Class: Informatics, Computing, and the Future
Instructor: Dan Berleant
Transcriber: Brooke Yu
Date: Thursday, April 18, 2013
Professor: We'll give people another minute or two.
Professor: Okay, we're going to start our student presentations today. We have four presenters, and a number of presenters on other days. If you haven't signed up yet, see me after class and I'll get you scheduled. Hopefully everyone sees their names there and is not surprised. Let's begin the presentations then.
Male Student: We're here to talk about a product line called Empire Products. It's mainly security tools we've developed for this site [On board.] There's about 4,000 people on here and we've bought a group called Empire.
It's what we mainly use to market our software or products such as Empire stresser which is basically a security tool for testing networks.
Male Student: It's pretty much you can.... like something you can test your network. If you wanted to see how many people could get on your network at a certain time, you could calculate how much memory they'd use and you could amp that amount up and see how your security works.
Male Student: It allows you to check the amount of traffic your network can hold. If you make a blog or a social media site, it'll tell you how many people you can handle at a time. We can simulate a test up to 10 million people at once. You'll be a large site, but it'll show you how to check it. Our system can shoot up to about 115 gigabytes per second. Amazon can only handle up to 82.
Male Student: Say you own a company and you can take control of your company's computers- you can monitor what people do on there. You want to know when people are selling your secrets, so you could find out what files are on their computer, what sites they're visiting, etc. Say you had a daughter and you wanted to know who they were talking to online- you'd want to know if they were sending pictures online or communicating with strangers.... you can also use it for... say you have your spouse and you think "well, maybe she's cheating on Me." You can buy the product and download it and you can see exactly what they're doing.
Male Student: Three months ago, one of our clients suspected his wife was cheating on her. She blocked him on facebook and he was able to see when she was lying about going places. So that was not good for him so he figured it out.
Male Student: You can find out if there are any predators talking to your children at home. You can find out their IP addresses and you can find out where they are.
Male Student: Another thing about RAT- the university uses a similar program. One computer will be able to see all of this- you can see the system information, make sure everything is up to date. You can make sure it'll start up the antivirus on all the computers instead of going to each computer individually. You can manage them from one computer- you can check what people are doing, lock it so certain people aren't allowed to download certain things. If Java has an update, you can access the update for all the computers and it'll update all the computers for it.
Male Student: My experience with this- I worked in the DSC and they have a program called Deep Freeze. You can lock down the program so that nothing can be changed, but you can do the updates on what's called a ghost computer, and that's what every computer in the building is supposed to look like.
Male Student: That's what you're able to do with this as well, but this is much less expensive- $30/year.
Male Student: We have some social media marketing products as well. When you're trying to start up a company or something, you want to be popular almost immediately, so you fake your market base immediately. If you're starting to be a rapper or something, then you can have 50,000 twitter followers.
Male Student: Like my twitter which has 40,000. It sends out tweets automatically and handles it all.
Male Student: Twitter followers- we can do up to 100,000 followers, and 10,000 favorites on your tweets or your people. For youtube, you want to buy subscribers to your videos so you get more money or to show more people have viewed it. You can trend on twitter as well
Male Student: It takes 3,000 people to retweet your comment to be listed on the most popular site. We can put you at number 1 for about 45 minutes, but the whole country can see that.
Male Student: Say if you were owning a business like a barbecue restaurant. You can alter how many people have favorited your restaurant. We can also do Tumblr likes/reblogs. If you want to feel more important than you actually are, then you can buy a certain amount of likes.
Male Student: Then once you get a lot of fake likes, then real people will like it. For example, during the presidential campaign, 33% of their likes were fake, which actually helped gain them more followers.
Male Student: One of our slogans could be "you want to be the next Internet sensation? We believe you can. You just need a little help."
Some people really need attention to get along with their lives, so if you get fake attention, then more real attention will follow from that. We can do Instagram likes and we can do up to 20,000 instagram likes, so you can have a really popular picture on INstagram.
Other things we can do is with services like this where we're able to simulate mass likes and things, we're able to amplify it to handle up to 150,000 people at one time. Most companies charge about $300 to do this, but we can do it for $200.
We're able to see if there's an error in code or if someone is able to- if you have a paid service and it costs money to join your site, if there's a loop where people can get in for free, then we can catch that so you don't lose money. We're able to make sure your site is secure.
Also, these are some of the features to the left. The task manager shows what's going on with each computer. The file manager will allow you to go through their files without them knowing. If you have to send a memo to your employees, it'll go through the background like that. You can view their screen live time and it's one of the most accurate tools- you could even watch them watching a youtube video. You could see if they were doing their work or just watching videos online.
You can block certain websites- you could keep them from going to facebook or twitter when they're supposed to be working, or any other types of restrictions. You can change the administrative password on all computers at once.
Does anyone have any websites that they want to recommend? Just any website.
Male Student: Reddit.
Male Student: Then we just click this and it tells us the IP address. If we wanted to attack them we could to see if their network was strong. We could also copy this- the IP address, put it in the tools menu, add them to a target.
Male Student: Just so if there are certain sites you want to test, you can just click the IP and that way it'll put it right into the settings just in case you have to use it on your phone.
Male Student: You can also find the location of where the website is hosted. Then you find out it's in Cambridge, MA in the US.
Male Student: We're also going to add in a system son that if you use a static IP address, it'll be able to pull up the actual address. If you have a friend on Skype, you can type in the IP address and his name and you can pull up his full address. Sometimes you can get names and phone numbers too.
Male Student: It'll be able to show you who you're talking to and all that stuff.
Some of the different methods for this- UDP is our strongest method. It's going to take out anything that you're ever going to hit. Certain large sites will have protection against these. These sites usually go down after an HTTP flood. It'll shut down their domain instead of the sever. If you have the IP for the server, you can visit that. Anyone going to their domain will automatically be blocked. People use this when you play Xbox and you suck. If you send this, it'll make them lag. This probably has happened to you.
If all of a sudden you're lagging, someone was probably using this. There are hundreds of sites like ours that don't have as many members, but when people send that attack, it'll send a burst to your Internet to shut it off for about 3 seconds.
Also, the Skype flood will be able to track the IP address. Say someone is harassing you on Skype. If you type in their name, it'll turn off their Internet automatically. Mainly, our biggest customers for stuff like this are businesses that want to check their servers or game sites like Minecraft.
We do have terms service. If we catch reports of shutting down other people's sites, we close their account. Most people just check their own sites.
Male Student: Or say you're getting stalked by someone. As soon as they get on there to stalk you, it just suits them down immediately. Some people just shut off their own Internet very often. We've probably had more attacks on their own Internet.
We have a support system too if you have questions. The good thing about these types of sites- we've been running this for about a year. It brings in about $17,000 per month. It's a popular service, but if anyone uses it for bad purposes, we have to shut them down. This is powered by over 40 servers which allow us to simulate attacks. We have done it for Amazon once, which is how we found out they could handle 82 gigabytes.
You're only allowed to do home IP addresses, or sites that are your own.
Male Student: Does anyone else have any more websites where they could see where they're located?
Professor: Let's try thehumanracetothefuture.com.
Male Student: So I'll copy it.
Professor: It's my site.
Male Student: And move it into the post and see where they're located.
So it's located in Australia.
Male Student: Then all you have to do is if he wanted to test his site just click here. We only allow up to 8 gigabytes/second for regular customers, but we do have custom accounts
You'd be able to choose your settings, the power, and number of attacks. Believe it or not, a lot of people do buy accounts of that size. I don't know why they do, but they do. Most of it, we don't keep logs of. We only log payment information to make sure you're not using a stolen credit card- just for payment purposes. Since we do it through paypal, We can only see your email address and paypal makes sure you're using it appropriately.
Male Student: You can also us Liberty Reserve, and there will be a code for UALR students, and there will be a 10% discount.
Male Student: We can also blacklist Skype accounts so certain IP addresses won't be able to get hit.
Male Student: And we do have a terms of service that we have to inform people of the rules. You have to agree to this before you can start making payments. But it's just mainly to protect us. If you do anything wrong... it's mainly for legal reasons.
Like the RAT- you can install it on someone else's computer, but we have a lot of protection against that. Any questions?
Professor: So are you going to look for a job when you graduate?
Male Student: I do this, and then I work for a security company.
Professor: And you're a computer science major?
Male Student: Yes.
Professor: How about you?
Male Student: System engineering.
Professor: Alright. Any other questions? Okay.
Male Student: Can you tell us what we got?
Professor: I'll send you an email.
Male Student: Okay, thank you.
Male Student: So are you two the ones who run that?
Male Student: That site, yes.
Male Student: Okay. I'm Jacob
Male Student: I'm JJ
Male Student: We've been studying on energy based weaponry.
Male Student: There are multiple types of lasers. Most are dye lasers. To determine frequency- sometimes they just spray the liquid across in front of the beam of light. They use organic dyes and it just flows in front of a light source and there's a lot of physics that I don't understand that makes it turn into the harsh light that it is.
They're very configurable because you can change the dye and the frequency at which it is shot. They're also really good because you can shoot a continuous beam because the dye doesn't heat up as fast and can be cooled. Solid state lasers though have heat constraints, and those lasers are shot in pulses, sometimes in picoseoncds.
Male Student: So a COIL laser- these are chemical oxygen iodine lasers. They're powered with... gaseous chlorine. They're used for more industrial purposes because they can cut through metals.
Male Student: These lasers are also able to be transferred through fiber optic cables.
Male Student: So if you need to transfer it through a building, you can transfer it like that.
Male Student: The first true weaponized laser system was developed by the US and Israel. They had plans to finish it, but it was discontinued in 1996. It was a joint operation with Boeing. It was originally to be mounted on an AC130, but it was mounted on something else later. It weighed about 7,000 kg and it was COIL based.
February 11, 2010. Watching a target be destroyed by a laser while both are in flight. It's coupled with atmospheric correction equipment and can
Male Student: HELLADS were used to shoot down missiles, drones- anything like that. They were only tested at 15 KW. They're still in development. I can't say if they've finished it yet.
On the Boeing YAL-1, it begin in 2004 and it used one of the COIL lasers that were used in industrial places.
Male Student: The laWS laser- there was an article where they showed a laser mounted on a warship- it was a LaWS laser. It can completely destroy whatever it's shooting at, or just send warnings. Right now, it can't keep up with ballistic missiles. That's why they still have tomahawk missiles.
Male Student: These aren't the kinds of lasers you'd see in Star Wars. You can't see them in the sky like that.
Male Student: This is a video of the Boeing YAL-1.
Male Student: Is there sound?
Professor: You should be able to get sound
That means hitting a target capable of 4,000 mph with a laser. You can see from this view that motion can seem small. The US hopes one day it will able to track many targets at once at a lower cost. For now, the price is a problem, so development as ceased.
Male Student: So as you can see... I mean, they're not really far off. What you see in Star Wars we're already working on today. A lot of the systems weigh so much that they're hard to
Male Student: Would a light saber be solid state based?
Male Student: I don't know how you would bend the light to keep it at a certain length.
Male Student: The laser is expensive, but to shoot it it costs less than $1
The US Navy faces any threats. Missiles are important to ship defense, but they're limited and expensive. Lasers produce reduced collateral damage. The naval sea weapons system is investigating the use of lasers on naval ships one is the LaWS.
NAVSEA is the center for research. LaWS tracks targets and engages them with one powerful beam of light. This consists of cooling units, tracking, and control hardware, and a beam director on a mount. The mount keep the laser pointed at the target. This is a computer controlled, rapid fire auto cannon that shoots in the air. It was developed for integrated warfare systems. In 2009, LaWS was tested in a desert environment in California. A team of scientists set up the instrumentation. The UAS's were launched.
The test was a complete success. Each caught fire, lost control, fell to the desert floor and crashed. The test demonstrated the capability of the LaWS system. It was later tested in an over water simulation. This remote island provide realistic and challenging maritime conditions. LaWS was connected and operated by various scientists. This test was also a success. Locating, tracking, and destroying four more UAS's.
LaWS program manager said the success of this effort validates the use of these weapons in a maritime environment.
Other targets were also successfully engaged during this test. The highly successful tests show that LaWS is accurate and successful in maritime and desert environment. It's a low-risk, high pay off technology. It's the Navy's first energy weapon system. It is a gamma changing technology that will produce a new weapon that has the ability to conserve defensive missiles for use on other targets.
Male Student: So it's also about doing things more efficiently. It costs less than buying ammo. In the long run, it will save the government money.
Male Student: There's our source slide.
Male Student: For another part of our project, since we're doing lasers, we got remote control helicopters with IR blasters. You can actually see the lasers with the camera off of a phone.
Male Student: I have mine.
Male Student: You can see the IR blaster on the phone. Only poor cameras can see it.
Male Student: These aren't going to be like lasers you could use to shoot down missiles, but it's the same concept.
Male Student: We bought these helicopters, and they're a lot harder to fly than we thought they were going to be.
Male Student: So can you shoot the other one down?
Male Student: Yeah, it'll spiral, then you have to wait 10 seconds to start using it again
Male Student: They have sensors to receive the IR signals. One of our roommates had an IR device, and we were going to set up an obstacle course
Male Student: We were also thinking about taking them to the laser tag arena at PlayTime Pizza, but we didn't know if the IR would be on the same frequency.
Male Student: Honestly, it's a lot easier to just run into each other than to hit each other with the laser.
Male Student: This is something we came up when researching. But I think the batteries might be going bad.
Male Student: Yeah, we practiced a lot.
Male Student: So that's what we ended up... they don't hold a charge for very long.
Professor: So the helicopters have three rotors?
Male Student: Yeah. This one helps us to stabilize. This isn't keeping it up.
Professor: Do they spin in opposite directions?
Male Student: I don't know.
Male Student: Yeah, they do. The bottom one spins this way and the top one spins this way.
Professor: Otherwise the helicopter would tend to spin the other way.
Male Student: Yeah, I'll show you.
Professor: Why don't we all crowd around the front so we can see.
Male Student: Were you able to see the IR very well?
Professor: I saw it on the screen
Male Student: Oh, okay.
Professor: Do you all want to come up and look at the helicopters?
Male Student: You can fly them if you want.
Male Student: You won't break them, I promise. They would already be broken if they were going to be broken.
Professor: So the controllers send IR beams?
Male Student: No, I think that's radio frequency.
Male Student: The laser is under the nose and the receiver is under the blaster.
Professor: I don't understand the point of the laser.
Male Student: It shoots the other helicopter down.
Professor: So it's programmed to crash?
Male Student: It starts spiraling and then it slowly drops. Any questions about lasers or little helicopters?
Male Student: We'll try to answer any questions you have. It's cool to see where everything is going. It's not really in future- it's now.
Professor: What's the power of the lasers?
Male Student: I've never looked at it.
Professor: If it's too powerful, it can cause eye damage. Even though you can't see the beam, if it's powerful it'll burn the retina
Male Student: I never thought about that
Professor: It might say on the bottom the helicopter.
Male Student: Haha, keep away from eyes.
Male Student: And college students.
Male Student: So are there any other questions?
Professor: Okay, so I have a few more words to say about robots, but I just want to mention what's coming up- one more homework and some more presentations. This homework is a "test." It's the same amount of points as a homework, but I call it a test because I want you to work hard on it because it's for the accreditation process. Just do your best on it because I want you to do well.
So let's see. Robotics
I have a bunch of things here. Let me just show you. So there's an organization called lifeboat foundation. Its purpose is to provide a website and an organization that will provide information about how to prevent existential risks to humanity. Like if a big asteroid hits the planet, that's a risk to our species.
Somewhere on this website there will be a page of links and people who are interested in preventing asteroid impacts.
One of their programs is to protect against artificial intelligence.
This part of the organization has developed a document explaining the different risks that can occur based on AI, and I was one of the authors of it I'm proud to say. It was fun.
I guess I won't go through the document itself, but I'll show you the highlights of it.
The conclusion here is to support the concept of friendly AI. There are certain risks to AI. For example, robots could be hostile, but they could also just not care about humans and just support their own purposes and if robots are made out of steel and they don't want to rust, they might try to remove all of the oxygen, which would be bad for us. That would be an unintended consequence.
Another unintended consequence is follows: suppose we had benevolent robots that we commanded to make life as pleasant as possible for as many people as possible. They might think the best way to do this is to put electrodes in our brains and just stimulate them until we do. If given an opportunity to stimulate the pleasure centers of their brains, they'll neglect things like feelings of hunger. That's something we have to prevent from happening.
Male Student: There's a movie like that where you can't experience pain. They sell drugs that turn pleasure into pain. I can't remember what it's called.
Professor: Well, what's the difference between that and regular drug use? They have some sort of pain and then the drugs make them feel good, so they take them.
Male Student: I think the drugs now are to produce pleasure. But in the movie, you bought drugs to feel pain
Professor: Ah, I see. Remember, we talked about the Singularity. The most troubling concept about it is that we don't know what things will be like. We can't predict if it'll be good or bad. If we could figure out what would happen after the singularity, it wouldn't be a singularity.
Unintended consequences can occur because of Murphy's law. What it says is that if something can go wrong, it will.
Male Student: Wasn't it someone else's law actually? His name was on it to prove that point.
Professor: Haha, I haven't heard that. When you have a complex system, it'll be hard for every part of that system to work exactly as it should, so things will go wrong. For the system to work, every component must work. It's easy for one out of 100 components to break, then the system won't work.
If anyone has ever had a really obscure problem with an automobile- they have lot of parts and it's full of microprocessors. One of our cars- every now and then the battery goes completely dead. Now we think it's a headlight relay getting stuck and it drains the battery. Unless you catch it in the act, it's hard to diagnose those kinds of errors. With complex systems, if something can go wrong, it will.
The same is true for plans- like complex laws passed by congress can have unintended effects sometimes. Let's see what else I can say here.
Here are three paradigms for how humans and AI can interact. One is by cooperation. So AI will serve humanity. If it's a superhuman AI, it'll have superhuman powers to guide the economy, assist in government, and do things better than we could.
Does anyone have a cell phone with Siri?
Male Student: I have S-voice. It's basically the same
Professor: Okay, so your phones are getting there- they can talk to you and you can talk to them. In my opinion, we'll soon have cell phones that can act as your personal assistant. You'll be able to talk to you and they'll be able to give you advice on things. As they get smarter and smarter to the point where they're artificially intelligent, it'll be like having a personal guardian angel that is wise and can tell you everything you want to know. "How do I make up with my Girlfriend?" It'll be able to tell you that too.
The other paradigm is the competition paradigm. That's the classic "them against Us" idea.
Then there's the combination of cooperation and competition. An example of that is where the robots try to help, but they end you causing harm. Suppose a robotic soldier is created. It's good for the people deploying it, but not for the opposing army.
We could spend a whole class on that document, but I want to give you some more highlights.
I'm in bragging mode here. Let me show you one more thing on this website.
That document that I showed you was incorporated in part into a book which I'm writing which will be published shortly by this foundation.
Male Student: You're the one writing the book?
Professor: Yeah, I'm almost finished. They got donations to help publicize it. I hope a lot of people will get it and read it. Some people affiliated with the organization are donating money to help market it. I'll show you some of the covers here. We only have one cover that's ready for deployment, but we're getting some others.
I kind of like this cover. If anyone has any comments or critiques, I'll take them.
What do you think?
Male Student: I like it.
Professor: So this is the name of the organization- we're putting the logo on the cover.
Professor: We kind of hid the G here and fade out the M, but to me it looks too much like the real company. Do you think I'm being oversensitive?
Male Student: I like it.
Professor: Okay. I really like the rest of the device with the now and the future and the years raveled.
Male Student: What's LF?
Professor: That's Lifeboat- the name of the organization.
Male Student: So did you email them?
Professor: I know the guy who runs the organization. I've never actually met this guy.
Male Student: So he could be robot for all you know. He may not even be a person. It's already started.
Professor: So there's one cover. I'll show you another.
Male Student: That's another one that they're choosing between.
Professor: We're not going to go with this one. I don't like it.
Male Student: I like the other one.
Professor: It's kind of a cool picture.
Male Student: It's not futuristic.
Professor: Yeah, it doesn't say much about the future. What do you think about that one?
Male Student: That's tricky. I like it. I like how it shows the timeline.
Professor: Yeah, so there's a couple of thing that need to be done before it's ready to be put on the book, but I like it. And here's more.
These are all done by one artist, and they're all just sort of drafts.
Male Student: Are they people who just submitted it?
Professor: Well, they're by someone the organization is affiliated with.
Male Student: I like the second from the last one.
Male Student: Yeah, that's cool. The last one looks like the gas station symbol.
Male Student: I do like the speedometer one.
Professor: That one, apparently a number of people do like that one.
Male Student: Can you click on it and make it bigger?
Professor: I don't know.
Male Student: I like the blue one at the end.
Male Student: I kind of like it.
Professor: I hadn't thought about this one. I kind of like it.
Professor: This is the one that's been brought to the point where it's ready to be put on the book. We're going to start out with this one.
Male Student: I like that one.
Male Student: I like that one.
Professor: Yeah, I like the font too. It's kind futuristic. That's probably my least favorite. Alright, well maybe next time I teach the course I'll put the book in the reading material. We'll see.
I want to show you a couple of pictures and videos before we call it a day. Some day robots will be farming and things. They already have robotic lawn mowers.
Male Student: Is it like a Rhumba with blades?
Professor: Kind of.
Male Student: That's scary!
Professor: A robotic lawn mower cares for and maintains the grass. It could attack weeds, water- which they don't do these things now- but it's the first step towards robotic farming. You have to improve those bots that can provide water and kill weeds. I think in the future farming and gardening will be helped by robotics.
I have a whole lecture here, but I don't want to get into those. This is one of the most advanced.
Male Student: I've seen that. Have you seen the one where it was sliding on something?
Professor: This is a pack animal bot. It's for military use.
Male Student: They also made a big spider that someone can sit in.
Male Student: Maybe they should train it to detect beater terrain.
Male Student: It doesn't seem very efficient at this point
Male Student: It needs bigger feet.
Male Student: Oh, it's prancing now.
Male Student: Is this under development?
Professor: They're doing it for military applications, but I don't know if they're selling them to the army yet. This one is probably about a year old.
Male Student: There's a spider one that you can sit in and you can walk it.
Professor: Well, I know they're still in business and they're still developing.
Male Student: I saw a video of a robot that was walking on two legs on a treadmill.
Professor: There's so much activity in robotics that every month they come out with new stuff.
Male Student: Carnegie Mellon is developing a robotic snake. They threw it against a tree and it wrapped itself around the tree. That's it.
These snake robots can use their many degrees of freedom to coordinate movement.
Male Student: If that thing was wireless, the military could use that to scout.
Professor: Alright. Speaking of military scouting, those little helicopters are things like the military was looking at.
Male Student: The CIA has a little bug that can take DNA samples and they can record your conversations because it can get onto your clothing and ride into your house with you.
Professor: You can buy small versions of these things for yourself. You can just imagine the things the military can do. See you next time.