The decade-long fight for military robots – POLITICO

“Future of War” big job.

But for all the unbridled fantasies and enthusiasm of defense contractors for drones, AI-powered missiles, next-generation stealth technology, or electromagnetic rail guns, there’s an equally powerful balance: the good old slow-moving federal bureaucracy, like Politico’s Brian Bender recently mentioned in DFD.

In today’s Politico magazine Hope Hodge Seck, defense reporter and former managing editor of, tells another story about what happened when an Australian company called Marathon invented a new type of target training dummy — a humanoid robot that attacks, deceives, and generally moves like a real person, impressing officers who want to give Their soldiers are more realistic combat training.

Robots were first tried in 2011, but a decade later they are now being used in large numbers. Seck’s story traces the Byzantine labyrinth of endorsements facing the adoption of new military technology.

I called her to talk about how the Pentagon’s actions could keep new technology out of soldiers’ hands for years — and also why a certain amount of caution is warranted, even if competitors like China may move faster to implement new tools.

Here is a slightly modified version of our conversation:

You write in the story that at one point, a single document was misplaced in an office in Quantico, delaying the adoption of these robots for years. How could something like this happen?

The Army is very analog, very paper-based, even though it’s 2022.

You often have a general or a senior officer saying “that’s really cool, go do this, we need some of those”, and the people behind the scenes, often career civilians, are in charge of drafting and keeping track of these documents. Several people described closed-door meetings to me where some of these officers and some civilians were very candid in saying, “I know the general wants it, but that’s not one of our priorities, so we’re just going to wait for them, or let this pass by taking no action.”

In this case with the missing document, I don’t know if it was lost on purpose, but it shows the decentralized nature of this process and how easy it is for something new that isn’t firmware, and where there are no relationships, just to die on karma.

Why wouldn’t a country like China, which has an enormous bureaucracy in its own right, necessarily have these institutional barriers?

In places like China, you have a very top-down system, where people at lower levels are less able to make their own decisions. And you also have more focus on the laser. China is also adept at looking at and iterating over ideas that already exist, which may not be the best system in terms of pure innovation. I think there are trade-offs.

But in terms of saying “this is our vision, this is our strategy, everyone should stand behind it, everyone should abide,” countries like China and Russia in this regard have an advantage over the United States, since a lot of decisions are made at the lower level. This is a virtue as well as a responsibility.

Compared to other federal bureaucracies, is there a reason why the military is particularly vulnerable to such delays?

The stakes are higher.

When you go into a combat zone, where decisions have human life in the balance, it slows everything down. Especially with things like naval shipbuilding and Marine Corps amphibious vehicles, you have to have a robust and survivable system, and you have to troubleshoot in a really aggressive way.

With the military having these automated targets, they have some real concerns about autonomy because they have soldiers with guns and there are people within the bureaucracy who are saying “what if these things go out of scope?” If they are out of bounds and soldiers are shooting at them, what can happen in the crossfire?

The people I spoke to in [robot manufacturer] Marathon and the Marine Corps say it can be mitigated with some simple controls, but then again, you have military personnel with live weapons; You train them to travel abroad and face an armed enemy, and with the high stakes, everything is done with greater caution.

More fallout from the cryptocurrency drop: In Europe, regulators are studying whether NFTs should be the next target in their sights.

The markets proposed by the European Union in regulating crypto assets, or MiCA, are currently restricted to the currencies themselves. But lawmakers are now considering including explicit regulations for NFTs that are better to ward off fraudsters and money launderers, such as Reporting by Politico, Bjarke Smith-Meyer today.

Smith-Meyer also obtained a confidential memo from the Commission that left little ambiguity about EU regulators’ plans for NFTs, saying: “If NFT markets are left unregulated, they will remain exposed to severe market manipulation risks such as trade laundering and insider trading.”

For now, that’s in line with the mood in the government on this side of the pond. as such Sam Sutton reported from PoliticoThe industry’s rapid boom and bust has intensified scrutiny of Hill and slowed the crypto lobby’s momentum, with a former Treasury official telling Sutton that recent events such as the withdrawal freeze at crypto lender Celsius “will force people to take a step and think about it. What’s going on?” and “probably .” [force] Companies have to be a little more prudent.”

One of the most complex challenges facing Metaverse It is the concept of “interoperability,” or the idea that users may seamlessly travel between virtual worlds with dubiously compatible under-the-hood programming and very different aesthetics.

This week, some of the biggest players in the field, including Meta and Microsoft, got together to do something about it, Formation of the Metaverse Standards Forum. according to The instructions are on their websiteno forum Create Standards with which metaverse developers may work, but “only coordinate requirements and support for existing standards organizations developing metaverse-related standards under existing management models and intellectual property frameworks.”

Translated: It’s a kind of working group, intended to gather feedback and build consensus around potential benchmarks for issues like 3D graphics, privacy, geospatial networks, and more.

In view of this, it is particularly noticeable from no Part of the group: Apple Inc. All confirmed To develop a headset and its own virtual reality technology. The company did not immediately respond to a request for comment on why this is – but their absence is more evident given how widely the company has been involved in past developments on the web such as HTML5 protocol.

  • Behavioral economists and psychologists you have tips For those looking to avoid being scammed on cryptocurrencies.
  • A startup company in Seattle that promotes a big step Towards fusion power plants.
  • Before the expected labor shortage, Amazon announced a full autonomy warehouse robot.
  • Instagram is testing a profile Age Verification Using Artificial Intelligence Tool to enforce policy 13 and above.
  • A certain South Korean entrepreneur in the stablecoin space is already back, with a new currency to sell you.

Stay in touch with the whole team: Ben Shrekinger ([email protected]); Derek Robertson ([email protected]); Konstantin Kakays ([email protected]); and Heidi Vogt ([email protected]). Follow us on Twitter Tweet embed.

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