Spy on your smart home with this open source research tool

Spy on your smart home with this open source research tool

6:41am, 13th April, 2019
Researchers at have built a web app that lets you (and them) spy on your smart home devices to see what they’re up to. The open source tool, called IoT Inspector, is available for download . (Currently it’s Mac OS only, with a wait list for Windows or Linux.) In a about the effort the researchers write that their aim is to offer a simple tool for consumers to analyze the network traffic of their Internet connected gizmos. The basic idea is to help people see whether devices such as smart speakers or wi-fi enabled robot vacuum cleaners are sharing their data with third parties. (Or indeed how much snitching their gadgets are doing.) Testing the IoT Inspector tool in their lab the researchers say they found a Chromecast device constantly contacting Google’s servers even when not in active use. A Geeni smart bulb was also found to be constantly communicating with the cloud — sending/receiving traffic via a URL (tuyaus.com) that’s operated by a China-based company with a platform which controls IoT devices. There are other ways to track devices like this — such as setting up a wireless hotspot to sniff IoT traffic using a packet analyzer like WireShark. But the level of technical expertise required makes them difficult for plenty of consumers. Whereas the researchers say their web app doesn’t require any special hardware or complicated set-up so it sounds easier than trying to go packet sniffing your devices yourself. (, which got an early look at the tool, describes it as “incredibly easy to install and use”.) One wrinkle: The web app doesn’t work with Safari; requiring either Firefox or Google Chrome (or a Chromium-based browser) to work. The main caveat is that the team at Princeton do want to use the gathered data to feed IoT research — so users of the tool will be contributing to efforts to study smart home devices. The title of their research project is Identifying Privacy, Security, and Performance Risks of Consumer IoT Devices. The listed principle investigators are professor Nick Feamster and PhD student Danny Yuxing Huang at the university’s Computer Science department. The Princeton team says it intends to study privacy and security risks and network performance risks of IoT devices. But they also note they may share the full dataset with other non-Princeton researchers after a standard research ethics approval process. So users of IoT Inspector will be participating in at least one research project. (Though the tool also lets you delete any collected data — per device or per account.) “With IoT Inspector, we are the first in the research community to produce an open-source, anonymized dataset of actual IoT network traffic, where the identity of each device is labelled,” the researchers write. “We hope to invite any academic researchers to collaborate with us — e.g., to analyze the data or to improve the data collection — and advance our knowledge on IoT security, privacy, and other related fields (e.g., network performance).” They have produced an extensive which anyone thinking about running the tool should definitely read before getting involved with a piece of software that’s explicitly designed to spy on your network traffic. (tl;dr, they’re using ARP-spoofing to intercept traffic data — a technique they warn may slow your network, in addition to the risk of their software being buggy.) The dataset that’s being harvesting by the traffic analyzer tool is anonymized and the researchers specify they’re not gathering any public-facing IP addresses or locations. But there are still some privacy risks — such as if you have smart home devices you’ve named using your real name. So, again, do read the FAQ carefully if you want to participate. For each IoT device on a network the tool collects multiple data-points and sends them back to servers at Princeton University — including DNS requests and responses; destination IP addresses and ports; hashed MAC addresses; aggregated traffic statistics; TLS client handshakes; and device manufacturers. The tool has been designed not to track computers, tablets and smartphones by default, given the study focus on smart home gizmos. Users can also manually exclude individual smart devices from being tracked if they’re able to power them down during set up or by specifying their MAC address. Up to 50 smart devices can be tracked on the network where IoT Inspector is running. Anyone with more than 50 devices is asked to contact the researchers to ask for an increase to that limit. The project team has produced a video showing how to install the app on Mac:
Bill Gates casts an enthusiastic vote for bill to accelerate nuclear energy research

Bill Gates casts an enthusiastic vote for bill to accelerate nuclear energy research

5:51pm, 28th March, 2019
A technician places a full-size test fuel pin bundle in TerraPower’s pin duct interaction test apparatus. TerraPower, founded by Bill Gates, is working on traveling-wave reactor technology. (TerraPower Photo) If dollars were votes, newly reintroduced legislation aimed at boosting nuclear energy innovation and advanced reactors would be a winner, thanks to Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates’ strong endorsement today. The world’s is the founder of Bellevue, Wash.-based , a startup that’s working on next-generation nuclear fission reactors. Back in December, Gates listed nuclear energy research as , and he by promising lawmakers he’d invest $1 billion of his own money and line up another $1 billion in private capital if federal funds were approved for a TerraPower pilot project in the United States. TerraPower had planned a pilot in China, but trade tensions upset the plan. During the waning days of the previous congressional session, a bipartisan group in the Senate introduced a measure called the , which would promote next-generation nuclear power by boosting research and setting up long-term agreements for federal power purchases from newly licensed reactors. The bill would require the Department of Energy to demonstrate two advanced reactor concepts by 2025, followed by another two to five concepts by 2035. That would brighten the outlook for TerraPower as well as other next-gen nuclear power companies such as Oregon-based NuScale Power, which is at the Idaho National Laboratory by 2026. There wasn’t enough time to move the bill out of committee last year — but on Wednesday, the by 15 senators, including Republicans such as Alaska’s Lisa Murkowski and South Carolina’s Lindsay Graham as well as Democrats such as New Jersey’s Cory Booker and West Virginia’s Joe Manchin. That came as music to Gates’ ears, and today he let the world know on Twitter: Yesterday, a bipartisan group of leaders in the U.S. Senate introduced the Nuclear Energy Leadership Act, which establishes an ambitious plan to accelerate the development of advanced nuclear reactor technologies. I can’t overstate how important this is. — Bill Gates (@BillGates) To prevent the worst effects of climate change, we need to reach near-zero emissions on all the things that drive it—agriculture, electricity, manufacturing, transportation, and buildings—by investing in innovation across all sectors while deploying low cost renewables. — Bill Gates (@BillGates) Nuclear energy is one of these critical technologies. It’s ideal for dealing with climate change, because it is the only carbon-free, scalable energy source that’s available 24 hours a day. — Bill Gates (@BillGates) I’m thrilled that senators from both sides of the aisle have come together to support advanced nuclear. This is exactly the kind of leadership our country needs to both solve the climate challenge and reassert our leadership in this important industry. — Bill Gates (@BillGates) Some experts — such as Gregory Jaczko, former head of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission — and argue that funding should go instead toward developing renewable energy sources such as solar and wind, and boosting battery technologies. Even if Gates’ view is true, some analysts question whether the advanced nuclear projects that are currently in the works could hit the 2025 demonstration timetable specified in the legislation. The promise of further federal support would certainly motivate companies like TerraPower and NuScale to try, however. Jessica Lovering, director of energy at the California-based Breakthrough Institute, said the measure would provide a “shot in the arm for entrepreneurs working on advanced nuclear technologies.” “With luck, it will be become law,” . “But while the bill is a big step toward commercializing advanced reactors, it’s not enough. More legislation will likely be needed to stimulate the market demand necessary to deploy significant nuclear to replace fossil fuels.”
White House starts to flesh out AI research plan — and raises its profile with AI.gov

White House starts to flesh out AI research plan — and raises its profile with AI.gov

1:09pm, 19th March, 2019
White House tech adviser Michael Kratsios addresses scores of executives, experts and officials at a White House summit focusing on artificial intelligence in May 2018. (OSTP via Twitter) For months, the White House has been talking up artificial intelligence as one of America’s most important tech frontiers. Now we’re starting to see some of the dollar signs behind the talk. In newly released budget documents, the Trump administration says it wants to split $850 million in civilian federal spending on AI research and development between the National Science Foundation, the National Institutes of Health, the National Institute of Standards and Technology and the Energy Department. This is in addition to for AI and machine learning, including $208 million for the Joint Artificial Intelligence Center. Based on the agency-by-agency breakdowns, NSF would get the lion’s share of the $850 million — specifically, The Department of Energy says it’s that would “improve the robustness, reliability, and transparency of Big Data and AI technologies, as well as quantification and development of software tools for DOE mission applications.” About $71 million would go to DOE’s Office of Science, and $48 million would go to the National Nuclear Security Administration, which safeguards the nation’s nuclear arsenal. The National Institutes of Health doesn’t lay out exactly how much it’s requesting in its , but it does detail what the money would be used for: “NIH is focused on the promise of artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) for catalyzing advances in basic (e.g., image interpretation, neuroscience, genomic variants and disease risk, gene structure, and epigenomics) and clinical research (e.g., robotic surgery, natural language processing of electronic health record data, inferring treatment options for cancer, reading radiology results). NIH recognizes that there are many areas of biomedical research where novel computing, machine intelligence, and deep learning techniques have the potential to advance human health.” NIST hasn’t yet provided details about the funds it’s aiming to devote to AI, but its total R&D budget would be trimmed by 8 percent if the administration’s proposal is accepted. NSF would face a 10 percent cut, and NIH would see its total R&D budget reduced by 13 percent. The White House says fiscal austerity is forcing a narrowing of R&D priorities. “While recognizing the continued importance of R&D spending to support innovation, fiscal prudence demands a more focused approach to the Federal R&D budget in the context of America’s multi-sector R&D enterprise. This approach prioritizes maintaining peace through strength and ensures U.S. leadership in the Industries of the Future,” the White House said in its R&D overview. AI is considered one of four Industries of the Future, along with quantum information science, advanced communications systems such as 5G and advanced manufacturing. Today the White House sent another signal that it wants to raise the profile of AI research by launching a new internet portal about its policy: . The website pulls together the administration’s policies, documents and program descriptions relating to AI. “The White House’s newly unveiled illustrates our whole of government approach to national artificial intelligence policy and the historic strides this administration has made over the past two years,” Michael Kratsios, deputy assistant to the president for technology policy, said in a news release. “We look forward to continued advancements solidifying America’s position as the world leader in AI and ensuring this emerging technology is developed and applied for the benefit of the American people.” Will the White House’s AI spending plan get through Congress? It’s likely to get some tweaks along the way, but lawmakers have been generally supportive of AI initiatives. In contrast, the White House’s wider plan to trim back on R&D spending is facing pushback from the scientific community and some congressional leaders.
Paul Allen’s Petrel research ship finds out where USS Wasp’s WWII odyssey ended

Paul Allen’s Petrel research ship finds out where USS Wasp’s WWII odyssey ended

5:26pm, 13th March, 2019
One of the USS Wasp’s five-inch guns looms out of the murk of the Coral Sea. (Photo courtesy of Paul Allen’s R/V Petrel / Navigea) The USS Wasp, an aircraft carrier that saw service during World War II from Iceland to Guadalcanal, has been located lying 14,000 feet deep in the Coral Sea 77 years after its sinking. It’s the latest find chalked up to the R/V Petrel, a research vessel whose expeditions have been funded by the late Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen and his estate. The Petrel has been plying the waters of the Pacific Ocean and surrounding seas for years, to document the resting places of historic shipwrecks and conduct scientific studies. The Wasp was found on Jan. 14 with the aid of a sonar-equipped autonomous underwater vehicle and a camera-equipped remotely operated vehicle. The Wasp was commissioned in 1940 and began service on the Atlantic front, providing defensive fighter cover for U.S. Army planes landing in Iceland. It also played a support role in Operation Calendar and Operation Bowery, two U.S.-British campaign aimed at defending the island bastion of Malta against German and Italian air raids. When the Wasp accomplished its mission and headed back to the British Isles, Prime Minister Winston Churchill messaged his thanks for the aircraft carrier’s double duty. “Who said a wasp couldn’t sting twice?” he wrote. From Iceland to Guadalcanal, the played a pivotal role on multiple fronts during WWII. Here's just a little bit about the aircraft carrier's significance. — Vulcan Inc. (@VulcanInc) The ship’s final mission was to serve as an escort for the 7th Marine Regiment, which was heading to Guadalcanal with reinforcements for the pivotal battle there in 1942. On Sept. 15, 1942, four torpedoes from a Japanese submarine struck the Wasp and set the ship ablaze. Within minutes, the Wasp was engulfed in flames, but Capt. Forrest P. Sherman held off on abandoning ship until he was satisfied that no survivors were left aboard. Forty-five aircraft went down with the ship, and some of them show up clearly in the R/V Petrel’s video of the underwater wreck site. But most of the 2,248 men of the Wasp got off safely. Fewer than 200 men died, and 366 were wounded. For more about the USS Wasp and its discovery, check out and .
Study tracks China’s ‘startling’ challenge to America in artificial intelligence research

Study tracks China’s ‘startling’ challenge to America in artificial intelligence research

9:10am, 13th March, 2019
BigStock Photo China wants to become the world leader in artificial intelligence by 2030 — but by Seattle’s , or AI2, suggests that Chinese researchers are on track to take the lead well before that. The analysis is based on a tally of the most impactful research papers in the AI field, as measured by AI2’s academic search engine. “If current trends continue, within five years, China will surpass us in terms of the top, highest-impact papers,” the institute’s CEO, Oren Etzioni, told GeekWire. “The other thing to realize is that citations are what you might call a lagging indicator, because the paper has to be published, people have to read it, and they have to write their own paper and cite it.” Thus, the analysis is likely to understate China’s current influence in AI research, Etzioni said. “The bottom line is, Chinese AI research is startling in quantity and quality,” he said. AI2’s findings are consistent with what tech analysts have been saying over the past year or two. Last year, found that 48 percent of the $15.2 billion invested in AI startups globally in 2017 went to China, with just 38 percent going to U.S. startups. Oren Etzioni is the CEO of the Allen Institute for Artificial Intelligence. (GeekWire Photo / Alan Boyle) That’s just the start: China’s State Council has by 2030 — and put that expertise in the service of what’s becoming a . Etzioni said the AI2 analysis shows that research in artificial intelligence has grown dramatically over the past three decades, from 5,000 published papers in 1985 to 140,000 in 2018. Over that time, there have been many studies tracking the progress of AI research, but Etzioni said Semantic Scholar provides new perspective. “First of all, this is the most up-to-date result, because we’ve analyzed papers through 2018,” he said. “Secondly, what’s unique is we looked at this notion of most-cited papers, because we’re after impact.” The analysis shows that, in terms of sheer volume of research papers, China surpassed the U.S. back in 2006. Since then, China’s trend line has gone through ups and downs (and ups), but never fell below the U.S. totals. Semantic Scholar told a different story when it came to the top 50 percent, the 10 percent and the top 1 percent of academic studies, as measured by citation counts. Those charts show a gradual decline in the percentage of papers attributed primarily to U.S. authors, and an accelerating rise in the Chinese percentage. The Chinese Academy of Sciences led the list of China’s research institutions when it came to citations, followed by Nanyang Technological University, Tsinghua University, the Chinese University of Hong Kong and the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology. If the trend lines are extended, China should surpass the United States this year for the top 50 percent, next year for the top 10 percent, and by 2025 for the top 1 percent. This chart shows the market share for the top 1 percent of AI papers, as determined by citation impact. Extending the trend lines suggests that Chinese researchers will produce more of the “cream of the crop” in AI research by 2025. (AI2 Graphic / Field Cady / Oren Etzioni) China’s AI rise has already sparked concerns in Washington, D.C., leading to the establishment of a as well as a at the Pentagon. The White House budget proposal for fiscal year 2020, , would set aside $208 million for the AI center. Etzioni argued that the federal government’s AI strategy should put more emphasis on basic research. “We need to stop what the Trump administration has been doing, which is using various ways to discourage immigration of students and scholars into this country,” he said. “We need more of those talented people, like we always have. AI2 is highly international, and that’s been a huge boon for us.” Setting aside more money for basic research in AI will also be essential, Etzioni said. Last month, President Donald Trump , and this week’s budget proposal made . But those documents didn’t provide specifics. “We need those specifics,” Etzioni said. “And we need them even sooner than we had thought.” Authors of the AI2 analysis, ” are Field Cady and Oren Etzioni. The researchers used to classify AI papers for the purpose of the study. Check the full analysis for details about the methodology.
Led by ex-Oculus research scientist, Seattle drone startup Vtrus raises cash for indoor inspection tech

Led by ex-Oculus research scientist, Seattle drone startup Vtrus raises cash for indoor inspection tech

1:57pm, 7th March, 2019
Vtrus’ ABI Zero drone is designed to conduct indoor inspections autonomously. (Vtrus via YouTube) Seattle startup has raised investment for a different kind of drone — one that’s designed to conduct precision inspections of industrial facilities. A published today shows a $2.9 million cash infusion for Vtrus. , the company’s CEO and co-founder, declined to comment on the new funding when contacted by GeekWire. Salas-Moreno was previously the co-founder of Surreal Vision, a computer vision startup that was , Facebook’s VR subsidiary. He went on to work at Oculus VR for more than a year as a research scientist in Redmond, Wash., then helped lay the groundwork for Vtrus, which he launched in 2017 with chief technology officer and chief design officer . The company, based near Fishermen’s Terminal in Seattle’s Interbay neighborhood, has developed an indoor autonomous drone known as the ABI Zero that can navigate its way around the tricky surroundings of a warehouse environment without the need for a remote operator or GPS waypoints. ABI Zero can conduct an aerial survey for as long as 10 minutes, and then return to its base station for charging. The base also serves as a WiFi-enabled link for receiving streaming data from the drone and relaying it to Vtrus’ cloud service. Because Vtrus’ platform is designed exclusively for indoor use, it doesn’t have to satisfy the Federal Aviation Administration restrictions on outdoor flights of unmanned aerial systems. The company has been demonstrating its technology in a “pilotless” pilot program, and the newly-reported funding round should help Vtrus get further down the path to commercialization. Vtrus takes advantage of a computer vision technique called SLAM (Simultaneous Location and Mapping), which enables drones to build a high-fidelity map of their surroundings. Thirty times a second, the SLAM software keeps track of 300,000 depth points captured by an array of cameras and sensors. The drone market is expected to reach $100 billion by 2020, according to research from . Vtrus showed off its technology and said it was seeking investment. The startup has put together a variety of videos showing how the drone does its work. Check ’em out … and watch the (indoor) skies:
Lost in 1943, the USS Strong is found again by Paul Allen’s Petrel research vessel

Lost in 1943, the USS Strong is found again by Paul Allen’s Petrel research vessel

5:17pm, 25th February, 2019
The R/V Petrel team monitors the USS Strong survey operation on the floor of the Kula Gulf in the Solomon Sea. (Photo courtesy of Paul G. Allen’s Vulcan Inc.) The USS Strong put in less than a year of service at sea, but the destroyer and its crew nevertheless earned a place of honor in the U.S. Navy’s history of World War II. Now the Strong’s legacy is once again in the spotlight, thanks to the shipwreck’s discovery by the research vessel Petrel. The R/V Petrel’s expedition team, supported by the late Seattle billionaire philanthropist Paul Allen’s Vulcan Inc., found the wreckage on Feb. 6, lying 1,000 feet deep on the floor of the Kula Gulf, north of New Georgia in the Solomon Sea. The latest find adds to the Petrel’s long list of World War II shipwreck discoveries, including the USS Indianapolis, the USS Lexington, the USS Juneau, the USS Helena and the USS Hornet. “With each ship we are find and survey, it is the human stories that make each one personal,” Robert Kraft, expedition lead and director of subsea operations for the Petrel. “We need to remember and honor our history and its heroes, living and dead. We need to bring their spirit to life and be grateful every day for the sacrifices made by so many on our behalf.” The Strong put out to sea for the first time in 1942, and during the first half of 1943, it conducted anti-submarine patrols and supported naval mining operations around the Solomon Islands, New Hebrides and Guadalcanal in the Pacific. Its final battle came on July 5, 1943, when the Strong was sent to shell Japanese shore installations to provide cover for the landing of American forces at Rice Anchorage on the coast of New Georgia. During the engagement, the destroyer was struck on the port side by a Japanese torpedo fired at long range. One of the Strong’s crew members, Donald Regan, recalled that the force of the strike “knocked me off my feet.” In the minutes that followed the blast, most of the Strong’s crew scrambled over nets to a neighboring destroyer, the USS Chevalier, while the USS O’Bannon provided cover. But the rescue operation had to be suspended due to heavy enemy fire. Forty-six of the 280 crew members were lost, and some of the survivors were marooned for days. One of the most harrowing tales focuses on Lt. Hugh Miller, who spent 39 days stranded on Arundel Island. While marooned, Miller attacked three Japanese machine-gun emplacements and one enemy patrol. His exploits earned him the Navy Cross and the central role in a book titled “The Castaway’s War.” “While the loss of Strong and 46 of her sailors was tragic, it’s also an inspirational moment in the history of our Navy,” retired Rear Adm. Samuel Cox, director of Naval History and Heritage Command, said in a statement. “If you need examples of sailor integrity, accountability, initiative and toughness when great-power competition heats up, you can’t go wrong reading the “
Paul Allen’s Petrel research vessel finds the USS Hornet, 77 years after sinking

Paul Allen’s Petrel research vessel finds the USS Hornet, 77 years after sinking

11:41am, 12th February, 2019
This 5-inch gun is part of the wreckage from the historic USS Hornet. (Photo courtesy of Paul G. Allen’s Vulcan Inc.) Chalk up another historic shipwreck discovery for the , the research vessel funded by the late Seattle billionaire Paul Allen: This time it’s the , the World War II aircraft carrier that was sunk by Japanese forces in 1942. The Hornet is best-known as the launching point for the , the first airborne attack on the Japanese home islands after Pearl Harbor and the United States’ entry into the war. Led by U.S. Army Lt. Col. Jimmy Doolittle, the raid in April 1942 provided a boost to American morale and put Japan on alert about our covert air capabilities. Two months later, the Hornet was one of three U.S. carriers that surprised and sunk four Japanese carriers during the tide-turning Battle of Midway. The Hornet was lost near the Solomon Islands in the South Pacific on Oct. 26, 1942, during the Battle of Santa Cruz. The carrier weathered a withering barrage from Japanese dive bombers and torpedo planes — but the crew eventually had to abandon ship, leaving the Hornet to its sinking. About 140 of the Hornet’s nearly 2,200 sailors and air crew members were lost.. “With the loss of Hornet and serious damage to Enterprise, the Battle of Santa Cruz was a Japanese victory, but at an extremely high cost,” retired Rear Adm. Samuel Cox, director of the U.S. Navy’s Naval History and Heritage Command, . “About half the Japanese aircraft engaged were shot down by greatly improved U.S. Navy anti-aircraft defenses. As a result, the Japanese carriers did not engage again in battle for almost another two years.” The Petrel took on the search for the Hornet as part of its mission to investigate scientific phenomena and historical mysteries in the South Pacific. The 250-foot research vessel’s previous shipwreck finds include the USS , the USS , the USS and the . The ship’s latest expedition took place in January,. “We had Hornet on our list of WWII warships that we wanted to locate because of its place in history as an aircraft carrier that saw many pivotal moments in naval battles,” said Robert Kraft, who heads the Petrel project as director of subsea operations for Vulcan. “Paul Allen was particularly interested in historically significant and capital ships, so this mission and discovery honor his legacy.” The Petrel’s 10-person expedition team zeroed in on the Hornet’s position by piecing together data from national and naval archives that included official deck logs and action reports from other ships engaged in the battle. Positions and sightings from nine other U.S. warships in the area were plotted on a chart to generate the starting point for the search grid. The discovery of the Hornet was made during the first dive mission of the Petrel’s autonomous underwater vehicle, at a depth of nearly 17,500 feet, and confirmed by video footage from the research ship’s remotely operated vehicle. , a 95-year-old California resident who was a gunner on the Hornet, and showed him video of the aft gun that he operated. “I used to stand on the right side of that gun, and that’s where my equipment was,” Nowatzki said. “If you go down to my locker, there’s 40 bucks in it. You can have it.” That might be tough: The precise location of the wreck is not being disclosed, to protect the underwater gravesite from being disturbed any further.
Paul Allen’s Petrel research vessel finds the USS Hornet, 76 years after sinking

Paul Allen’s Petrel research vessel finds the USS Hornet, 76 years after sinking

11:10am, 12th February, 2019
This 5-inch gun is part of the wreckage from the historic USS Hornet. (Photo courtesy of Paul G. Allen’s Vulcan Inc.) Chalk up another historic shipwreck discovery for the , the research vessel funded by the late Seattle billionaire Paul Allen: This time it’s the , the World War II aircraft carrier that was sunk by Japanese forces in 1943. The Hornet is best-known as the launching point for the , the first airborne attack on the Japanese home islands after Pearl Harbor and the United States’ entry into the war. Led by U.S. Army Lt. Col. Jimmy Doolittle, the raid in April 1942 provided a boost to American morale and put Japan on alert about our covert air capabilities. Two months later, the Hornet was one of three U.S. carriers that surprised and sunk four Japanese carriers during the tide-turning Battle of Midway. The Hornet was lost near the Solomon Islands in the South Pacific on Oct. 26, 1943, during the Battle of Santa Cruz. The carrier weathered a withering barrage from Japanese dive bombers and torpedo planes — but the crew eventually had to abandon ship, leaving the Hornet to its sinking. About 140 of the Hornet’s nearly 2,200 sailors and air crew members were lost.. “With the loss of Hornet and serious damage to Enterprise, the Battle of Santa Cruz was a Japanese victory, but at an extremely high cost,” retired Rear Adm. Samuel Cox, director of the U.S. Navy’s Naval History and Heritage Command, . “About half the Japanese aircraft engaged were shot down by greatly improved U.S. Navy anti-aircraft defenses. As a result, the Japanese carriers did not engage again in battle for almost another two years.” The Petrel took on the search for the Hornet as part of its mission to investigate scientific phenomena and historical mysteries in the South Pacific. The 250-foot research vessel’s previous shipwreck finds include the USS , the USS , the USS and the . The ship’s latest expedition took place in January,. “We had Hornet on our list of WWII warships that we wanted to locate because of its place in history as an aircraft carrier that saw many pivotal moments in naval battles,” said Robert Kraft, who heads the Petrel project as director of subsea operations for Vulcan. “Paul Allen was particularly interested in historically significant and capital ships, so this mission and discovery honor his legacy.” The Petrel’s 10-person expedition team zeroed in on the Hornet’s position by piecing together data from national and naval archives that included official deck logs and action reports from other ships engaged in the battle. Positions and sightings from nine other U.S. warships in the area were plotted on a chart to generate the starting point for the search grid. The discovery of the Hornet was made during the first dive mission of the Petrel’s autonomous underwater vehicle, at a depth of nearly 17,500 feet, and confirmed by video footage from the research ship’s remotely operated vehicle. CBS News caught up with Richard Nowatzki, a 95-year-old California resident who was a gunner on the Hornet, and showed him video of the aft gun that he operated. “I used to stand on the right side of that gun, and that’s where my equipment was,” Nowatzki told CBS. “If you go down to my locker, there’s 40 bucks in it. You can have it.” That might be tough: The precise location of the wreck is not being disclosed, to protect the underwater gravesite from being disturbed any further.
White House initiative will boost artificial intelligence research and data-sharing

White House initiative will boost artificial intelligence research and data-sharing

12:09am, 11th February, 2019
Artificial intelligence could open the door to applications in a variety of technological fields. (NIST Illustration / N. Hanacek) The White House is moving forward with the American AI Initiative, a set of policies aimed at focusing the full resources of the federal government on the frontiers of artificial intelligence. President Donald Trump is due to sign an executive order launching the initiative on Monday. Among its provisions is a call for federal agencies to prioritize AI in their research and development missions, and to prioritize fellowship and training programs to help American workers gain AI-relevant skills. The initiative also directs agencies to make federal data, models and computing resources more available to academic and industry researchers, “while maintaining the security and confidentiality protections we all expect.” “This action will drive our top-notch AI research toward new technological breakthroughs and promote scientific discovery, economic competitiveness and national security,” the White House said in a statement. As a trust-building measure, federal agencies are being asked to establish regulatory guidelines for AI development and use across different types of technology and industrial sectors. The National Institute of Standards and Technology is being given the lead role in the development of technical standards for reliable, trustworthy, secure and interoperable AI systems. The White House says an action plan will be developed “to preserve America’s advantage in collaboration with our international partners and allies.” “In , President Trump committed to investing in cutting-edge industries of the future,” Michael Kratsios, deputy assistant to the president for technology policy, said in a prepared statement. “The American AI Initiative follows up on that promise with decisive action to ensure AI is developed and applied for the benefit of the American people.” This week’s action comes amid rising concern about American competitiveness in artificial intelligence research and development. and the are both pushing ahead with multibillion-dollar AI research and development programs. In response, the White House has , and a with Amazon’s Andy Jassy and Microsoft’s Eric Horvitz among its members. and are among the hundreds of companies that are making AI a high priority in R&D, resulting in well-known products such as Amazon’s Alexa and Microsoft’s Cortana AI voice assistants (as well as similar AI agents offered by Apple and Google). AI capabilities such as machine learning and computer vision are also key to the development of and . Stacey Dixon, director of the , or IARPA, said AI applications are also highly relevant to national security. “Understanding imagery is one of the most evident opportunities for us to use AI, due to the sheer quantity of data to be analyzed and AI’s demonstrated effectiveness at image categorization,” she said. “However, IARPA also develops AI to address other intelligence challenges, including human language transcription and translation, facial recognition in real-world environments, sifting through videos to find nefarious activities, and increasing AI’s resilience to many kinds of attacks by adversaries.” Those AI tools could be used for nefarious purposes as well, however. , a consortium including the and called on policymakers to collaborate closely with researchers to investigate, prevent and mitigate potentially malicious uses of AI.