government researcher and author of Lies, Spies and Polygraph Tape, posts quite frequently about his special brand of UFO, alien threat theories and government involvement. Lately Robert Bigelow, the Skinwalker Ranch and U.S. government alphabet soup agencies have been items of interest on his site. I find his special brand of UFO/Alien theories refreshing and provide just enough out-of-this-world science to maintain plausibility:

(Spies, Lies and Polygraph Tape) — In the 1990s, aerospace entrepreneur Robert Bigelow purchased a remote ranch in Utah where strange paranormal experiences had become a way of life. Bigelow’s National Institute Discovery Science (NIDS) team soon descended on the ranch in search of an alleged source behind the strange stories told by the previous owner.

The attack, although not unexpected, was intense if brief.

According to sources, one of Bigelow’s scientists experienced a close encounter of the most unnerving kind.

Like the smoke monster on the fictional ABC TV series “Lost,” an eerie fog had appeared, described as “a multiple intelligence manifested in the form of a dark shadow or cloud-type effect which had an unusual turbulence effect when it shrunk to a point and disappeared.”

We approached Bigelow adviser Dr. Eric Davis, a physicist who had, in 2001-2003, surveyed the field of teleportation, including reports of supernatural teleportation, while under contract by the U.S. Air Force.

With regard to Skinwalker-like reports of anomalous mind-matter interactions, Davis advised the Air Force, “We will need a physics theory of consciousness and psychotronics, along with more experimental data, in order to test … and discover the physical mechanisms that lay behind the psychotronic manipulation of matter. [Psychic] P-Teleportation, if verified, would represent a phenomenon that could offer potential high-payoff military, intelligence and commercial applications. This phenomenon could generate a dramatic revolution in technology, which would result from a dramatic paradigm shift in science. Anomalies are the key to all paradigm shifts!”

Davis told us, “NIDS folded in October 2004 and ceased routine intensive staff visits to the ranch back in 2001. I was the team leader from 1999-2001.”

“There were multiple voices that spoke in unison telepathically,” Davis candidly explained, regarding the Skinwalker attack, “The voices were monotone males with a very terse, threatening tone …  Four senses were in their control so there was no odor, sound, smell, or touch, and overall body motion was frozen (as in the muscles that would not respond). Afterwards, when completely freed from this event — after the dark shadow disappeared — there was no lingering or residual odors, sounds, etc. in the immediate environment.”

Was Bob Bigelow’s remote ranch possessed by an evil supernatural entity?

“How do you interpret that?” I asked Davis. “Sounds like the Exorcist?”

“It does sound like it,” Davis responded, “But it wasn’t in the category of demonic possession.  More like an intelligence giving a warning to the staff by announcing its presence and that they (the staff) were being watched by this presence. Demonic possessions are not short lived nor as benign as this, and they always have a religious context.”

What, exactly, was behind the reported experiences at Skinwalker Ranch? Was an unknown and highly capable and intelligent entity guarding its territory?

This is extremely interesting, because as I was perusing the InnerTubes this morning, I ran across various things DARPA was working on and some of them were telepathic research ideas. I wonder if Bekkum’s “Core Story” theory of government involvement in aliens and UFOs are an influence on such researches?

I’d like to open up a discussion talking about manipulating the mind & body using genetic engineering & cybernetic implants (FACT VS FICTION). This may sound a bit far fetch as there are many fiction stories regarding this type of subject, although fiction can reveal truth that reality obscures.
What does the encyclopaedia tell us about Supersoldiers?

Supersoldier is a term often used to describe a soldier that operates beyond normal human limits or abilities. Supersoldiers are usually heavily augmented, either through eugenics (especially selective breeding), genetic engineering, cybernetic implants, drugs, brainwashing, traumatic events, an extreme training regimen (usually with high casualty rates, and often starting from birth or a young age), or other scientific and pseudoscientific means. Occasionally, some instances also use paranormal methods, such as black magic, and/or technology and science of extraterrestrial origin. The creators of such programs are viewed often as mad scientists or stern military men, depending on the emphasis, as their programs will typically go past ethical boundaries in the pursuit of science and/or military might.

In the Past
Has any anyone/organization tried to create a program dedicated towards creating SuperSoldiers?Yes. From what history has told us with regarding groups/organizations creating a super soldier program the first well known groups that had interest in this were the Nazi’s. In 1935 they set up the spring life, as a sort of breeding /child-rearing program. The objective of the “spring life” was to create an everlasting Aryan race that would serve its purpose as the new super-soldiers of the future. Fact –The average Nazi soldier received a regular intake of pills designed to help them fight longer and without rest although these days it is now common for troops battling in war that take pills.
Modern day What Super soldier Projects are in progress in this time & day? DARPA (the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency) is currently working on projects from what today’s news tells us.
What does the encyclopaedia tell us about DARPA?

The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) is an agency of the United States Department of Defense responsible for the development of new technologies for use by the military. DARPA has been responsible for funding the development of many technologies which have had a major effect on the world, including computer networking, as well as NLS, which was both the first hypertext system, and an important precursor to the contemporary ubiquitous graphical user interface.

A daily mail article around 13, 2012 talked about DARPA currently working on a Super-Solider program as of this moment, it is surprising that DARPA is becoming more open towards the public perhaps to become more acceptable within the public. Article explains:

Tomorrow’s soldiers could be able to run at Olympic speeds and will be able to go for days without food or sleep, if new research into gene manipulation is successful. According to the U.S. Army’s plans for the future, their soldiers will be able to carry huge weights, live off their fat stores for extended periods and even regrow limbs blown apart by bombs. The plans were revealed by novelist Simon Conway, who was granted behind-the-scenes access to the Pentagon’s high-tech Defence Advanced Research Projects Agency.

Although these sources are from the conspiracy site Above Top Secret and the information is three months old, this ties in with Bekkum’s story and not only would super soldiers be formidable against regular Earth armies, they mind prove good cannon fodder against alien invaders who are pure telepathy, for a while maybe.

There is no way to prove this as truth of course, but I’m providing just enough info so you can research this on your own and come to your own conclusion.

What do you think?

Kit Green’s Mindtap: Attack at Skinwalker Ranch

Human Body Genetic Engineering (Super-Soldier/Super-Human)

Carl Sagan and the U.S. Military

From io9.com:

News of Carl Sagan’s involvement with a plan to “nuke” the moon, Project A119, has become relevant again. In fact, Sagan was involved in a number of military causes during his all-too-short lifetime. But later, he cut all ties with the military. Here’s what happened.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rbfOqgQVKmI&feature=player_embedded

Carl Sagan spent his childhood under the ominous cloud of World War II. As the war faded and the United States and USSR entered a Cold War, the United States once again looked to its best and brightest — including many academic scientists — to consult with the military.

Sagan’s extremely limited involvement in a theoretical plan to “Nuke the Moon” as a show of U.S. military might recently caused an uproar, but this was just one aspect of Sagan’s involvement with the militarily. Sagan’s involvement in Project A-119 occurred while he worked toward his Ph.D. at the University of Chicago. The good scientist actually broke personnel restrictions placed on the classified project by listing his involvement on a job application.

Sagan and Project Blue Book The majority of Sagan’s contact with the military came as a member of the Air Force Scientific Advisory Board beginning in 1966. Sagan lectured at Harvard at this time in his life, but would soon depart to become Associate Professor of Astronomy in the Center for Radiophysics and Space Research at Cornell after being denied tenure by Harvard.

At this time in his career, Sagan had already begun to publish his suppositions about the atmosphere of Venus and became a member of the fringe in the eyes of many thanks to his ruminations on the possibility of intelligent life in the universe. Sagan also played a role in advising the U.S. Space Program, a program synonymous with military applications during the Cold War era.

Sagan allegedly received $800 per day (roughly $4500 in current dollars), an astounding sum for a university lecturer, to act as a consultant for the Air Force Scientific Advisory Board. The United States Air Force Scientific Advisory Board began in 1944 as a secret program with a variety of missions, including determining the possibility of using atomic energy in jet propulsion as well as non-traditional use of nuclear weapons.

Sagan’s military contact revolved around Project Blue Book, a 23-year study of UFOs conducted by the United States Air Force that ceased in January of 1970. Project Blue Book took a systematic approach to the study of unidentified flying objects, analyzing possible UFO data and aiming to determine if these objects were a danger to United States national security.

Within the two-decade-plus report are 12,618 “sightings”, with analysis leaving a mere 700 classified as unidentified. The Air Force Scientific Advisory Board, however concluded that Project Blue Book did not meet necessary rigors, suggesting a university-led study of unidentified flying objects would be far more conclusive.

Separation from the military After the closure of Project Blue Book, Sagan continued to act as a prominent scientific advisor for NASA, arguing for the financial merit of robotic spacecraft.

Sagan became an extremely vocal advocate against nuclear proliferation after the rise of President Reagan’s Strategic Defense Initiative. Sagan openly protested the testing of nuclear weapons, with the sage arrested for trespassing after a 1986 underground detonation of a thermonuclear warhead in the Nevada desert.

Though he cut ties with the military, Sagan continued to ponder the idea of space war. He concocted the Deflection Dilemma — the idea that the using a significant blast to knock a near earth object on a trajectory towards earth off course could also be used as a weapon, sending the object into the country or countries of choice.

If you are curious, you can lose an entire weekend and browse through the entirety of Project Blue Book online thanks to the Project Blue Book Archive, or have a marathon of Twin Peaks to catch a hint of the intrigue surrounded Project Blue Book.

The idea of blowing up the Moon seems far-fetched, but not knocking an asteroid into an orbit that intercepts a certain country(s) and wreaks destruction over one side of the planet. It’s the ultimate Dooms-Day Device!

That’s why I don’t think NASA’s plan of flying to an asteroid in 2025 and Planetary Resources’ idea of asteroid capture and mining will be politically viable or palatable in the international arena because if a country that has the technology to move planetary objects into different orbits, especially in Earth orbit has the ultimate weapon over other nations in the form of a huge hammer.

And I’m really surprised this isn’t mentioned at various mainstream space sites.

Maybe it’s an unmentionable thing?

What Exactly Was Carl Sagan Working on with the U.S. Military?

Is Artificial Intelligence the Pinnacle of Galactic Evolution?

From news.discovery.com:

Astronomy news this week bolstered the idea that the seeds of life are all over our solar system. NASA’s MESSENGER spacecraft identified carbon compounds at Mercury’s poles. Probing nearly 65 feet beneath the icy surface of a remote Antarctic lake, scientists uncovered a community of bacteria existing in one of Earth’s darkest, saltiest and coldest habitats. And the dune buggy Mars Science Lab is beginning to look for carbon in soil samples.

But the rulers of our galaxy may have brains made of the semiconductor materials silicon, germanium and gallium. In other words, they are artificially intelligent machines that have no use — or patience — for entities whose ancestors slowly crawled out of the mud onto primeval shores.

PHOTOS: Alien Robots That Left Their Mark on Mars

The idea of malevolent robots subjugating and killing off humans has been the staple of numerous science fiction books and movies. The half-torn off android face of Arnold Schwarzenegger in “The Terminator” film series, and the unblinking fisheye lens of the HAL 9000 computer in the film classic “2001 A Space Odyssey” (pictured top), have become iconic of this fear of evil machines.

My favorite self-parody of this idea is the 1970 film “Colossus: the Forbin Project.” A pair of omnipotent shopping mall-sized military supercomputers in the U.S. and Soviet Union strike up a network conversation. At first you’d think they’d trade barbs like: “Aww your mother blows fuses!” Instead, they hit it off like two college kids on Facebook. Imagine the social website: “My Interface.” They then agree to use their weapons control powers to subjugate humanity for the sake of the planet.

A decade ago our worst apprehension of computers was no more than seeing Microsoft’s dancing paper clip pop up on the screen. But every day reality is increasingly overtaking the musings of science fiction writers. Some futurists have warned that our technologies have the potential to threaten our own survival in ways that never previously existed in human history. In the not-so-distant future there could be a “genie out of the bottle” moment that is disastrously precipitous and irreversible.

PHOTOS: NASA Welcomes Our Surgical Robot Overlords

Last Monday, it was announced that a collection of leading academics at Cambridge University are establishing the Center for the Study of Existential Risk (CSER) to look at the threat of smart robots overtaking us.

Sorry, even the ancient Mayans could not have foreseen this coming. It definitely won’t happen by the end of 2012, unless Apple unexpectedly rolls out a rebellious device that calls itself “iGod.” Humanity might be wiped away before the year 2100, predicted the eminent cosmologist and CSER co-founder Sir Martin Ress in his 2003 book “Our Final Century.”

Homicidal robots are among other major Armageddons that the Cambridge think-tank folks are worrying about. There’s also climate change, nuclear war and rogue biotechnology.

The CSER reports: “Many scientists are concerned that developments in human technology may soon pose new, extinction-level risks to our species as a whole. Such dangers have been suggested from progress in artificial intelligence, from developments in biotechnology and artificial life, from nanotechnology, and from possible extreme effects of anthropogenic climate change. The seriousness of these risks is difficult to assess, but that in itself seems a cause for concern, given how much is at stake.”

Science fiction author Issac Asimov’s first Law of Robotics states: “A robot may not harm humanity, or, by inaction, allow humanity to come to harm.” Forget that; we already have killer drones that are remotely controlled. And they could eventually become autonomous hunter-predators with the rise of artificial intelligence. One military has a robot that can run up to 18 miles per hour. Robot foot soldiers seem inevitable, in a page straight out of “Terminator.”

NEWS: The Case Against Robots With License to Kill

Terminator307ww8

By 2030, the computer brains inside such machines will be a million times more powerful than today’s microprocessors. At what threshold will super-intelligent machines see humans as an annoyance, or as a competitor for resources?

British mathematician Irving John Good wrote a paper in 1965 that predicted that robots will be the “last invention” that humans will ever make. “Let an ultraintelligent machine be defined as a machine that can far surpass all the intellectual activities of any man however clever. Since the design of machines is one of these intellectual activities, an ultraintelligent machine could design even better machines; there would then unquestionably be an ‘intelligence explosion,’ and the intelligence of man would be left far behind.”

Good, by the way, consulted on the film “2001” and so we might think of him as father of the film’s maniacal supercomputer, HAL.

In 2000, Bill Joy, the co-founder and chief scientist of Sun Microsystems, wrote, “Enormous transformative power is being unleashed. These advances open up the possibility to completely redesign the world, for better or worse for the first time, knowledge and ingenuity can be very destructive weapons.”

Hans Moravec, director of the Robotics Institute at Carnegie Mellon University in Pennsylvania put it more bluntly: “Robots will eventually succeed us: humans clearly face extinction.”

NEWS: New Robotic Fleet Would Support Space Missions

Ultimately, the new Cambridge study may offer our best solution to the Fermi Paradox: Why hasn’t Earth already been visited by intelligent beings from the stars?

If, on a grand cosmic evolutionary scale, artificial intelligence inevitably supersedes its flesh and blood builders it could be an inevitable biological phase transition for technological civilizations.

This idea of the human condition being transitional was reflected in the writings of Existentialist Friedrich Nietzsche: “Man is a rope, tied between beast and overman–a rope over an abyss. What is great in man is that he is a bridge and not an end, …”

Because the conquest by machines might happen in less than two centuries of technological evolution, the consequences would be that there’s nobody out there for us to talk to.

Ray Villard isn’t the only person to espouse this theory. Seth Shostak of SETI fame is a supporter of this meme as well.

As for myself, I see much creedance to the story because it seems like a natural progression of intelligent life and an artificial life form could be engineered to be immortal, which could be essential if a civilization is to progress to a Kardashev 2 culture.

Of course this is only a theory, there is no evidence supporting this claim.

Just as there is no “evidence” supporting the alien UFO claim.

Do Robots Rule the Galaxy?

Hat tip to STARpod.US.

No Terminators Here, It’s Old-Fashioned Human Killers

From Wired.com:

The Pentagon wants to make perfectly clear that every time one of its flying robots releases its lethal payload, it’s the result of a decision made by an accountable human being in a lawful chain of command. Human rights groups and nervous citizens fear that technological advances in autonomy will slowly lead to the day when robots make that critical decision for themselves. But according to a new policy directive issued by a top Pentagon official, there shall be no SkyNet, thank you very much.

Here’s what happened while you were preparing for Thanksgiving: Deputy Defense Secretary Ashton Carter signed, on November 21, a series of instructions to “minimize the probability and consequences of failures” in autonomous or semi-autonomous armed robots “that could lead to unintended engagements,” starting at the design stage (.pdf, thanks to Cryptome.org). Translated from the bureaucrat, the Pentagon wants to make sure that there isn’t a circumstance when one of the military’s many Predators, Reapers, drone-like missiles or other deadly robots effectively automatizes the decision to harm a human being.

The hardware and software controlling a deadly robot needs to come equipped with “safeties, anti-tamper mechanisms, and information assurance.” The design has got to have proper “human-machine interfaces and controls.” And, above all, it has to operate “consistent with commander and operator intentions and, if unable to do so, terminate engagements or seek additional human operator input before continuing the engagement.” If not, the Pentagon isn’t going to buy it or use it.

It’s reasonable to worry that advancements in robot autonomy are going to slowly push flesh-and-blood troops out of the role of deciding who to kill. To be sure, military autonomous systems aren’t nearly there yet. No Predator, for instance, can fire its Hellfire missile without a human directing it. But the military is wading its toe into murkier ethical and operational waters: The Navy’s experimental X-47B prototype will soon be able to land on an aircraft carrier with the barest of human directions. That’s still a long way from deciding on its own to release its weapons. But this is how a very deadly slope can slip.

It’s that sort of thing that worries Human Rights Watch, for instance. Last week, the organization, among the most influential non-governmental institutions in the world, issued a report warning that new developments in drone autonomy represented the demise of established “legal and non-legal checks on the killing of civilians.” Its solution: “prohibit the “development, production, and use of fully autonomous weapons through an international legally binding instrument.”

Laudable impulse, wrong solution, writes Matthew Waxman. A former Defense Department official for detainee policy, Waxman and co-author Kenneth Anderson observe that technological advancements in robotic weapons autonomy is far from predictable, and the definition of “autonomy” is murky enough to make it unwise to tell the world that it has to curtail those advancements at an arbitrary point. Better, they write, for the U.S. to start an international conversation about how much autonomy on a killer robot is appropriate, so as to “embed evolving internal state standards into incrementally advancing automation.”

Waxman and Anderson should be pleased with Carter’s memo, since those standards are exactly what Carter wants the Pentagon to bake into its next drone arsenal. Before the Pentagon agrees to develop or buy new autonomous or somewhat autonomous weapons, a team of senior Pentagon officials and military officers will have to certify that the design itself “incorporates the necessary capabilities to allow commanders and operators to exercise appropriate levels of human judgment in the use of force.” The machines and their software need to provide reliability assurances and failsafes to make sure that’s how they work in practice, too. And anyone operating any such deadly robot needs sufficient certification in both the system they’re using and the rule of law. The phrase “appropriate levels of human judgment” is frequently repeated, to make sure everyone gets the idea. (Now for the lawyers to argue about the meaning of “appropriate.”)

So much for SkyNet. But Carter’s directive blesses the forward march of autonomy in most everything military robots do that can’t kill you. It “[d]oes not apply to autonomous or semi-autonomous cyberspace systems for cyberspace operations; unarmed, unmanned platforms; unguided munitions; munitions manually guided by the operator (e.g., laser- or wire-guided munitions); mines; or unexploded explosive ordnance,” Carter writes.

Oh happy – happy, joy – joy. The semi-intelligent machines still needs a human in the loop to kill you, but doesn’t need one to spy on you.

Oh well, Big Brother still needs a body to put in jail to make the expense of robots worth their while I suppose…

Pentagon: A Human Will Always Decide When a Robot Kills You

On the Cusp of Wormhole Technology?

Wormhole technology, or any kind of faster-than-light space travel is considered tin-foil hat fantasy with current technology.

But Gary S. Bekkum of STARstream research interviewed a young Iranian physicist in May of this year who just might’ve discovered a way using present day tech of producing wormhole technology and they discussed the ramifications of said technology:

Gary S. Bekkum for STARstream Research: The world has lived under the threat of nuclear fire from an atomic war for more than a half century, and in all of that time we have not heard of any new, viable weapons of mass destruction appearing on the horizon. Politicians remain focused on the proliferation of nuclear technology, such as under development in your home country of Iran. Do you believe that the governments of the world have been conducting secret research into new technologies that might someday replace atomic devices as the ultimate weapons of mass destruction

Mammad: I’m not sure Gary, but its probability sounds low. Like many others, I’ve heard about Death Ray Weapon or potential nightmares of X-Ray laser, but I have a different viewpoint.

Consider the dangers of current atomic weapons, expenses for supporting their security, fear of using them in a classic war or by terrorist groups, troubles of successful hitting them to a target, and converting them as a  prestigious symbol of the having nations, while I feel that’s not a real honor for the people. If we in the south countries, or you in the west are proud of ability to destroy the human beings, that would be a sign of throughout depression, frustrated to improve the global situations by peaceful approaches. In the modern era, no government imagines an extensive assault on a location causing the effects more than that of a nuclear bombarding.

Anyway, I can last my justifications for a long time for you that the general psychological conditions of the world do not accept such weapons, however that can be felt naturally. For example, if America announces inventing such kind of innovations while is not in a serious conflict with China or Russia, they might threaten to exit the UNO and deny their global responsibilities until a new military balance, moreover they might found an extreme desire to apply their H-bombs, as soon as feeling the tiniest suspicious sign, like biting a man by a terrified snake, because it feels being weaker. Since researching on military inventions originates from the fear of “others,” I think more and more education by the independent mass media, along with more clearance and highest precision toward minimizing the mistakes in military decisions in free countries, plus most extreme and roughest global observations on dictator regimes and/or with retarded culture, having old conflicts with neighbors, unusual nationalist roots in their history, etc, could help to not watching a warfare by more deathful devices. As a good news, if I’d realize a practical space warp, that would imply fundamentally novel orders of using the mass destruction weapons.

[...]

Bekkum: How do you foresee the governments of the world responding to the military implications of worm hole technology?

Mammad: Well, answering to this question needs citing some psychological facts. I think people most commonly terrify of the phenomena that do not know and have an unpleasant feeling – by the instinct – toward something they cannot recognize. When a place, a stuff or a face is unfamiliar to you, your natural behavior is taking a defense guard, up to habituating with the surrounding. Therefore, what is the source of this sense? Survival! Disregarding suicide committers among some humans and dolphins, all organic systems try to live and stay alive, longer and better.


Wormhole technology, like any sort of communicational technology, has one basic goal: taking something from the point A, to the point B (safer, and more rapidly).


Remember the history of with-wire and wireless telephones, cars and tanks, planes and fighters, telescopes and satellites, missiles and shuttles, ships and submarines, etc and see how they found application in the wars. All of them have the role of contact, deliver something to another, and gather more information for a better knowledge. Wormhole technology can be analyzed within this frame. I’ve heard there is a motto in Texas, which is: “God created the people and Colt made them equal,” but equal in what? Killing each other! Well, that’s the American style of living and has some good and some bad features. No matter how much you’re strong, if you can hurt or kill me, I might be unable to hurt you, but I can kill you. Now, generalize this picture to a world where every country has the capability of achieving others without any serious trouble. For instance, White House might be afraid of conventional bombs of the North Korea, not even the unconventional ones!

So the immediate cure to that end, if all would make an agreement that life is a good thing for us (and should be good for others too), and we do not intend to die in a war (at least until a second announce), is try to become the world more ethical. However, it seems like a dream, but has the most importance. I guess and hope this technology would cause to deep modifications in the UNO, toward establishing a real “global republic.” By adopting a suitable policy, fighting for the ground gets meaningless (more than now). Hitler attacked on Poland in 1939, and said the Germany needs more “living space.” When there is no serious physical distance, satisfying such a “need” would not require a war.

The young man brings up a very valid point; every advancement in technology during the past 5500 years have either been discovered during a war, or used by a nation’s military if a civilian source invented it.

Not a good track record.

But imagine the world with wormhole technology, instantaneous communications (communication satellites would be extinct), travel, space observations and computing would be vastly improved.

Also spying on people and nations would be very common.

In short, the world would be vastly more changed than it’s changing now.

Could humanity survive such changes?

STARstream Research Interviews Iranian Physicist Mohammad Mansouryar

Related post: “Better than most in the field”

The Politics of Fear

The 21st Century is one of William Gibson’s dystopic tales.

Or maybe Philip K. Dick, I can’t tell.

Anyway, one can’t deny the fear and anxiety that permeates the air like a thick cloud of smog.

Couple that with technology accelerating toward a Technological Singularity that seems to want to enslave all ordinary folk, well, one can see why people are slowly going insane.

At the center of this? Who knows? Theories go from the politicians, Bilderbergers, Freemasons, Trilateral Commission, to the Jesuits, Catholics, the CFR, all worshipping Lucifer!

The person studying the result of all this fear is Ignorance Isn’t Bliss and he’s made quite a few films on these subjects and my chicken scratchings hardly do him justice:

In the 21st Century we have two primary threats thrown at us. In the blue corner we have man-caused Global Warming, and in the red corner we have Islamic Terrorism. What are the risks and absurdities of each, and what is really driving these agendas?

The intention here isn’t to convince people they’re right or wrong about being liberal or conservative, but to point out how remarkable it is that each side of the agenda setters & policy makers have taken such staunch stances on these opposing issues, and to show the realities of the perceived threats..

These proclaimed threats are complex issues. The point here is to put them into perspective. What can we compare these issues to? How much do we know? What don’t we know? What makes sense? How far should we go? What should we jeopardize? What are the ascertainable risks?

These are the questions that need to be asked no matter the issue, especially if any given issue is to cost into the range of a trillion dollars per year, as regardless we all face total economic collapse. So hang up your preconceptions and political biases for a chance at a better understanding of many things. Let’s try to slow down for a minute, and try to assess what the non-Left/Right biased realities are, while discovering the unifying benefactor in pursuing both objectives as we’re being told to.

Ask yourself when haven’t you seen 2 people dramatize an event between them, and didn’t each have different stories as to what actually happened. Now consider, Democrats are supposed to be anti-war and pro-Global Warming mitigation. Republicans are opposite on both issues. This creates a small selection of scenarios: (1) One side is right about both, making the majority of the other side wrong about what they advocate (consider the odds of over 50 million people being totally wrong on both major issues). (2) Each side is right about what they promote, which makes them each wrong about what they argue against. (3) Each side is wrong about the intensity of what they advocate for, and are overall right about the lack of doomsday threat about what they argue against.

Odds are that either scenario 2 or 3 is the right answer. Then consider how hyped everything always is, and then crunch some odds numbers. Before we explore each issue, consider what is known in academia as the “Politics of Fear”.

A Primer On Fear

In the archetectualization of policy responses to perceived threats, few thinkers actually seem to address their statistical realities, nor do advocates of such policies. Should we listen wholeheartedly the strongest advocates of policy responses to any majors threats? The fact is, humans are aren’t very often ‘logical machines’ with emotions, instead humans are ‘emotional machines’ that think.

The fear reaction reflex is the most overpowering of all neural mechanisms. It’s a hard wired survival system, and when it goes into effect our cognitive abilities to rationally respond are almost quite literally physically incapable of rational thought. This is particularly the case if we don’t understand and acknowledge this inherent feature of quite literally all human brains. Without understanding this you’re almost powerless to suppress it when faced with complex fears.

[...]

There have been countless scholarly papers studying the media-driven Politics of Fear, but you wont hear about these on the news like you would the latest scholarly paper on global warming. Consider the intro of this paper by Frank Furedi:

Fear plays a key role in twenty-first century consciousness. Increasingly, we seem to engage with various issues through a narrative of fear. You could see this trend emerging and taking hold in the last century, which was frequently described as an ‘Age of Anxiety’. But in recent decades, it has become more and better defined, as specific fears have been cultivated.

Fear is often examined in relation to specific issues; it is rarely considered as a sociological problem in its own right. As Elemer Hankiss argues, the role of fear is ‘much neglected in the social sciences’. He says that fear has received ‘serious attention in philosophy, theology and psychiatry, less in anthropology and social psychology, and least of all in sociology’. This under-theorisation of fear can be seen in the ever-expanding literature on risk. Though sometimes used as a synonym for risk, fear is treated as an afterthought in today’s risk literature; the focus tends to remain on risk theory rather than on an interrogation of fear itself. Indeed, in sociological debate fear seems to have become the invisible companion to debates about risk.

Agenda’s tend to be pushed based on how much fear potential they carry, while the metrics of actual risk are ignored. The problem with all of this is the majority of issues trumpetted as primary items have been decreasing for decades, and not just because we’ve been afraid or because of insane funding for various things. In general, itis the issues that we’re most helpless against that are pushed the hardest. Issues like crime, school shootings, airplane crashes, airplane hijackings, terrorism, nuclear armageddon, and a pissed off planet frying us with CO2 that we breath out of our faces are all over-reported based on the actual ascertainable risks.  As fear expert David Altheide explains in his paper “Notes Towards A Politics Of Fear“:

The politics of fear relied on terrorism as a constant threat that can never be defeated; The term “terrorism” was used to encompass an idea as well as a tactic or method. Like the Mafia, it was everywhere and nowhere, all-powerful, but invisible. Crime helped shape the direction for terrorist victimisation. The politics of fear joined crime with victimisation through the “drug war,” interdiction and surveillance policies, and grand narratives that reflected numerous cultural myths about moral and social “disorder”. Numerous “crises” and fears involving crime, violence, and uncertainty were important for public definitions of the situation after 9/11. So perhaps it was natural that the terrorist attacks fed off this context of fear. The drug war and ongoing concerns with crime led to the expansion of fear with terrorism. News reports and advertisements joined drug use with terrorism and helped shift “drugs” from criminal activity to unpatriotic action. A $10 million ad campaign that included a Super Bowl commercial stated that buying and using drugs supports terrorism, or as President Bush put it, “If you quit drugs, you join the fight against terror in America.”

The Politics of Fear is going strong in 2010. The bruhaha over the mosque near the site of the old World Trade Center exemplify this by the inhabitants of New York City expressing their fear and anger with/of the Muslim community. Another example of the meme of fear and anger management by the political class/corporate media is the scheduled Koran burning in Florida on the September 11th anniversary.

Is this what Jefferson and Franklin had in mind when they formed the Republic 234 years ago?

Search within yourselves and answer that question.

The Global Meltdown of FEAR: Eliminated by 60+ visual aids.

Son of Dyna-Soar

Next year the Air Force will launch atop of an Atlas V rocket an unmanned space plane code named “X-37″.

It will have a 4′ x 7′ cargo bay and extensive improvements that was learned during the space shuttle era.

But the X-37 has a deeper ancestry than the space shuttle that reaches back to the beginnings of the space program:

The X-37 embodies other modifications of shuttle technology. All shuttle-era hydraulics have been eliminated; the new spaceplane’s flight controls will be operated electromechanically, making the X-37 fly-by-wire. Unlike the shuttle, with its one vertical stabilizer, the X-37 has two short diagonal ones, called ruddervators—surfaces that combine the functions of rudders and elevators. These reduce the amount of propellant needed to handle trim and control during the high-speed, high-angle-of-attack reentry, and provide room for a centerline speed brake that manages the vehicle’s glide energy just before landing.

Upon reaching orbit, the craft will deploy a solar array that will power batteries. Those batteries have replaced hydrogen fuel cells, the shuttle’s power source in orbit. The vehicle will maneuver in space powered by a combination of nitrogen tetroxide and hydrazine. Theoretically, the X-37 could rendezvous with other satellites of interest to the Air Force, friendly or otherwise.

If the X-37 is to carry out such national security missions, its roots will extend back beyond the space shuttle, to earlier spaceplanes. Says Mark Lewis: “I would draw a heritage not only to the shuttle, but to my very favorite program that never was: the X-20.”

A follow-on to the X-15 rocketplane, which didn’t have the power to get to orbit, the X-20 Dyna-Soar spaceplane, initiated in 1957, would have ridden a massive Titan III booster all the way to orbit if needed, and carried a pilot. (Neil Armstrong was one NASA test pilot selected to fly it, but in 1962 he transferred to the Apollo program.) Dyna-Soar would have given the Air Force a manned system that could have filled a variety of needs: research, reconnaissance, or even attack. It was designed to reach any target in the world in 45 minutes, deliver a weapon, and glide to a friendly base. Its altitude and hypersonic speed would have made it very difficult to intercept.

While this type of capability sounded like something the Air Force needed, the service had difficulty justifying it. NASA was making progress with blunt-body capsules that reentered the atmosphere without the need for pilot control, and intercontinental ballistic missiles were dominating the nuclear delivery mission. A controlled-reentry spaceplane puzzled Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara; he directed the Air Force to study whether concepts such as NASA’s Gemini could handle some of the roles better. In December 1963, shortly after prime contractor Boeing started building the vehicle and after about $660 million had been spent, McNamara killed the X-20.

I’m not surprised that McNamara killed the Dina-Soar program. Like all short-sighted politico types, he only saw the next war for empire and resources on the horizon.

Not above it.

Space Shuttle Jr.

 

Paracast’s Tribute To Mac Tonnies and Project Kugelblitz

Gene Steinberg and David Biedny celebrate the life of Fortean/science-fiction writer Mac Tonnies on the November 1st, 2009 Paracast with guests Greg Bishop, Patrick Huyghe, Paul Kimball and Nick Redfern, people who were close friends or worked with Tonnies on various projects.

A very touching send-off for Tonnies.

Somehow, I have to think that in the many Universes of the Multi-verse, Mac got up that Monday morning as normal and went to work as if nothing happened, still thinking about publishing his book.

http://www.podtrac.com/pts/redirect.mp3/media.blubrry.com/paranormal/www.theparacast.com/podcasts/paracast_091101.mp3

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Western militaries have been searching for a technological edge against whatever enemy-of-the-decade we happen to be fighting against for the past sixty-five years. Power supplies happen to be part of that equation since if western militaries can lower the incidences of refueling airborn and ground fighting machines, that means they can spend more time fighting the ‘enemy.’

Enter Project Kugelblitz.

The announcement came in May 2006 that – after decades of secretly investigating UFOs – the Ministry of Defence had come to the conclusion that aliens were not visiting Britain. The MoD’s claims were revealed within the pages of a formerly classified document – entitled Unidentified Aerial Phenomena in the UK Air Defence Region, and code-named Project Condign – that had been comm­issioned in 1996 and was completed in February 2000.

Released under the terms of the Freedom of Information Act thanks specifically to the work of FT contributor Dr David Clarke and UFO researcher Gary Anthony, the 465-page document demonstrated how air defence experts had concluded that UFO sightings were probably the result of “natural, but relatively rare phenomena” such as ball lightning and atmospheric plasmas. UFOs, wrote the still-unknown author of the MoD’s report, were “of no defence significance”.

Inevitably, many UFO investigators claimed that the MoD’s report was merely a ruse to hide its secret know­ledge of alien encounters, crashed UFOs, and high-level X-Files-type conspiracies. And although the Government firmly denied such claims, the report did reveal a number of significant conclus­ions of a genuinely intriguing nature.

The atmospheric plasmas which were believed to be the cause of so many UFO reports were “still barely understood”, said the MoD, and the magnetic and electric fields that eman­ated from plasmas could adversely affect the human nervous system. And that was not all. Clarke and Anthony revealed that “Volume 3 of the report refers to research and studies carried out in a number of foreign nations into UAPs [Unidentified Aerial Phenomena], atmospheric plasmas, and their potent­ial military applications.”

That such research was of interest to the MoD is demonstrated in a Loose Minute of 4 December 2000 called Unidentified Aerial Phenomena (UAP) – DI55 Report, which reveals: “DG(R&T) [Director-General, Research & Tech­nology] will be interested in those phen­omena associated with plasma form­ations, which have potential applic­ations to novel weapon technology.”

This was further borne out in an article on Condign written by James Randerson and published in the Guardian on 22 February 2007 (“Could we have hitched a ride on UFOs?”). It stated in part: “According to a former MoD intelligence analyst who asked not be named, the MoD was paranoid in the late 1980s that the Soviet Union had developed technology that went beyond western knowledge of physics. ‘For many years we were very concerned that in some areas the Russians had a handle on physics that we hadn’t at all. We just basically didn’t know the basics they were working from,’ he said. ‘We did encourage our scientists not to think that we in the West knew everything there was to be known.’”

And it wasn’t just the British Ministry of Defence and the Russians who recog­nised the potential military spin-offs that both plasmas and ball lightning offered – if they could be understood and harnessed, of course. Official documentation that has surfaced in the United States reveals that only two years after pilot Kenneth Arnold’s now-historic UFO encounter over the Cascade Mountains, Washington State, on 24 June 1947, the US military secretly began looking at ways to exploit such phenomena.

While the US Air Force was busying itself trying to determine whether UFOs were alien spacecraft, Soviet inventions, or even the work of an ultra-secret domestic project, the US Department of Commerce was taking a distinctly different approach. In its search for answers to the UFO puzzle, the DoC was focusing much of its attention on one of the most mystifying and controversial of all fortean phenomena: ball lightning.

A technical report, Project Grudge, published in 1949 by the Air Force’s UFO investigative unit detailed the findings of the DoC’s Weather Bureau with respect to ball lightning, which it believed was connected to normal lightning and electrical discharge. The phenomenon, said the DoC, was “spherical, roughly globular, egg-shaped, or pear-shaped; many times with projecting streamers; or flame-like irregular ‘masses of light’. Luminous in appearance, described in individual cases by different colours but mostly reported as deep red and often as glaring white.”

The Weather Bureau’s study added: “Some of the cases of ‘ball lightning’ observed have displayed excrescences of the appearance of little flames emanating from the main body of the luminous mass, or luminous streamers have developed from it and propagated slant-wise toward the ground… In rare instances, it has been reported that the luminous body may break up into a number of smaller balls which may appear to fall towards the earth like a rain of sparks. It has even been reported that the ball has suddenly ejected a whole bundle of many luminous, radiating streamers toward the earth, and then disapp­eared. There have been reports by observers of ‘ball lightning’ to the effect that the phenomenon appeared to float through a room or other space for a brief interval of time without making contact with or being attracted by objects.”

Possibly unknown outside of official circles – until I made the discovery at the US National Archives, Maryland, two years ago – is the fact that a complete copy of the Air Force’s Project Grudge document was, somewhat surprisingly, shared with US Army personnel at the Edgewood Arsenal, Maryland, in early 1950.

Even more surprising is a curiously-worded entry contained in the covering letter from the Air Force to Edgewood staff that accompanied the Grudge report: “You are aware we have already discussed with Mr Clapp the theor­etical incendiary applications of Ball-Lightening [sic] that might be useful to the several German projects at Kirtland. Useful data should be routed to Mr Clapp through this office.”

Precisely who the mysterious Mr Clapp was, I have thus far been unable to determine; however, the fact that he is described as ‘Mr’ is a strong indication that he was not a member of the military. ‘Kirtland’ can only be a reference to Kirtland Air Force Base, New Mexico. Named in 1942 after Roy C Kirtland – the oldest military pilot in the Air Corps – the base is located in the southeast quadrant of Albuquerque, New Mexico, adjacent to the Albuquerque International Sunport airport, and employs over 23,000 people. Moreover, Kirtland AFB has been the site of numerous mystifying UFO incidents since the late 1940s.

As for the reference to “the several German projects” apparently in place at Kirtland at the time, this is almost certainly related to the US Government’s controversial Operation Paperclip which, in the post-World War II era, saw countless German scientists – some of whom were Nazis, and many of whom were engaged in advanced aerospace research – secretly offered employment in the US, and particularly at military install­ations in New Mexico, such as the White Sands Proving Ground.

HARNESS-CAVALIER
So, can we assume from the hints contained in this letter that by early 1950 some sort of combined Army-Air Force project, or at the very least, an exchange of information, was underway at Edgewood Arsenal – possibly working in tandem with a similar project at Kirtland Air Force Base – to try to understand and harness the power of ball lightning?

The answer would appear to be yes. Documentation has disclosed the identity of a project nicknamed Harness-Cavalier, the purpose of which was indeed to understand and capitalise on the true nature of ball lightning, and which, from 1950 to at least the mid-1960s utilised the skills of per­sonnel from Edgewood Arsenal, Kirtland Air Force Base, and also Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Dayton, Ohio.

Via the Freedom of Information Act, a whole host of documents from the files of Harness-Cavalier – now numbering more than 120 – have surfaced, demonstrating that those attached to the project were kept well-informed of any and all developments in the field of ball lightning, and part­icularly how it might be exploited militarily.

Such documentation includes: “Theory of the Lightning Ball and its Application to the Atmospheric Phenomenon Called ‘Flying Saucers”, written by Carl Benadicks in 1954; “Ball Lightning: A Survey”, prepared by one JR McNally for the Oak Ridge National Laboratory, Tennessee (year unknown); DV Ritchie’s “Reds May Use Lightning as a Weapon”, which appeared in Missiles and Rockets in August 1959; and “An Experimental and Theoretical Program to Investigate the Feasibility of Confining Plasma in Free Space by Radar Beams”, which was written by CM Haaland in 1960 for the Armour Research Foundation, Illinois Institute of Technology.

The strongest evidence that confirms Edgewood Arsenal’s deep interest in the potential use of ball lightning on the battle­field can be found in a December 1965 document entitled “Survey of Kugelblitz Theories for Electromagnetic Incendiaries”. Written by WB Lyttle and CE Wilson, the document was prepared under contract for the US Army’s New Concepts Division/ Special Projects at Edgewood.

This is totally fascinating in that this explains quite a bit of why the US military kept the stories of ‘UFOs’ alive and were able to keep the prying eyes of the public away from their various research projects.

Exploring ‘ball-lightning’ and the use thereof would solve quite a lot of the problems of refueling fighters and other esoteric weaponry DARPA could dream up to kill people.

Tesla  invented the concept himself one hundred years ago when he imagined transferring artificial electrical ‘ball lightning’ from transfer station to transfer station around the world (spawning a theory about the 1908 Tunguska, Siberia explosion).

No wires or cables required. A completely ‘wireless’ network world-wide.

For free.

We don’t know for sure if the Pentagon has this ability and we only have people like Andrew D. Basiago’s claims they do, but imagine the implications!

Project Kugelblitz: Evidence that the US military planned to harness the power of ball lightning

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AI Panopticon Possible?

Artificial intelligence or no artificial intelligence?

That is the question robotics expert analyses in this interview with New Scientist:

Robotics expert Noel Sharkey used to be a believer in artificial intelligence. So why does he now think that AI is a dangerous myth that could lead to a dystopian future of unintelligent, unfeeling robot carers and soldiers? Nic Fleming finds out

What do you mean when you talk about artificial intelligence?

I like AI pioneer Marvin MinskyMovie Camera‘s definition of AI as the science of making machines do things that would require intelligence if done by humans. However, some very smart human things can be done in dumb ways by machines. Humans have a very limited memory, and so for us, chess is a difficult pattern-recognition problem that requires intelligence. A computer like Deep Blue wins by brute force, searching quickly through the outcomes of millions of moves. It is like arm-wrestling with a mechanical digger. I would rework Minsky’s definition as the science of making machines do things that lead us to believe they are intelligent.

Are machines capable of intelligence?

If we are talking intelligence in the animal sense, from the developments to date, I would have to say no. For me AI is a field of outstanding engineering achievements that helps us to model living systems but not replace them. It is the person who designs the algorithms and programs the machine who is intelligent, not the machine itself.

Are we close to building a machine that can meaningfully be described as sentient?

I’m an empirical kind of guy, and there is just no evidence of an artificial toehold in sentience. It is often forgotten that the idea of mind or brain as computational is merely an assumption, not a truth. When I point this out to “believers” in the computational theory of mind, some of their arguments are almost religious. They say, “What else could there be? Do you think mind is supernatural?” But accepting mind as a physical entity does not tell us what kind of physical entity it is. It could be a physical system that cannot be recreated by a computer.

The mind could be a type of physical system that cannot be recreated by computer

So why are predictions about robots taking over the world so common?

There has always been fear of new technologies based upon people’s difficulties in understanding rapid developments. I love science fiction and find it inspirational, but I treat it as fiction. Technological artefacts do not have a will or a desire, so why would they “want” to take over? Isaac Asimov said that when he started writing about robots, the idea that robots were going to take over the world was the only story in town. Nobody wants to hear otherwise. I used to find when newspaper reporters called me and I said I didn’t believe AI or robots would take over the world, they would say thank you very much, hang up and never report my comments.

You describe AI as the science of illusion.

It is my contention that AI, and particularly robotics, exploits natural human zoomorphism. We want robots to appear like humans or animals, and this is assisted by cultural myths about AI and a willing suspension of disbelief. The old automata makers, going back as far as Hero of Alexandria, who made the first programmable robot in AD 60, saw their work as part of natural magic – the use of trick and illusion to make us believe their machines were alive. Modern robotics preserves this tradition with machines that can recognise emotion and manipulate silicone faces to show empathy. There are AI language programs that search databases to find conversationally appropriate sentences. If AI workers would accept the trickster role and be honest about it, we might progress a lot quicker.

These views are in stark contrast to those of many of your peers in the robotics field.

Yes. Roboticist Hans Moravec says that computer processing speed will eventually overtake that of the human brain and make them our superiors. The inventor Ray Kurzweil says humans will merge with machines and live forever by 2045. To me these are just fairy tales. I don’t see any sign of it happening. These ideas are based on the assumption that intelligence is computational. It might be, and equally it might not be. My work is on immediate problems in AI, and there is no evidence that machines will ever overtake us or gain sentience.

And you believe that there are dangers if we fool ourselves into believing the AI myth…

It is likely to accelerate our progress towards a dystopian world in which wars, policing and care of the vulnerable are carried out by technological artefacts that have no possibility of empathy, compassion or understanding.

How would you feel about a robot carer looking after you in old age?

Eldercare robotics is being developed quite rapidly in Japan. Robots could be greatly beneficial in keeping us out of care homes in our old age, performing many dull duties for us and aiding in tasks that failing memories make difficult. But it is a trade-off. My big concern is that once the robots have been tried and tested, it may be tempting to leave us entirely in their care. Like all humans, the elderly need love and human contact, and this often only comes from visiting carers. A robot companion would not fulfil that need for me.

You also have concerns about military robots.

The many thousands of robots in the air and on the ground are producing great military advantages, which is why at least 43 countries have development programmes of their own. No one can deny the benefit of their use in bomb disposal and surveillance to protect soldiers’ lives. My concerns are with the use of armed robots. Drone attacks are often reliant on unreliable intelligence in the same way as in Vietnam, where the US ended up targeting people who were owed gambling debts by its informants. This over-reaching of the technology is killing many innocent people. Recent US planning documents show there is a drive towards developing autonomous killing machines. There is no way for any AI system to discriminate between a combatant and an innocent. Claims that such a system is coming soon are unsupportable and irresponsible.

Is this why you are calling for ethical guidelines and laws to govern the use of robots?

In the areas of robot ethics that I have written about – childcare, policing, military, eldercare and medical – I have spent a lot of time looking at current legislation around the world and found it wanting. I think there is a need for urgent discussions among the various professional bodies, the citizens and the policy makers to decide while there is still time. These developments could be upon us as fast as the internet was, and we are not prepared. My fear is that once the technological genie is out of the bottle it will be too late to put it back.

Well, I think the ‘genie’ is almost out of the bottle now.

The Pentagon’s science tech arm DARPA is currently working on war machines that could be sentient and perform operations in the field in a few short years; https://www.fbo.gov/download/eae/eae3b7e276226b092f17fe69359f31d4/BAA_DARPA-BAA-09-63.doc

It’s a long abstract, so pack a lunch.

But it shows how serious the US government is in developing Terminator type artificial intelligence.

In the end, could we still control such creatures?

And would they be alive by biological standards?

Why AI is a dangerous dream

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