back to article US military tracker-droids to 'consider humans as fluid'

Pentagon propellerhead chiefs have hatched another sinister surveillance scheme. The plan is to add "flow based" theories of urban traffic movement - which assume that humans en masse behave like fluid moving through a network of pipes or channels - to conventional radar/camera based tracking of vehicles. One need hardly say …

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JBH
Black Helicopters

This is not a new idea.

I seem to remember a similar 'fluid theory' being used to redesign football terraces after the Hillsborough disaster.

Why I'm sure I remember a demonstration on Tomorrow's World, demonstrating how crowds have very liquid movement.

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Gold badge
Terminator

Goal seeking?

In the past, goal seeking AI systems have proven rather adroit at spotting the simple (and not necessarily desired) solution to a given problem. So, given the task of applying fluidic modelling processes to humans, is the simple solution:

a) Perform highly complex computational tasks to model humans moving in a fluid-like manner, all the while modifying the processes based on observed deviations from prediction?

Or

b) Puree all the pesky, unpredictable humans down into an oozing goo that can be easily modelled with a simple algorithm?

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Anonymous Coward

Straight ahead?

"If it was watching a vehicle approaching a T junction, but couldn't observe the junction itself, it might note the vehicle slowing down and work out that it planned to turn at the junction rather than carrying straight on. Etc etc."

If you carry straight ahead on a T junction, you should be fairly easy to track by the resulting ermergency services deployment

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When was the last time a fluid slowed down and turned into a side-pipe?

Mind you, DARPA doesn't employ the crankiest cranks in the US Secret Service. That honour lies with the Directorate of Science and Technology - who gave us remote viewing, goat staring, MKULTRA and the not-as-famous-as-it-ought-to-be "Acoustic Kitty".

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OC
Stop

Crashed Car Please!

"If it was watching a vehicle approaching a T junction, but couldn't observe the junction itself, it might note the vehicle slowing down and work out that it planned to turn at the junction rather than carrying straight on."

I should hope it thinks the car is going to turn, a T junction often requires these as normally it will result in the car crashing into the building straight ahead.

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Boffin

Ugly bags of mostly water

natch.

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Silver badge
Black Helicopters

Sounds a great idea

If you lose track of the target vehicle, just make a reasonable guess at which one it ought to be and blow that one up. After all they're all funny foreigners so it doesn't really matter which ones you hit.

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Bronze badge
Coat

Humans fluid?

But will it blend?

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Alert

Definitely not a new idea

Fluid Mechanics applied to traffic has been used for decades in research institutes (i've worked in a French Institute who created several urban traffic simulation and monitoring application)

As well, there are a lot of ways to modelize traffic : multi-agents (each car individually considered from a behavioral point of view), fluid mechanics (traffic as a flow) or even statistical theories.

Each way can describe a particular view of traffic, and can give you some general ideas. How do you think people can brodcast traffic jams ? They have to modelize traffic in several points and apply a model to see what will possibly happen. In no way there is spying here, or misconsideration of humans.... It talks about patterns, systems, models. Physicists and mathematicians does that everyday in every country and they're not all from DARPA !!!

The point of the articl is pretty poor, sorry to say that... Modelization is the ability to approximate complex mechanisms with a finite (and little) amount of data. Nobody will ever be able to consider the speed, orientation, weight, velocity, Cx of each car to describe exactly what's going on in traffic lanes, unless it has installed software on your car that tells him what you are doing. And if somebody does that, then you can consider it is spying....

When you're a hammer, all the problems start to look like nails; When you're writing for The Reg, all that comes from a defense agency is spying, and part of an agenda to alienate each human being on the Earth's surface ;-)

Thanks for the news, anyway

dazz

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Boffin

Not necessarily a crashed car.

When approaching a T junction from one of three possible directions, only one will result in an accident if you don't turn.

Pedantry? I've heard of it.

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Bronze badge

probably more like non-Newtownian fluids

in that they'll put up more resistance the more they're pushed around.

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Boffin

re: When was the last time a fluid slowed down and turned into a side-pipe?

Actually, it will: side-pipes will have lower pressure, which coupled with viscous action causes entrainment.

Also - As with atoms, with enough people statistics will iron out any individual characteristics. Anyone who's been in a crowd crush will understand what I mean. You almost literally have to 'go with the flow'; where you personally want to go has almost no consequence on its own.

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Big Brother

Hmm..

"ground vehicles cannot pass thru each other"

Well, I'm sure I've seen a film or something that involved a car driving into an artic to evade police intervention. Would a tracker be smart enough to pick that up, or would it grind to a halt, claiming that the World must be wrong as two blips have merged??

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Anonymous Coward

Programmers test

Well, this will likely test the abilities of their programmers ... if you want to lose the droid, just drive in the UK ... on the left hand side of the road and with flashing yellow indicators instead of flashing red ones. That'll confuse it.

As a fair number of cars that I've seen appear to have wiring problems anyway, there is actually no telling what the read lights will do; and there are a smaller number still who will indicate in one direction and then turn in completely the other. Some robot playing by the rules, doesn't actually stand much of a hope in keeping track of us meat sacks.

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Stop

Outwitting the bots?

So based on this theory, you just need to obscure your vehicle from line of sight, then change direction eratically, go the wrong way up a one way street etc.

Stop sign, because you'd go.

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Bronze badge

Human fluid?

First treat humans as a fluid - so much easier to liquidate them then.

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Happy

TeeCee - Puree?

Now you're talking Soylent Green, my friend.

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Troll

I could agree with the topic....

But its for those who drive in such a rude fashion as water.

To drive with the least path of resistance to wave in and out of traffic being

rude to everyone around them.

To those I give the one finger salute and I am one of those who prevent you from passing

Making sure you know that I know your drving skills are a total waste and a hazzard.

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Silver badge
Welcome

May I be the first to welcome...

... oh fill in the rest yourself!

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Happy

@Ian Stephenson

Keyboard insurance, I need to make a claim...

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Badgers

Nit pick

Sorry but if a vehicle was approaching a T junction it would be reasonable to assume it would turn. Straight on would be an unusual choice! Crossroads OK

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WTF?

T'nuc!

As an added bonus, FITT is an EXTREMELY naughty word in Swedish.

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@ Definitely not a new idea

But definitely a new word - modelize. Is that what they do on America's Net Top Model?

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