WASHINGTON: The Pentagon’s research wing said Friday it was investing $2 billion to develop a new generation of artificial intelligence with “human-like communication” skills.
The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, or DARPA, will use the money to fund around 20 existing projects over the next five years and launch new ones over the next 12 months seeking a higher level of machine learning, the agency’s director Steven Walker told reporters near Washington.
“We are making multiple research investments aimed at transforming computers from specialized tools to partners in problem-solving,” said Walker, referring to the new generation of machines as “AI Next.”
“We want to explore how machines can acquire human-like communication and reasoning capabilities, with the ability to recognize new situations and environments and adapt to them,” he said in a statement.
The current generation of smart machines and robots cannot be easily updated when new technology appears, and researchers want them to learn to update themselves, he said.
The new smart machines will be designed to help speed up security clearance vetting or accelerated accreditation of software systems, the agency said.
Most of DARPA’s research, which is entirely funded by the Pentagon, is focused on technologies that can be used in combat, such as drones that are becoming ever more autonomous.
Another use could be DARPA’s Blackjack project, which aims to develop a constellation of low-orbit satellites that will communicate with one another and can continuously cover military operations.
“We will be looking at, under that program, to help satellites be able to communicate and develop a corporate behavior,” Walker said.
Warning issued over attacks on internet infrastructure
SAN FRANCISCO: Key parts of the internet infrastructure face large-scale attacks that threaten the global system of web traffic, the internet’s address keeper warned Friday.
The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) declared after an emergency meeting “an ongoing and significant risk” to key parts of the infrastructure that affects the domains on which websites reside.
“They are going after the internet infrastructure itself,” ICANN chief technology officer David Conrad told media.
“There have been targeted attacks in the past, but nothing like this.”
The attacks could date back to 2017 but have sparked growing concerns from security researchers in recent weeks, which prompted the special meeting of ICANN.
The malicious activity targets the Domain Name System or DNS which routes traffic to intended online destinations.
ICANN specialists and others say these attacks have a potential to snoop on data along the way, sneakily send the traffic elsewhere or enable the attackers to impersonate or “spoof” critical websites.
“There isn’t a single tool to address this,” Conrad said, as ICANN called for an overall hardening of web defenses.
US authorities issued a similar warning last month about the DNS attacks.
“This is roughly equivalent to someone lying to the post office about your address, checking your mail, and then hand delivering it to your mailbox,” the US Department of Homeland Security said in a recent cybersecurity alert.
“Lots of harmful things could be done to you (or the senders) depending on the content of that mail.”
Twitter co-founder Evan Williams leaving board
SAN FRANCISCO: Twitter co-founder and one-time chief executive Evan Williams is stepping down from the board, leaving the one-to-many messaging service to focus on “other projects.”
Williams will depart the Twitter board at the end of this month, according to a filing with the US Securities and Exchange Commission on Friday.
“It’s been an incredible 13 years, and I’m proud of what Twitter has accomplished during my time with the company,” Williams said in the filing.
“I will continue rooting for the team as I focus my time on other projects.”
Williams throttled back his role in the San Francisco-based startup eight years ago, turning his attention to a new endeavors including creating popular online publishing platform Medium.
Williams ceded his role as Twitter chief executive to Dick Costolo in 2010. Co-founder Jack Dorsey returned as Twitter chief in 2015, having held the position when the startup was nascent.
Dorsey said in a Tweet that Williams was the reason he joined startup Odea, an endeavor that led to him, Williams and Biz Stone creating Twitter.
“I appreciate you, Ev!” Dorsey tweeted on Friday.
“We’re going to miss your voice in our board conversations.”
Twitter has become a high-profile, and sometimes controversial, global stage for communication since it was launched in March of 2006.
“Thank you, @jack and @biz for starting this crazy company with me-and continuing to make it better and better,” Williams tweeted.
“I’m going to ride off into the sunset (or…down Market Street), so I can focus on some other things.”
S. Korea to begin 5G service in March
SEOUL: South Korea’s finance minister said today that Seoul will become the first country in the world to start commercial operations of fifth-generation mobile network services next month.
Hong Nam-ki made the announcement at a meeting with senior officials on innovation-led growth in Seoul. KT Corp., South Korea’s leading wireless and fixed-line services provider, carried out a world first
trial service of its 5G system during the PyeongChang Winter Olympics last year. 5G data transmission speeds are 40-50 times faster than the existing 4G network or long-term evolution (LTE) and are expected to open a wide range of new business opportunities for the communication service sector.
The system, moreover, allows greater numbers of people to communicate with each other at the same time and promises to open vast markets for devices and services. The finance minister also said KT and two other local competitors – SK Telecom Co. and LG Uplus Inc. – will invest some 3 trillion won (US$2.6 billion) this year to set up seamless 5G connectivity in the country going forward.