In The American Way of War, historian Russell Weigley
describes a grinding strategy of destruction employed by the US
military over the last 150 years. To end the Civil War, Grant
felt he had to completely destroy Lee
soldiers. In World War I, Pershing
relentlessly bombarded and wore down Germany’s proud fighting
machine. And the Army Air Corps pulverized major German and
Japanese cities to win World War II.
These wars were not won by tactical or strategic brilliance but
by the sheer weight of numbers – the awesome destructive power that
only a fully mobilized and highly industrialized democracy can
bring to bear. In these conflicts, US armies suffered and inflicted
massive casualties. Our ability to both inflict and endure such
casualties more effectively than could our adversaries ultimately
resulted in victory.
However, this strategy is no longer effective. Inspired by
latest information technologies, the US military has adopted new
warfare tactics that eliminate the bloody matches of old. The new
style seeks quick victory with minimal casualties on both sides and
utilizes speed, flexibility, and surprise. It relies on precision
firepower and integrates naval, air, and land forces into a
seamless whole. This technique was clearly demonstrated in the 2003
invasion of Iraq.
But experts predict that even this latest approach must change.
Today, we experience conflict that includes warfare in which
dominant military powers are confronted by a wide range of
adversaries – from non-state radical ideologies (al Qaeda), to
transnational criminal elements (Russian Mafia), to rogue states
(N. Korea, Iran) – all employing unconventional tactics.
richardpinder I can
see where you are coming from with this technology with regards to
taking it in a positive direction. However I think that this
science is far too dangerous, more so than every
other science I have knowledge of to be allowed public. The massive
risks of this technology is that it can lead to complete
mind control. Anything can be hacked given time thus it
wont be possible to make this hack proof. This technology can be
used to control free will and should be banned now. I hope you
Sir, I have just watched your video on your iPlant. I think you are
coming at a problem from a positive direction. However this
technology could be easily and seriously
I am a programmer and I can tell you categorically its possible
to hack into anything given enough time. The implications of this
technology is it could be used to control someones
mind against their will in the wrong hands.
This means that the cult-like problems of today and people being
bent to do something extremely negative against their will pales
into insignificance compared to what this could do.
To spell it out this could be used in countries ruled by a
dictator to control its people. It could be used by Religious
extreme groups to make the perfect suicide bomber. It could be used
by criminal organisations to commit crimes.
The clip below may look like a trailer for the new Call of Duty video
game, but it’s not. It’s a powerful promotion by the U.S. Army
demonstrating their Future Combat Systems network, a
collection of troops, robots, unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) and
satellite-guided visualization systems all linked in real-time. The
video presents an impressive war scenario that really gets the
juices flowing (great for recruitment, annoying to pacifists), but
also serves as a great vision of what’s about to be possible on and
off the battlefield in the very near-future.
The interactive real-time, super-detailed graphical interfaces
of combat zones are nothing short of amazing and remind me of many
of the video games that I’ve played. When implemented, it’s obvious
that such systems will provide U.S. troops with an edge over
virtually any conceivable opponent (which is why they’ve been made
public, I’m sure). The coordination capabilities such a system
affords are formidable, resulting in battlefield optimization that
truly will save many lives while more effectively taking
It takes some training to use, and requires “a level above
thinking,” according to Michael Callahand, inventor of the Audeo with fellow
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign researcher Thomas
Coleman and co-founder with Coleman of the Ambient Corporation.
Rather than broadcasting a person’s thoughts, it picks up on
nerve signals deliberately, but soundlessly, sent to the vocal
cords, and relays those signals wirelessly to a computer, which
then converts them into words spoken by a computerized voice.
The current system only recognizes about 150 words and phrases,
but an improved version is supposed to be out by the end of the
year that doesn’t have a vocabulary limit, because instead of
recognizing specific words and phrases, it will identify the
distinct bits of sound, called phonemes, that we use to construct
As we replace body parts and increasingly rely on technology to
keep us healthy and alive, a whole Pandora’s Box of new threats is
creaking open. Case in point is a new
study unveiled at the last IEEE Symposium that has determined implantable heart defribrillators (ICD) and pacemakers to be
vulnerable to radio-attack.
The crafty researchers conducting the experiment, which analyzed
the security and privacy properties of an implant “designed to
communicate wirelessly with a nearby external programmer in the 175
kHz frequency range”, reverse-engineered the communications
protocol for one such device by using an oscillator and a software
radio. They then successfully implemented “several software
radio-based attacks that could compromise patient safety and
While this may sound like a bit macabre, the researchers insist
it was all done with the best intentions.
“[W]e believe that this snapshot is necessary toward assessing
the current trajectory of IMD security
and privacy,” they noted in their report, “We hope that the
analyses and defenses presented in this paper will motivate broader
scientific investigations into how to best provide security,
privacy, safety, and effectiveness for future implantable medical
You may know DARPA as the government
agency responsible for developing thought-controlled prosthetics,
vehicles, and a slew of other innovative technologies for use
by the military. In a match made in heaven, they’ve teamed up with
iRobot Corp, the designers of consumer robotics like the Roomba
vacuum cleaner, to create a mobile communications robot for the
With prototypes expected by the end of the year, these
‘LANdroids” (Local Area Network droids) are intended to keep
communication channels open for soldiers on urban battlefields.
They’ll have the built-in smarts to reposition themselves and catch
the strongest signals, while avoiding obstacles and navigating
various terrains. And, at a $100 a piece price point, they’re
expendable should they happen to enter an enemy’s line of fire.
In addition to keeping our troops in contact with one another in
patchy network areas, the technology may also have some practical
purposes in non-combat situations. For instance, they might enable
robotic farming equipment to coordinate over longer distances,
serve to automatically patch a busted wi-fi zone in an office
building, or reconfigure themselves to best supply network coverage
at large events like concerts or protests.
Chalk this one up to accelerating change.
Engadget reports that the owner of a super-thin Macbook Air
laptop was held up by disbelieving TSA inspectors for
such a long time that he wound up missing his flight.
Certainly the Air is a cool, nearly mind-blowing product, but
don’t you think these folks should’ve grabbed another computer,
hopped on the Mac site and confirmed that yes, this impossible
consumer technology is actually real? That would’ve taken all of
what, 3 minutes?
I’m already starting to feel bad for the airport screeners of 5
years from now. Imagine the new products and micro-technologies
they’ll be required to identify and guard against. No longer will
$8/hour (even if it is mostly for show nowadays) for an airport
screener suffice, unless of course the scanning devices they employ
improve very quickly.
In the TV show Las Vegas, video surveillance cameras spot a card
counter, thief or blacklisted person and immediately scan a
database to confirm identification. By the end of the program, all
the bad guys are escorted from the casino or thrown in jail.
Facial recognition technology is advancing at exponential
speeds. Every human face has landmarks called nodal points which
include distance between the eyes, length and width of nose, cheekbone shape, jaw line,
and depth of eye sockets. These points create a unique 3D
In the past, primary users of facial recognition have been law
enforcement to capture random faces in crowds. Government agencies
have also used the systems for security and to eliminate voter
fraud; and the U.S. recently began a program called US-VISIT, aimed
at separating terrorists and criminals from legitimate foreign
travelers who want to enter the country.
However, there are other situations where facial recognition
systems are in demand. These include ATMs, check-cashing firms, and
automated checkout systems. Retail giants Wall-Mart, Target,
Costco, Kroger, Safeway, and others are rushing to develop facial
recognition ID systems that will create a more enjoyable buying
experience for customers.
In the next decade, you will enter the supermarket, grab an
electronic cart that recognizes your face, toss in some bags and
begin shopping. The monitor on your “smart cart” displays selected
products, price, and total spent. As you wind through the aisles,
the “cart” recognizes things you’re running low on, and offers
special discounts just for you. When finished, you select a payment
option on the cart handle – credit, debit, or cash to deposit in a
nearby machine – and walk out the door.