AI with AI
Episode 5.9: Short Circuit RACER
Andy and Dave discuss the latest in AI news and research, starting with the Aircrew Labor In-Cockpit Automation System (ALIAS) program from DARPA, which flew a UH-60A Black Hawk autonomously and without pilots on board, to include autonomous (simulated) obstacle avoidance [1:05]. Another DARPA program, Robotic Autonomy in Complex Environments with Resiliency (RACER) entered its first phase, focused on high-speed autonomous driving in unstructured environments, such as off-road terrain [2:39]. The National Science Board releases its State of U.S. Science and Engineering 2022 report, which shows the U.S. continues to lose its leadership position in global science and engineering [4:30]. The Undersecretary of Defense for Research and Engineering, Heidi Shyu, formally releases its technology priorities, 14 areas grouped into three categories: seed areas, effective adoption areas, and defense-specific areas [6:31]. In research, OpenAI creates InstructGPT in an attempt to align language models to follow human instructions better, resulting in a model with 100x fewer parameters than GPT-3 and provided a user-favored output 70% of the time, though still suffering from toxic output [9:37]. DeepMind releases AlphaCode, which has succeeded in programming competitions with an average ranking in the top 54% across 10 contests with more than 5,000 participants each though it approaches the problem through more of a brute-force approach [14:42]. DeepMind and the EPFL’s Swiss Plasma Center also announce they have used reinforcement learning algorithms to control nuclear fusion (commanding the full set of control coils of a tokamak magnetic controller). Venture City publishes Timelapse of AI (2028 – 3000+), imagining how the next 1,000 years will play out for AI and the human race [18:25]. And finally, with the Russia-Ukraine conflict continuing to evolve, CNA’s Russia Program experts Sam Bendett and Jeff Edmonds return to discuss what Russia has in its inventory when it comes to autonomy and how they might use it in this conflict, wrapping up insights from their recent paper on Russian Military Autonomy in a Ukraine Conflict [22:52].
Listener Note: The interview with Sam Bendett and Jeff Edmonds was recorded on Tuesday, February 22 at 1 pm. At the time of recording, Russia had not yet launched a full-scale invasion of Ukraine.