An AI Just Defeated Human Fighter Pilots in An Air Combat Simulator

In Brief

Air combat veterans proved to be no match for an artificial intelligence developed by Psibernetix. ALPHA has proven to be “the most aggressive, responsive, dynamic and credible AI seen to date.”

No Luck Beating ALPHA

Retired United States Air Force Colonel Gene Lee recently went up against ALPHA, an artificial intelligence developed by a University of Cincinnati doctoral graduate. The contest? A high-fidelity air combat simulator.

And the Colonel lost.

In fact, all the other AI’s that the Air Force Research Lab had in their possession also lost to ALPHA…and so did all of the other human experts who tried their skills against ALPHA’s superior algorithms.

And did we mention ALPHA achieves superiority while running on a $35 Raspberry Pi?

Saying that Lee is experienced when it comes to aerial combat is a remarkable understatement. He is an instructor who has trained with thousands of U.S. Air Force pilots. he is also an Air Battle Manager who has been fighting against AI opponents in air combat simulations since the 1980s.

Yet, he was not successful in winning against ALPHA. Not even once. Indeed, not even when the researchers deliberately handicapped ALPHA’s aircraft, impeding it in terms of speed, turning, missile capability, and sensor use.

“I was surprised at how aware and reactive it was. It seemed to be aware of my intentions and reacting instantly to my changes in flight and my missile deployment. It knew how to defeat the shot I was taking. It moved instantly between defensive and offensive actions as needed,” Lee said.

ALPHA makes decisions using a genetic fuzzy tree system, which is a subtype of fuzzy logic algorithms. It can calculate strategies based on its opponent’s movements 250 times faster than a person can blink—a speed that gives it an undeniable advantage in an arena where a mix of advanced skills in aerospace physics and intuition are required.

The Future of Air Combat

The development team says ALPHA would be a valuable asset to team with a fleet of human pilots, as it can can quickly map out accurate strategies and coordinate with a team of aircraft.

UC aerospace professor Kelly Cohen said: “ALPHA could continuously determine the optimal ways to perform tasks commanded by its manned wing man, as well as provide tactical and situational advice to the rest of its flight.”

UC grad and Psibernetix President and CEO Nick Ernest, David Carroll, and Gene Lee (seated).
UC grad and Psibernetix President and CEO Nick Ernest, David Carroll, and Gene Lee (seated).

This raises some concerns, as it may be ushering in an era of autonomy in battle aircraft. Eventually, a team of completely Unmanned Combat Aerial Vehicles (UCAVs) could be deployed to accomplish missions, further eliminating the chances of human error, but also operating without any human input.

Nick Ernest, who founded the company Psibernetix to develop ALPHA, says they intend to develop ALPHA further. “ALPHA is already a deadly opponent to face in these simulated environments. The goal is to continue developing ALPHA, to push and extend its capabilities, and perform additional testing against other trained pilots. Fidelity also needs to be increased, which will come in the form of even more realistic aerodynamic and sensor models. ALPHA is fully able to accommodate these additions, and we at Psibernetix look forward to continuing development.”

By Shaun Max

Source: http://futurism.com/an-ai-just-defeated-human-fighter-pilots-in-an-air-combat-simulator/

The Rise Of The Bear: 18 Signs That Russia Is Rapidly Catching Up To The US

Michael Snyder of The Economic Collapse blog writes:

The Russian Bear is stronger and more powerful than it has ever been before.  Sadly, most Americans don’t understand this.  They still think of Russia as an “ex-superpower” that was rendered almost irrelevant when the Cold War ended.  And yes, when the Cold War ended Russia was in rough shape.

I got the chance to go over there in the early nineties, and at the time Russia was an economic disaster zone.  Russian currency was so worthless that I joked that I could go exchange a 20 dollar bill and buy the Kremlin.  But since that time Russia has roared back to life.  Once Vladimir Putin became president, the Russian economy started to grow very rapidly.

Today, Russia is an economic powerhouse that is blessed with an abundance of natural resources.  Their debt to GDP ratio is extremely small, they actually run a trade surplus every year, and they have the second most powerful military on the entire planet.  Anyone that underestimates Russia at this point is making a huge mistake.  The Russian Bear is back, and today it is a more formidable adversary than it ever was at any point during the Cold War.

Just check out the following statistics.  The following are 18 signs that Russia is rapidly catching up to the United States...

#1 Russia produces more oil than anyone else on the planet .  The United States is in third place.

#2 Russia is the number two oil exporter in the world.  The United States is forced to import more oil than anyone else in the world.

#3 Russia produces more natural gas than anyone else on the planet .  The United States is in second place.

#4 Today, Russia supplies 34 percent of Europe’s natural gas needs.

#5 The United States has a debt to GDP ratio of 101 percent .  Russia has a debt to GDP ratio of about 8 percent .

#6 The United States had a trade deficit of more than half a trillion dollars last year.  Russia consistently runs a large trade surplus .

#7 The United States has an unemployment rate of 7.4 percent .  Russia has an unemployment rate of 5.4 percent .

#8 Since Vladimir Putin first became president of Russia, the Russian economy has grown at a very rapid pace.  The following is from Wikipedia ...

Under the presidency of Vladimir Putin Russia’s economy saw the nominal Gross Domestic Product (GDP) double, climbing from 22nd to 11th largest in the world. The economy made real gains of an average 7% per year (1999: 6.5%, 2000: 10%, 2001: 5.7%, 2002: 4.9%, 2003: 7.3%, 2004: 7.2%, 2005: 6.4%, 2006: 8.2%, 2007: 8.5%, 2008: 5.2%), making it the 6th largest economy in the world in GDP(PPP). In 2007, Russia’s GDP exceeded that of 1990, meaning it has overcome the devastating consequences of the recession in the 1990s.

During Putin’s eight years in office, the industry grew by 75%, investments increased by 125%, and agricultural production and construction increased as well. Real incomes more than doubled and the average salary increased eightfold from $80 to $640. The volume of consumer credit between 2000–2006 increased 45 times, and during that same time period, the middle class grew from 8 million to 55 million, an increase of 7 times. The number of people living below the poverty line also decreased from 30% in 2000 to 14% in 2008.

#9 According to Bloomberg, Russia has added 570 metric tons of gold to their reserves over the past decade.  In the United States, nobody seems to be quite sure how much gold the Federal Reserve actually has left.

#10 Moscow is the second most expensive city in the world .  Meanwhile, the United States actually has the unfriendliest city in the world (Newark, New Jersey ).

#11 More billionaires live in Moscow than in any other city on the globe.

#12 The Moscow metro system completely outclasses the subway systems in Washington D.C. and New York City.

#13 The United States has the most powerful military on the planet, but Russia is in second place .

#14 Russia has introduced a new “near silent ” nuclear submarine which is far more quiet than anything the U.S. has...

The Borey Class submarine , dubbed Vladimir Monomakh, has a next generation nuclear reactor, can dive deeper than 1,200 feet, and carries up to 20 nuclear intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBM).

Each of these “Bulava” ICBM’s can carry ten detachable MIRV warheads , what they call “re-entry vehicles,” capable of delivering 150 kiloton yields per warhead

#15 While Barack Obama is neutering the U.S. strategic nuclear arsenal, Vladimir Putin is working hard to modernize Russian nuclear forces.

#16 Russian missile forces will hold more than 200 drills during the second half of 2013.

#17 Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin made headlines all over the world when he climbed into the cockpit of Russia’s new “fifth generation” fighter jet and announced that it was far superior to the F-22 Raptor.

#18 It is estimated that Russia has more spies inside the United States today than it did at any point during the Cold War.

Unfortunately, whenever I write an article about Russia I find that most people simply do not get it.  They will make statements such as “the Cold War is over” or “Russia is our friend” which show a complete and total lack of understanding of the current geopolitical situation.

Russia has been steadily building a stronger relationship with China , and collectively they represent the number one strategic threat to the United States.

Someday this will become abundantly clear to the American people.  Hopefully it will not be too late by the time they realize it.

Source: http://theeconomiccollapseblog.com/archives/the-rise-of-the-bear-18-signs-that-russia-is-rapidly-catching-up-to-the-united-states

Death from a swarm of tiny drones: U.S. Air Force releases terrifying video of tiny flybots that can can hover, stalk and even kill targets

  • Air Vehicles Directorate at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base in Dayton, Ohio, is already developing prototypes of tiny drones that can hover
  • The Micro Air Vehicles will work in swarms to provide complex surveillance of a battlefield
  • They can also be armed with incapacitating chemicals, combustible payloads or even explosives ‘for precision targeting capability’

By Michael Zennie for Daily Mail Online

The U.S. Air Force is developing tiny unmanned drones that will fly in swarms, hover like bees, crawl like spiders and even sneak up on unsuspecting targets and execute them with lethal precision.

The Air Vehicles Directorate, a research arm of the Air Force, has released a computer-animated video outlining the the future capabilities of Micro Air Vehicles (MAVs). The project promises to revolutionize war by down-sizing the combatants.

‘MAVs will become a vital element in the ever-changing war-fighting environment and will help ensure success on the battlefield of the future,’ the narrator intones.

‘Unobtrusive, pervasive, lethal – Micro Air Vehicles, enhancing the capabilities of the future war fighter.’

Scroll down for video

Hovering: Micro Air Vehicles (MAVs) are the future of the unmanned drones program, according to a new video from the Air Force. The Air Force has already developed a drone capable of hovering like a moth

Hovering: Micro Air Vehicles (MAVs) are the future of the unmanned drones program, according to a new video from the Air Force. The Air Force has already developed a drone capable of hovering like a moth

Perching: The video, released by the Air Vehicle Directorate, shows a pigeon-like drone that can draw power from an electrical wire while its camera watches a target

Perching: The video, released by the Air Vehicle Directorate, shows a pigeon-like drone that can draw power from an electrical wire while its camera watches a target

Crawling: The drones will be equipped with legs so that they can crawl through tight spaces like an insect

Crawling: The drones will be equipped with legs so that they can crawl through tight spaces like an insect

The project, which is based at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base in Dayton, Ohio, was revealed in the March issue of the National Geographic magazine .

Air Force officials said they have already produced tiny remote-control prototypes – but they consume so much power that can only operate for a few minutes. Researchers estimate that it will take several years of advances in battery technology to make the designs feasible.

Still, the Air Force has a clear concept of what it hopes to accomplish with the program.

The promotional video begins with a swarm of tiny drones be dropped on a city from a passing plane.

The drones will work in concert to patch together a wide, detailed view of the battlefield – singling out individual targets without losing sight of the broader scene.

‘Data will be communicated among the MAVs to enable real time, reliable decision-making and to provide an advanced overall picture for other platforms or operators,’ the Air Force says.

Killing: The video demonstrates how MAVs could be used to sneak up behind unsuspecting targets and kill them with a single, lethal shot

Killing: The video demonstrates how MAVs could be used to sneak up behind unsuspecting targets and kill them with a single, lethal shot

Lethal: The drones could be equipped with incapacitating chemicals, combustable payloads or even explosives 'for precsion targeting capability'

Lethal: The drones could be equipped with incapacitating chemicals, combustible payloads or even explosives ‘for precision targeting capability’

As the drones fall, they begin to fly – not like planes, but like insects. High frequency flapping wings allow the drones to hover and maneuver in tight spaces.

The military has already produced a drone patterned after a hawk moth that can flap its wings 30 times a second. However, the activity exhausts the drone’s tiny battery in just a few minutes, according to National Geographic.

Another drone type soars like a pigeon and perches unobtrusively on a power line to observe a surveillance target with a camera.

The Air Force is working on technology that will allow the drones to steal electricity from power cables and other sources – so they can continue to operate for days or weeks on end.

Swarming: The drones couple be dropped en masse over a battlefield or a city and would work together to create a complex surveillance network

Swarming: The drones couple be dropped en masse over a battlefield or a city and would work together to create a complex surveillance network

Working together: The drones would use advanced software to navigate by 'sight,' rather than GPS - which can be blocked by buildings or by jamming from the enemy

Working together: The drones would use advanced software to navigate by ‘sight,’ rather than GPS – which can be blocked by buildings or by jamming from the enemy

The Air Force training video shows a winged MAV following a target as he drives through the streets of a dense city.

Advanced sensors will enable ‘optic flow,’ which will allow remote pilots to fly by ‘sight’ – rather than flying by GPS, which can be disrupted by buildings or deliberately jammed by enemy forces.

The video depicts three drones following the target into a house, where they maneuver hallways and rooms undetected.

‘Small size and agile flight will allow MAVs to covertly enter locations inaccessible by traditional means of aerial surveillance,’ the narrator says.

The video follows the drones as they fly through an open door and sneak up behind a man who is aiming a sniper rifle.

‘Individual MAVs may perform direct attack missions and can be equipped with incapacitating chemicals, combustible payloads or even explosives for precision targeting capability,’ according to the video.

On screen, a small, hovering vehicle pauses before shooting the man directly in the back of the head.

Video: The lethal micro-drones that can crawl, hover and perch

Video of Big Brother’s spy drone that can watch you from 17,500 ft

Chris Rossini writing for EconomicPolicyJournal:

Big Brother has quite the powerful camera. These are (for sure) the hallmark of a free society.

From Popular Science:

Curious as to how the Defense Department could be spying on you next? PBS checked in with DARPA about the latest in drone camera technology for the NOVA special “Rise of the Drones,” including the world’s highest-resolution camera.

Actually seeing the sensor on ARGUS-IS, or Autonomous Real-Time Ground Ubiquitous Surveillance Imaging System, is still classified, but the basics of how it works have been deemed fit for public consumption…

It can store a million terabytes of video a day, up to 5,000 hours of footage, so soon drones will not only be able to see everything that happens on the ground, but also keep that record.

http://youtu.be/QGxNyaXfJsA

 

Source: http://www.economicpolicyjournal.com/2013/01/video-of-big-brothers-spy-drone-that.html