Saturday, July 2, 2011

The Decade Of The Mind & Your New Cyborg Brain 3c

Just what technology is DARPA working on?  Dr. Tether former director of DARPA explains some of what they're working on in a lecture delivered in 2006.  This is a continuation of that outline.

There is no question that armies have for eons had a close connections with the technological breakthroughs of their day.  The soldier as he has been known for centuries is changing.  The soldier is now regarded as part of a combat network.  The soldier is an individual that not only fights, but, is part of the army's information network.  Indeed, wars of the present and even more in the future will be fought and won with information as paramount, rather than brute force.
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Global Autonomous Language Exploitation (GALE)
This program deals with the ability to
...develop and apply computer software technologies to absorb, analyze and interpret huge volumes of speech and text in multiple languages. Automatic processing “engines” will convert and distill the data, delivering pertinent, consolidated information in easy-to-understand forms to military personnel and monolingual English-speaking analysts in response to direct or implicit requests.
This research is being assisted by LDC, the Linguistic Data Consortium, sponsored by the University of Pennsylvania.  This organization was founded in 1992 with ARPA (Advanced Research Projects Agency) funding.  ARPA is the same as DARPA due to very complex and unexplained renaming of the organization from 1958-1996.  This consortium is basically a massive database that collects information from the Internet, newspapers, broadcast news, newswire and interviews worldwide in Arabic, Chinese and English.  The three steps that it follows are transcription, translation and annotation. Military personnel will interact with the software in as-of-yet not determined method.  It specifically states that it might not even be spoken natural language.
GALE visualization via: LDC
Will this be part of the brain interface being worked on?  LDC supplies a list of their research papers here.

This world is a fascinating world.  If we speak about a coming singularity, we can see it here approaching.  GALE is not the only DARPA program.  There is AGILE (Autonomous Global Integrated Language Exploitation) being conducted at the University of Cambridge.

We include a video of an offshoot of this technology being developed by DARPA - the portable translator. If you cannot see the embedded video, here is the link:

Guard Dog Army Program
Gale seeks to eventually automatically monitor all the relevant traffic around the world.  For now, it is focusing on Chinese and Arabic, but no doubt this will expand.  With the lessons that they are learning now in these two target languages we suspect the other languages will be deciphered much quicker.  Every solider will be the member of a network, which will help piece together a dynamic battlefield in real time.  The DARPA site states,
Soldiers will benefit from being able to use a PDA while on patrol to log information learned during interviews with local populations. Information will be combined within an enterprise-level system and accessed by intelligence teams at all echelons. Analytic software will evaluate the current state of knowledge, identify gaps in the knowledge base, and generate new information requirements, all of which will be returned to the soldier’s PDA. The soldier will then have the ability to view and perform lightweight analytics on this new information.

Advanced Soldier Sensor Information and Technology (ASSIST)
Honeywell Corporation along with others defense companies are working in Augmented Cognition (AugCog).  The essence of the technology stresses that the solider of the future will have to manage a lot more information in real time in combat than in the past.  But it goes further than that.  The communications will be two way, allowing commanders to assess in real time the condition of troops under their command.
The portable system uses body-mounted electrocardiogram (ECG) and electroencephalogram (EEG) sensors to monitor cognitive activity in the brain and blood flow in the body. Brain pattern and heart rate data from system-equipped soldiers will be transmitted wirelessly to commanders in real-time to improve overall battlefield information management and decision-making.
How far has this research along?  Apparently, fairly advanced.
Honeywell has already developed a prototype AugCog helmet that monitors various brain states including those associated with distraction, fatigue and information overload. The system then uses that data to produce a visual readout for combat commanders showing the cognitive patterns of individual soldiers.  “This technology is going to allow commanders to redeploy soldiers who are in not in the right physical or mental state to carry out a mission,” said Smith. “Commanders will be able to identify fatigued or overstressed soldiers operating in highly intense combat situations and replace them with others who are more mission ready.”

We include a rather clinical but informative video from Honeywell on augmented cognition. If you cannot see the embedded video, here is the link:

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