Coffee (Ch. 9) – Bionic Bug Podcast Episode 009 – Natasha Bajema

Coffee (Ch. 9) – Bionic Bug Podcast Episode 009

Hey everyone, welcome back to Bionic Bug podcast! You’re listening to episode 9. This is your host Natasha Bajema, fiction author, futurist, and national security expert. I’m recording this episode on June 17, 2018.

  • I hope you didn’t miss my special episode on June 7 where I interviewed biohacker Josiah Zayner about genetic engineering, CRISPR, frogs and much more. You can see the episode as recorded LIVE on YouTube as well.
  • Today, I’m going to discuss a few headlines and then get right into chapter 9 of Bionic Bug.
  • If you’re enjoying the show, please leave a review on iTunes. You can also support my time and costs of producing in show for only a few dollars a month, please go to– p a t r e o n / natashabajema

Let’s talk tech. I have a few interesting headlines for you this week.

  • “Artificial Intelligence to Weaponize Fake Video”
    • The headline is from May 23 and comes from
    • We live in an era of fake news. The line between fact and fiction has blurred, and political spin has taken over our discourse in the United States. We’ve already seen some of the consequences of this, and I’m afraid there’s much more are to come.
    • I think by now most of us are familiar with images being photoshopped. There’s a new trend on the rise that is far more troubling called deep fakes.
    • Today’s technology allows for the production of high-quality fake videos. And increasingly, these could be made by machine learning tools.
    • Think about it. We can now put words into people’s mouths and show them on video. Soon we won’t be able to tell a real video from a fake one. This is extremely worrisome for the future of our country and democracy in general.
    • In Project Gecko, I touch upon some of the consequences of this trend. Stay tuned for more information on its release.
  • “An Icelandic Inventor Has Achieved the Holy Grail of Airborne Technology with a Drone that Looks and Flies like a Bird”
    • This headline is from May 29 and comes from
    • An inventor has developed an AI-powered drone that flies like a bird.
    • Let’s unpack that.
    • First, the drone is so similar to a bird that radars can’t tell the difference. This is problematic for detection of drones.
    • Second, drones are pretty noisy. This drone has the ability to fly without the rotors and flaps its wings like a bird. That limits acoustic detection.
    • Third, it’s powered by AI, giving it an impressive level of autonomy
    • The company expects to have a fully developed product by 2020.
    • The price tag will be about $80-92K per drone. Okay, so none of us are going out and buying one of these.
    • But they could come into use by law enforcement and military – a similar military drone, the Raven, costs twice as much.

Let’s turn to Bionic Bug. Last time, we left off with Lara’s visit to DARPA. There she learns more details about the drones used in the drone show at Nationals Park and meets two new characters, Dr. Anton Stepanov and Justyne Marsh. Let’s find out what happens next.

The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not reflect the official policy or position of the National Defense University, the Department of Defense or the U.S. Government.

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