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Is anyone home? A way to find out if AI has become self-aware

It’s not easy, but a newly proposed test might be able to detect consciousness in a machine
July 21, 2017

(credit: Gerd Altmann/Pixabay)

By Susan Schneider, PhD, and Edwin Turner, PhD

Every moment of your waking life and whenever you dream, you have the distinct inner feeling of being “you.” When you see the warm hues of a sunrise, smell the aroma of morning coffee or mull over a new idea, you are having conscious experience. But could an artificial intelligence (AI) ever have experience, like some of the androids depicted… read more

Supersapiens, the Rise of the Mind

July 21, 2017

(credit: Markus Mooslechner)

In the new film Supersapiens, writer-director Markus Mooslechner raises a core question: As artificial intelligence rapidly blurs the boundaries between man and machine, are we witnessing the rise of a new human species?

The film features scientists, philosophers, and neurohackers Nick Bostrom, Richard Dawkins, Hugo De Garis, Adam Gazzaley, Ben Goertzel, Sam Harris, Randal Koene, Alma Mendez, Tim Mullen, Joel Murphy, David Putrino, Conor Russomanno, Anders Sandberg,… read more

Alphabet’s X announces Glass Enterprise Edition, a hands-free device for hands-on workers

July 18, 2017

Glass Enterprise Edition, a hands-free device for hands-on workers, from Alphabet's X (credit: X)

Alphabet’s X announced today Glass Enterprise Edition (EE) — an augmented-reality device targeted mainly to hands-on workers.

Glass EE is an improved version of the “Explorer Edition” — an experimental 2013 corporate version of the original Glass product.

On January 2015, the Enterprise team in X quietly began shipping the Enterprise Edition to corporate solution partners like GE and DHL.

Now,… read more

Neural stem cells steered by electric fields can repair brain damage

July 17, 2017

Electrical stimulation of the brain to move neural stem cells (credit: Jun-Feng Feng et al./ Stem Cell Reports)

Electric fields can be used to guide transplanted human neural stem cells — cells that can develop into various brain tissues — to repair brain damage in specific areas of the brain, scientists at the University of California, Davis have discovered.

It’s well known that electric fields can locally guide wound healing. Damaged tissues generate weak electric fields, and research by UC Davis… read more

Drinking coffee associated with lower risk of death from all causes, study finds

July 17, 2017

(credit: iStock)

People who drink around three cups of coffee a day may live longer than non-coffee drinkers, a landmark study has found.

The findings — published in the journal Annals of Internal Medicine — come from the largest study of its kind, in which scientists analyzed data from more than half a million people across 10 European countries to explore the effect of coffee consumption on risk of mortality.… read more

Projecting a visual image directly into the brain, bypassing the eyes

Allowing the blind to see or the paralyzed to feel touch
July 14, 2017

zebrafish brain tracking prey ft

Imagine replacing a damaged eye with a window directly into the brain — one that communicates with the visual part of the cerebral cortex by reading from a million individual neurons and simultaneously stimulating 1,000 of them with single-cell accuracy, allowing someone to see again.

That’s the goal of a $21.6 million DARPA award to the University of California, Berkeley (UC Berkeley), one of six organizations funded by DARPA’s… read more

How to turn audio clips into realistic lip-synced video

Is this the future of fake TV news?
July 12, 2017

A neural network first converts the sounds from an audio file into basic mouth shapes. Then the system grafts and blends those mouth shapes onto an existing target video and adjusts the timing to create a realistic, lip-synced video of the person delivering the new speech. (credit: University of Washington)

UW (University of Washington) | UW researchers create realistic video from audio files alone

University of Washington researchers at the UW Graphics and Image Laboratory have developed new algorithms that turn audio clips into a realistic, lip-synced video, starting with an existing video of  that person speaking on a different topic.

As detailed in a paper to be presented Aug. 2 at  read more

How to ‘talk’ to your computer or car with hand or body poses

July 10, 2017

Tracking multiple people ft

Researchers at Carnegie Mellon University’s Robotics Institute have developed a system that can detect and understand body poses and movements of multiple people from a video in real time — including, for the first time, the pose of each individual’s fingers.

The ability to recognize finger or hand poses, for instance, will make it possible for people to interact with computers in new and more natural ways, such… read more

Radical new vertically integrated 3D chip design combines computing and data storage

Aims to process and store massive amounts of data at ultra-high speed in the future
July 7, 2017

3D nanosystem ft

A radical new 3D chip that combines computation and data storage in vertically stacked layers — allowing for processing and storing massive amounts of data at high speed in future transformative nanosystems — has been designed by researchers at Stanford University and MIT.

The new 3D-chip design* replaces silicon with carbon nanotubes (sheets of 2-D graphene formed into nanocylinders) and integrates resistive random-accessread more

Carbon nanotubes found safe for reconnecting damaged neurons

May offer future hope for patients with spinal-cord injury
July 5, 2017

(credit: Polina Shuvaeva/iStock)

Multiwall carbon nanotubes (MWCNTs) could safely help repair damaged connections between neurons by serving as supporting scaffolds for growth or as connections between neurons.

That’s the conclusion of an in-vitro (lab) open-access study with cultured neurons (taken from the hippcampus of neonatal rats) by a multi-disciplinary team of scientists in Italy and Spain, published in the journal Nanomedicine: Nanotechnology, Biology, and Medicine.

The study… read more

Meditation, yoga, and tai chi can reverse damaging effects of stress, new study suggests

Even a two-minute brisk walk every half hour will work wonders
July 3, 2017

Tai chi (credit: iStock)

Mind-body interventions such as meditation, yoga*, and tai chi can reverse the molecular reactions in our DNA that cause ill-health and depression, according to a study by scientists at the universities of Coventry and Radboud.

When a person is exposed to a stressful event, their sympathetic nervous system (responsible for the “fight-or-flight” response) is triggered, which increases production of a molecule called nuclear factor kappa B (NF-kB). That molecule… read more

‘Mind reading’ technology identifies complex thoughts, using machine learning and fMRI

CMU aims to map all types of knowledge in the brain
June 30, 2017

brain semantic patterns

By combining machine-learning algorithms with fMRI brain imaging technology, Carnegie Mellon University (CMU) scientists have discovered, in essense, how to “read minds.”

The researchers used functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) to view how the brain encodes various thoughts (based on blood-flow patterns in the brain). They discovered that the mind’s building blocks for constructing complex thoughts are formed, not by words, but by specific combinations of the brain’s various sub-systems.… read more

How to capture videos of brains in real time

Watching mice think as they walk
June 28, 2017

With a new algorithm, scientists can watch individual neurons signaling within a volume of brain tissue. (credit: The Rockefeller University)

A team of scientists has peered into a mouse brain with light, capturing live neural activity of hundreds of individual neurons in a 3D section of tissue at video speed (30 Hz) in a single recording for the first time.

Besides serving as a powerful research tool, this discovery means it may now be possible to “alter stimuli in real time based on what we see going on in… read more

Smart algorithm automatically adjusts exoskeletons for best walking performance

"Human-in-the-loop optimization" assistance method could increase walking or running endurance, help stroke patients walk again sooner
June 25, 2017

exoskeleton leg ft

Researchers at the College of Engineering at Carnegie Mellon University (CMU) have developed a new automated feedback system for personalizing exoskeletons to achieve optimal performance.

Exoskeletons can be used to augment human abilities. For example, they can provide more endurance while walking, help lift a heavy load, improve athletic performance, and help a stroke patient walk again.

But current one-size-fits-all exoskeleton devices, despite their potential, “have not improved… read more

Tactile sensor lets robots gauge objects’ hardness and manipulate small tools

June 23, 2017

A GelSight sensor attached to a robot’s gripper enables the robot to determine precisely where it has grasped a small screwdriver, removing it from and inserting it back into a slot, even when the gripper screens the screwdriver from the robot’s camera. (credit: Robot Locomotion Group at MIT)

Researchers at MIT’s Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (CSAIL) have added sensors to grippers on robot arms to give robots greater sensitivity and dexterity. The sensor can judge the hardness of surfaces it touches, enabling a robot to manipulate smaller objects than was previously possible.

The “GelSight” sensor consists of a block of transparent soft rubber — the “gel” of its name — with one face… read more

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the blog

letter from Ray | Supporting universal basic income as step in world progress

People will benefit from social help, plus accelerating tech + science abundance.
May 28, 2017

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CBC • The National | Ray Kurzweil predicts end of disease, AI leaps

A video interview with host Duncan McCue.
April 11, 2017

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The New Yorker | Silicon Valley’s quest to live forever

An interview with Ray Kurzweil on the future of human longevity.
April 5, 2017

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National Geographic | Beyond Human: how humans are shaping our own evolution

A cover story including Ray Kurzweil on the future of human evolution.
April 5, 2017

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Vanity Fair | Elon Musk’s billion dollar crusade to stop the AI apocalypse

Ray Kurzweil interview on artificial intelligence futures.
March 31, 2017

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The New York Times • Book Review | How we’ll end up merging with our technology

Ray Kurzweil reviews 2 popular books
March 30, 2017

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The brain: a radical rethink is needed to understand it

March 17, 2017

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video | Ray Kurzweil & daughter Amy Kurzweil on the future of story-telling

Featured session at the popular media event South by Southwest.
March 12, 2017

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Virgin | Richard Branson’s blog: The pace of innovation

World renowned innovator Richard Branson explores Singularity University.
March 10, 2017

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Preparing for our posthuman future of artificial intelligence

March 9, 2017

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What is the Doomsday Clock and why should we keep track of the time?

The Doomsday Clock was shifted on January 26, 2017 from three minutes to midnight to a new setting of two and a half minutes to midnight --- the nearest the clock has been to midnight for more than 50 years.
March 6, 2017

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Talks at Google | Amy Kurzweil shares her new book Flying Couch: a graphic memoir — video

On stage with father Ray Kurzweil at Google.
February 20, 2017

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Future of Life Institute | Ray Kurzweil talks on stage at Beneficial Artificial Intelligence event

With videos of top conversations on computing futures.
February 8, 2017

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Why 2016 was actually a year of hope

January 6, 2017

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Why connecting all the world’s robots will drive 2017’s top technology trends

December 28, 2016

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