Breaking science & technology news

Top story

‘We have detected gravitational waves’ — LIGO scientists

February 11, 2016

The gravitational-wave event on Sept. 14, 2015 at 09:50:45 UTC was observed by the two LIGO detectors in Livingston, Loiusiana (blue) and Hanford, Washington (orange). The matching waveforms represent gravitational-wave strain generated by the inferred merger of two inspiraling black holes. (credit: B. P. Abbott et al./PhysRevLett)

On Sept. 14, 2015 at 5:51 a.m. EDT (09:51 UTC) for the first time, scientists observed ripples in the fabric of spacetime called gravitational waves, arriving at Earth from a cataclysmic event in the distant universe, the National Science Foundation and scientists at the LIGO Scientific Collaboration announced today. This confirms a major prediction of Albert Einstein’s 1915 general theory of relativity and opens an unprecedented new window to the… read more

Clearing out the clutter: ‘senolytic’ drugs improve vascular health in mice

Reduced calcification of plaques on blood-vessel walls
February 11, 2016

coronary-artery ft

Mayo Clinic researchers have demonstrated the first study in which repeated treatments to remove senescent cells (cells that stop dividing due to age or stress) in mice improve age-related vascular conditions — and may possibly reduce cardiovascular disease and death.

The researchers intermittently gave the mice a cocktail of two senolytic drugs (ones that selectively induce cell death): dasatinib (a cancer drug, trade… read more

Implantable ‘stentrode’ to allow paralyzed patients to control an exoskeleton with their mind

UC Berkeley spinoff also announces lighter, lower-cost Phoenix exoskeleton
February 10, 2016

(credit: University of Melbourne)

A DARPA-funded research team has created a novel minimally invasive brain-machine interface and recording device that can be implanted into the brain through blood vessels, reducing the need for invasive surgery and the risks associated with breaching the blood-brain barrier when treating patients for physical disabilities and neurological disorders.

The new technology, developed by University of Melbourne medical researchers under DARPA’s Reliable Neural-Interface Technology (RE-NET)read more

Could humans ever regenerate limbs?

February 10, 2016

finger regrowth ft

Just lopped off your ring finger slicing carrots (some time in the future)? No problem. Just speed-read this article while you’re waiting for the dronebulance. …

“Epimorphic regeneration” — growing digits, maybe even limbs, with full 3D structure and functionality — may one day be possible. So say scientists at Tulane University, the University of Washington, and the University of Pittsburgh, writing in a review article just published in… read more

New cryopreservation procedure wins Brain Preservation Prize

First preservation of the connectome demonstrated in a whole brain
February 9, 2016

rabbit brain ft

The Brain Preservation Foundation (BPF) has announced that a team at 21st Century Medicine led by Robert McIntyre, PhD., has won the Small Mammal Brain Preservation Prize, which carries an award of $26,735.

The Small Mammalian Brain Preservation Prize was awarded after the determination that the protocol developed by McIntyre, termed Aldehyde-Stabilized Cryopreservation, was able to preserve an entire rabbit brain with well-preserved ultrastructure, including… read more

How to ‘weld’ neurons with a laser

February 9, 2016

An illustration of how a femtosecond laser pulse is delivered to the target point between an axon and a neuronal soma (credit: the authors)

University of Alberta researchers have developed a method of connecting neurons using ultrashort laser pulses. The technique gives researchers complete control over the cell connection process and could lead to new research and treatment methods, including physical reattachment of severed neurons right after injury, the researchers say.

The team’s findings are published in the open-access Nature journal Scientific Reports.

Procedure

After putting two neurons in a special… read more

Powering brain implants without wires with thin-film wireless power transmission system

Avoids risk of infections through skull opening and leakage of cerebrospinal fluid, and allows for free-moving subjects and more flexible uses of brain-computer interfaces
February 8, 2016

wireless power to brain-ft.

A research team at Toyohashi University of Technology in Japan has fabricated an implanted wireless power transmission (WPT) device to deliver power to an implanted neural interface system, such as a brain-computer interface (BCI) device.

Described in an open-access paper in Sensors journal, the system avoids having to connect an implanted device to an external power source via wires through a hole in the skull, which can… read more

Impact of automation puts up to 85% of jobs in developing countries at risk

February 8, 2016

risk of jobs ... ft

A new report from the Oxford Martin School and Citi considers the risks of job automation to developing countries, estimated to range from 55% in Uzbekistan to 85% in Ethiopia — a substantial share in major emerging economies, including China and India (77% and 69% respectively).

The report, Technology at Work v2.0: The Future Is Not What It Used to Be, builds on 2013 research by Oxford Martin… read more

Mitochondria trigger cell aging, researchers discover

How to rejuvenate or prevent aging in human and mice cells
February 5, 2016

Components of a typical mitochondrion (credit: Kelvinsong/Creative Commons)

An international team of scientists led by João Passos at Newcastle University has for the first time shown that mitochondria (the “batteries” of the cells) are major triggers for aging, and eliminating them upon the induction of senescence prevents senescence in the aging mouse liver.

As we grow old, cells in our bodies accumulate different types of damage and have increased inflammation, factors that are thought to contribute… read more

CMU announces research project to reverse-engineer brain algorithms, funded by IARPA

A Human Genome Project-level plan to make computers learn like humans
February 5, 2016

neural network - CMU ft

Carnegie Mellon University is embarking on a five-year, $12 million research effort to reverse-engineer the brain and “make computers think more like humans,” funded by the U.S. Intelligence Advanced Research Projects Activity (IARPA). The research is led by Tai Sing Lee, a professor in the Computer Science Department and the Center for the Neural Basis of Cognition (CNBC).

The research effort, through IARPA’s… read more

Future of drug delivery seen in a crystal ball

Not flakey --- and a few 100 times stronger than liposomes
February 3, 2016

crystalsome

A Drexel University materials scientist has discovered a way to encapsulate medication to deliver it more effectively inside the body.

Until now, crystals have grown in rigid, structured formations (like the snowflake) — with a web of straight lines connecting to making a grid that grows into the crystalline flake.*

But the formation of a crystal is affected by the environment in which it forms. And Christopherread more

How to efficiently convert carbon dioxide from air to methanol fuel

A twofer: sustainable fuel source from greenhouse gas emissions
February 3, 2016

Turning-air-into-fuel-ft

Researchers at the University of Southern California (USC) Loker Hydrocarbon Research Institute have created fuel out of thin air — directly converting carbon dioxide from air into methanol at relatively low temperatures for the first time. While methanol can’t currently compete with oil, it will be there when we run out of oil, the researchers note.

The researchers bubbled air through an aqueous solution of pentaethylenehexamine (PEHA), adding… read more

Mayo Clinic researchers extend lifespan by up to 35 percent in mice

February 3, 2016

Aged mice with and without senescent cell clearance (credit: Mayo Clinic)

Researchers at Mayo Clinic have discovered that senescent cells — cells that no longer divide and accumulate with age — shorten lifespan by as much as 35 percent in normal mice.

Removing these aging cells delays tumor formation, preserves tissue and organ function, and extends lifespan without observed adverse effects, the researchers found, writing Feb. 3 in Nature.

“Cellular senescence is a biological mechanism that functions as… read more

Delivering genes across the blood-brain barrier to treat brain diseases

Could also help researchers map the brain
February 2, 2016

BBB penetration ft

Caltech biologists have modified a harmless virus to allow it to enter the adult mouse brain through the bloodstream and deliver genes to cells of the nervous system.

The modified virus could lead to novel therapeutics to address diseases such as Alzheimer’s and Huntington’s, help researchers map the brain, and target cells in other organs, according to Ben Deverman, a senior research scientist at Caltech and lead author… read more

NASA engineers to build first integrated-photonics modem

A step toward revolutionary integrated photonics on a chip
February 2, 2016

phonics on a chip ft

A NASA team plans to build the first integrated-photonics modem, using an emerging, potentially revolutionary technology that could transform everything from telecommunications, medical imaging, advanced manufacturing to national defense.

The cell phone-sized device incorporates optics-based functions, such as lasers, switches, and fiber-optic wires, onto a microchip similar to an integrated circuit found in all electronics hardware.

The device will be tested aboard the International Space Station beginning… read more

More news

Latest blog posts

NPR | Marvin Minsky, who pioneered artificial intelligence research, dies at age 88

host Robert Siegel of All Things Considered speaks to Ray Kurzweil
February 5, 2016

NPR - A1

NPR’s Robert Siegel speaks to Ray Kurzweil, the inventor and futurist, and founder of Kurzweil Technologies, about Marvin Minsky, PhD.

Minsky, who was a founding father of artificial intelligence, has died at the age of 88. Kurzweil is a Director of Engineering at Google.

NPR | All Things Considered
episode title | Marvin Minsky who pioneered artificial intelligence research dies at the age of… read more

announcement | Special invitation to apply to Singularity University, featuring full tuition grant

letter from Ray Kurzweil + Peter Diamandis
February 2, 2016

Singularity University - B1

A special invitation from the founders of Singularity University.

Dear readers,

We’re putting out the call for brilliant entrepreneurs, age 21 and older, who want to enroll in Singularity University’s Global Solutions Program — called GSP.

The GSP is where you’ll take your existing start-up idea, or a new one you create, and build it into a Ten to the Ninth plus company that can positively impact the lives of… read more

Am I bot or not?

Deconstructing the "uncanny valley"
January 27, 2016

turk ft

By Gregg Murray

Before IBM’s Deep Blue made it cool, there was a chess-playing computer. In the late 18th century and into the 19th, it wowed incredulous audiences who couldn’t tell, though many suspected, that a human was somehow behind it. For these Western European spectators, the machine’s Turkish-inspired dress added to their perverse questioning of its humanness. History refers to this false automaton as the… read more

In memory of Marvin Minsky

January 25, 2016

Marvin Minsky 2008 (Wikimedia Commons)

Ray Kurzweil, January 25, 2016

When I was fourteen I wrote Marvin Minsky a letter asking to meet with him. He invited me to visit him at MIT and he spent hours with me as if he had nothing else to do.

When my daughter Amy was about eleven and we went out for a meal at the Harvest Restaurant in Cambridge with my wife Sonya and his… read more

Ray Kurzweil keynote and panel at Nobel Week Dialog from the Nobel Prize

January 21, 2016

Nobel Prize - B3

Dear readers,

I had the honor of speaking on the future of technology at the Nobel Prize gatherings in Gothenburg, Sweden. Every year, the Nobel Prize picks a theme of interest to the world on the state of sciences in different arenas. This year’s theme was the future of intelligence, with a focus on different technologies that are changing our ability to see and understand large sets of information… read more

Report by Robert Scoble from CES

January 15, 2016

Scobel

By Robert Scoble Jan. 14, 2016

CES wrapped up last week and I can say it was the best one I’ve seen in a decade. Three big stories jumped out this year:

1. VR.
2. Self driving cars.
3. AR.

Inc Magazine (er, Joel Comm) interviewed me after CES and I gave them the rundown.

For

read more

‘Aipoly Vision’ AI app opens up the world live for visually impaired

Free iPhone/iPad app is now live on App Store
January 3, 2016 by Amara D. Angelica

Ford

This just in: Aipoly Vision* — a free AI app that runs on your iPhone/iPad** (Android coming) and recognizes objects and colors — is now live on the App store, Aipoly Inc. co-founder Alberto Rizzoli just told me in an email.

Of course, I immediately downloaded the app, launched it on my iPhone 6s+, and tested it. It works spectacularly. Its voice names objects or… read more

Superintelligence vs. superstupidity

Cars, grids, phones, robots … should we regulate the emerging superintelligence?
December 28, 2015 by Amara D. Angelica

owl eyes

In “The A.I. Anxiety” Sunday (12/27), the Washington Post concisely summarized the risks implicit in superintelligence … and more worrisome, in “superstupidity”: “There is no one person who understands exactly how these [intelligent computer] systems work or are operating at any given moment. Throw in elements of autonomy, and things can go wrong quickly and disastrously.”  

In other words: stupid people + superintelligent machines —> superstupidity.… read more

Superintelligence: fears, promises, and potentials

Reflections on Bostrom’s Superintelligence, Yudkowsky’s From AI to Zombies, and Weaver and Veitas’s Open-Ended Intelligence
December 28, 2015

superintelligence ft

KurzweilAI is honored to publish this awesome article by artificial general intelligence guru Ben Goertzel. Focusing on the emergence of superintelligence — arguably the most important issue for our future — Ben expertly dissects, deconstructs, and challenges the arguments of the key experts, no words minced. Enjoy! — Amara D. Angelica, Editor, KurzweilAI.   

Ben Goertzel Ph.D.
Chairman, Novamente LLC
ben@goertzel.org

Abstract

read more

Why we can trust scientists with the power of new gene-editing technology

December 1, 2015

Gene editing allows us to eliminate any misspellings, introduce beneficial natural variants, or perhaps cut out or insert new genes (credit: Libertas Academica/Flickr, CC BY-SA)

 By
Dean of Science and Professor of Molecular Biology, UNSW Australia

A summit of experts from around the world is meeting in Washington to consider the scientific, ethical and governance issues linked to research into gene editing. Convened in response to recent advances in the field, the summit includes experts from the U.S. National Academy of Science, the UK’sread more

classic film | The Age of Intelligent Machines

November 10, 2015

The Age of Intelligent Machines - film - A2

Dear readers,

From my archives, I wanted to share this classic documentary film and book from the late 1980s, almost 30 years ago. It’s an interesting restrospective of my early visions of the future of computing, along with commentary and insights from many industry experts.

I wrote and produced the film in 1987 to accompany the museum exhibit “Robots and Beyond.” The film became the basis for my… read more

Celebrating the 10 Year Anniversary of book The Singularity Is Near

October 6, 2015

anniversary - A5

Dear readers,

This month celebrates the 10 year anniversary of the classic book The Singularity Is Near, written by Ray Kurzweil, published in September 2005.

In the decade since its publication, we’ve witnessed an explosion of breakthroughs in genetic engineering, medical regeneration of the human body, autonomous robotics, computing power, and renewable energy. Advanced sensor arrays and internet meshes are uniting all people and things within the interconnected… read more

Should humans be able to marry robots?

Are you robophobic?
August 12, 2015 by Amara D. Angelica

(credit: AMC)

The Supreme Court’s recent 5–4 decision in Obergefell v. Hodges legalizing same-sex marriage raises the interesting question: what’s next on the “slippery slope”? Robot-human marriages? Robot-robot marriages?

Why yes, predicts on Slate.

“There has recently been a burst of cogent accounts of human-robot sex and love in popular culture: Her and Ex Machina, the AMC drama series Humans, and the novel … read more

Why we really should ban autonomous weapons: a response

By Stuart Russell, Max Tegmark & Toby Walsh
August 10, 2015

President Richard Nixon (seen here during his historical meeting with Chinese leader Mao Zedong) argued that a ban on biological weapons would strengthen U.S. national security (credit: White House Photo Office)

We welcome Sam Wallace’s contribution to the discussion on a proposed ban on offensive autonomous weapons. This is a complex issue and there are interesting arguments on both sides that need to be weighed up carefully.

His article, written as a response to an open letter signed by over 2500 AI and robotics researchers, begins with the claim that such a ban is as “unrealistic… read more

The proposed ban on offensive autonomous weapons is unrealistic and dangerous

So says former U.S. Army officer and autonomous weapons expert Sam Wallace
August 5, 2015

From Call of Duty Black Ops 2 (credit: Activision Publishing)

The open letter from the Future of Life Institute (FLI) calling for a “ban on offensive autonomous weapons” is as unrealistic as the broad relinquishment of nuclear weapons would have been at the height of the cold war.

A treaty or international agreement banning the development of artificially intelligent robotic drones for military use would not be effective. It would be impossible to completely stop nations from… read more

More blog posts

@KurzweilAINews

close and return to Home