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Artificial intelligence

A criminal gang used a swarm of drones to disrupt an FBI raid

Bad guys keep finding new ways to use the tech, and there is no easy way to stop them.

The news: According to Defense One, FBI agents were staking out an “unfolding situation” outside an undisclosed city in the US last winter when suddenly they were surrounded by drones that weaved and darted around the team. One agent said it “definitely presented some challenges.”

Details: Not only did the drones physically interfere with the operation, but they also filmed the action and uploaded the footage to YouTube so that other gang members could monitor the scene remotely.

Why it matters: From flying contraband into prisons to attaching explosive devices, criminals continue to find new uses for drones. The US military has technology that can jam the communication channels operators use to guide their vehicles, but that equipment hasn’t been tested in populated areas with easy-to-disturb cell towers. And once commercial drones can fly autonomously, some jamming techniques won’t even work. Maybe we need to revisit training drone-hunting eagles after all.

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DeepMind’s game-playing AI has beaten a 50-year-old record in computer science

The new version of AlphaZero discovered a faster way to do matrix multiplication, a core problem in computing that affects thousands of everyday computer tasks.

Google’s new AI can hear a snippet of song—and then keep on playing

The technique, called AudioLM, generates naturalistic sounds without the need for human annotation.

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Illustration by Rose Wong

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