During those late nights when you just feel like a quick bite to eat and your favourite show before hitting the hay, we all feel like quickly ordering something in and enjoying the greasy food before the days over. Taco Bell are currently testing a new way for you to order, the TacoBot.
The TacoBot is designed to be a chat AI, designed to help you not only figure out what you really want but then to place your order. Just like having an instant messaging conversation, you could soon be ordering and asking questions about the menu rather than browsing and debating every single option you can’t get.
The TacoBot is currently in a closed beta, with select companies giving it a try and making sure that you can’t break the system and end up with a chicken taco rather than a bean burrito.
Place your order via the chat bot and select your pick up location to enjoy fast food on the go. With autonomous delivery robots now offering you pizza to your door without a driver, you may even be able to get your food delivered by a drone in the near future, leaving only the cooking up to a person.
What do you think? Would you prefer to select items off a menu or is a chat bot a nice way to order? How would you feel if you could text or email your order to the chat bot? Walking home from work? a quick text and the foods ready for you to pick up before you’ve even left the office.
These days having a social media presence is up there alongside having a driving license or passport, for everything from seeing your friends get new jobs and houses to checking out potential employers (or being checked out by a potential employer). Facebook is keen to do a lot in the new year, and its made its first step by mapping where people live using AI.
The social network has been mapping the world using artificial intelligence, scaning satellite images and using it to identify where human-built structures are. While an impressive sight, the tool is designed to be useful as well, with the hopes that it could help them deploy their internet streaming drones.
Facebook though isn’t just ending it there, with hopes that it could be used for everything from “socio-economic research” to “risk assessment for natural disasters”.
The results of the scans are shown below, showing just how accurate the AI is at picking out what a human being would struggle to spot from an image.
In their blog post, Facebook stated that they have now analyzed 20 countries with a total of 21.6 million square kilometers. The total size of these images is a whopping 350TB of data,
If this wasn’t enough, Facebook announced they will be releasing the data to the general public later this year, meaning that everyone from you and me to Universities and Governments can use it to help with anything from figuring out a nice quiet neighborhood for a party to a nicely populated town to retire in.
The continual advancement of AI is compelling at the very least; the notion that machines will have the ability to experience human emotions and abilities has opened the door to a whole new world of potential possibilities. But, are machines really a threat to mankind? Sci-fi author Logan Streondj thinks so and has detailed his vision in a blog post.
The aforementioned author suggests that a potential conflict could happen as intelligent robots are predicted to outnumber humans. The acclaimed author references the fact from “World Counts” that there are around 350 thousand human babies born each day or 130 million a year; the growth rate is 1%. According to the International Federation of Robotics, there were around 5 million robots being produced in 2014 with a growth rate of 15%. Within the same year there were approximately 11,000 military robots being produced and this could be significantly higher if you take into consideration the many top-secret projects which are being developed by governments etc.
This suggests that if growth statistics stays the same, in 25 years time or (2040) parity will be reached. Mr. Streondj also conveys the notion that there is a growth rate of 13% of military robots and by 2053, there will be around a million produced each year.
Is this possible or indeed believable? It really depends on the advancements of AI intelligence, the biggest fear among the human race is that robots will be able to decide their own destiny; if this is the case then it is conceivable that robots may not agree with us. An interesting point has been released by the World Fact Book which states that humans have a life expectancy of around 70 years globally, this compares with around 10 years for robots, this means that robots would need to produce approximately 7 times more a year in order to have the same population as humans.
It is really up to us, if we continue our path and develop a robot that is able to think for itself then we may technically see a revolt within the distant future, if not and we contain the abilities with which machines can reach, then we can control our own future.
Featuring a pun on their name, combined with a web address, the adverts were created by using a technique called reverse graffiti. This means that instead of applying paint or another material atop the surface, you use a stencil and a power washer to remove and clean off the top layer of dirt, resulting in a white depiction of your stencil.
The adverts have also been spotted in Manchester, Birmingham, Wolverhampton and Leeds. GCHQ claim that they were led to believe that Hackney Borough Council had an issue with clean graffiti on street furniture, not pavements.
If only they had a copy of the email that people sent with this information…
Artificial Intelligence has been progressing at an impressive rate due to technological advancements in cybernetics. The Institute for Ethics and Emerging Technologies suggests AI is a form of biological replication and further understanding of the human brain can help create a more advanced reproduction. In the next decade or so, it’s perfectly feasible the robotics industry could create service droids to perform rudimentary tasks. According to a study in Japan, AI is already surpassing the capabilities of the average human being.
Japan’s National Institute of Informatics programmed the AI to complete a standardized college entrance exam. The system correctly answered 511 questions out of a possible 950. In comparison to this, the national average score is 416, which means the AI system has an 80% chance of being admitted into the country’s 33 national universities and 441 private colleges.
The test revolves around five core subjects including History, Maths, and Physics. As you might expect, the AI scored highly in Maths questions and retained information extremely well to achieve excellent History results. On the other hand, the AI system struggled to cope with the Physics questioning due to processing language’s limitations. Overall, the test scores illustrate how far Artificial Intelligence has come, and robotics is a field which could revolutionize society.
Leaks of classified information have been part of the fabric of social interactions and also modern-day communications that includes the Internet, from hacked celeb pics to the now infamous Edward Snowdon cache of documents that detailed the extensive surveillance states and operations around the world. This leak is no different, yet if genuine, (I have to put this caveat in just in case someone is lying here and it comes back to bite me firmly on the posterior), is a huge trove of secret documents which have been published by The Intercept, detailing the Obama administration’s secretive and controversial drone-based assassination program.
If you’re not familiar with this program then let me elaborate, The US military and figures including the Obama administration have implemented a program that sort to track and kill high-value enemy targets throughout Afghanistan, Yemen, and Somalia. Now onto the documents which have been classed as being leaked by an anonymous whistleblower, this information covers an extensive array of subjects which includes kill chains, operations and also the standard intelligence flaws.
Skimming through this information reveals some extremely sensitive documents, for example “One top-secret document shows how the terror watchlist appears in the terminals of personnel conducting drone operations,linking unique codes associated with cellphone SIM cards and handsets to specific individuals in order to geolocate them”.
Another document reveals a case of a British citizen, Bilal el-Berjawi, who was stripped of his citizenship before being killed in a U.S drone strike in 2012. “British and American intelligence had Berjawi under surveillance for several years as he travelled back and forth between the U.K. and East Africa yet did not capture him. Instead, the U.S. hunted him down” and eventually used a drone strike to kill him in Somalia.
The “Kill Chain” sounds like a title to a film, yet this purported leak is very compelling, interesting, informative and also fascinating. It details the steps required to authorize a drone strike on a target in Yemen and the people who it passes through. It also shows that according to a Pentagon study, president Obama signed off on a 60 day authorizations to kill suspected terrorists, but he did not sign off on individual strikes.
According to the documents, there are two steps. Step 1 is choosing the target and step 2 is taking a strike. Step 1 starts from a JSOC task force before going through officials including Leon Panetta who is the Secretary of Defence, a principals committee which includes Hillary Clinton all the way to President Obama. Step 2, in the case of strikes in Yemen, ranges from a JSOC task force all the way to the president of Yemen.
Well yes, this is indeed big, am I surprised? No, the US is addicted to the Find Fix Finish mantra which has made drone strikes popular for the administration. The cache is extensive and it is far too much information to detail here, otherwise this article would be 5000 words long, and few want that.
It will be fascinating to see further developments in the coming days, weeks and also months.
Thank you theintercept for providing us with this information.
Let’s for a minute contemplate the appearance of Julian Assange, he looks as if he is attempting to apply for this year’s role of Santa at a shopping centre. He might be slowly losing his marbles considering a few of his comments concerning his stay at the Ecuadorian embassy during an interview with The Times Magazine.
Can I source this link? Noooo, why? Behind a paywall, oh where else can I find a summary, I know, the many sources on the internet of course. Anyway, Julian Assange fears he will be assassinated if he steps onto either a balcony or out the door of the embassy. This is technically possible, although he might need to move further away from the building than that for it to look less obvious. Now for the weird, the following comments are his views on being “droned”
I’m a white guy,” Mr Assange said. “Unless I convert to Islam it’s not that likely that I’ll be droned, but we have seen things creeping towards that.”
I am just going to let that sink in for a sec, he also describes receiving bomb and death threats and he has also not been able to have any fresh air or sunlight for 3 years. His situation could be resolved in the next 2 years by which point his hotel stay at the embassy will be nearer five years.
Julian Assange is controversial yet has, through Wikileaks, been able to expose many a scandal which has included Surveillance and also disgraceful military practices. His situation depends on your viewpoint, many spectators have formed a conclusion that he does indeed have a target on his head, but it’s difficult to quantify his situation, after all, where will he be in 5 years. Let’s hope he re-enters the world otherwise officials will start charging him per night for his room.
The human brain, fascinating, exciting and full of possibilities, the notion to create, form an opinion and challenge the environment which we live in, is truly exceptional. We now might be able to find answers as to how powerful the human brain is after a project which is designed to compare a supercomputer with that of a brain.
An Artificial Intelligence project which has been devised by two PhD students from the University of California Berkeley and Carnegie Mellon University, will be the first of its kind to compare the human brain with the world’s best supercomputer. The AI Impacts project aims to determine how fast the human brain sends signals in its internal network compared to that of a supercomputer.
The scholars compared the power of our brains with that of IBM’s Sequola supercomputer which is in the top 3 of the most powerful supercomputers. “Sequola has a TEPS (Traversed Edges per Second) benchmark of 2.3 x 1013 TEPS”. The estimates suggest the “AI Impacts are that the human brain should be at least as powerful as Sequoia in the lower limits and for the upper estimates, therefore the human brain could surpass the IBM Sequoia speed by 30 times at 6.4 x 1014 TEPS”.
Which is both a lot to take in but also equally and potentially incredible, evolution has formed an instrument which is quite amazing, and it begs the question, what else will we find as research and tech advances with the aim of exploring us. It is also interesting to note if the wiring of for example a genius brain, think Stephen Hawking, is different to that of an average mind or the best sportsman evolved differently with more advanced genes, or if are we all capable. If we spent enough time learning a skill to be able to adapt to anything? Its compelling none the less.
Thank you aiimpacts for providing us with this information.
Do you remember when 167,000 people signed a petition calling for Edward Snowdon to be pardoned? Not even Pepperidge Farms recalls this considering this was two years ago. The US government is known for hanging many decisions out, but I will give them credit for finally responding to this petition.
Once a petition reaches 100,000 signatures via the government’s official platform, under their rules they are duty bound to respond to it, which they have, eventually. So will Edward Snowdon receive a pardon? No, no he won’t according to Homeland Security advisor Lisa Monaco who accuses Snowdon of “running away from the consequences of his actions.”
A shortened redacted version of this statement is below, at least I have summarised the point unlike many US documents which have one word visible.
“Instead of constructively addressing these issues, Mr. Snowden’s dangerous decision to steal and disclose classified information had severe consequences for the security of our country and the people who work day in and day out to protect it.
If he felt his actions were consistent with civil disobedience, then he should do what those who have taken issue with their own government do: Challenge it, speak out, engage in a constructive act of protest, and — importantly — accept the consequences of his actions. He should come home to the United States, and be judged by a jury of his peers — not hide behind the cover of an authoritarian regime. Right now, he’s running away from the consequences of his actions”.
This is the cliché catch 22 situation, if Edward Snowdon had of spoken out and challenged the status quo, this would have been quickly and silently shot down. One has to remember when scandals are broken; they are not publicized by establishment officials but journalists and external investigators, how do you challenge behaviour in-house?
I do feel that Edward Snowdon has placed a target with which to discredit via his asylum in Russia. It’s a bit of an irony to live in a country for speaking out against violations of democracy, when said new residence has the uncanny habit of hunting down perceived dissenters. I also don’t believe Snowdon will receive a fair trial at all in the US, one thing to consider concerning this aspect is this, during the somewhat recent trial of Boston bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, the jury was made up of individuals which favoured the death penalty. Lawyers had the ability and are allowed to dismiss any juror who is opposed to the death penalty, thus in a roundabout way influencing the nature of the sentence.
The above example is just that, an example to show how the word “fair” could be slightly deviated for a desired outcome.
Right, not sure what to make of this, but this has appeared on a few tech sites in the last few hours, according to online hacktivist CyberBerkut, who are claiming to have released a video which purports to be from Senator John McCain’s laptop and (ALLEGEDLY) shows what looks to be a stage-managed version of IS executions.
According to the information, Senator McCain did visit Ukraine in the last week where CyberBerkut are based, according to them; they somehow accessed his laptop for this information. Again, allegedly.
Below is the statement which CyberBerkut has placed onto their website
“We CyberBerkut received at the disposal of the file whose value cannot be overstated! Dear Senator McCain! We recommend you next time in foreign travel, and especially on the territory of Ukraine, not to take confidential documents. In one of the devices of your colleagues, we found a lot of interesting things. Something we decided to put: this video should become the property of the international community!”
I am not going to comment but to only give the information which is available to the story as of writing, expressing an opinion on such unproven allegations would be disrespectful to the families and friends who have lost loved ones to these barbaric acts.
Propaganda, protest or truth, this is the information circulating
Edward Snowden is a famous name in almost every house, his action was revealing the level of information and actions completed to get that information for US agencies, actions which he believed and has since been stated as illegal.
In the latest piece of news regarding the information revealed, its is now believed that both the Russian and Chinese Governments have managed to crack the encryption around several of the files and have been able to acquire information from them. The belief has caused MI6 to withdraw its agents from hostile countries overseas, although it is reported that no one has been harmed as a result of this information.
One source speaking on behalf of the U.K. Government stated, “It has meant agents have had to be moved and that knowledge of how we operate has stopped us getting vital information. There is no evidence of anyone being harmed.”.
The document not only outlines personnel operating abroad but also techniques used by British and American agents. With around 1 million classified files believed to now be accessible by foreign agencies, one Home office official accused Snowden of having blood on his hands.
Snowden is currently wanted for the crime of releasing confidential information and is seeking protection from extradition in Russia.
A 2009 CIA document – released courtesy of a victorious Freedom of Information lawsuit filed against the US Department of Justice and published by The New York Times – has revealed the US external intelligence service did not use the NSA’s controversial STELLAR WIND surveillance program, which allowed the government warrantless access to private data that it collected en masse, as CIA analysts were not even aware that it existed.
Dated June 2009, the document from the CIA Inspector General (IG), the intelligence service’s internal watchdog, though heavily redacted, claims that the President’s Surveillance Program (PSP, aka “The Program”) was so secretive that only top-level officials had access to it, leaving “CIA analysts and targeting officers” in the dark.
According to the CIA IG report, three “sets of data” were collected under PSP:
The first set included the content of individually targeted telephone and e-mail communications. The second set consisted of telephone dialing information—the date, time, and duration of calls; the telephone number of the caller; and the number receiving the call—collected in bulk [REDACTED]. The third data set consisted of e-mail transactional data [REDACTED] collected in bulk [REDACTED].
The reports goes on to outline exactly why the CIA did not use data from PSP – because most were unaware it was there, and the few who did had no training as to how to access and use it:
Several factors hindered the CIA in making full use of the capabilities of the PSP. Many CIA officers told us that too few CIA personnel at the working level were read into the PSP. [REDACTED] officials told us that CIA and targeting officers who were read in had too many competing priorities and too many other available information sources and analytic tools—many of which were more easily accessed and timely—to fully utilize the PSP. CIA officers also told us that the PSP would have been more fully utilized if and targeting officers had obtained a better understanding of the program’s capabilities. Many CIA officers noted that there was insufficient training and legal guidance concerning the program’s capabilities and the use of PSP-derived information. The factors that hindered the CIA in making full use of the PSP might have been mitigated if the CIA had designated an individual at an appropriate level of managerial authority, who possessed knowledge of both the PSP and CIA counterterrorism activities, to be responsible and accountable for overseeing CIA participation in the program.
The CIA did not implement procedures to assess the usefulness of the product of the PSP and did not routinely document whether particular PSP reporting had contributed to successful counterterrorism operations.
So, the CIA was reprieved from being sullied by reprehensibly unethical breaches of others privacy through sheer ignorance. That’s something, I suppose.
Thank you Ars Technica for providing us with this information.
The news may seem a bit awkward, but US forces have found a large stash of adult entertainment content after raiding Osama bin Laden’s compound in Pakistan.
This proves two things, one being that terrorists are perverts and the other may indicate that there are hidden messages in some of the pornographic material. NSA analysts were then tasked to visit the websites frequented by jihadists in search of encrypted messages in the digital porn clips and photos.
“We have terabytes of this stuff,” an US intelligence analyst told The Daily Beast.”It isn’t possible that they are encrypting messages in all of this stuff. Some of these guys are just perverts.”
Watching porn all day long and getting paid for it may seem a great job, but the reality of it is that the content may be disturbing at some point. It is said that not all clips and photos are similar to what you know from PornHub related sites, having some of it including pornographic images of children.
This is why the intelligence agency has a squad of psychiatrists and therapists to help employees tasked with the job of watching these pornographic material cope with what they see.
“They’re being exposed to material that, day in and day out, we’re not exposed to broadly in America,” a senior physician with the CIA’s Office of Medical told Daily Beast.”That has its own sort of impact and own sort of, for lack of a better term, shock value.”
“Typically, for operators working in support of military operations, they’re told, ‘You’re going to see images that might disturb you. Just prepare yourself and realise there are counselling resources available to you,'” an ex-chief of the NSA’s elite Tailored Access Operations group added.
Employees who work with this type of material are not uncommon to go through regular depressions and grief, in addition to feelings of anger and a sense of urgency to track down those responsible.
Thank you News.com.au for providing us with this information
Senior MPs in the UK have called for agencies like the MI6, MI5 and GCHQ to use websites like Mumsnet to recruit spies. The remarks come as part of calls to increase the number of middle-aged women and mothers working in intelligence. The Intelligence and Security Committee made the conclusions in a report, that said females make up only 19% of those in Senior positions within the MI6, MI5 and GCHQ.
The thing that has turned heads though, is the fact that Mumsnet might be a place mothers could be recruited as spies. Will GCHQ really monitor the Mumsnet forums to find the next ‘M‘? Maybe. Justine Roberts, the CEO of Mumsnet didn’t directly respond to the suggestion, other than to say “I’m afraid I’m unable to comment as I have an urgent appointment with a rock in St. James’s Park.”
So, if you’re a kid, keep an eye on your mother if ever she’s on Mumsnet, she might just be protecting our borders from Russian spies.
For the first time ever, GCHQ, the UK’s Government Communications Headquarters, Britain’s equivalent of the NSA, has allowed members of the media access to its offices for the first time.
Sky News and ITV were among those allowed inside, getting unprecedented images from the heart of Britain’s cyber intelligence gathering activities. Sky says that the access was granted following David Cameron’s pledge to allow surveillance personnel deeper access into the public’s communications – potentially banning end-to-end encryption used by communications services like iMessage and WhatsApp.
So I guess we can think of this as something along the lines of, “look, here’s the nice normal people who you can trust having access to your naked pictures and Viagra orders, you have nothing to worry about”.
British Intelligence Agency, GCHQ, is said to have started accrediting six UK universities, which can now teach people the art of ‘cyber spying’. The degree initiative comes from part of the UK’s cyber security strategy published back in 2011.
The strategy itself is said to recognize that education is a crucial key to improving defenses against hackers and online fraud. Francis Maude, the Cabinet Office minister, stated that cyber security is a key part of the government’s future plans for the British economy, emphasizing that it would make the “UK one of the safest places in the world to do business online”.
“Through the excellent work of GCHQ, in partnership with other government departments, the private sector and academia, we are able to counter threats and ensure together we are stronger and more aware.” Maude said.
Universities around the UK were required to submit their master’s degree courses for certification. At present, GCHQ-approved courses in cyber security can be found at Edinburgh Napier University, Lancaster University, the University of Oxford and Royal Holloway, University of London.
In addition to the previously mentioned universities, GCHQ is said to have given out provisional accreditation to Cranfield University’s cyber defence and information assurance course, and the University of Surrey’s information security course.
Thank you BBC for providing us with this information Image courtesy of BBC
DARPA is said to be working on an Anti-Submarine Warfare Continuous Trail Unmanned Vessel (ACTUV) program, which is said to be the first robotic autonomous vessel designed to locate and track even the most quiet diesel submarines at the most extreme depths.
The national security, health and engineering company, Leidos, is part of the DARPA program tasked with building the ACTUV. Based in Reston, Virginia, the company is said to have been granted the ‘OK’ back in February in order to start work on the autonomous unmanned vessel, having it built at Christensen Shipyard in Vancouver, Washington, under the supervision of Leidos and Oregon Iron Works. Actual work on the vessel is said to take 15 months, with a launch date set for 2015 on the Columbia River.
“ACTUV’s advanced sensor technology should allow for continuous surveillance which, combined with the vessel architecture and design, is expected to provide autonomous safe navigation supporting Navy missions around the world,” says Leidos Group President, John Fratamico.
The ACTUV is said to be built out of carbon composite, using a modular design and a parallel workflow method in order to speed up assembly. In addition to the latter, the ACTUV is equipped with navigation and piloting sensors, electro-optics, as well as long and short-range radar. Leidos states tat the ACTUV’s modular design allows it to carry out anti-submarine warfare operations, having the ability to be refitted for intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance missions as well.
Thank you Gizmag for providing us with this information Image courtesy of Gizmag
It may seem to be very science-fiction, but Volvo’s autonomous self-driving car is far more science-fact as the first vehicle sets out on to the open roads along with the general public. In the run up to a test drive where one hundred self driving vehicles will be let loose around the city of Gothenburg in Sweden, test drives are being performed with individual cars to test their capability to merge into lanes of traffic along with braking and accelerating where necessary.
A well orchestrated advert (as we have come to expect of Volvo since their Jean-Claude Van Damme advert with the two separating trucks went viral last year) demonstrates how the car requires no input from the passenger as it drives through the city and motorways before it returns to manual driving mode and the passenger then becomes the driver.
Eric Coelingh, a technical specialist at Volvo spoke out reporting, “The test cars are now able to handle lane following, speed adaption and merging traffic all by themselves. This is an important step towards our aim that the final Drive Me cars will be able to drive the whole test route in highly autonomous mode.”
When driving in autonomous mode, a series of cameras and sensors around the exterior of the car constantly monitor and track the position of nearby vehicles, calculating whether they are speeding up, slowing down, changing lanes or simply overtaking. Should all of the public road tests prove to be a success, the proposal to release the one hundred vehicles on to a 50km route of the city should be ready for around 2017. Whilst this is another step forward to the safer driving environment that both Google and Nissan have also ventured out to achieve, we are still a long way off having these vehicles publicly available to purchase, amid fears that they are not safe enough for the entire population and predicting the actions of other road users like a real person would be able to do.
Either way though this road test shows that the technology is there and it does work (on a small-scale) so it is not a case of if, but when will it finally be deemed safe and ready to go on sale.