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AI Input Devices The Matrix The Military Hardware

DARPA Unveils System Using Human Brains For Computer Vision 82

MrSeb writes with news about our coming cybernetic overlords. From the article: "After more than four years of research, DARPA has created a system that successfully combines soldiers, EEG brainwave scanners, 120-megapixel cameras, and multiple computers running cognitive visual processing algorithms into a cybernetic hivemind. Called the Cognitive Technology Threat Warning System (CT2WS), it will be used in a combat setting to significantly improve the U.S. Army's threat detection capabilities. There are two discrete parts to the system: The 120-megapixel camera, which is tripod-mounted and looks over the battlefield; and the computer system, where a soldier sits in front of a computer monitor with an EEG strapped to his head, looking at images captured by the camera, wedding out false threats. In testing, the 120-megapixel camera, combined with the computer vision algorithms, generated 810 false alarms per hour; with a human operator strapped into the EEG, that drops down to just five false alarms per hour. The human brain is surprisingly fast, too: According to DARPA, CT2WS displays 10 images per second to the human operator — and yet that doesn't seem to affect accuracy."
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DARPA Unveils System Using Human Brains For Computer Vision

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  • by preaction ( 1526109 ) on Wednesday September 19, 2012 @01:14PM (#41389375)

    This is scary to me, being wired up and used as a machine. Though I suppose it's actually no worse than other kinds of human slavery, and probably quite a bit better than some.

    • by Squiddie ( 1942230 ) on Wednesday September 19, 2012 @01:16PM (#41389391)
      Think about it. Robocop will soon be a documentary.
    • by Hentes ( 2461350 ) on Wednesday September 19, 2012 @01:32PM (#41389669)

      The way I see it, finding methods to unlock the power of our subconcious is a useful delay to being replaced by robots.

      • by Anonymous Coward
        If a human can be replaced by a robot, a human shouldn't be doing that work. It's pointless busywork. Let the humans do the stuff that machines still find hard.

        Eventually, if/when robots can do everything better than us (A long, long way away), we'll basically be zoo animals, but zoo animals in nice accommodations.
        • by Beardydog ( 716221 ) on Wednesday September 19, 2012 @02:29PM (#41390561)
          Why will you have nice accomodations? Do you own a company that either builds or can rely on robots? I don't, so I expect to live in squalor when robots can do 90% of all jobs. Of course, there will be a violent revolution once 90% of us are living in squalor, but we'll be fighting against an army of corporate killbots, so I don't see it going well.
          • by 0123456 ( 636235 ) on Wednesday September 19, 2012 @02:45PM (#41390779)

            I don't, so I expect to live in squalor when robots can do 90% of all jobs.

            So, uh, what jobs are those robots going to do? Work in factories making stuff to sell to... oh, but 90% of humans live in squalor so they have no money.

            Hmm, perhaps your glorious vision of the future makes no sense?

            • by suutar ( 1860506 )
              You're assuming that "the robots can do the job cheaper than the humans" will be overridden by "once the humans aren't doing the job and not earning an income, the job will not be necessary any more". That kind of long range thinking is rare in modern corporate America.
            • So, uh, what jobs are those robots going to do? Work in factories making stuff to sell to... oh, but 90% of humans live in squalor so they have no money

              Sounds exactly like the current economy: All industries cutting jobs and lowering salaries to 90% of their employees, to more efficiently sell products to...oh but 90% of the consumers are laid off or cutting their spending.

              Things don't have to make sense for the decisions of our cooperate management overlords. Unless they too get replaced by robots...hmm.

            • by KDR_11k ( 778916 )

              Don't worry, the solution is to have the robots process humans into furniture and arrange it in aesthetically pleasing ways.

            • by Sabriel ( 134364 )

              You may note he used the word 'squalor', not the word 'glorious'.

              Also, our corporate overlords? They don't seem to spend much time caring about long-term sustainable economic plans.

          • 1. We will create robots to do the work, and create three basic rules that the robots have to follow.
            2. They will become self aware and try to kill Sarah and her son John
            3. We will lose the war, and be enslaved in a virtual reality until Neo sets us free.
            4. Serena will lead us in a jihad to destroy all machine intelligences.
            5. Profit?
          • by gorzek ( 647352 )

            If there are no jobs for humans because robots are doing all of them, then the idea of making stuff to sell to people will go away. We'll need a new kind of economic system.

      • by sjames ( 1099 ) on Wednesday September 19, 2012 @09:55PM (#41394979) Homepage Journal

        The sad part is that we have such a dysfunctional view of economic systems that the dream of all mankind for centuries (replacing human labor with machine labor) becomes a nightmare.

    • That isn't the goal of the system at all. The goal is to integrate the system with a person on the battlefield so that humans and computers can work together to identify threats (possibly miles away) far faster than either could do alone. Mount that on a tank or helicopter, or eventually even on a Google Glass-like display, and you have soldiers who are vastly better informed than they would otherwise be.

      Of course, being DARPA technology, it is quite likely it will never be used by the military. It might,

      • Perfect example, ties into google glass and is able to scan for missing/kidnapped children. Of course, the filpside, abuse way, finding cheating spouses. Information is neither good nor evil, just the users.
        • by gorzek ( 647352 )

          Finding people who are doing something wrong isn't "abuse."

          Using it to identify and persecute political dissidents? That would be abuse.

    • It's a job, and therefore not slavery any more than any other one. Also you are very stupid for even making the comparison, though I suppose you hear that often enough.

      • Also you are very stupid for even making the comparison, though I suppose you hear that often enough.

        What an adult, mature response... Sheesh...

        • by Dog-Cow ( 21281 )

          What an adult, mature response... Sheesh...

          This phrase doesn't make any sense to me. The statement you are replying to is almost never made by a child. Of course it's an adult response!

          • by sjames ( 1099 )

            It is the sort of statement typically made by a child in a physically mature body.

    • by g0bshiTe ( 596213 ) on Wednesday September 19, 2012 @02:29PM (#41390567)

      EEG strapped to his head, looking at images captured by the camera, wedding out false threats

      I think it's the perfect marriage of man and machine.

    • Jack in the Box is using a similar system. At one franchise in my area, you only order via a vending-machine like interface at the counter. In back, the ingredients roll out and an electronic beep instructs the human component to perform each food assembly step.

      People who originally wrote about alienation at the hand of industry would have no idea what to make of this stuff...I assume they'll be replacing the human with robotic elements once they become cost effective, though.

    • ..never heard of supervised learning [wikipedia.org]

  • by Minwee ( 522556 ) <dcr@neverwhen.org> on Wednesday September 19, 2012 @01:18PM (#41389427) Homepage
    What's the next step? Jars. Lots and lots of jars.
  • by vlm ( 69642 ) on Wednesday September 19, 2012 @01:37PM (#41389759)

    I see an easy way to break this system

    where a soldier sits in front of a computer monitor ... wedding out false threats.

    Human soldier brain pretty good at telling the difference between a bush and a AK-47 wielding freedom fighter / terrorist / same difference when that's what he's looking for.

    So give him a different type of bush to look at. I've never really been "into" the whole "naked chicks with guns" genre of pr0n but covering the walls of a village with posters like that would probably totally screw the guy up. "That's a bush! No the other kind! No wait she's holding a AK-47. No wait, she's not moving, thats a poster. No wait, she's moving, she's for real..."

    Another tool would be psyops type stuff. So rather than your stereotypical naked woman, trust me straight guys REALLY like to look at that, you could put up 2G1C posters, goatse, rotten dot com pics, tubgirl with a 9mm, stuff like that. Too many icky false positives gross the guy out. Like a weird game of duck duck goose... OK soldier goatse goatse goatse goatse... Oh oh thats a taliban! goatse goatse ...

    Another thing is screwing around with image capture. So as a kid I had a "wolf's head" tee shirt. Rather than relying on hacking the pattern matching algo in a human brain to mess up by using all kinds of paint blotchy, ghillie suit-y, digital cammo-y stuff, just take two poor bastards and put them in a halloween horse costume and have them walk right in front of the camera. Cam sees "horse" walking around, doesn't bother showing soldier who might not notice anyway. Also hack the rangefinder. Cam algo detects movement. Zooms in and see's VLM's wolf's head tee shirt. Shows soldier a pic of a wolf's head. Soldier says WTF.

  • If you are sitting out on sentry at night and really amped up, sometimes you'll see a bush move. You can even convince your buddy sometimes. Less so as you get more experience but it still happens. You can tell yourself it was nerves and ignore it, but for that one time when it isn't nerves and it really is a bad guy on the other side... I wonder if the computers can also weed out false positives from humans. That way you would have more confidence to shoot the bush and hit a bad guy hiding behind it instea
  • by puddingebola ( 2036796 ) on Wednesday September 19, 2012 @01:45PM (#41389903) Journal
    The enemy cleverly foiled this new surveillance scheme by putting up large blown up images of centerfolds on the battlefield, thus distracting the cameras operators. The camera operators never saw the division of enemy tanks advancing and they were overrun.
  • by Intrepid imaginaut ( 1970940 ) on Wednesday September 19, 2012 @01:48PM (#41389941)

    Weddings? I love weddings, drinks all round!

  • Call Kirk Douglass... it's Saturn III all over again....
  • by AlienSexist ( 686923 ) on Wednesday September 19, 2012 @01:49PM (#41389949)
    Anyone for a live action game of Shadowrun?
  • "Listen to me, coppertop. We don't have time for 20 questions. Right now there's only one rule... our way or the highway."
  • But I'm just wondering where I can get a 120 megapixel camera... Possible feature request for the iphone6 ?
  • Yay, we're pigeons! (Score:5, Interesting)

    by suutar ( 1860506 ) on Wednesday September 19, 2012 @03:12PM (#41391057)
    I recall reading an article (or a mention of an article, or something) about an experiment where a pigeon was trained to peck a button when shown a photograph containing a human. The accuracy was pretty good, but there was one photo that it would peck for that didn't have any people in it. Or so the researchers thought until they used a magnifying glass to find one person off in the background...
    A trained neural network can be more accurate and faster than one would think :)
  • Now you just put the guy in a vehicle, link the weapons systems to it, link drone control to it, network it all back to a control hive. Write the interface up like a game.

    I love this kind of stuff. We need it in case we have to fight the screaming hordes who out number us, or if we want to be sneaky sneaky and take out nasty bastards who hide in other countries where we can't put boots on the ground without lead in the air.

    So, everyone stop panicking, unless you are douchebag bad guys, let's embrace the mad

    • For taking out the nasty bastards, I think micro-drones may be the way to go once the technology is perfected. Maybe ten centimeters long, with a minute of flight time at great speed, and a small explosive payload. You only need to get one covert operative somewhere within a kilometer of your target. Launch, guide it to skim the rooftops and kamikaze the target right between the eyes. By the time the security forces have figured out where the drone was launched from, the operative will be making his way to
      • Forget operatives, lets get away from that pesky element. Let's deliver payloads of small surveillance drones to areas, tap their communications lines, set up listening posts with them. We could coordinate them with satellites, or my favorite idea, small balloon/zeppelins, drop communication link drones along the way like a chain so you have secure communications. Perhaps even work some some line of sight data communications, so that RF isn't involved in case the bag guys are a bit tricksy.

        This way, there a

  • Oh yeah, it's called a video game!

"Hey Ivan, check your six." -- Sidewinder missile jacket patch, showing a Sidewinder driving up the tail of a Russian Su-27