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The brain: a radical rethink is needed to understand it

March 17, 2017

Has neuroscience been on the wrong track for centuries? (credit: Justin Pickard/Flickr, CC BY-SA)

By Henrik Jörntell, Senior Lecturer in Neuroscience, Lund University

Understanding the human brain is arguably the greatest challenge of modern science. The leading approach for most of the past 200 years has been to link its functions to different brain regions or even individual neurons (brain cells). But recent research increasingly suggests that we may be taking completely the wrong path if we are to ever understand the… read more

video | Ray Kurzweil & daughter Amy Kurzweil on the future of storytelling

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

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Dear readers,

I will be presenting on stage with my daughter Amy Kurzweil in a featured session at the popular event called South by Southwest. Amy and I share an enthusiasm for the future of storytelling and the arts, and what new digital media can accomplish.

Following our talk, Amy Kurzweil will do a book signing at the event’s book shop. South by Southwest is a huge festival &… read more

Preparing for our posthuman future of artificial intelligence

March 9, 2017

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By David Brin
“Each generation imagines itself to be more intelligent than the one that went before it, and wiser than the one that comes after it.” – George Orwell
What will happen as we enter the era of human augmentation, artificial intelligence and government-by-algorithm? James Barrat, author of Our Final Invention, said: “Coexisting safely and ethically with intelligent machines is the central challenge of the twenty-first century.”… read more

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

By Ian Lowe, Emeritus Professor, School of Science, Griffith University

It made headlines recently when 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.*

That is the nearest the clock has been to midnight for more than 50 years. The body responsible for the clock said the probability of global… read more

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

World renowned innovator Richard Branson explores Singularity University.
February 22, 2017

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Dear readers,

Renowned innovator, entrepreneur & billionaire philanthropist Richard Branson — known for founding the Virgin family of companies — recently posted enthusiastically about Singularity University on his official blog. His thoughts are below. He describes his deep interest in understanding the power of rapidly accelerating technologies — he mentions my ideas on singularity and my world view that knowledge can solve humanity’s biggest challenges. He gives some background… read more

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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video | Google
Interview with Ray & Amy Kurzweil, author of book Flying Couch: a graphic memoir.

summary from Google | Ray Kurzweil, best selling author and a director of engineering at Google, in conversation with his daughter Amy Kurzweil, New Yorker cartoonist and author of the critically acclaimed graphic memoir Flying Couch.

Ray & Amy Kurzweil discuss their creative work, inspirations, and… read more

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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Dear readers,

I participated in the well organized Future of Life Institute event called Beneficial Artificial Intelligence • 2017 — exploring how we can develop advanced future tech to benefit humanity and avoid risks.

The event gathered many top technologists, policy makers, and executives. I gave several talks, which you can view below. At the event, I also participated in forming the Asilomar AI Principles: 23 guidelines to… read more

Why 2016 was actually a year of hope

January 6, 2017

(credit: iStock)

by Ariel Conn

Just about everyone found something to dislike about 2016, from wars to politics and celebrity deaths. But hidden within this year’s news feeds were some really exciting news stories. And some of them can even give us hope for the future.

Artificial Intelligence

Though concerns about the future of AI still loom, 2016 was a great reminder that, when harnessed for good, AI can… read more

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

December 28, 2016

A robotic dance troupe performed in unison to break the world record for simultaneous robot dancing. A robotic dance troupe performed in unison to break the world record for simultaneous robot dancing. (credit: Guinness World Records/YouTube)

By , Research Fellow, School of Creative Technologies, University of Portsmouth

If you want to make predictions for the future, you need to find the trajectory of events in the past. So to work out what shape digital technology will likely take next year, we should look back to the major developments of 2016.

And the past year’s developments point to a 2017 shaped by the… read more

It may not feel like anything to be an alien

December 23, 2016

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By Susan Schneider

Humans are probably not the greatest intelligences in the universe. Earth is a relatively young planet and the oldest civilizations could be billions of years older than us. But even on Earth, Homo sapiens may not be the most intelligent species for that much longer.

The world Go, chess, and Jeopardy champions are now all AIs. AI is projected to outmode many human professions within the next few decades.… read more

So you want to build a Death Star? Here’s how to get started

December 16, 2016

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By , Space Plasma Physicist, Queen Mary University of London

I’m very excited about seeing Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, which tells the tale summarised in the original Star Wars’ opening crawl. This is the story of how the rebels stole the plans to the original “Death Star” – a space station the size of a small moon with a weapon powerful enough to destroy… read more

Dear President Trump: Here’s How to Make Space Great Again

December 15, 2016

(Credit: NASA Innovative Advanced Concepts)

By Brent Ziarnick, Peter Garretson, Everett Dolman, and Coyote Smith

President-elect Donald Trump often says that Americans no longer dream and must do so again. Nowhere can dreams be more inspiring and profitable than in space. But today, expanding space enterprise is not foremost on the minds of Americans or military strategists. As a recent CNN special showed, defense thinkers feel embattled in space, focused on protecting our… read more

Star Wars: Rogue One highlights an uncomfortable fact — military robots can change sides

December 14, 2016

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By , Professor in Robotics, Queensland University of Technology

The latest Star Wars movie, Rogue One [opens Friday Dec. 16], introduces us to a new droid, K-2SO, the robotic lead of the story.

Without giving away too many spoilers, K-2SO is part of the Rebellion freedom fighter group that are tasked with stealing the plans to the first Death Star, the… read more

New York Times | Ray Kurzweil interview with top journalist Andrew Ross Sorkin

On stage presentation at Global Leaders Collective -- videos now live
November 22, 2016

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about the event | The New York Times Global Leaders Collective
Leading thinkers gather to discuss the future of markets & tech impact.

The New York Times will host the Global Leaders Collective on November 28-29, 2016 — a group of CEOs, executives & innovators leading companies in the world luxury space.

The summit brings together the best thinking from diverse industries, to navigate the dramatic… read more

Black Mirror Season 3

November 18, 2016 by Amara D. Angelica

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I just caught up with Season 3 of Black Mirror, the dystopian science-fiction British television series on Netflix. I found the six episodes riveting, but often sort of nightmarish. Think high-tech, R-rated Twilight Zone.

Spoiler alert: the following mentions some things that are not immediately revealed in the episodes, similar to the trailers below (but does not give away endings).

I found… read more

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