Monthly Archives: January 2008

Ethical Implications of Robots in War

From Slashdot:

Schneier points out an interesting (and long, 117-pages) paper on the ethical implications of robots in war: “This report has provided the motivation, philosophy, formalisms, representational requirements, architectural design criteria, recommendations, and test scenarios to design and construct an autonomous robotic system architecture capable of the ethical use of lethal force. These first steps toward that goal are very preliminary and subject to major revision, but at the very least they can be viewed as the beginnings of an ethical robotic warfighter. The primary goal remains to enforce the International Laws of War in the battlefield in a manner that is believed achievable, by creating a class of robots that not only conform to International Law but outperform human soldiers in their ethical capacity.”

Get the report here (PDF)[source]

Sheila Patek: Measuring the fastest animal on earth

UC Berkeley biologist Sheila Patek gives a wide-ranging talk on the effort to measure the hyperfast movements of peacock mantis shrimp heels using high-speed video cameras recording at 20,000 frames per second. She and her team slowed down the movements of these amazing animals and showed they had the fastest known feeding strike in the animal kingdom. (In 2006, Patek’s team announced an even faster animal part: the mandible of the trap-jaw ant.)

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Satellite may hit earth

You’ve probably already heard that a US spy satellite known as USA-193 is no longer able to keep itself up because the software on board has failed. This is a secret spy satellite so we don’t at present know what the software was (any guesses?). It is big enough to not totally burn up in the atmosphere, and there are concerns that the satellite has nasty toxins on board. But again, since it is a secret spy satellite we can’t know this either.The expected date of entry is late February or early March.Here is a source of info and a picture of the satellite.

Raul Midon: “All the Answers” and “Tembererana”

Guitarist and singer Raul Midon performs “All the Answers” in a world premiere at TED2007. “This is a song I wrote about the meaning of technology,” he says, and he asks his listeners: What will we do with all this information we have at our fingertips? He follows with the sprightly “Tembererana.”
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