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Indeed the stars in the sky and their constellations no longer shine

Building Robot Soldiers
Topic: Technology 8:00 am EDT, Jul 18, 2003

] Building Robot Soldiers
] Researchers are rushing to create battlefield robots that
] can assist humans in combat
All of the developments cited in the article are for non-lethal activities. But Michael Rogers antipcates the day when, "someday, in some army, robots will bear and fire arms on their own."

Building Robot Soldiers

Machine vs. Man: Checkmate
Topic: Technology 7:52 am EDT, Jul 18, 2003

"There’s a scary lesson in these contests between the grandmaster and his soulless opponents. We are sharing our world with another species, one that gets smarter and more independent every year. Though some people scoff at the idea that machines could become autonomous, remember it wasn’t long ago that almost no one thought a computer would ever beat a human chess champion. Could we ever face anything akin to the horrendous sci-fi nightmares that we see in “Terminator 3”? In the long run, it’s well worth worrying about. But the machines aren’t worried at all."

Machine vs. Man: Checkmate

The Computational Perspective: A Talk With Daniel Dennett
Topic: Science 7:35 am EDT, Jul 18, 2003

"A philosopher by training, Daniel C. Dennett is known as the leading proponent of the computational model of the mind. He has made significant contributions in fields as diverse as evolutionary theory, artificial intelligence, cognitive science, animal studies, computer science among others. Never one to avoid a good fight, he has clashed with such noted thinkers as John Searle, Roger Penrose, and Stephen Jay Gould. In this regard, Dennett is emblematic of the third culture intellectual.The strength of the third culture is precisely that it can tolerate disagreements about which ideas are to be taken seriously. There is no canon or accredited list of acceptable ideas. Unlike previous intellectual pursuits, the achievements of the third culture are not the marginal disputes of a quarrelsome mandarin class: they affect the lives of everybody on the planet."

Published on November 19 at

The Computational Perspective: A Talk With Daniel Dennett

Strategic Computing: DARPA and the Quest for Machine Intelligence, 1983-1993.
Topic: Technology 7:12 am EDT, Jul 18, 2003

by Alex Roland and Philip Shiman. MIT Press, June 2002, ISBN 0-262-18226-2. 440 pages.

This is the story of an extraordinary effort by the U.S. Department of Defense to hasten the advent of "machines that think." From 1983 to 1993, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) spent an extra $1 billion on computer research aimed at achieving artificial intelligence. The Strategic Computing Initiative (SCI) was conceived as an integrated plan to promote computer chip design and manufacture, computer architecture, and artificial intelligence software. What distinguished SCI from other large-scale technology programs was that it self-consciously set out to advance an entire research front. The SCI succeeded in fostering significant technological successes, even though it never achieved machine intelligence. The goal provided a powerful organizing principle for a suite of related research programs, but it did not solve the problem of coordinating these programs. In retrospect, it is hard to see how it could have.

In Strategic Computing, Alex Roland and Philip Shiman uncover the roles played in the SCI by technology, individuals, and social and political forces. They explore DARPA culture, especially the information processing culture within the agency, and they evaluate the SCI?s accomplishments and set them in the context of overall computer development during this period. Their book is an important contribution to our understanding of the complex sources of contemporary computing.

Strategic Computing: DARPA and the Quest for Machine Intelligence, 1983-1993.

Inside PARC
Topic: Technology 8:49 am EDT, Jul 17, 2003

Johan de Kleer talks about knowledge tracking, smart matter and other new developments in AI.

Johan de Kleer: Manager of the Systems and Practices Laboratory, Palo Alto Research Center (PARC). Widely published in the areas of qualitative physics, model-based reasoning, truth maintenance systems, and knowledge representation. An ACM Fellow.

... There is a renewed surge of interest in understanding and representing the content of collections of documents. As each new document comes in, we want to be able to identify the relation of the new material to what was previously collected. We call this "knowledge tracking."

Knowledge fusion: creating "the perfect document" in response to your query by fusing the meanings of parts of other documents.

... We're moving into a world where there's going to be billions of sensors each with a small bit of computation and a limited amount of energy. How can we handle such a large scale-up? This is the Internet on steroids. ... It goes way beyond the mechanisms that currently run the Internet because there will be so many more nodes ...

... it's a whole new wave.

... The whole network simply adapts.

... I try to explain the context ...

... the next generation will have a deeper appreciation and ability to use technology ...

The biggest change that happened at PARC over time has been the shift from technology to content. The other big shift is importance of the social in everything.

"This is a cool algorithm, but will people actually use it?"

... One passionate person is worth a thousand people who are just plodding along ...

... At that point, as far as I'm concerned, they're hired.

Inside PARC

Information-Theoretic Analysis of Information Hiding
Topic: Technology 8:41 am EDT, Jul 17, 2003

Pierre Moulin has a paper entitled "Information-Theoretic Analysis of Information Hiding" in the March 2003 issue of IEEE Transactions on Information Theory. You can find this paper online here, along with his other related work.

Excerpts from the abstract of the paper: An information-theoretic analysis of information hiding is presented, forming the theoretical basis for design of information-hiding systems. ... The host data set is intentionally corrupted, but in a covert way, designed to be imperceptible to a casual analysis. We formalize and evaluate the hiding capacity ... [which] is the value of a game between the information hider and the attacker. It is shown that many existing information-hiding systems in the literature operate far below capacity.

Information-Theoretic Analysis of Information Hiding

ScienceDaily News Release: Cracking Data Hiding: Theory Can Help Disable Terrorists' Messages
Topic: Technology 8:32 am EDT, Jul 17, 2003

You'd think that this was late-breaking stuff, but the original paper is three years old.

ScienceDaily News Release: Cracking Data Hiding: Theory Can Help Disable Terrorists' Messages

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