アメリカのインターネットに何が起こるのか? アメリカの連邦通信委員会はネットの中立性を保つ法規類を廃止することを決議した。

What may happen to the internet in America
America’s Federal Communications Commission has voted to rescind net-neutrality regulations
Dec 15th 2017by G.E.


rescind:〈法律・合意など〉を無効にする, 廃止する, 撤回する.

THE internet has supposedly changed overnight in America. On December 14th the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) voted 3-2 to rescind regulations, imposed by the same body under Barack Obama in 2015, that were designed to ensure that internet-service providers do nothing to privilege some types of online content over others. The three Republican-appointed members of the commission, including Ajit Pai, the chairman, argued that the “net neutrality” rules posed an unnecessary burden on internet providers, without being of help to consumers. Activists and many Democratic lawmakers argued that a repeal could bring an end to the open internet (two Democrat-appointed commissioners voted to keep the rules in place). What will actually happen, now that net-neutrality rules have been repealed? 

supposedly:たぶん, おそらく(…であろう)
privilege :を特別扱いする(favor)
repeal:(法律などの)廃止, 撤回.

To get a sense of what might happen, it is important to understand what net neutrality is and why the Obama-era FCC rules were chosen. Put simply it is the principle that all internet traffic, whether from Netflix, Tinder or a news website, is treated equally by the “pipe” companies carrying that traffic, like AT&T or Verizon. In the early days of the internet this principle was not really necessary as the pipe companies could not see differences in the content they were carrying (part of the reason they are called “dumb pipes”, at least by some). 

dumb :dumb animals 物言わぬ動物たち

Crucially, services like Netflix that consumed far more internet bandwidth than the others, putting a strain on broadband and wireless infrastructure, did not exist. With the rise of Netflix and its ilk in streaming media, broadband companies began to suggest that they may have to charge more for some types of traffic, or slow down some services (“throttling” them). Net-neutrality activists argued that if providers could discriminate between different types of traffic, they would have far too much power over the internet. They could privilege their own services over competitors’, or they could even throttle or block some services they did not like. The Obama-era rules were designed to prevent that. 

Crucially:非常に, きわめて重大に; 〖主に文頭で〗決定的なことに.

Are such rules necessary or harmful? It is difficult to prove either side of that question. Internet-service providers might choose not to charge more for using broadly popular services like Netflix. And repealing net neutrality does not make it legal for internet-service providers to censor content or discriminate against companies they do not like. The FCC will be responsible for policing internet-service providers for abuses. 

abuses:abuse of power 権力[職権]の乱用

But, activists argue, they could throttle unknown upstarts, companies that would otherwise become the next Netflix, Amazon, Google or Facebook (if that were conceivable). And policing the behaviour of broadband and wireless companies, heretofore not known for their transparency, will be a challenge. In the end the argument about net neutrality boils down to whether internet-service providers should be regulated before they have shown they might abuse their power, or only after they have actually done so. The current FCC has just opted for the latter. 

conceivable:〈物・事が〉考えられる, 想像できる, 考えつく
heretofore:今まで, これまで
boils down:〈液体が〉煮詰まる, 煮詰まって量が減る.

In the immediate future, consumers will start to see more deals on their internet plans, including “zero-rating”: the pipe companies can offer certain internet-preferred content for nothing while charging for other data. They will also persuade some internet services to pay to be included with the faster traffic. But it is unclear how consumers might benefit in the long run. Broadband companies have long argued that if they could charge more for some traffic, they would be able to offer the internet more cheaply to consumers who are less bandwidth-hungry. 

They also say they would be able to invest in better broadband infrastructure. The hole in this argument is that most broadband providers in America enjoy regional monopolies and high pricing; they are not forced by competition to improve their infrastructure or pricing. If consumers are to get much lower prices for their internet, they will need a lot more help than net neutrality can offer. 

hole:【考え・筋道などの】欠点, 不備, 弱点 


Military robots are getting smaller and more capable
Soon, they will travel in swarms
Dec 14th 2017


in swarms:群れを成して

ON NOVEMBER 12th a video called “Slaughterbots” was uploaded to YouTube. It is the brainchild of Stuart Russell, a professor of artificial intelligence at the University of California, Berkeley, and was paid for by the Future of Life Institute (FLI), a group of concerned scientists and technologists that includes Elon Musk, Stephen Hawking and Martin Rees, Britain’s Astronomer Royal. It is set in a near-future in which small drones fitted with face-recognition systems and shaped explosive charges can be programmed to seek out and kill known individuals or classes of individuals (those wearing a particular uniform, for example). In one scene, the drones are shown collaborating with each other to gain entrance to a building. One acts as a petard, blasting through a wall to grant access to the others. 

brainchild:の独創的な考え[計画](によるもの), の発想の産物[創造物].
concerned: 関心を持つ
shaped:shaped charge 指向性爆薬◆【略】SC

“Slaughterbots” is fiction. The question Dr Russell poses is, “how long will it remain so?” For military laboratories around the planet are busy developing small, autonomous robots for use in warfare, both conventional and unconventional. In America, in particular, a programme called MAST (Micro Autonomous Systems and Technology), which has been run by the US Army Research Laboratory in Maryland, is wrapping up this month after ten successful years. MAST co-ordinated and paid for research by a consortium of established laboratories, notably at the University of Maryland, Texas A&M University and Berkeley (the work at Berkeley is unrelated to Dr Russell’s). Its successor, the Distributed and Collaborative Intelligent Systems and Technology (DCIST) programme, which began earlier this year, is now getting into its stride. 

get into one's stride:本調子になる、本領を発揮する

In 2008, when MAST began, a spy drone that you could hold in the palm of your hand was an idea from science fiction. Such drones are now commonplace. Along with flying drones, MAST’s researchers have been developing pocket-sized battlefield scouts that can hop or crawl ahead of soldiers. DCIST’s purpose is to take these autonomous robots and make them co-operate. The result, if the project succeeds, will be swarms of devices that can take co-ordinated action to achieve a joint goal. 

scouts:偵察兵[機, 艦], 斥候(せつこう); 偵察行為

A hop, skip and jump away
At the moment, America’s defence department is committed to keeping such swarms under human control, so that the decision to pull a trigger will always be taken by a person rather than a machine. The Pentagon is as alarmed by the prospect of freebooting killer robots as the FLI is. But, as someone said of nuclear weapons after the first one was detonated, the only secret worth keeping is now out: the damn things work. If swarms of small robots can be made to collaborate autonomously, someone, somewhere will do it. 


Existing small drones are usually polycopters—helicopters that have a set of rotors (generally four or six) arranged at the vertices of a regular polygon, rather than a single one above their centre of gravity. Some MAST researchers, however, think they have alighted on something better. 

alighted:〈鳥・昆虫などが〉 ≪…に≫ 降りて止まる(settle) ≪on, upon, in≫ .

Their proposed replacement is the cyclocopter. This resembles an airborne paddle steamer. Though the idea of cyclocopters has been around for a while, the strong, lightweight materials needed to make them have hitherto been unavailable and the computing tools needed to design them have only recently been created. Now that those materials and tools do exist, things are advancing rapidly. Over the course of the MAST project the researchers have shrunk cyclocopters from being behemoths weighing half a kilogram to svelte devices that tip the scales at less than 30 grams. Such machines can outperform polycopters. 

paddle steamer:外輪船
hitherto:これまで, 今まで.
svelte:〈女性が〉すらりとした; ほっそりした.

Cyclocopter aerodynamics is more like that of insects than of conventional aircraft, in that lift is generated by stirring the air into vortices rather than relying on its flow over aerofoils. For small cyclocopters this helps. Vortex effects become proportionately more powerful as an aircraft shrinks, but, in the case of conventional craft, including polycopters, that makes things worse, by decreasing stability. Cyclocopters get better as they get smaller. 

vortices:(水・火などの)渦, 渦巻き; 旋風, 竜巻;

They are also quieter. As Moble Benedict of Texas A&M, one of the leaders of the cyclocopter project, observes, “aerodynamic noise is a strong function of the blade-tip speed”—hence the whup-whup-whup of helicopters. The blade-tip speeds of cyclocopters are much lower. That makes them ideal for spying. They also have better manoeuvrability, and are less disturbed by gusts of wind. 


Dr Benedict reckons cyclocopters are about two years away from commercial production. Once that happens they could displace polycopters in many roles, not just military ones. But they are not the only novel technology in which MAST has been involved. The programme has also worked on robots that hop. 

Ready to spring into action
Ready to spring into action 
One of the most advanced is Salto, developed by the Biomimetic Millisystems Laboratory at the University of California, Berkeley. Salto (pictured) is a monopod weighing 98 grams that has a rotating tail and side-thrusters. These let it stabilise itself and reorient in mid-leap. That gives it the agility to bounce over uneven surfaces and also to climb staircases. 

monopod:a one-legged support for a camera or fishing rod.

Salto’s speed (almost two metres a second) puts huge demands on its single leg. Ron Fearing, one of the electrical engineers developing it, puts things thus: “imagine a cheetah running at top speed using only one leg, and then cut the amount of time that leg spends on the ground in half.” As with cyclocopters, the materials and processing power needed to do this have only recently come into existence. 

Dr Fearing says Salto and its kin are quieter than aerial drones and can operate in confined spaces where flying robots would be disturbed by turbulence reflected from the walls. They can also travel over terrain, such as collapsed buildings, that is off-limits to wheeled vehicles. Salto still needs work. In particular, it needs to be able to cling more effectively to what it lands on. Dr Fearing uses the analogy of a squirrel leaping from branch to branch. Arriving at the next branch is only half the battle. The other half is staying there. Once that is solved, though, which it should be in the next year or two, small non-flying robots that can go where their wheeled, or even track-laying, brethren cannot should become available for practical use. 

confined:狭い, 限られた〈場所・空間など〉
track laying:軌道敷設

Bouncing over the rubble of a collapsed building is not the only way to explore it. Another is to weave through the spaces between the debris. Researchers at the Biomimetic Millisystems lab are working on that, too. Their solution resembles a cockroach. Its body is broad and flat, which gives it stability but also permits it to crawl through narrow spaces—if necessary by going up on one side. Should it tip over whilst attempting this, it has wing-like extensions it can use to flip itself upright again. 

weave :〈人・車などが〉縫うように進む
tip:ひっくり返る(over, up).

Getting into a building, whether collapsed or intact, is one thing. Navigating around it without human assistance is quite another. For this purpose MAST has been feeding its results to the Defence Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), America’s main federal military-research organisation. According to Brett Piekarski, who led MAST and is now in charge of DCIST, the Fast Lightweight Autonomy (FLA) programme at DARPA will continue MAST’s work with the aim of developing small drones that can “ingress and egress into buildings and navigate within those buildings at high speeds”. Some of that has already been done. In June DARPA reported that polycopters souped up by the FLA programme were able to slalom through woodlands, swerve around obstacles in a hangar and report back to their starting-point, all by themselves. 

intact:損なわれていない, そっくりそのままで, 無傷で,
ingress :進入, 立ち入り;入口(用通路).

Unity is strength
The next challenge—the one that people like Dr Russell particularly worry about—is getting the robots to swarm and co-ordinate their behaviour effectively. Under the aegis of MAST, a group from the General Robotics, Automation, Sensing & Perception (GRASP) laboratory at the University of Pennsylvania did indeed manage to make drones fly together in co-ordinated formations without hitting each other. They look good when doing so—but, to some extent, what is seen is an illusion. The drones are not, as members of a swarm of bees or a flock of birds would be, relying on sensory information they have gathered themselves. Instead, GRASP’s drone swarms employ ground-based sensors to track individual drones around, and a central controller to stop them colliding. 

aegis:保護; 防御; 後援
illusion:錯覚, 勘違い; U錯覚すること

That is starting to change. A farewell demonstration by MAST, in August, showed three robots (two on the ground and one in the air) keeping station with each other using only hardware that was on board the robots themselves. This opens the way for larger flocks of robots to co-ordinate without outside intervention. 

Moreover, as that demonstration showed, when drones and other robots can routinely flock together in this way, they will not necessarily be birds of a feather. “Heterogeneous group control” is a new discipline that aims to tackle the thorny problem of managing units that consist of various robots—some as small as a postage stamp, others as large as a jeep—as well as human team members. Swarms will also need to be able to break up into sub-units to search a building and then recombine once they have done so, all in a hostile environment. 

feather:birds of a feather 同類の人たち.
Heterogeneous:混成の, 異種の,
thorny:困難な, やっかいな〈問題・争点など〉.

Such things are the goals of DCIST. The first tranche of grants to these ends, some $27m of them, has already been awarded to the University of Pennsylvania, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, the Georgia Institute of Technology and the University of California, Berkeley. When DCIST itself wraps up, probably in 2022, the idea of Slaughterbots may seem a lot less fictional than it does now. 

tranche:(取引などの)分割払い込み金; 一部分.
grants:助成金, 補助金



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