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DARPA Unveils System Using Human Brains For Computer Vision

Unknown Lamer posted more than 2 years ago | from the mad-scientists-with-funding dept.

AI 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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Welcome to the Machine (4, Interesting)

preaction (1526109) | more than 2 years ago | (#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.

Re:Welcome to the Machine (4, Funny)

Squiddie (1942230) | more than 2 years ago | (#41389391)

Think about it. Robocop will soon be a documentary.

Re:Welcome to the Machine (1)

Jeremiah Cornelius (137) | more than 2 years ago | (#41389605)

BRAINS IN VATS

C'mon. You know that this is where this is headed.

I say: "We don't want another Frankenstein in the castle!"

Re:Welcome to the Machine (2)

Talderas (1212466) | more than 2 years ago | (#41389789)

Sonic Ejaculate?

Re:Welcome to the Machine (4, Funny)

CanHasDIY (1672858) | more than 2 years ago | (#41390417)

No, no, no, it was "Abbey" something...

Abbey...

Abbey...

Abbey... Normal! Yea, that was it: "Abbey Normal!"

Re:Welcome to the Machine (1)

CanHasDIY (1672858) | more than 2 years ago | (#41390469)

Think about it. Robocop will soon be a documentary.

Futurama, too!

Re:Welcome to the Machine (1)

K. S. Kyosuke (729550) | more than 2 years ago | (#41392151)

Think about it. Robocop will soon be a documentary.

Well, the first thing that came to *my* mind were those funny guys in Emperor Ming's palace (in that 1980's Flash Gordon movie), hooked up to the computer consoles. (I hope I remember them correctly.)

Re:Welcome to the Machine (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41389409)

I suggest that this is the reward for ex-politicians.

Re:Welcome to the Machine (1)

Millennium (2451) | more than 2 years ago | (#41389507)

Do we really want politicians, of all people, to be charge of identifying threats?

Re:Welcome to the Machine (1)

theshowmecanuck (703852) | more than 2 years ago | (#41389649)

If you pay them enough they will.

Re:Welcome to the Machine (1)

Hentes (2461350) | more than 2 years ago | (#41389689)

You just have to run through his answers on a NOT gate to achieve high accuracy.

Re:Welcome to the Machine (1)

fisted (2295862) | more than 2 years ago | (#41392111)

Yeah, or two, for even higher accuracy!

Re:Welcome to the Machine (3, Interesting)

Hentes (2461350) | more than 2 years ago | (#41389669)

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

Re:Welcome to the Machine (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41390475)

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.

Re:Welcome to the Machine (4, Insightful)

Beardydog (716221) | more than 2 years ago | (#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.

Re:Welcome to the Machine (3, Interesting)

0123456 (636235) | more than 2 years ago | (#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?

Re:Welcome to the Machine (1)

suutar (1860506) | more than 2 years ago | (#41391029)

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.

Re:Welcome to the Machine (1)

psithurism (1642461) | more than 2 years ago | (#41391637)

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.

Re:Welcome to the Machine (1)

KDR_11k (778916) | more than 2 years ago | (#41393317)

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

Re:Welcome to the Machine (2)

Sabriel (134364) | more than 2 years ago | (#41395081)

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.

Re:Welcome to the Machine (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41412127)

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?

You're describing today. And the solution is to externalize costs so poor people can buy something (using credit). The actual costs are pushed onto environment and asian human-robots. And no, it makes no sense at all.

Re:Welcome to the Machine (2)

jamiesan (715069) | more than 2 years ago | (#41390827)

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?

Re:Welcome to the Machine (1)

gorzek (647352) | more than 2 years ago | (#41391333)

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.

Re:Welcome to the Machine (1)

fisted (2295862) | more than 2 years ago | (#41392171)

someone might have the idea to sell robots, though

Re:Welcome to the Machine (2)

SuricouRaven (1897204) | more than 2 years ago | (#41392565)

But every time you suggest it, an angry mob will declare you are a freedom-hateing communist.

Re:Welcome to the Machine (3, Insightful)

sjames (1099) | more than 2 years ago | (#41394979)

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.

Re:Welcome to the Machine (1)

Baloroth (2370816) | more than 2 years ago | (#41389815)

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, however, have some very interesting civilian applications (such as in an evolution of Google Glass, for example).

Finder of Lost Children (1)

Joviex (976416) | more than 2 years ago | (#41390085)

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.

Re:Finder of Lost Children (2)

gorzek (647352) | more than 2 years ago | (#41391347)

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

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

Voluntary acts aren't slavery (2, Informative)

habib23 (33217) | more than 2 years ago | (#41390131)

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.

Re:Voluntary acts aren't slavery (0)

CanHasDIY (1672858) | more than 2 years ago | (#41390455)

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

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

Re:Voluntary acts aren't slavery (1)

Dog-Cow (21281) | more than 2 years ago | (#41390911)

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!

Re:Voluntary acts aren't slavery (1)

sjames (1099) | more than 2 years ago | (#41395065)

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

Re:Voluntary acts aren't slavery (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41390743)

We have laws against indentured servitude and company scrip precisely because the line can be hard to draw, even among "jobs". People do a lot of things they find degrading, repellent, and intolerably stressful, occasionally to the point of suicide, under economic duress. Soldiers, in particular, are less free than the rest of us once they've joined up.

Re:Welcome to the Machine (4, Funny)

g0bshiTe (596213) | more than 2 years ago | (#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.

Re:Welcome to the Machine (1)

reve_etrange (2377702) | more than 2 years ago | (#41391731)

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.

sounds like people.. (1)

miknix (1047580) | more than 2 years ago | (#41392519)

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

Looks like a fucking Micros$oft $hill article (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41389415)

See subject for details.

We can optimize for efficiency in the next sprint. (5, Funny)

Minwee (522556) | more than 2 years ago | (#41389427)

What's the next step? Jars. Lots and lots of jars.

Re:We can optimize for efficiency in the next spri (1)

ThatsNotPudding (1045640) | more than 2 years ago | (#41391023)

What's the next step? Jars. Lots and lots of jars.

Ron Popiel approves.

Resistance is futile. (1)

gestalt_n_pepper (991155) | more than 2 years ago | (#41389585)

Go Army.

Re:Resistance is futile. (3, Funny)

Mister Transistor (259842) | more than 2 years ago | (#41389917)

Don't forget to send in the Marines!

This gives a whole new meaning to "Jarhead"!

Re:Resistance is futile. (1)

Seumas (6865) | more than 2 years ago | (#41389969)

Head jar?

But it affects the human? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41389659)

"displays 10 images per second to the human operator — and yet that doesn't seem to affect accuracy."

I know that that doesn't matter, but it affects the human?

Re:But it affects the human? (1)

Githaron (2462596) | more than 2 years ago | (#41389855)

Isn't EEG sensing passive?

Re:But it affects the human? (1)

fisted (2295862) | more than 2 years ago | (#41392315)

EEG is sensing passively, sure, but the display is transmitting actively. 10 images per seconds, via eyes right into the brain. meh. sustaining such a shitstorm for longer than short..doesn't sound particularly healthy to me

Re:But it affects the human? (1)

SuricouRaven (1897204) | more than 2 years ago | (#41392683)

There is a convenient EEG though - if it's going to trigger a seizure, the EEG should be able to detect it coming and shut off the displays.

Re:But it affects the human? (1)

fisted (2295862) | more than 2 years ago | (#41395041)

and miss potential threats? no way the military would do that. i guess they'd rather try to counter it with some drugs

New camo techniques required (3, Interesting)

vlm (69642) | more than 2 years ago | (#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.

Re:New camo techniques required (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41389913)

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.

Except in most places if you could get away with covering the village walls with pictures of naked chicks we wouldn't be there in the first place.

Instead it's all "Durka Durka! Mohammed Jihad! Allahu Akbar!"

Here is the Prophet Mohammed as seen from a very long distance ----> .

Re:New camo techniques required (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41390871)

Are you implying the 'prophet' is an insignificant speck?

Re:New camo techniques required (1)

vlm (69642) | more than 2 years ago | (#41391449)

Are you implying the 'prophet' is an insignificant speck?

You kids and your low resolution 1080 wide screen monitors.
Here's a quarter, get yourself a high res monitor like my 1600x1200 CRT from back in 1999 and look again.

Re:New camo techniques required (1)

fisted (2295862) | more than 2 years ago | (#41392357)

screw you for triggering that nostalgia in me :3

Re:New camo techniques required (1)

vlm (69642) | more than 2 years ago | (#41391549)

Except in most places if you could get away with covering the village walls with pictures of naked chicks we wouldn't be there in the first place.

Looks like France is gearing up for more rioting for some damn cartoon or another, and they've got those Kate Middleton pictures everywhere...

I think its more the concept of confusing and distracting the enemy anyway. So put up 500 (homemade?) Nintendo Mario posters to distract, and dress the real insurgents in genuine Mario halloween costumes. Heck, if you wanna go star wars, stormtrooper armor might actually work. Put up Escher drawing posters just to piss off the digital algorithms trying to model what it sees in 3d... so those stairs lead upward to that platform that leads upward to the original platform?

I Wonder If They Can Make It Duplex? (1)

theshowmecanuck (703852) | more than 2 years ago | (#41389823)

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 instead of just waking everyone up and being called a bonehead for fucking up whatever little sleep they get. By then we really would probably be becoming Borgs. Speaking of which, on this article, I think that would have been a better icon than the HAL one.

Re:I Wonder If They Can Make It Duplex? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41390137)

What kind of modern military doesn't give their night patrol sentries infrared/night-vision goggles?

Re:I Wonder If They Can Make It Duplex? (1)

theshowmecanuck (703852) | more than 2 years ago | (#41390437)

You're right, and the vision in them is spectacular. And they never break. And if they do, there is a tech who travels with you all the time. Ever wonder why the military makes you get in really good shape and still has soldiers do forced marches with all their gear. Because they know the first thing to go in a war where the two sides are evenly matched, is the technology. In those cases your black Cadillacs (your boots) will eventually become your all terrain vehicle. Your night vision will be your eyes. And in case you don't know, other than light amplification only something with a lot of armour would use infra-red (unless it is passive).

Re:I Wonder If They Can Make It Duplex? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41390697)

You dont wear night goggles all the time. I have not heard of any military using night googles through out the night.

Re:I Wonder If They Can Make It Duplex? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41390777)

Just give sentries suppressors so they can discreetly shoot everything that moves

Unfortunately... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41389879)

Unfortunately the system proved vulnerable to a rocket launcher aimed at the camera.

Blind spot (2)

puddingebola (2036796) | more than 2 years ago | (#41389903)

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.

Re:Blind spot (1)

Type44Q (1233630) | more than 2 years ago | (#41392843)

I wonder if 10hz is high enough to induce seizures...

Wedding out false threats? (2, Funny)

Intrepid imaginaut (1970940) | more than 2 years ago | (#41389941)

Weddings? I love weddings, drinks all round!

Re:Wedding out false threats? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41390647)

My wedding was a "real" threat!

oh crap... (1)

DaWhilly (2555136) | more than 2 years ago | (#41389947)

Call Kirk Douglass... it's Saturn III all over again....

We are Borg. Resistence is futile. (2)

AlienSexist (686923) | more than 2 years ago | (#41389949)

Anyone for a live action game of Shadowrun?

Listen to me... (1)

Bodhammer (559311) | more than 2 years ago | (#41390207)

"Listen to me, coppertop. We don't have time for 20 questions. Right now there's only one rule... our way or the highway."

That's nice an all (1)

mitcheli (894743) | more than 2 years ago | (#41390803)

But I'm just wondering where I can get a 120 megapixel camera... Possible feature request for the iphone6 ?

Yay, we're pigeons! (4, Interesting)

suutar (1860506) | more than 2 years ago | (#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 :)

Re:Yay, we're pigeons! (1)

fisted (2295862) | more than 2 years ago | (#41392489)

source?

Re:Yay, we're pigeons! (2)

suutar (1860506) | more than 2 years ago | (#41392725)

I believe it was a reference to a 1964 paper: http://www.sciencemag.org/content/146/3643/549.abstract [sciencemag.org]
But I'm not willing to spend $20 to read the paper and see if it confirms this anecdote.

Re:Yay, we're pigeons! (1)

SuricouRaven (1897204) | more than 2 years ago | (#41392733)

I don't know if that particular story is true, but pigeons have been the standard animal for visual perception research. There was also an effort to train them to spot life-rafts in the ocean - their retinas are better than any camera, and come with brain very suited to image processing, so if the idea had worked out a couple of pigeons in inverted domes slung underneath a plane could survey a vast area of ocean for survivers after a shipwreck much faster than sending human spotters on planes which must fly at much lower altitude.

Now bring it all together. (1)

lexsird (1208192) | more than 2 years ago | (#41392117)

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 madness.

Re:Now bring it all together. (1)

SuricouRaven (1897204) | more than 2 years ago | (#41392835)

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 safety on whatever means of transport is hardest to lock down in a hurry.

Re:Now bring it all together. (1)

lexsird (1208192) | more than 2 years ago | (#41393919)

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 are acres of plausible deniability, especially when you load them up with self destruct mechanisms. Whoopsie! It's been found/caught, oh well. KA FUCKING BOOM. You can't do that with operatives.

But why fuck with explosives when you could use something small like that to deliver something more subtle? Poisons, biological agents, chemical agents, all those fun things that require extensive lab work to figure out WTF is going on. A lovely dose of the right neurotoxin and said bad guy is toast, no collateral damage and if they don't suspect drones, they will be pointing fingers at each other saying "OK, who the fuck poisoned so and so??" Hell, you could use a drone to drop off evidence and set another fucker up, get them fighting each other. Just set back, eat popcorn and watch the drone feeds, giving hi fives until it becomes a cliche'.

Drones and mini drones and all that jazz is where it's at as long as the fuckers keep them off of US soil and air.

Re:Now bring it all together. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41394891)

Why do you want to dive-bomb people with sparrows?

Subjected to 10 images per sec. and react to them (1)

sapgau (413511) | more than 2 years ago | (#41392651)

Oh yeah, it's called a video game!

Oh America. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41392765)

If only you'd make friends with the rest of the world, you wouldn't need a threat warning system and you could work on good stuff like starships and curing cancer.

Or perhaps a more efficient solution? (-1, Flamebait)

Catbeller (118204) | more than 2 years ago | (#41393797)

How about this: we stop fucking invading and attempting to conquer other countries with giant oil fields? You see, that way, we don't have to develop blahblah battlefield tactical blahblah, don't have to take care of over thirty thousand men and women with their limbs and sex organs blown off, and don't have to excise from our collective consciousness the fact we've slaughtered, tortured and imprisoned over a hundred thousand innocent people for no damned reason whatsoever while the actual perp lived in Pakistan for over ten fucking years in total peace. Just saying.

CT2WS? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41397113)

Why abbreviate it CT2WS instead of CTTWS? No syllables are saved and it doesn't help remembering what it means.

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