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A deep-learning system to alert companies before litigation

"The average cost per lawsuit: at least about $350,000"
October 27, 2016

(credit: Intraspexion, Inc.)

Imagine a world with less litigation.

That’s the promise of a deep-learning system developed by Intraspexion, Inc. that can alert company or government attorneys to forthcoming risks before getting hit with expensive litigation.

“These risks show up in internal communications such as emails,” said CEO Nick Brestoff. “In-house attorneys have been blind to these risks, so they are stuck with managing the lawsuits.”… read more

Ultra-low-power transistors could function for years without a battery

“If we were to draw energy from a typical AA battery based on this design, it would last for a billion years." --- Sungsik Lee, PhD, in the journal Science
October 25, 2016

Schematic cross-section of an Indium-gallium-zinc-oxide thin-film transistor [inset: schematic illustrations of atomic structures for less compensated (LC) and more compensated (MC) IGZO films, respectively) (credit: Sungsik Lee and Arokia Nathan/Science)

Devices based on a new ultra-low-power thin-film transistor design by University of Cambridge engineers could function for months or even years without a battery, by operating on scavenged energy from their environment — ideal for the Internet of Things and for wearable or implantable electronics.

The transistors can be produced at low temperatures and can be printed on almost any material, such as glass, plastic, polyester fabrics, and paper.

Similar to… read more

‘Bits & Watts’: integrating inexpensive energy sources into the electric grid

October 25, 2016

Bits & Watts initiative (credit: Stanford University)

Stanford University and DOE’s SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory launched today an initiative called “Bits & Watts” aimed at integrating low-carbon, inexpensive energy sources, like wind and solar, into the electric grid.

The interdisciplinary initiative hopes to develop “smart” technology that will bring the grid into the 21st century while delivering reliable, efficient, affordable power to homes and businesses.

That means you’ll be able to feed extra power from… read more

Will AI replace judges and lawyers?

October 25, 2016

(credit: iStock)

An artificial intelligence method developed by University College London computer scientists and associates has predicted the judicial decisions of the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) with 79% accuracy, according to a paper published Monday, Oct. 24 in PeerJ Computer Science.

The method is the first to predict the outcomes of a major international court by automatically analyzing case text using a machine-learning algorithm.*

“We don’t… read more

‘Atomic sandwich’ computing material uses 100 times less energy

Could lead to reduction of the forecast 50 percent of global energy consumption by electronics by 2030
October 21, 2016

New magnetoelectric multiferroic material achieves room-temperature multiferroic properties at room temperature (credit: Julia A. Mundy/Nature)

Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory scientists have developed a new “magnetoelectric multiferroic*” material that could lead to a new generation of computing devices with more computing power while consuming a fraction of the energy that today’s electronics require.

Electronics could be half of our total global energy consumption by 2030

“Electronics are the fastest-growing consumer of energy worldwide,” said Ramamoorthy Ramesh, associate laboratory director for energy technologies at Lawrence… read more

Will we kill (or contaminate) microbial life on Mars?

“This has implications for plans for sample return from Mars and for future human missions.” --- NASA astrobiologist Chris McKay, PhD
October 20, 2016

These dark, narrow, 100 meter-long streaks called recurring slope lineae flowing downhill on Mars are inferred to have been formed by contemporary flowing water. Recently, planetary scientists detected hydrated salts on these slopes at Hale crater, corroborating their original hypothesis that the streaks are indeed formed by liquid water. The blue color seen upslope of the dark streaks are thought not to be related to their formation, but instead are from the presence of the mineral pyroxene. (credits: NASA/JPL/University of Arizona)

Recent evidence of water, complex organic molecules, and methane in the Martian environment, combined with findings from the 1976 Viking mission, have led to the conclusion that existing microbial life on Mars is a possibility that must be considered, according to the authors of a paper in the journal Astrobiology (open-access until November 15, 2016).

Coauthors Gilbert V. Levin, Arizona State University, Tempe, and Patricia Ann Straat, National Institutes of… read more

Bendable electronic color ‘paper’ invented

October 19, 2016

Researchers at Chalmers University of Technology have developed the basis for a new electronic 'paper.' Chalmers' logotype shows how the RGB pixels can reproduce color images. The magnification shows which pixels are activated to create the image. (credit: Kunli Xiong)

Chalmers University of Technology researchers have developed the basic technology for a new kind of reflective electronic “paper” that is micrometer-thin and bendable. It can display all colors displayed on an LED display, but with one tenth the energy required with a Kindle tablet.

The technology is based on electrically controllable optical absorption of a conducting polymer, which is used to modulate the reflected… read more

Zapping deep tumors with microwave-heated photosensitizer nanoparticle

Inexpensive new nanoparticle generates toxic reactive oxygen species (ROS) for targeted attack of cancer cells
October 18, 2016

Figure Explaining the New Method ft

Physicists at The University of Texas at Arlington have invented a new photosensitizer  nanoparticle called copper-cysteamine (Cu-Cy) that when heated by microwave energy can precisely zap cancer cells deep in the body .

Photodynamic therapy kills cancer cells when a photosensitizer* nanoparticle introduced into tumor tissue is stimulated by (typically) near-infrared light, generating toxic reactive oxygen species (ROS), such as singlet oxygen, by photoexcitation. However, near-IR light cannot penetrate… read more

Engineers reveal fabrication process for revolutionary transparent graphene neural sensors

October 14, 2016

A blue light shines through a transparent. implantable medical sensor onto a brain. The invention may help neural researchers better view brain activity. (credit: Justin Williams research group)

In an open-access paper published Thursday (Oct. 13, 2016) in the journal Nature Protocols, University of Wisconsin–Madison engineers have published details of how to fabricate and use neural microelectrocorticography (μECoG) arrays made with transparent graphene in applications in electrophysiology, fluorescent microscopy, optical coherence tomography, and optogenetics.

Graphene is one of the most promising candidates for transparent neural electrodes, because the material has a UV to IR transparency of more… read more

Mars-bound astronauts face brain damage from galactic cosmic ray exposure, says NASA-funded study

May encounter Alzheimer's-like long-term memory deficits, anxiety, depression and impaired decision-making --- will they even remember the trip?
October 14, 2016

An (unshielded) view of Mars (credit: SpaceX)

A NASA-funded study of rodents exposed to highly energetic charged particles — similar to the galactic cosmic rays that will bombard astronauts during extended spaceflights — found that the rodents developed long-term memory deficits, anxiety, depression, and impaired decision-making (not to mention long-term cancer risk).

The study by University of California, Irvine (UCI) scientists* appeared Oct. 10 in Nature’s open-access Scientific Reports. It follows one last year… read more

Zapping undifferentiated stem cells with light to prevent tumors

Stain, shine, kill
October 14, 2016

A light-activated dye turns on reactive oxygen species (ROS)-mediated cell death in undifferentiated pluripotent stem cells, which could make stem cell therapies safer by preventing tumors. (credit: American Chemical Society)

Pluripotent stem cells (PSC) could be the key to a host of regeneration therapies because they can differentiate (develop) into basically any tissue type. But some PSCs in a culture dish can remain undifferentiated, and those could form teratomas — a type of tumor — if transplanted into patients.

Now a new light-based technology could remove this risk, Korean researchers report in an open-access paperread more

Berkeley Lab announces first transistor with a working 1-nanometer gate

Breaks through the 5-nanometer quantum tunneling threshold; may allow for Moore's law to continue
October 11, 2016

Schematic of a transistor with a molybdenum disulfide channel and 1 nanometer carbon nanotube gate. (credit: Sujay Desai/Berkeley Lab)

The first transistor with a working 1-nanometer (nm) gate* has been created by a team led by Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab) scientists. Until now, a transistor gate size less than 5 nanometers has been considered impossible because of quantum tunneling effects. (One nanometer is the diameter of a glucose molecule.)

The breakthrough was achieved by creating a 2D (flat) semiconductor field-effect transistor using… read more

First human clinical trial for nicotinamide riboside

Vitamin safely boosts levels of important cell metabolite NAD+, which is critical for cellular energy production and protection against stress and DNA damage
October 11, 2016

(credit: iStock)

In the first controlled clinical trial of nicotinamide riboside (NR), a newly discovered form of Vitamin B3, researchers have shown that the compound is safe for humans and increases levels of a cell metabolite called NAD+ that is critical for cellular energy production and protection against stress and DNA damage.

Levels of NAD+ (first discovered by biochemists in 1906) diminish with age, and it has… read more

Coming soon: a 3-D computer model of a cell

Heralds a new era for biological research, medical science, and health
October 7, 2016

The image from co-author Arthur Olson's lab at the Scripps Research Institute shows a preliminary model of mycoplasma mycoides. Modeling by Ludovic Autin and David Goodsell, rendering by Adam Gardner. (credit: The Scripps Research Institute)

Advances in molecular biology and computer science may soon lead to a three-dimensional computer model of a cell, heralding a new era for biological research, medical science, and human and animal health, according to the authors of a paper recently published in the Journal of Molecular Biology.

“Cells are the foundation of life,” said Ilya Vakser, professor of computational biology and molecular biosciences and director of… read more

A carbon-nanotube trap for ultra-sensitive virus detection and identification

Could improve detection of viruses and speed the process of identifying newly emerging viruses to head off unpredictable outbreaks
October 7, 2016

Scanning electron microscope image (scale bar, 200 nm) of the H5N2 avian influenza virus (purple) trapped inside the aligned carbon nanotubes. (credit: Penn State University)

Penn State researchers have developed a new portable microdevice that uses a forest-like array of vertically aligned carbon nanotubes to selectively trap and concentrate viruses by their size. It could improve detection of viruses and speed the process of identifying newly emerging viruses.

The research, by an interdisciplinary team of scientists at Penn State, was published in an open-access paper in the October 7, 2016 edition of the… read more

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Latest blog posts

video | International Monetary Fund: New Economy Forum

Technology, Innovation and Inclusive Growth --- panel & talk by Ray Kurzweil
October 5, 2016

International Monetary Fund -- A2

Ray Kurzweil will be presenting along with key experts in a variety of fields at the International Monetary Fund’s New Economy Forum held in Washington, DC to discuss: the future of work & jobs, the impact of automation and rapidly advancing tech on the economy, plus other financial and exploratory issues. The first part of the event is a panel round table. Later, he gives a talk in part two.… read more

How feasible are Elon Musk’s plans to settle on Mars? A planetary scientist explains

September 30, 2016

The health of astronauts will be one of the main challenges for Musk. (credit: D Mitriy/wikimedia, CC BY-ND)

By , Lecturer in Environmental Science & Planetary Exploration, University of Stirling. Disclosure statement: Christian Schroeder is a NASA Mars Exploration Rover Athena Science Team collaborator. University of Stirling provides funding as a member of The Conversation UK.

Mars is the future. It’s after all NASA’s current overarching goal to send humans to the Red Planet. But even as early as the 1950s, aerospace engineer… read more

note from Ray | Short story and new book by my daughter, graphic novelist Amy Kurzweil, exploring human identity

September 27, 2016

short story - A1

Dear readers,

Here for your enjoyment is the short story “The Greatest Story Ever Written,” written by my daughter, Amy Kurzweil. Her fiction here is influenced by Eugene Ionesco’s play Rhinoceros, although less ominous.

Amy starts her story with this quote from the play from Ionesco: “After all, perhaps it is we who need saving. Perhaps we are the abnormal ones.”

My daughter is a… read more

Lo And Behold, Reveries Of The Connected World

August 19, 2016 by Amara D. Angelica


In the movie “Lo and Behold, Reveries Of The Connected World,” released today, legendary documentarian Werner Herzog discovers and explores the internet in a series of ten impressionistic vignettes.

These range from internet pioneers (Leonard Kleinrock, Robert Kahn,  Danny Hillis), AI/roboticists (Sebastian Thrun, Tom Mitchell, “Raj” Rajkumar, Joydeep Biswas), and Mars explorers (with Elon Musk — Herzog volunteered to go) to dystopians — how a solar flare could… read more

Clear and present danger to your life as of now from cyberblitzkrieg

August 18, 2016

switching-station transformers ft

By Paul Werbos, PhD

This week (starting August 15), the immediate risk to our lives through cyberblitzkrieg has suddenly risen dramatically, due to new events in cyberspace. If a cyberblitzkrieg on electric power and other critical infrastructure does occur, the level of damage would be comparable in general to the kind of damage we feared at the height of the Cold War, when something like half the world could… read more

The First Church of the Singularity: Roko’s Basilik

A thought experiment at Burning Man. Hint: take the red pill.
August 17, 2016

Roko's Basilica ft

By Jodi Schiller

For those of us working in virtual and augmented reality, our days are spent thinking of better and better ways to create more lifelike virtual worlds. It’s easy for us to believe that one day we will be living in a sim indecipherable from “base” reality — or even more likely, that we’re already living in one.

This year at Burning Man, the… read more

Code of Ethics on Human Augmentation: the three ‘Laws’

Why? To protect us, future consumers and adopters, and society from machines of malice --- whether eventually by AI superintelligence, or right now by corrupt human intelligence. --- Steve Mann
July 5, 2016

seeing radio waves ft

By Steve Mann, Brett Leonard, David Brin, Ana Serrano, Robin Ingle, Ken Nickerson, Caitlin Fisher, Samantha Mathews, Ryan Janzen, Mir Adnan Ali, Ken Yang, Pete Scourboutakos, Dan Braverman, Sarang Nerkar, Keram Malicki-Sanchez, Zack P. Harris, Zach A. Harris, Jesse Damiani, Edward Button

The Human Augmentation Code was presented at the VRTO Virtual & Augmented Reality World Conference + Expo, June 25–27, 2016 by Steve Mann,read more

The Laws of Mixed Reality — without the rose-colored glasses

June 3, 2016

Matric Revolution ft

By John Rousseau

The future of human consciousness will be a hybrid affair. We will live and work in a ubiquitous computing environment, where physical reality and a pervasive digital layer mix seamlessly according to the logic of software and the richness of highly contextual data. This is mixed reality (MR) — and it will soon simply be reality: projected onto our mind’s eye, always on, always connected, and… read more

The trillion dollar question nobody is asking the presidential candidates

May 24, 2016

nuclear inventories ft

By , /The Conversation

As it seeks to modernize its nuclear arsenal, the United States faces a big choice, one which Barack Obama should ponder before his upcoming Hiroshima speech.

Should we spend a trillion dollars to replace each of our thousands of nuclear warheads with a more sophisticated substitute attached to a more lethal delivery system? Or… read more

By the year 2040, embryo selection could replace sex as the way most of us make babies

May 9, 2016

Gattaca - embryos ft

By Jamie Metzl (@JamieMetzl)

(Gattaca 1997)

Human reproduction is about to undergo a radical shift. Embryo selection, in connection with in-vitro fertilization (IVF), will help our species eliminate many genetic diseases, extend healthy lifespans, and enhance people’s overall well-being. Within 20 years, I predict that it will supplant sex as the way large numbers of us conceive of our children.

But while the embryo… read more

Robert Scoble: Life and Tech #48: A New Life 

May 5, 2016


By Robert Scoble May 5, 2016

What a month it’s been since I wrote to you last.

I’ve been on a world tour, doing my homework, meeting influencers at conferences and startups. Since I last wrote you I’ve been to Pittsburgh, Quebec City, Napa, London, Palm Springs, New York, Mumbai, New Delhi and New Orleans. Next week I’ll be in Paris. Whew.… read more

Garage Biotech: New drugs using only a computer, the internet and free online data

May 5, 2016

garage startup ft

Director of UWA Centre for Software Practice, University of Western Australia

Pharmaceutical companies typically develop new drugs with thousands of staff and budgets that run into the billions of dollars. One estimate puts the cost of bringing a new drug to market at $2.6 billion with others suggesting that it could be double that cost at $5 billion.

One man, Professor Atulread more

In memory of Marvin Minsky [updated]

Originally published Jan. 25, 2016 --- AAAI/Sentient video tribute Mar. 22, 2016 added
April 27, 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

The Science of Consciousness: Final 2016 conference program

March 25, 2016

TSC2016hires ft

April 25–30, 2016, Loews Ventana Canyon Resort, Tucson, Arizona

“To have a glimpse of what consciousness is would be the scientific achievement before which all others would pale.” – William James

After 23 years, the seminal conference “Toward a Science of Consciousness” is now simply “The Science of Consciousness.” But as consciousness cannot be observed, scientifically explained, nor commonly defined, is there now truly a science of consciousness’? Are we… read more

The Problem of AI Consciousness

March 18, 2016

(credit: Susan Schneider)

Some things in life cannot be offset by a mere net gain in intelligence.

The last few years have seen the widespread recognition that sophisticated AI is under development. Bill Gates, Stephen Hawking, and others warn of the rise of “superintelligent” machines: AIs that outthink the smartest humans in every domain, including common sense reasoning and social skills. Superintelligence could destroy us, they caution. In contrast, Ray Kurzweil, a… read more

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