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Inside DARPA: Sci-Fi Meets National Defense

2018-08-03 | 🔗
Explore the intersection of science fiction and national defense inside the high-tech government agency developing America’s top-secret weapons of the future with Neil deGrasse Tyson, co-host Chuck Nice, former DARPA Director Arati Prabhakar, journalist Sharon Weinberger, and roboticist Hod Lipson.NOTE: StarTalk All-Access subscribers can listen to this entire episode commercial-free here: https://www.startalkradio.net/all-access/inside-darpa-sci-fi-meets-national-defense/Photo Credit: J.Krohn, courtesy of JPL-Caltech.

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This is an unofficial transcript meant for reference. Accuracy is not guaranteed.
Skip the commercials support star talk on patriarch to listen to every episode, commercial, free. Welcome to start on your place in the universe where science and pop culture collide dartle begin right. Now we are facing a personal comment. We will extend the intersection science fiction and national defence inside the HI tech government agency, developing America's topsecret weapons of the future,
So let's do this would be, of course, Kirk nice NEO, nazi baby, you're gonna. Do we make America more again? This is my. Let's make America smart again shirt, which I regret is very closer and we got with this tonight. Sharon Winberg, hello view the author of this fact the people to write and read that books they write them. I have So this is the imagine ears of war, the untold story of DARPA the Pentagon. Can see that change the world so dark or stand for what? What what is DARPA Darpa stands for the defense advanced research projects
Jesse and so your journals. You follow this industry for a long time lab in writing about Pentagon science and technology for about the past. Seventeen year in this book is the product of about five years of interviews. Research and writing. Will you must do it well, because you're still alive, I should just say no sheet. She was under cover into this more ready to go public sure tonight. We're featuring my interview with the number ahead of DARPA iraqi problem, and we met during her tenure as chief darker in Washington DC check it out growing up to me. There was always this mysterious: what are they doing there? I don't know really cool one day will find out, maybe that the mission stable.
But I just kept well as long as it moves the needle as long as that really changes the world and especially national security than yeah. That's that's! What we do DARPA is an agency that is very small were two hundred government employees right and so here in this office, building in Arlington Virginia, we genuinely want to write a book, but right above our heads there we don't have labs. We don't have any fixed infrastructure, we, we are critically the panel on all the places and people that do ok, look up your budget, it's about three billion about very robust three billion a year, give away all that money now on our I give and money to start makes sense together and not just to be clear what Do. Is we bring in programme managers really smart people in their fields? They come in for typically about three to five year tour of duty. Dirty. They are here for a short time. What they come in to do is to craft a program. It might be
I make a ship that can sail without any sailors on board. It might be something about a next generation of artificial intelligence that might be about biological tech. Whatever whatever, whatever area. I want to know what all. What are all a really creative were the crazy sort of mine bending ideas and end. Listen to all that they go out and talk to the user community and the DOD for example, and especially that, but between thinking about where the big problems are and where the science and technology could take. You listening is a key part of how they come up with that vision. So so we are very interested in people's big, knew, I'd, say you're. My list here want to or wormhole cataracts, security without one. I wanted transporter
that we are flying car get me a few more. There was a project called the hundred year, starship that looked at wormhole travel so really hundred here. Maybe that's optimistic. That's that's, certainly not a waste of money, I like the way you put in a hundred years, so none of us will be here to budge about ok. He also had robotic soldiers it in there and by force in mind, control crazy stuff. They could be right, they. Could any ideas come back again. Every few decades, the idea of a force feel that can can can protect the planet. The idea mine control all these trees that reputation, yes, spooky mysterious reputation that DARPA has has sustained over all these decades,
a lot of work has been seeker has been classified. It's also at times that of touted itself mortality by others as a science fiction agency, some of which is overblown, some of which is chirruped, so your men and black basically juncture when the origins of darker DARPA dates. To nineteen? Fifty eight in this way in the fall of nineteen, fifty seven, the savary report- and here I mean NASH, regard funded. That was the geophysical year a lot of science, tech stuff was coming together, coming together in a lot of it was prompted by the October one thousand nine hundred and fifty seven launch of Sputnik. This is the Soviet Union's launch of the first artificial satellite, and it's to imagine now, but it was to have been in nine hundred and eleven moment, it was a screw. This real political panic and ensuring that we were losing space rays and would have intercontinental ballistic missiles that would reach the United States are crucial we set by this fund this agency, with what's the mission state to do whatever the secretary of the fund.
Directed to do was very vague, except it was supposed to take on space programmes. It was but For now say it was the nations for space Agency and that's not a scary, MRS statement that, whatever the defence within the various as do, we should do so. It's also some have considered dark or the place where mad scientist go in our giving free rein. So what are some of the craziest matters things to come out of there, sir, the original mad scientist of DARPA was a scientist. A greek scientist aimed Nick Rostov lets. You had these like fantastic idea, really immigrant. He was exactly, and he was genius and scientists loved him, DARPA loved him. So one of his first ideas was a force field there. We were worried about soviet missiles attacking United States, so he said what have you launched a bunch of news? the weapons in the upper atmosphere that would release killer, electrons and fraud. Anything coming through, it would be a planetary force field. That was one idea. That's that's
look. There's this guy creative force. What could go wrong, fascinating idea of creating a particle being weapon same thing to take down soviet missiles? You just need to drain the great lakes to power it all at once by who need them. You put nuclear weapons under the great lakes, to train them to power These are out of the box ideas. They were very out of the box. You know I'm sorry, I believe that DARPA might stand for a drugs are really pretty, and another area by Mr Harbour, a project pandora. What is that a pandora? What tops we magic. We should be cautious of anything tat, project banned or a year. They chose that name appropriately, so in the nineteen. Sixteen on the CIA discovered that the? U S embassy in Moscow being irradiated. They were sending low level pulsed microwaves, and this was the time when
he was radiant who the Soviets, the russian irradiating ass. They met with Micro in our embassy in Moscow, yes with microwave, and this a time a lot of literature was coming out that maybe pulsed microwaves could alter human behavior affect the mine cs and, oh, my God, the Soviet are trying to control our diplomats mines, and so they You know better, we didn't when really they were just slow cooking. So there s a fine job like shoe. Tough task could microwaves mind, control, weapon solution, Legion, quite as people had. Perhaps we lack psychic super? What they're doing what other programmes have planned out? famously and responsible for some of our most sophisticated military innovations? So I asked the darker ahead. At the intersection of technology and the military, and what role that place less
there are two sides of DARPA because again our job, As for national security, so one facet of a disease, four underlying technologies like networking that you have to have if you're going to build sophisticated military capability and the other is military systems that we demonstrate like this thing called stealth aircraft, which also started it as a DARPA project and the whole idea of precision strike where, instead of using massive weapons, wipe out everything you develop, the various The stockade inability to find a very specific target, communicate back and deliver a missile to precisely about location, rendering nuclear weapons completely absurd. In the face of that, while everything to an including nuclear weapons was about greater mass and greater destructive power. Precision said we want a hit exactly what we want to hit and we can be really it was driven.
The idea that the less I get back to the Soviets, the Soviets we knew had more for and they had tactical nuclear weapons, and we said there has to be different way to fight that kind of fight, so stuff and precision weaponry. Somebody has to think that up and decide that that's a thing to do so, so what prompted darker to go there, while, ironically, it grew out of our most failed war effort, which was Vietnam, I'm DARPA had been there. Heavily involved in Vietnam and developing things like why aircraft Vietnam, for our insurgency on precision, weapons for binding targets The Vietnam WAR ended in the soviets have been met, rising we hadn't and DARPA figured out a way to save repackage it for the european Battlefield, too sure we have an image of the first practical stealth. Aircraft developed by darker went back and seventy just check it out. So the Hague.
Is whatever radio signal those forward and hits it it should deflect somewhere, but not back from where that signal came in that way. There's it's as though nothing is there? Is you only know, something's they're, not by the single you send out, but by the strength of the thing that comes back and view angle, all sides in such a way that it disperses the signal that you can make this thing, look as small as a bumblebee. Our radar return image? You just explain why my children do not listen to make the flooded him everywhere, every which way, but you don't happen to those with this. These went. One was the first stars in the nineteen sat, a negative Sesar computing power was pretty low than relative to later on. And so to get the perfect shape that doesnt reflect anything back forward right required,
formal sitting and calculating that the the computers are today were incapable of solving laugh and so have computers got more powerful. You could take these flat surfaces, they create a perfectly curve surface. We every spot knows exactly how to reflected so that nothing comes back this way and that gets you the beat tube right here now. So I say you think you're saying I still. This is talk to me. The battling allotted right, so each of those surfaces there's no surface that will reflect a radio signal back to where you're coming from so not all darker projects or become weapons, even if they were can seek, wanted to be conceived as such or any not all become weapons. Some become other stuff right that this is a there's, a fascinating feature of this and, of course, Darpa research laid the foundations of some of the most valuable non military technology that influences
civilization today, and I asked the former head of DARPA all about this. Get me a run down. The greatest hits of non me Terry successes, but check it out here in the late sixties, think about what compute we rely crime in these huge mainframe room punch card? around been there right, don't get me started, but even at that time people worthy imagining what might be possible if you could connect computers together and make they could share information and programmes and tools to do our work. I saw their movies terminator, while in the sixtys it out so think about vacuum tubes, computer, prison gone gone to punch out your cards. Imagine being able to think about that. That's that was really the spark in the late sixties. Arpa that time began a program called the arpanet an end
the challenge for, if they throughout the community was let's connection computers together, safe. We naturally get them to communicate so that you could start sharing information and how to get them to know what the particles are right for the communication right and so the Ark the Internet protocols TCP Ip, which is how this man scaled up internet still works today. Those were in vain by someone who is a program manager DARPA just those with those with a baby steps and look look how or that baby has gone. Okay, so let's move Eightys and Ninetys. I grabbed a dark ass. A young programme manage your thirty years ago in nineteen Asia that genetic connections that going to start my career here pretty much. That is totally awesome. So what the things that we did in that period. So, if you think about what's inside your smartphone, think about a lot of photographs or that's good thoughts, those or possible, because you have very sophisticated integrated circuits.
Some of the early routes of that traced back to DARPA, when your cell phone talks to the cellphone tower its seeing a chip made out a galley mar slide. It's it's a radio, semi conductor component that comes directly out of major Dar programmes that we started, because the idea needs radio communications and radar systems SIRI traces back to a dark or projects spun out of us, our I as a company called Syria that got acquired by apple and became a product, so so all of those technologies. But you know this is the magic right as public dollars sparked all of those technologies Let me now changed how we live and work, so don't shoot credit for the internet, smartphone and SIRI. Yes, is that is at issue all that almost all of that, the biggest one in what cemented DARPA reputation was network computers, the arpanet, which was
holy a DARPA innovation, which went directly the inner, thank God they change the name from Arpanet, because that sounds like the internet for really all people. Europe has been less, is absolutely right. That SIRI also came directly out of a DARPA programme. It turned out the military wasn't interested today, splendid off apple body. It's in your Iphone to show what are we actually within torpor? Read it had something to do with taking together the few survivors after nuclear holocaust. So is that is true, mostly on shrill whistle under german bridges, Hannah Carnation other met, was that the urban it had nothing to do with nuclear weapons. It was just scientists that want to computers to talk to each other and that's a little bit of a myth to so what was it had, I was worried about command and control of nuclear weapons, so they asked DARPA. Can you look at this issue
command, control of nuclear weapons. Darpa hired a scientist. Didn't about nuclear weapons. He wanted computers to talk to each other, so it was both coming together. Coming next explore how DARPA stepped into my world. My world of Spain I'm going to see how they had a project to try to protect America's national, space and start ought to have done. You see before you, I'm gonna consider singing all of the ads on this shell there's just one. And where to get out of hearing there, go to patriarch arms last star talk and support Where does at the five dollar level or higher to listen? The star talk ad free you can download all current episodes into your favorite podcast player and never
we're here. Another commercial on star talk ever again. You will definitely not have to hear me saying if you support us at Patria, dark coms. Last our talk, radio, I mean I'm just thinking, I mean just saying on top of the american dream of natural right here. Do your pity refugee? My interview with the former head of Darth was America's advanced defence technology agency. Let's check it out what's this about space surveillance telescope? What what a diploma in the defence department cares about, which is that a lot is your baby? That's that's one! That's pretty bags! We just handed it off to the air force, not half baked, so we balance for all four DARPA its fully bags. I have to ask the first, but I think it's making a real difference. The deity issue for space is the following: we can do nothing without
we need it to communicate. We need it to navigate would cheap. Yes, we need to be able to see what's going on around the world, it is essential to us, but spaces are very complicated domain. It's not like the fifties, and so Susan Seventies, where we were the only ones do in any area. So these are. These are sensitive telescopes on earth. Looking up that can monitor every all the activity at twenty three thousand miles up actual synchrony and it there's a lot of commercial activity which is wonderful there. There other nations are getting active, unfortunately, not always in a constructive way, so we're in a time when, instead of orbital catalogue, maintenance or used have a catalogue- and you know what's on orbit new sort of pay attention once again, now in real time, you have to be able to see and know what's happening on orbit and end. The vastness of that job is hard to imagine that think about several huh
a thousand times the volume of all the earth's oceans. That's what you have to be able to look at and see what's going on, to, share and humming satellites are bits by satellite out, so that's classified. I think there are Two hundred and seventy six missions total many which include by satellite, some which are no longer active. I think that we, no, that there are about maybe half a dozen spy satellite constellations, but the exact numbers classified and about other things, better space based like the extra reserve in plain terms about the yes, so it what you can about, so it is a very classify project is the Ex thirty seven b orbital test vehicle and it looks a lot like the shuttle you know that the man shuttle off like a mini, shuttled minimise the shuttle and it has flowed in space for the seven hundred days and the air force in the military,
never acknowledged exactly what its being used for somehow and which we could just be clear. A satellite once it's in orbit, that's the orbit. It has forever until you put it somewhere else with whatever fuel, you have case, whereas a space playing the space plane can maneuver, you could put it over different spots of the earth up next, I ask a former head of DARPA about the future of robotic NAI, Wen Startalk, return. I thought we thought about America's, then the Prince Programme and throwing us to help us in this conversation is a and robotics expert cod lips, and
thank so you, professor mechanical engineering, and you make machines that create? Is that a fair care Precision that's right machines that our creative trying to make or break that myth that machines can actually be great, So these are self aware, robots to some extent here, scared, the hell out of me: ok, Why do you know I sat down with former head of America's advanced defence technology agency DARPA and I asked her we're we're headed with the future of robotics, and I still get her take on. It will come back to you check it out. I think, for a lot of people Robot conjures up a humanoid robots. That's a little bit different that I try to disavow people that I could human body. Why does muslin doesn't why
right when we were working through that's about the women would not some model of any right to do better to better job indifferent. When, when machines do things that humans can't do that's, when we can do things too other that already, rather than do just what we were doing so, but artificial intelligence, to know very well. I think people are very where now its having this risk, regions in this this new wave of artificial intelligence with machine learning at its core. Now this idea that machines can take. Look at a million images and start figuring out how to label them, and do it better than humans, because how they ve been trained once they beat us a chess and then it jeopardy it just give right and got why have we might give up on those things in a lot of things that they are now close to two? So we're really can we never leaves jeopardy? I so there's nothing left up we're done. This is moved to Mars and I'm looking at my photos
Sworder on my computer and give it face recognition some hints and give it a few photos to train on. One of these photos found me when I was eleven Romana may when was eleven, I bet I could parliament, must, I picture the eleven year old had an hour. My resembled myself, of course, but still that's pretty amazing. It says we think this is you please confirm It's me. It's a fuzzy photo taken on a codec and semantic o money for that This learning era of ai is really all about its in every thing that we are doing so hot Bjorn a robot assist were what is that was robotics. Is this merger of a I and the physical world? They the mechanics, the embodiment of a machine, and so you need to sort of. Understand both mechanics and try to make a physical smart. So What are you create in your lab? We try asking
anybody anybody's? What would what what's happening in your lab, what's happening so we're trying to do look at sort of next generation robotics we're trying to look at what I know. How can we take this from around machines the machines that can learn the cologne fast. They can learn things that that we haven't taught them and you know do things that we normally dont, think robots can do like self replicate, be creative things like that. Could they have self awareness You know? That's self awareness is one of these. These holy GRAIL, I would say of of robotics- is gonna. Take a while both they were There's a robot on this. Does some creature on this table? Yes, it's a little creepy s, it's so what? What is so this is one of our platform as one of our robots, where we study self awareness, to develop our algorithms for self aware, to put them on this robot, and we see Well, they do and we do upload we applauded and Are we seeing? Can this robots active because
self aware in a very primitive says, we're Canada of understand what it is and what it is, namely itself in itself. So how? How exactly could it understand what it is? So what is it? We don't know what it look above. You know so it it starts off both you and if you press the button you can see how does not mean but press the green button. Greenish is good re if its grand that's good, but this Morpheus, Russia or the red, but just presses sure you'd you told me to press it go ahead rights. It's gonna take away our noise right now right and take a lot of what it does is that it begins to. It begins to see, the vote will soon start moving and the accusations and sensations gonna have all kinds of the sensation. Is about itself and going to start forming one color self image
The very primitive way begin to learn that it has learned it he has is this. This robot has actually blood has no, well to look writing sufficiently craving. It has so what's what's happening. What's happening, it's it's moving around and its sensing as the things about itself, how it moves out accelerates where the talks in its motors let us go on a table and a few feet off the ground doesn't know that now exists is one of the trips goes over. The edge will pull it back off the original. It doesn't know that everything is like it's like baby star to learn what its body and you know, takes it about four days: dance and whether they are not a robot as this, but it looks morning, I'm pretty sure it's aware of something right now. What would happen?
four days from now for four days, look at all it takes over the work. We do this is killed. Don't go to sleep, even the slightest coming to get laid, What is our yeah yeah, So I know what you want to have a first for some applications. You are robots and look like. Human so that they can interact with humans or that the so that they can use human tools, the tools designed for humans? Why would you do that? For example? I can imagine forty years ago, we would have thought how We have a self driving car, you, wouldn't you have a robot that drove in the car the where human would drive a car. No one is thinking. Let's have it, our drive, its own dams rise. Actually, when you look at the love science fiction move,
They still have a robot driving a car. Exactly so clearly we can do bypass the middle, my only we had an right so to say a robot to use tools where human does isn't that. Once again, not bypassing the middle man right monthly, the weak link. Sometimes we want a robot communicate with a human. A human really needs to communicate, something that looks like another here, such as sharing DARPA. I have them thinking about humanoid robots is out a thing. Yes, I've been thinking about article Well, intelligence, going back to the nineteen eighties and then a couple years ago they did this contest of sort of humanoid rescue robots to make them seem a little bit friendly This is the robotics challenge was, so we ve got a demo clip one of the key doing some testing with one of them
soda humanoid robots if we bring that up, what about a robot. I would be pissed I'm gonna, be ready kid this ass. If it's not self aware area.
Oh, if you keep her from being self aware it system, machine notices in Boston. That's why he's a hockey stick to open? Exactly that's all I know is hockey in Boston ever. Can I get one of these kickin robots? As you know, I got a lotta pent up frustrates the ones that are now So if we want to stop there weren't, you know that come around which Why are they abusing this robot because we feel for the robot, even those human. We were kind of like that's not even though that's a complete. She in a things we did with our robots, is chop off its leg and we watch what happens. And we could see that after a while it sort of learns that has no legs and it begins to limp. And it's it's it's a whiff testing, the south. What did you want to come up with?
Can't we just how well how well the robots can sort of understand it's happening, can remodel itself gutted. How Mozilla is so this is so you wouldn't you so DARPA the military. Might deploy this kind of disaster response situation right. Might might you equipped that with a gun or those hands were ladys rubber, pansy? Presumably, if they can't, you see how have the panache with which it stood back up. Yes, so. It's like I'm ready for you. So we know we all remember the movie. Robocop the military? Isn't really a rescue machine I've seen yet I think that eventually robust soldiers is eventually idea right. I can go into a dangerous situation and bring out bring our fellow soldiers, for example. Yes, rascal right: the bringing embryos and guns edible spin you know put in
holster, what again this would be guns that a human would use, but why trainer to use a human gun. When you can just build a gun into the chassis itself, right absolutely see Heath at ease lab. I don't know what he's gonna then, why are you what he's gotten his lab? A bunch of one legged, robot digit waiting around waiting game consciousness? They got a little like a plug in the internet, ready for some upload it some firmware upgrade where they go come out, it's so so the What standing up again, it reminded me of the scenes in the terminator where you think determinator dead, but then it just keeps coming back up set. That's what that's all I could think of. Yet this this all makes sense. Now, because when you talk about the rescue you talk about artificial intelligence. It really seems like video game. Are nothing more than a tray
mechanism for the soul, tomorrow, oh ok, yeah! that brings us to a part of our show exiting quickly as possible to punish local cosmic query. We're fan that have raised questions about robotics than- and I could check was the first question here. We are from We greens coming from Facebook will I operated spacecraft be high we explore the outer reaches of the cosmos. I think that We want to do it when I guess and people there, and where women, where it will not be sent people because people want to combat as people? Do you suppose you build a I've so that it has self awareness and it wants to come back? Well, I don't want to come because I don't get his leg. I mean this is a moral ethical frontier. If you put it,
hey, I into a robot that it becomes as inquisitive as a human and therefore you send them instead of humans. What moral obligation to we have that we just created a conscious. That's a good question, but before that happens there is this value and setting a machine does not quite as intelligent. As a human, they wants to come back, and yet it can that's. I detect life for in ways that in our machines can now get a decent and that's that withhold from it, a certain level of intelligent, so we don't have feelings for it or vice versa. Ok, networks, cold weather, mixed we're all right. This is Sir Mansfield from Instagram who wants to know this. What are your thoughts on human rights last robot sexual relations? Do? Well, that's a first of all hard It's gone on in the lab.
Definitely we gonna be a big piece of the market for human robots. Absolutely, no, no doubt about yes, that next question. This is Daniel Friedlin from Twitter. Who wants to know this? Will a rope that's eventually, steel, astrophysicist an comedians jobs. Where will they will they be able to absent what's it must in legs a robots right now, he's gonna make a replacement robot for you and me that no man, I'm telling you right now, we said to his legs before emulate coming up next time starts awkward, discuss the present. The origin and the future of self driving cars. When we return
american, even of natural history. What we're talking about you through technology, with a former head of DARPA, America's defence research agency, we discuss why competitions have been so successful at sparking innovations, so it's you can put up prize money and then have competing communities, invest their own money just to get the prize money and then the total amount of money invested is ten times the value the prize MA. Am I correct the first competition we did? That was a self driving view. Talents to remember those and here's what school is the first time we asked people we said, put together a vehicle, no driver that can complete a course me. Won't you don't get to see the course in advance. Zero cars finished
worse and then, a year later, when we did the competition again, a few cars actually completed the course and and that's how fast we were able to accelerate the draw. You know that technology, that autonomous vehicle technology and by the way, if you want to find the people who won in those various competitions, all the competitors you can find, they are the people that are driving self driving cars out in Google and tore out and forward because it could ultimately save thirty thousand lies here would be a big deal so how'd you wrote, a book drive intelligent cars and the road ahead. Did you actually compete in that challenge, so her? to this I so we had a team at Cornell University at the time that competed was of that one of the teams that did not win, ok, bye it was a fascinating expire. Hence how machine learning is really the way to move these things for its. I love the teams that didn't make it in the first round were using sort of
fashion in a I, but in second round its rhythm machine learning that made made the tell me again what machine learning is. My just dance was also in any sort of India in the field of artificial intelligence does mean these to sort of schools of thought how to build one? Was you design a clever algorithm with rules and logic, and the second one is just you teach it. Though the machine example and the figures are statistically what's right, him what's wrong and you can teach a computer do anything using these statistical method? It can glean knowledge of its experience that you as a programmer had no clue it. Would that's right, because its learning on the fly right- and indeed there are things that you can program explicitly like playing chess like doing taxes, those rocks, there's rules but to drive a car, distinguishing? What's drivable? What's not viable, nobody can by rules for that. It's too abstract so sure. Why would DARPA engage in self driving cars with the motivation
EL. The motivation is going back to its work in artificial intelligence, back to the nineteen eighties around the time that this first, airless car race was started. There were convoy is in Afghanistan and Iraq being hit by improvised explosive devices. If you take the people out, it's a! U reduce deaths occur. So that's one of these cases where it has a direct and very purposeful military application, but the value rest of the world is incalculable but we still haven't gotten there for the military. I think the civilian world has benefited much more from this. So far to Turkey. Your sidewalks science, correspondent. You knew this. That was your title. We gave you yes, yeah, ok, so what you have a dispatch, Ratura Yasser Arafat and went out to us in this, right here in New York City to find out that's what you're you're spot a loving square and- and I just want to find out what people thought about driverless car city, where most people don't draw. Oh, how do you feel about the
the of drivers, cars who, why not? Why not famous last words why Would you drive arrived and travellers car? Oh, don't trust him trusted middle driving. You in the back of a traveller car It has a bender better with another driverless car. What do you do? It start cussing run, so now you guys have student debt just graduated where'd, you throw yourself in front of a driverless car to get that sweet guaranteed settlement money. Yes, boom spoken, like a truth, is this: Thank you jerk. What next year, the dark side of defence technology,
starts operator, The American, reveal that right here in New York, we talking about future technology. With the former head of America's Defence research agency, I asked what they got: Cookin emergent field of neural, technology with check it out this this little bit of the. The body of a human brain that that we barely understand today. It's fun and we giving up its secrets or just starting now to be able, for example, to get to get this. Precise neural signals from specific regions that the brain to translate them in real time to figure out what they're trying to tell the rest of your body to do and we're starting now
Take that basic science and turn it into technological capability and for us large that journey started with a program called revolutionizing. Prosthetics we? We we had to have a better standard of care, far wondered warriors and the really simple hook that was the upper blend, prosthetic Had for ever and ever now so the youth projects, related to our Luke Project, one partner that Luke is an imperfect for this, for a man to man but a hand, so that we just delivered to Walter Reed. The first production units spent through FDA try, medical, so you have to give to our splendid warriors. Those arms, that will give them, is the weight and now approaching the dexterity, your natural motor control, but the other branch I think, project was to understand motors signalling, cut signalling from your motor cortex and then the signals that go into your sensory cortex think give you in a knot
motor control, but then feedback, which I think is in principle. We expected it to have happened in star wars. That's off! There's a few back in Can you remember one is an engine for appeared, one looks hand got the of heritage or to open up the hatch yeah factor that we're a dream about so high as this technology work, brain machine interface, what's goin on their, but there's a lot of it has to do with a sort of detecting signals. Electrodes interpreting those signals, understanding what signals respond to what actions and then translating those she's into Pre, programmed hand, gestures so DARPA. Why you helping this is it for primarily the wounded warriors or is it there's some other than the various that's the current of the programme. The very public statements have been Neuro Prosthetics, but when the work so there was just started back in early, two thousands DARPA director talked about
controlling drones or robots with the human mind. So this is I'm through some evolution. So what is the difference between controlling a drone, a with the human mind and just having some some interface with the joystick. Is that the same? my mind is controlling joystick, that's controlling the drone, but its heart set aside controls may joystick. You go left right up center. I mean what you do the way you move your hand on your flight has much more complexity to it, like the movie avatar and the guy controls the dragon and they become one. Get a usb ponytail connected to the so them is the goal then the dark ago, but ultimately that has arisen? its agency. It depends what the military's goal is, the a terrible use it for whatever purpose and is right now needs to help wounded warriors, but
also have will also have weapons applications in the future. The military fights wars, the former head of darker iraqi probe hacker which mixed in their plans to me, urge human minds and machines. Just to see that sum up their sleeves, so in ten years, will just be a brain in the middle of this building. The rest of the world around their right of every few slug too we're takes control about that, but I got my consciousness darkness. I know you're, cooking up, fine, what's behind the curtain over there s a year ago. I said this is a point right about every one of our powerful technologies. Is that all of us who are scientists and engineers? We are pursuing these things, because we- they have the potential to elevate humanity and we.
Oh, that every one of those powerful technologies, who's gonna, have a dark side as well, and so the those are the issues that I think that society has to wrestle with those. But Therefore, as we always have absolutely, sure what gimme some dark side here that, talking about- and it is this some of that in your book there's. Some of that am I book. One dark, imagined years of war, yes, once it's dark side. Is I asked the sharp official in charge of those neuroscience programs? You interviewed multiple people through the background of this many people. I ask this official: would you ever classify Workin the neuroscience make it secret? I expected him to sail absolutely not, and he said well if we found some our research that gave the military strategic advantage than we would so imagine that classes I'd neuroscience work of what that it and what that means and the application she means when she says dark side. Anything I'm thinking, testing brain related is little science fiction.
Classified military neuroscience? Researchers, pretty dark, dark as no one can see it because it done behind don't secretly while dark, because it's the very essence what makes it human to the idea of doing anything classified human testing. Brain related is little science fiction, a dark, I'm just thinking when you're so dark shrine, I'm thinkin! You could take this discovery and somehow disrupt the world. This also means that lets you slow down This also what you do with there happened. They sort of like war, gaming studies over the years, the Pentagon, that you know. Suppose someone else got ahead and brain science in neuroscience and created some sort of weapons. We need to have a strategic, you knows it, and you know you could have a missile gap of dirt science. Ok, so so hot, do you ever worry or wonder whether the robot you create could be used for evil by yourself by others. I do
and we do it nevertheless becoming because the benefits outweigh the risk in in such in over overwhelming fashion, just a Just recently, you saw these these. This new ices and that can detect disease better than the best team of of of of doctors in income skin cancer, and we just imagine a future where, where people have access to that, but people have access to education. Personal level. So yes, their bad things that can happen, but the benefits are just there to to be at parting thought share. I think humans will out live out of the sun, genes for awhile for awhile, for what has really, if I may offer some final reflections
our scientists and I value pure research into anything at all. If it is a frontier between what is known and unknown in the natural world so to prejudge what is will be used for good or for evil that is really up to Friday, and how wise are we as a society to even receive such discoveries? So I think, alongside such research, this should be so maybe a tandem agency. That is thinking about the morality, the the the dangers, the abuse that could unfold so that we can sort of March together into this future, dark or I don't know why. You got guys don't have a much higher budget than you do, or maybe
Instead, there could be a dark or type agency in every branch of the human culture because it DARPA take risks, risk that other sources of money do not take well the day. You stop making mistakes is the day. You can be sure you are not on the frontier because you're doing things that are safe, that you already know are going to work So I'm just delighted that DARPA exists. I like the fact that we have some robots that may take over some of our tasks because this too much work that I do not want to do, let a robot take it over and maybe still be stuff. Humans can do and if not, we just sit at the beach and enjoy our lives while robots take over the world. I'm cool with that Jack. You call with that. Now, that is a cosmic perspective
I deal taken you pursue the physicist Leyenburg nice. Always your house has always keep looking. I wish you'd listen, startled whistle free joint start talking Patria for as little as five dollars per month and the ads will disappear. Learn more at patriarch dot com slap star talk, radio
Transcript generated on 2020-01-19.