“The Future of War” big business.
But to all the wild fantasies and enthusiasms of defense contractors for drones and AI missiles, next-generation stealth technology or electromagnetic railguns, there is an equally fervent counterbalance: the good old slow federal bureaucracy, Brian Bender of POLITICO recently reported to DFD.
In POLITICO magazine today Hope Hodge Seck, defense reporter and former managing editor of Military.com, tells a different story about what happened when the Australian company Marathon invented a new kind of target shooting dummy, a humanoid robot that attacks, feints and more. moves. like a real person who impressed the officers who wanted to give their soldiers more realistic combat training.
Robots were first tested in 2011, but a decade later they are only now being used in large numbers. Sek’s story traces the Byzantine labyrinth of approvals that face the introduction of new military technologies.
I called her to talk about how Pentagon procedures can keep new technology out of the hands of soldiers for years, and why a certain amount of bail is required even if rivals like China can introduce new gadgets faster.
The following is a slightly edited version of our conversation:
You write in history that at some point a single document lost in a desk at Quantico delayed the introduction of these robots for years. How can this happen?
The army is very analog and very paper, although the year is 2022.
Often you have a general or some senior officer who says “That’s really great, go do it, we need some of that” and the people behind the scenes, often professional civilians, are then responsible for compiling those documents and tracking. . Several people have described closed-door meetings to me in which some of these officers and some civilians were very candid, “I know the general wants this, but it’s not one of our priorities, so we’re just going to wait it out or let it to pass by without taking any action.
In this lost document case, I don’t know if it was intentionally lost, but it shows the decentralized nature of this process and how easy it is for something new that is not an established program, and where there are no existing relationships to just die. at the root.
Why doesn’t a country like China, which itself has a formidable bureaucracy, necessarily have these institutional hurdles?
In places like China there is a very top-down system where people at lower levels are less empowered to make their own decisions. And you also have more laser focus. China is also adept at taking existing ideas and replicating them, which may not be the best system in terms of pure innovation. I think there are trade-offs.
But by saying, “This is our vision, this is our strategy, everyone should support it and everyone should comply,” countries like China and Russia, for that matter, have an advantage over the US, where many decisions are made at a lower level. . And that is a virtue as well as a responsibility.
Compared to other federal bureaucracies, is there a reason why the military is particularly prone to such delays?
The stakes are higher.
Whenever you go to a war zone where human lives are involved in the decisions, it slows everything down. Particularly in things like navy shipbuilding and amphibious assault vehicles for the marines, you have to have a robust and survivable system, and you have to be very aggressive in debugging.
The army with these robotic targets is really worried about autonomy, because they have soldiers with rifles and there are people in the bureaucracy who say, “What if these things go out of range?” If they are out of bounds and the soldiers are shooting at them, what can happen in the crossfire?
The people I spoke to [robot manufacturer] Marathon and the Marine Corps say this can be mitigated with some simple controls, but then again, you have military personnel with combat weapons; you train them to go across the ocean and meet with an armed enemy, and at such high stakes, everything is done much more carefully.
More consequences of the crypto fall: In Europe, regulators are considering whether NFTs should be the next target.
The EU’s proposed regulation of crypto asset markets, or MiCA, is currently limited to the currencies themselves. But lawmakers are now considering including clear rules for NFTs to better protect against scammers and money launderers as Bjarke Smith-Meyer of POLITICO reports Today.
Smith-Meyer also received a confidential memorandum from the commission that was clear on EU regulators’ plans for NFTs, stating: “While remaining unregulated, NFT markets will continue to be subject to serious market manipulation risks such as fictitious trading and insider trading”.
At the moment it is connected with the mood in the government on this side of the pond. As This was reported by Sam Sutton from POLITICS.The industry’s meteoric boom and bust has heightened scrutiny at The Hill and slowed the momentum of crypto lobbyists, with a former Treasury official telling Sutton that recent events like the withdrawal freeze at crypto lender Celsius “will make people step up and think about what’s going on.” and “probably [force] companies need to be a little more careful.”
One of the biggest challenges facing the metaverse is the concept of “interoperability” or the idea that users can move seamlessly between virtual worlds with dubiously compatible internal programming and very different aesthetics.
This week, some of the biggest players in the field, including Meta and Microsoft, came together to address this issue. formation of a metaverse standards forum. According to FAQ on his websitethere will be no forum Create standards by which metaverse developers can work, but “simply coordinate requirements and support existing standards organizations that develop standards related to the metaverse within their existing governance models and intellectual property structures.”
In translation, this is a kind of working group designed to collect feedback and reach consensus on potential standards on issues such as 3D graphics, privacy, geospatial networks and more.
In this light, it is particularly remarkable who not part of the group: Apple, which almost confirmed develops its own headset and virtual reality technology. The company did not immediately respond to a request for comment as to why this is, but their absence is even more pronounced in light of how involved the company has been in previous large-scale web developments such as HTML5 protocol.
- Behavioral economists and psychologists have advice for those who want to avoid cryptocurrency scams.
- Seattle-based startup advertises big step to thermonuclear power plants.
- Ahead of a projected shortage of workers, Amazon announced a fully autonomous warehouse robot.
- Instagram is testing Age verification with artificial intelligence tool to enforce its policy 13 and above.
- A certain South Korean stablecoin entrepreneur has already returned with new coin sell you.
Stay in touch with the entire team: Ben Schrekinger ([email protected]); Derek RobertsonRobert[email protected]); Konstantin Kakaes (ur.[email protected]); and Heidi Vogt ([email protected]). Follow us on Twitter @DigitalFuture.