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DARPA sets sights on cameras that understand

Sean Hollister

DARPA wants to let you all know that its plans for the robot apocalypse are still going strong. The agency's got IBM working on the brains, has an RFI out on the skin, and is handling propulsion and motor control in-house. Next up? Eyeballs. In order to give its robots the same sort of "visual intelligence" currently limited to animals, DARPA is kicking off a new program called The Mind's Eye with a one-day scientific conference this April. The goal is a "smart camera" that can not only recognize objects, but also be able to describe what they're doing and why, allowing unmanned bots and surveillance systems to report back, or -- we're extrapolating here -- make tactical decisions of their own. To be clear, there's no funding or formal proposal requests for this project quite yet. But if the code does come to fruition, DARPA, please: make sure autoexec.bat includes a few Prime Directives.

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