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April 21, 2014

Andrew Silow-Carroll: Passoverkill? Suggestions to make next year's seders even more culturally sensitive

Sara Israelsen Hartley: Seeking the Divine: An ancient connection in a new context

Christine M. Flowers: Priest's execution in Syria should be call to action

Courtnie Erickson: How to help kids accept the poor decisions of others

Lizette Borreli: A Glass Of Milk A Day Keeps Knee Arthritis At Bay

Lizette Borreli: 5 Health Conditions Your Breath Knows Before You Do

The Kosher Gourmet by Betty Rosbottom Coconut Walnut Bars' golden brown morsels are a beautifully balanced delectable delight

April 18, 2014

Rabbi Yonason Goldson: Clarifying one of the greatest philosophical conundrums in theology

Caroline B. Glick: The disappearance of US will

Megan Wallgren: 10 things I've learned from my teenagers

Lizette Borreli: Green Tea Boosts Brain Power, May Help Treat Dementia

John Ericson: Trying hard to be 'positive' but never succeeding? Blame Your Brain

The Kosher Gourmet by Julie Rothman Almondy, flourless torta del re (Italian king's cake), has royal roots, is simple to make, . . . but devour it because it's simply delicious

April 14, 2014

Rabbi Dr Naftali Brawer: Passover frees us from the tyranny of time

Greg Crosby: Passing Over Religion

Eric Schulzke: First degree: How America really recovered from a murder epidemic

Georgia Lee: When love is not enough: Teaching your kids about the realities of adult relationships

Cameron Huddleston: Freebies for Your Lawn and Garden

Gordon Pape: How you can tell if your financial adviser is setting you up for potential ruin

Dana Dovey: Up to 500,000 people die each year from hepatitis C-related liver disease. New Treatment Has Over 90% Success Rate

Justin Caba: Eating Watermelon Can Help Control High Blood Pressure

The Kosher Gourmet by Joshua E. London and Lou Marmon Don't dare pass over these Pesach picks for Manischewitz!

April 11, 2014

Rabbi Hillel Goldberg: Silence is much more than golden

Caroline B. Glick: Forgetting freedom at Passover

Susan Swann: How to value a child for who he is, not just what he does

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Financial Tasks You Should Tackle Right Now

Sandra Block and Lisa Gerstner: How to Profit From Your Passion

Susan Scutti: A Simple Blood Test Might Soon Diagnose Cancer

Chris Weller: Have A Slow Metabolism? Let Science Speed It Up For You

The Kosher Gourmet by Diane Rossen Worthington Whitefish Terrine: A French take on gefilte fish

April 9, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?

Samuel G. Freedman: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Jessica Ivins: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Kim Giles: Asking for help is not weakness

Kathy Kristof and Barbara Hoch Marcus: 7 Great Growth Israeli Stocks

Matthew Mientka: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Sabrina Bachai: 5 At-Home Treatments For Headaches

The Kosher Gourmet by Daniel Neman Have yourself a matzo ball: The secrets bubby never told you and recipes she could have never imagined

April 8, 2014

Lori Nawyn: At Your Wit's End and Back: Finding Peace

Susan B. Garland and Rachel L. Sheedy: Strategies Married Couples Can Use to Boost Benefits

David Muhlbaum: Smart Tax Deductions Non-Itemizers Can Claim

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E : Before You Lose Your Mental Edge

Dana Dovey: Coffee Drinkers Rejoice! Your Cup Of Joe Can Prevent Death From Liver Disease

Chris Weller: Electric 'Thinking Cap' Puts Your Brain Power Into High Gear

The Kosher Gourmet by Marlene Parrish A gift of hazelnuts keeps giving --- for a variety of nutty recipes: Entree, side, soup, dessert

April 4, 2014

Rabbi David Gutterman: The Word for Nothing Means Everything

Charles Krauthammer: Kerry's folly, Chapter 3

Amy Peterson: A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children

John Ericson: Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet

John Ericson: Why 50 million Americans will still have spring allergies after taking meds

Cameron Huddleston: Best and Worst Buys of April 2014

Stacy Rapacon: Great Mutual Funds for Young Investors

Sarah Boesveld: Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves

The Kosher Gourmet by Sharon Thompson Anyone can make a salad, you say. But can they make a great salad? (SECRETS, TESTED TECHNIQUES + 4 RECIPES, INCLUDING DRESSINGS)

April 2, 2014

Paul Greenberg: Death and joy in the spring

Dan Barry: Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?

Mayra Bitsko: Save me! An alien took over my child's personality

Frank Clayton: Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities

Susan Scutti: It's Genetic! Obesity and the 'Carb Breakdown' Gene

Lecia Bushak: Why Hand Sanitizer May Actually Harm Your Health

Stacy Rapacon: Great Funds You Can Own for $500 or Less

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Ways to Save on Home Decor

The Kosher Gourmet by Steve Petusevsky Exploring ingredients as edible-stuffed containers (TWO RECIPES + TIPS & TECHINQUES)

Jewish World Review Nov 9, 2011 / 12 Mar-Cheshvan, 5772

Future drones: Kill by software, not by humans

By Nat Hentoff




http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | Increasing along with the number of pilotless drones appearing in the skies worldwide are the gee-whiz news reports about them. For instance, in "Global Race on to Match U.S. Drone Capabilities": "More than 50 countries have purchased surveillance drones, and many have started in-country development programs for armed versions because no nation is exporting weaponized drones beyond a handful of sales between the United States and its closest allies" (www.washingtonpost.com, July 4).

And keep this in mind: "Last year, (Iran) also claimed two of its drones, the Ra'd and Nazir, were 'capable of conducting long-range reconnaissance, patrolling, assault and bombing missions with high precision'" ("Iran Running Drone Competitions to Upgrade Unmanned Air Force," www.wired.com, Sept. 23).

On this planet, perfecting killing capacities is a powerful motive for research. But one particular look ahead scares me: "A Future for Drones: Automated Killing," (www.washingtonpost.com, Sept. 19). This story begins with a demonstration last fall at Fort Benning, Ga.:

Climbing to 800 and 1,000 feet over the military base, "the automated, unpiloted planes worked on their own, with no human guidance, no (distant) hand on any control. ... This successful exercise in autonomous robotics could presage the future of the American way of war: a day when drones hunt, identify and kill the enemy based on calculations made by software, not decisions made by humans."

In this well-researched, vital story, reporter Peter Finn should have added at this point that these murderous robots presage the future of more and more countries' way of war, as well.

He does return to the present: "But humans still make the decision to fire, and in the case of CIA strikes in Pakistan, that call rests with the director of the agency." And ultimately, as one would surmise, with the commander in chief in the White House.

Our president has clearly made drones his favorite weapon of war against terrorists ("U.S. Assembling Secret Drone Bases in Africa, Arabian Peninsula, Officials Say," Washington Post, Sept. 20). I have seen no indication yet -- in Congress or in the continuous debates among Republican aspirants for the presidency -- that a Republican administration will differ with Obama's enthusiasm for advancing drone warfare.

There are, however, some experts on drones who counsel strongly about rushing ahead so confidently in the robotic autonomy of drones. They are not only fearful about our enemies' developing drones but also about the ability of those hostile drones to disable ours.

Finn reports that these experts worry "that hostile states or terrorist organizations could hack (our) robotic systems and redirect them. Malfunctions also are a problem: In South Africa in 2007, a semiautonomous cannon fatally shot nine friendly soldiers."

A founder of International Committee for Robot Arms Control, Peter Asaro, a professor at the New School in New York, said to The Washington Post: "The worry is that these systems are going to be pushed out too soon, and they make a lot of mistakes, and those mistakes are going to be atrocities."

How many Americans -- so intimately conversant with Herman Cain's alleged amorous intentions -- are even aware of this debate about how humans will be able to prevent self-directing Predator and Reaper drones from committing atrocities?

But there are experts who believe that there are indeed people who can create ethical, responsible robots. Enter Ronald C. Arkin, author of "Governing Lethal Behavior in Autonomous Robots." Among his credentials: This study was financed by the U.S. Army Research Office. Don't you trust the judgment of that official government level of validation?

Arkin, assuring The Washington Post and us that "lethal autonomy is inevitable" -- robots having graduated from science fiction into real-time existence; competing with human chess champions, for one widely publicized example. But on the warfare level we're discussing, Arkin, reports Finn, "believes it is possible to build ethical military drones and robots, capable of using deadly force while programmed to adhere to international humanitarian law and the rules of engagement.

"He said software can be created that would lead machines to return fire with proportionality, minimize collateral damage, recognize surrender, and, in the case of uncertainty, maneuver to reassess or wait for a human assessment."

If you are still skeptical, Lora G. Weiss, chief scientist at Georgia Tech Research Institute, adds: "How a war-fighting unit may think -- we are trying to make our systems behave like that."

Is it possible, then, that eventually we'll have such corrosive distrust of our incompetent government, as we have come to know it, that we will put our faith in a robotic president so precisely and totally connected to the Bill of Rights and the rest of the Constitution that we will have no reason to doubt it?

You think I'm kidding? I sure hope so. I am glad to introduce Johann Borenstein, in charge of the Mobile Robotics Lab at the University of Michigan.

He tells The Washington Post that human skills will remain critical in battle far into the future, emphasizing: "The foremost of all skills is common sense. Robots don't have common sense and won't have common sense in the next 50 years, or however long one might want to guess."

But how long will future generations want to guess? In any case, why now, President Barack Obama, is it wise to conduct our warfare against terrorists who may ultimately have pilotless technology to kill us? And beyond the next election, what will future presidents think of saving the lives of our human soldiers by depending on soulless robotic drones?

Every weekday JewishWorldReview.com publishes what many in the media and Washington consider "must-reading". Sign up for the daily JWR update. It's free. Just click here.


Nat Hentoff is a nationally renowned authority on the First Amendment and the Bill of Rights and author of several books, including his current work, "The War on the Bill of Rights and the Gathering Resistance". Comment by clicking here.

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