Historically, mankind has developed new weapons, deployed them, observed the damage, and then debated the ethics and morality of the weapons after the fact. That pattern seems to have held true from the time of the first crude clubs, spears, bows and arrows, and even the atomic bomb.
The latest development in that same series is the X-47B fully autonomous drone, currently being tested by the US Navy. The new robotic drone is so advanced that it can take off and land on an aircraft carrier at sea without human intervention.
DARPA, the same folks that brought us, or at least funded, the development of the Internet and several autonomous robotic vehicles, has a new challenge. If you like puzzles, mental gymnastics, and extremely short deadlines, you're going to love this one.
It turns out that the US military frequently takes over the headquarters of hostile forces, but all too often all the critical paperwork containing precious clues and insights has been shredded before they can get their hands on it. That's where the DARPA challenge comes in. They're putting up a $50,000 prize for the team that can come up with the best solution for putting all the shredded information back together again.
Rather than just present one puzzle, which might be too difficult for any team to solve, DARPA has posted five puzzles with increasing levels of complexity. The puzzles are already up on the challenge website, and can be downloaded by anyone, even if they decide not to enter the competition.
To keep things even more interesting and exciting, they have a Leaderboard on the website that is updated regularly. The winning team will be announced on December 5, 2011.
(Via DARPA Shredder Challenge.)
I didn't realize that Lockheed Martin, one of the world's largest aerospace, defense, security, and technology companies, has projects underway utilizing the Aldebaran NAO humanoid robot, but they must have because their latest corporate promotional video, titled "Visions of Tomorrow" features the easily recognizable, and extremely cute, robot from France.
According to the video caption:
"Visions of Tomorrow" reflects the Corporation's dedicated workforce, growing technology portfolio, and innovative spirit. The video is a tribute to those innovators and the sense of greater purpose they share.