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A group of talented programmers will pitch their DEFCON bot against enemy bots in a series of one-on-one thermonuclear chess games. The winner is the programmer whose bot successfully annihilates its opponents and racks up the highest death count. IEEE is offering a $500 prize to the deadliest DEFCON AI bot competition winner.
Sure enough, plans are well under way to develop robots that can locate and destroy targets without human intervention. There are already a number of autonomous ground vehicles, such as the seven-ton "Crusher" developed by DARPA, the US military's research agency. BAE Systems, a British defence contractor, recently reported that it had "completed a flying trial which, for the first time, demonstrated the co-ordinated control of multiple Unmanned Aerial Vehicles autonomously completing a series of tasks". The Israelis are already fielding autonomous radar-killer drones known as Harpy and Harop, and the South Koreans use lethal autonomous systems to defend their border with the North.
US to build fastest computer on planet for managing nuclear arsenal
A supercomputer with the processing power of two million laptops is to be built by IBM for the US government to help manage its nuclear arsenal. IBM announced it was developing the technology for its "Sequoia" system, which will be easily the fastest computer on the planet, with delivery to the Department of Energy (DOE) scheduled in 2011. According to IBM, Sequoia will be able to achieve performance speeds of up to 20 petaflops or 20,000 trillion calculations a second. IBM estimates that the computing power of the Sequoia system will be greater than that of every one of the current systems on the Top 500 supercomputer rankings combined.
As for the vatful of smart-chemicals, they're expected - without human intervention - to be able to form themselves into drugs, organic fuel cells, solar powered biofuel supercrops or "a similarly complex system". It won't have escaped alert Reg readers that the Physical Intelligence DARPA wonder-ware will be quite capable of becoming intelligent life - potentially much more capable life than humanity itself. The AI algorithms which evolve from the spontaneously self-organising Tetris blocks might far outclass the human noggin: the fuel-celled, solar-powered, self-medicating lifeforms which emerged from the smartware vats would be immeasurably our superiors physically.
Evolving Robots Learn To Lie To Each Other
With the development of killer drones, it seems like everyone is worrying about killer robots. Now, as if that wasn't bad enough, we need to start worrying about lying, cheating robots as well. In an experiment run at the Laboratory of Intelligent Systems in the Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale of Lausanne, Switzerland*, robots that were designed to cooperate in searching out a beneficial resource and avoiding a poisonous one learned to lie to each other in an attempt to hoard the resource. Picture a robo-Treasure of the Sierra Madre. The experiment involved 1,000 robots divided into 10 different groups. Each robot had a sensor, a blue light, and its own 264-bit binary code "genome" that governed how it reacted to different stimuli. The first generation robots were programmed to turn the light on when they found the good resource, helping the other robots in the group find it.