The Air Force Wants You to Trust Robots–Should You?

A British fighter jet was returning to its base in Kuwait after a mission on the third day of the 2003 Iraq War when a U.S. anti-missile system spotted it, identified it as an enemy missile, and fired. The two men in the plane were both killed. A week and a half later, the same system—the vaunted Patriot—made the same mistake. This time, it was an American plane downed, and an American pilot killed.

The missile battery that targeted the two jets was almost entirely automated. There were people there watching over it, but they deferred to the machine’s analysis, and these friendly fire deaths were the result. A decade later, the issue underlying the problem hasn’t gone away. Indeed, it’s become more pressing as the military comes to rely more and more on automation, and spends huge sums of money researching and developing artificial intelligence. In the future that could include what it calls autonomous weapons systems, one of the most controversial fields of artificial intelligence.

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IBM Shows Off Artificial Intelligence in New Watson Spots

IBM Corp. is rolling out two new TV ads during the U.S. Open this week to showcase its cognitive computing system Watson. The spots feature startups that are using the platform to build apps serving industries from healthcare to travel to retail.

Watson, which is named after IBM’s founder Thomas J. Watson, was introduced to the public in 2011, when a computer powered with the artificial intelligence technology competed on the “Jeopardy” game show (and won).

Last year, IBM formalized a Watson Group business unit — pumping $1 billion into its development — and it promised to set aside $100 million to seed companies that are developing mobile apps with the technology.

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Toyota buckles down on artificial intelligence for safer driving

Toyota is investing $50 million into artificial intelligence research in partnership with MIT and Stanford University.

Toyota is getting serious about embedding artificial intelligence in its cars to cut down on accidents.

On Friday, the Japanese automaker said it’s partnered with Stanford University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology to create two joint research centers focused on using technology to make driving safer.

Toyota will fork over $50 million over the next five years that will be divided between the two universities to study the use of artificial intelligence. AI is a hot area of computer science related to teaching computers to learn and make decisions like humans can.

Dr. Gill Pratt, a former program manager for the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, or DARPA, and leader of its well-known robotics competitions, is joining Toyota to oversee its AI research. He will be based in Silicon Valley.

“We believe this research will transform the future of mobility, improving safety, reducing traffic congestion, and raising quality of life for everyone,” Kiyotaka Ise, a senior managing officer for Toyota, said Friday.

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