Humans vs. Machines – Hackers in the Pentagon and Tesla – Show Notes
Scientists Think They Know the Year Computers Will Render Our Brains Obsolete
This week, the greatest minds in science and technology pleaded with the world to prevent an artificial intelligence “arms race” — an apocalyptic scenario in which terrorists would have access to highly advanced weapons like killer robots.
The issue arose back in April when representatives from Human Rights Watch and Harvard Law School wrote a paper calling for the United Nations to ban “killer robot” production until regulation and legal stipulations — for instance, who’s at fault when a robot shoots an unassigned target — could be put in place.
We should be listening when some of the most trusted minds in tech, including Elon Musk, Steve Wozniak and Stephen Hawking, are warning the world about letting AI weapons go off the rails. But history and science demonstrate that their predictions for hyper-intelligent computers aren’t as far-fetched as they sound. Computers could soon “think” faster than human beings too.
“The problem is, when the machine realizes it can do anything and grow in terms of speed, capacity and memory, it might learn to deceive us very quickly.” — Zoltan Istvan
Megacool! 360° Aerial Panorama, 3D Virtual Tours Around the World
AirPano is a not-for-profit project focused on high-resolution virtual tours from a bird’s eye view. AirPano has already photographed over two hundred most interesting locations on our planet and it is the largest resource for 360° aerial panoramas in the world. There are more than two thousand spherical panoramas on THE website at the moment.
Is This Woburn, MA Flying Car Company For Real?
Terrafugia (terra-FOO-gee-ah), based inWoburn, MA, is comprised of a team of award-winning engineers who have been advancing the state of personal aircraft since 2006. Founded by five pilots who are graduates of MIT and supported by a world-class network of advisors and private investors, Terrafugia’s mission is the innovative expansion of personal mobility. “Terrafugia” is Latin for “escape from land.”
The TF-X promises to:
- be a plug-in hybrid on the ground
- drive like a normal car
- have a range of over 500 miles
- fit inside a single-car garage
It’s expected to hit the market in 2021.
Why Virtual Reality Is About to Change the World
It’s going to be a wild ride—and it starts this Christmas. In the August 17 cover story of TIME, we take a deep look at the mainstreaming of virtual reality, the long-promised technology that is now becoming widely available to consumers. Headsets from Facebook’s Oculus, Valve, Sony, Microsoft, Google and many others will start going on sale this year, and competition will increase dramatically through 2016.
At first they’ll be bought by hardcore gamers and gadget geeks. They’ll be expensive–as much as $1,500 with all the accoutrements. And just as with cell phones, everyone else will mock the early adopters for mindlessly embracing unnecessary technology with no useful purpose. At first.
Russia hacks Pentagon computers: NBC, citing sources
U.S. officials tell NBC News that Russia launched a “sophisticated cyber attack” against the Pentagon’s Joint Staff unclassified email system, which has been shut down and taken offline for nearly two weeks. According to the officials, the “sophisticated cyber intrusion” occurred sometime around July 25 and affected some 4,000 military and civilian personnel who work for the Joint Chiefs of Staff.
Sources tell NBC News that it appears the cyber attack relied on some kind of automated system that rapidly gathered massive amounts of data and within a minute distributed all the information to thousands of accounts on the Internet. The officials also report the suspected Russian hackers coordinated the sophisticated cyber assault via encrypted accounts on social media.
Hackers Take Over a Tesla Model S
Chrysler isn’t the only company with their cars being hackable. This week, the Tesla Model S electric car was hacked by “White Hat” hackers who were able to get all of the cars’ systems to shut down and the emergency break to engage.
Tesla released a patch a couple of days later which owners can download to patch their cars.
Hackers Can Disable a Sniper Rifle—Or Change Its Target
At the Black Hat hacker conference in two weeks, security researchers Runa Sandvik and Michael Auger plan to present the results of a year of work hacking a pair of $13,000 TrackingPoint self-aiming rifles. The married hacker couple have developed a set of techniques that could allow an attacker to compromise the rifle via its Wi-Fi connection and exploit vulnerabilities in its software. Their tricks can change variables in the scope’s calculations that make the rifle inexplicably miss its target, permanently disable the scope’s computer, or even prevent the gun from firing.
In a demonstration, the researchers were able to dial in their changes to the scope’s targeting system so precisely that they could cause a bullet to hit a bullseye of the hacker’s choosing rather than the one chosen by the shooter.
Malicious “Windows 10 Upgrade” Email Holds Your Files Ransom
CTB-Locker is a ransomware that on execution encrypts certain file types present in the user’s system. The compromised user has to pay the attacker a ransom to get the files decrypted.
There are a couple of key indicators in the message worth calling out. First, the from address, the adversaries are spoofing the email to look like it is coming directly from Microsoft (updatemicrosoft.com). This is a simple step that tries to get users to read further.
However, a quick look at the email header reveals that the message actually originated from IP address space allocated to Thailand.
Second, the attackers are using a similar color scheme to the one used by Microsoft.
Once a user moves past the email, downloads the zip file, extracts it, and runs the executable, they are greeted with a message from CTB-Locker, a ransomware variant. CTB-Locker is only giving users 96 hours to pay for decryption, which is a shorter window than is standard for most ransomware.