An experiment to create a realistic artificial intelligence consists
of a virtual child that interacts with humans and learns in real-time.
by Michelle Starr - August 24, 2014 8:29 PM PDT
When it comes to learning, there's nothing quite like the mind of a young
child. When they are born, their brain is still developing, and continues to
do so for years to come. Although the human brain never stops changing
throughout our lifetimes, in those early formative years, it's basically a
machine for soaking up information and experiences.
For this reason -- and because brain activity is famously hard to recreate
artificially -- it might just be the perfect starting point for AI. So the
toddler brain is the perfect subject for an experiment by a team led
by Mark Sagar, director at the Laboratory for Animate Technologies
at the Auckland Bioengineering Institute and former Weta Digital
special projects supervisor.
It's not so much about dude and the reasons behind what he did; it is more about how easy it is to seize control of an airplane - from your seat! Now you know just how easy it is for the creeps in the shadows to manipulate aircraft inflight!
A security researcher kicked off a United Airlines flight last month after tweeting about security vulnerabilities in its system had previously taken control of an airplane and caused it to briefly fly sideways, according to an application for a search warrant filed by an FBI agent.
Chris Roberts, a security researcher with One World Labs, told the FBI agent during an interview in February that he had hacked the in-flight entertainment system, or IFE, on an airplane and overwrote code on the plane’s Thrust Management Computer while aboard the flight. He was able to issue a climb command and make the plane briefly change course, the document states.
“He stated that he thereby caused one of the airplane engines to climb resulting in a lateral or sideways movement of the plane during one of these flights,” FBI Special Agent Mark Hurley wrote in his warrant application (.pdf). “He also stated that he used Vortex software after comprising/exploiting or ‘hacking’ the airplane’s networks. He used the software to monitor traffic from the cockpit system.”
Hurley filed the search warrant application last month after Roberts was removed from a United Airlines flight from Chicago to Syracuse, New York, because he published a facetious tweet suggesting he might hack into the plane’s network. Upon landing in Syracuse, two FBI agents and two local police officers escorted him from the plane and interrogated him for several hours. They also seized two laptop computers and several hard drives and USB sticks. Although the agents did not have a warrant when they seized the devices, they told Roberts a warrant was pending.
A media outlet in Canada obtained the application for the warrant today and published it online.
The information outlined in the warrant application reveals a far more serious situation than Roberts has previously disclosed.
Roberts had previously told WIRED that he caused a plane to climb during a simulated test on a virtual environment he and a colleague created, but he insisted then that he had not interfered with the operation of a plane while in flight.
He told WIRED that he did access in-flight networks about 15 times during various flights but had not done anything beyond explore the networks and observe data traffic crossing them. According to the FBI affidavit, however, when he mentioned this to agents last February he told them that he also had briefly commandeered a plane during one of those flights.
He told the FBI that the period in which he accessed the in-flight networks more than a dozen times occurred between 2011 and 2014. The affidavit, however, does not indicate exactly which flight he allegedly caused to turn to fly to the side.
He obtained physical access to the networks through the Seat Electronic Box, or SEB. These are installed two to a row, on each side of the aisle under passenger seats, on certain planes. After removing the cover to the SEB by “wiggling and Squeezing the box,” Roberts told agents he attached a Cat6 ethernet cable, with a modified connector, to the box and to his laptop and then used default IDs and passwords to gain access to the inflight entertainment system. Once on that network, he was able to gain access to other systems on the planes.
Reaction in the security community to the new revelations in the affidavit have been harsh. Although Roberts hasn’t been charged yet with any crime, and there are questions about whether his actions really did cause the plane to list to the side or he simply thought they did, a number of security researchers have expressed shock that he attempted to tamper with a plane during a flight.
“I find it really hard to believe but if that is the case he deserves going to jail,” wrote Jaime Blasco, director of AlienVault Labs in a tweet.
Alex Stamos, chief information security officer of Yahoo, wrote in a tweet, “You cannot promote the (true) idea that security research benefits humanity while defending research that endangered hundreds of innocents.”
Roberts, reached by phone after the FBI document was made public, told WIRED that he had already seen it last month but wasn’t expecting it to go public today.
“My biggest concern is obviously with the multiple conversations that I had with the authorities,” he said. “I’m obviously concerned those were held behind closed doors and apparently they’re no longer behind closed doors.”
Although he wouldn’t respond directly to questions about whether he had hacked that previous flight mentioned in the affidavit, he said the paragraph in the FBI document discussing this is out of context.
“That paragraph that’s in there is one paragraph out of a lot of discussions, so there is context that is obviously missing which obviously I can’t say anything about,” he said. “It would appear from what I’ve seen that the federal guys took one paragraph out of a lot of discussions and a lot of meetings and notes and just chose that one as opposed to plenty of others.”
History of Researching Planes
Roberts began investigating aviation security about six years ago after he and a research colleague got hold of publicly available flight manuals and wiring diagrams for various planes. The documents showed how inflight entertainment systems one some planes were connected to the passenger satellite phone network, which included functions for operating some cabin control systems. These systems were in turn connected to the plane avionics systems. They built a test lab using demo software obtained from infotainment vendors and others in order to explore what they could to the networks.
In 2010, Roberts gave a presentation about hacking planes and cars at the BSides security conference in Las Vegas. Another presentation followed two years later. He also spoke directly to airplane manufacturers about the problems with their systems. “We had conversations with two main airplane builders as well as with two of the top providers of infotainment systems and it never went anywhere,” he told WIRED last month.
Last February, the FBI in Denver, where Roberts is based, requested a meeting. They discussed his research for an hour, and returned a couple weeks later for a discussion that lasted several more hours. They wanted to know what was possible and what exactly he and his colleague had done. Roberts disclosed that he and his colleague had sniffed the data traffic on more than a dozen flights after connecting their laptops to the infotainment networks.
“We researched further than that,” he told WIRED last month. “We were within the fuel balancing system and the thrust control system. We watched the packets and data going across the network to see where it was going.”
Eventually, Roberts and his research partner determined that it would take a convoluted set of hacks to seriously subvert an avionics system, but they believed it could be done. He insisted to WIRED last month, however, that they did not “mess around with that except on simulation systems.” In simulations, for example, Roberts said they were able to turn the engine controls from cruise to climb, “which definitely had the desired effect on the system—the plane sped up and the nose of the airplane went up.”
Today he would not respond to questions about the new allegations from the FBI that he also messed with the systems during a real flight.
The Tweet Heard Round the World
Roberts never heard from the FBI again after that February visit. His recent troubles began after he sent out a Tweet on April 15 while aboard a United Airlines flight from Denver to Chicago. After news broke about a report from the Government Accountability Office revealing that passenger Wi-Fi networks on some Boeing and Airbus planes could allow an attacker to gain access to avionics systems and commandeer a flight, Roberts published a Tweet that said, “Find myself on a 737/800, lets see Box-IFE-ICE-SATCOM,? Shall we start playing with EICAS messages? ‘PASS OXYGEN ON’ Anyone?” He punctuated the tweet with a smiley face.
The tweet was meant as a sarcastic joke; a reference to how he had tried for years to get Boeing and Airbus to heed warnings about security issues with their passenger communications systems. His tweet about the Engine Indicator Crew Alert System, or EICAS, was a reference to research he’d done years ago on vulnerabilities in inflight infotainment networks, vulnerabilities that could allow an attacker to access cabin controls and deploy a plane’s oxygen masks.
In response to his tweet, someone else tweeted to him “…aaaaaand you’re in jail. ”
Roberts responded with, “There IS a distinct possibility that the course of action laid out above would land me in an orange suite [sic] rather quickly ”
When an employee with United Airlines’ Cyber Security Intelligence Department became aware of the tweet, he contacted the FBI and told agents that Roberts would be on a second flight going from Chicago to Syracuse. Although the particular plane Roberts was on at the time the agents seized him in New York was not equipped with an inflight entertainment system like the kind he had previously told the FBI he had hacked, the plane he had flown earlier from Denver to Chicago did have the same system.
When an FBI agent later examined that Denver-to-Chicago plane after it landed in another city the same day, he found that the SEBs under the seats where Roberts had been sitting “showed signs of tampering,” according to the affidavit. Roberts had been sitting in seat 3A and the SEB under 2A, the seat in front of him, “was damaged.”
“The outer cover of the box was open approximately 1/2 inch and one of the retaining screws was not seated and was exposed,” FBI Special Agent Hurley wrote in his affidavit.
During the interrogation in Syracuse, Roberts told the agents that he had not compromised the network on the United flight from Denver to Chicago. He advised them, however, that he was carrying thumb drives containing malware to compromise networks—malware that he told them was “nasty.” Also on his laptop were schematics for the wiring systems of a number of airplane models. All of this would be standard, however, for a security researcher who conducts penetration-testing and research for a living.
Nonetheless, based on all of the information that agents had gleaned from their previous interview with Roberts in February as well as the Tweets he’d sent out that day and the apparent signs of tampering on the United flight, the FBI believed that Roberts “had the ability and the willingness to use the equipment then with him to access or attempt to access the IFE and possibly the flight control systems on any aircraft equipped with an IFE systems, and that it would endanger public safety to allow him to leave the Syracuse airport that evening with that equipment.”
When asked by WIRED if he ever connected his laptop to the SEB on his flight from Denver to Chicago, Roberts said, “Nope I did not. That I’m happy to say and I’ll stand from the top of the tallest tower and yell that one.”
He also questions the FBI’s assessment that the boxes showed signs of tampering.
“Those boxes are underneath the seats. How many people shove luggage and all sorts of things under there?,” he said. “I’d be interested if they looked at the boxes under all the other seats and if they looked like they had been tampered. How many of them are broken and cracked or have scuff marks? How many of those do the airlines replace because people shove things under there?”
Regardless of whether the authorities have a case against him, however, there has already been some fallout from the incident. Roberts told WIRED that today investors on the board of directors of One World Labs, a company he helped found, decided to withdraw their investments in the company. As a result, One World Labs had to lay off about a dozen employees today, half of its staff.
Roberts said there were other factors contributing to the board’s decision but his legal situation “was probably the final straw.”
“The board has deemed it a risk. So that was one factor in many that made their decision,” he said. “Their decision was not to fund the organization any further.”
_________________ "Now water can flow or it can crash. Be water, my friend." - Bruce Lee
"Three things cannot be long hidden: the sun, the moon, and the truth." - Buddha
by Paul Mason @paulmasonnews
Friday 17 July 2015 06.00 EDT
Without us noticing, we are entering the postcapitalist era. At the heart of further change to come is information technology, new ways of working and the sharing economy. The old ways will take a long while to disappear, but it’s time to be utopian.
As with the end of feudalism 500 years ago, capitalism’s replacement by postcapitalism will be accelerated by external shocks and shaped by the emergence of a new kind of human being. And it has started.
Postcapitalism is possible because of three major changes information technology has brought about in the past 25 years.
First, it has reduced the need for work, blurred the edges between work and free time and loosened the relationship between work and wages.
The coming wave of automation, currently stalled because our social infrastructure cannot bear the consequences, will hugely diminish the amount of work needed – not just to subsist but to provide a decent life for all.
Second, information is corroding the market’s ability to form prices correctly. That is because markets are based on scarcity while information is abundant. The system’s defence mechanism is to form monopolies – the giant tech companies – on a scale not seen in the past 200 years, yet they cannot last. By building business models and share valuations based on the capture and privatisation of all socially produced information, such firms are constructing a fragile corporate edifice at odds with the most basic need of humanity, which is to use ideas freely.
Third, we’re seeing the spontaneous rise of collaborative production: goods, services and organisations are appearing that no longer respond to the dictates of the market and the managerial hierarchy. The biggest information product in the world – Wikipedia – is made by volunteers for free, abolishing the encyclopedia business and depriving the advertising industry of an estimated $3bn a year in revenue.
Almost unnoticed, in the niches and hollows of the market system, whole swaths of economic life are beginning to move to a different rhythm. Parallel currencies, time banks, cooperatives and self-managed spaces have proliferated, barely noticed by the economics profession, and often as a direct result of the shattering of the old structures in the post-2008 crisis.
You only find this new economy if you look hard for it. In Greece, when a grassroots NGO mapped the country’s food co-ops, alternative producers, parallel currencies and local exchange systems they found more than 70 substantive projects and hundreds of smaller initiatives ranging from squats to carpools to free kindergartens. To mainstream economics such things seem barely to qualify as economic activity – but that’s the point. They exist because they trade, however haltingly and inefficiently, in the currency of postcapitalism: free time, networked activity and free stuff. It seems a meagre and unofficial and even dangerous thing from which to craft an entire alternative to a global system, but so did money and credit in the age of Edward III.
New forms of ownership, new forms of lending, new legal contracts: a whole business subculture has emerged over the past 10 years, which the media has dubbed the “sharing economy”. Buzzwords such as the “commons” and “peer-production” are thrown around, but few have bothered to ask what this development means for capitalism itself.
I believe it offers an escape route – but only if these micro-level projects are nurtured, promoted and protected by a fundamental change in what governments do. And this must be driven by a change in our thinking – about technology, ownership and work. So that, when we create the elements of the new system, we can say to ourselves, and to others: “This is no longer simply my survival mechanism, my bolt hole from the neoliberal world; this is a new way of living in the process of formation.”
The 2008 crash wiped 13% off global production and 20% off global trade. Global growth became negative – on a scale where anything below +3% is counted as a recession. It produced, in the west, a depression phase longer than in 1929-33, and even now, amid a pallid recovery, has left mainstream economists terrified about the prospect of long-term stagnation. The aftershocks in Europe are tearing the continent apart.
The solutions have been austerity plus monetary excess. But they are not working. In the worst-hit countries, the pension system has been destroyed, the retirement age is being hiked to 70, and education is being privatised so that graduates now face a lifetime of high debt. Services are being dismantled and infrastructure projects put on hold.
Even now many people fail to grasp the true meaning of the word “austerity”. Austerity is not eight years of spending cuts, as in the UK, or even the social catastrophe inflicted on Greece. It means driving the wages, social wages and living standards in the west down for decades until they meet those of the middle class in China and India on the way up.
Meanwhile in the absence of any alternative model, the conditions for another crisis are being assembled. Real wages have fallen or remained stagnant in Japan, the southern Eurozone, the US and UK. The shadow banking system has been reassembled, and is now bigger than it was in 2008. New rules demanding banks hold more reserves have been watered down or delayed. Meanwhile, flushed with free money, the 1% has got richer.
Neoliberalism, then, has morphed into a system programmed to inflict recurrent catastrophic failures. Worse than that, it has broken the 200-year pattern of industrial capitalism wherein an economic crisis spurs new forms of technological innovation that benefit everybody.
That is because neoliberalism was the first economic model in 200 years the upswing of which was premised on the suppression of wages and smashing the social power and resilience of the working class. If we review the take-off periods studied by long-cycle theorists – the 1850s in Europe, the 1900s and 1950s across the globe – it was the strength of organised labour that forced entrepreneurs and corporations to stop trying to revive outdated business models through wage cuts, and to innovate their way to a new form of capitalism.
The result is that, in each upswing, we find a synthesis of automation, higher wages and higher-value consumption. Today there is no pressure from the workforce, and the technology at the centre of this innovation wave does not demand the creation of higher-consumer spending, or the re‑employment of the old workforce in new jobs. Information is a machine for grinding the price of things lower and slashing the work time needed to support life on the planet.
As a result, large parts of the business class have become neo-luddites. Faced with the possibility of creating gene-sequencing labs, they instead start coffee shops, nail bars and contract cleaning firms: the banking system, the planning system and late neoliberal culture reward above all the creator of low-value, long-hours jobs.
Innovation is happening but it has not, so far, triggered the fifth long upswing for capitalism that long-cycle theory would expect. The reasons lie in the specific nature of information technology..........
In what appears to be an industry first, Fiat Chrysler launched a giant recall Friday to try to shield its vehicles from computer hackers.
The U.S. unit of the automaker ordered a voluntary safety recall on 1.4 million vehicles to update software in the infotainment system to prevent the possibility that they could be hacked.
Shortly after the recall was announced, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) said it is launching an investigation to assess whether Fiat Chrysler's recall will be effective.
"Launching a recall is the right step to protect Fiat Chrysler's customers, and it sets an important precedent for how NHTSA and the industry will respond to cybersecurity vulnerabilities," NHTSA Administrator Mark Rosekind said in a statement.
The recall comes in reaction to a demonstration by Wired magazine in which two hackers took control of a Jeep SUV and operated it remotely while a journalist sat in the driver's seat. They cranked up the air conditioning and took over the sound system. The car ended up in a ditch. The test involved accessing the vehicle via its UConnect infotainment system.
FCA US, the new name for what used to be Chrysler Group, the U.S. unit of Fiat Chrysler, said the recall "aligns with an ongoing software distribution that insulates connected vehicles from remote manipulation, which, if unauthorized, constitutes criminal action."
It says the recall applies to "certain vehicles" equipped with 8.4-inch touchscreens among the following populations. They include 2013 to 2015 Dodge Vipers and Ram pickups; 2014 to 2015 Jeep Grand Cherokee, Cherokees and Dodge Durango SUVs; and 2015 Chrysler 200, Chrysler 300 and Dodge Chargers and Challengers. Wired's demonstration took place on a Jeep Cherokee.
FCA US also says it has applied network-level security measures to prevent the type of remote manipulation demonstrated by Wired. It says the measures were implemented Thursday.
_________________ "Now water can flow or it can crash. Be water, my friend." - Bruce Lee
"Three things cannot be long hidden: the sun, the moon, and the truth." - Buddha
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