The New York Times takes an inside look at DARPA, the secretive defense agency, mentioned frequently on Slashdot, that is "changing the way we use machines — and the way they use us" in the form of a review of Michael Belfiore's The Department of Mad Scientists. Besides tracing the history of the agency, Belfiore's book expounds on the well-known Grand Challenge and its link to ever-more-automated vehicle control in civilian and military contexts, as well as other DARPA pet projects, including robotic surgery, information analysis, and the integration of electronics with the human body.
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