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Reflections on Avatar by Ray Kurzweil

March 7, 2010 by Ray Kurzweil

3D information visualization displays and interactive multi-touch screens as featured in this scene from Avatar already exist and are in use today.

I recently watched James Cameron’s Avatar in 3D. It was an enjoyable experience in some ways, but overall I left dismayed on a number of levels.

It was enjoyable to watch the lush three-dimensional animation and motion capture controlled graphics. I’m not sure that 3D will take over – as many now expect – until we get rid of the glasses (and there are emerging technologies to do that… read more

Achieving substrate-independent minds: no, we cannot ‘copy’ brains

August 24, 2011 by Randal A. Koene

Neuron (credit: Wikipedia user LadyofHats, public domain)

On August 18, IBM published an intriguing update of their work in the DARPA SyNAPSE program, seeking to create efficient new computing hardware that is inspired by the architecture of neurons and neuronal networks in the brain.

At carboncopies.org, we strive to take this research a step further: to bring about and nurture projects that are crucial to achieving substrate-independent minds (SIM). That is, enable… read more

Consciousness, the Beatles, and Zombie Blues

September 8, 2013 by Amara D. Angelica

SgtPepperFeatured

I’ve been to two of the amazing biennial Toward a Science of Consciousness events and enjoyed them immensely, but I think this one April 21–26 next year in Tuscon will be the best yet.

It features three of the most interesting characters in neuroscience — Karl Deisseroth, Cristof Koch, and Henry Markram — and a bevy of other compelling speakers.… read more

Existence, uplift, and science news

October 26, 2012 by David Brin

existence

After an incredible decade, in which the number of planets known beyond our solar system increased from zero to several thousand, astronomers have detected an Earth-sized world orbiting between the two major stars nearest to our system, Alpha Centauri A and Alpha Centauri B.

Much too hot to sustain life, it nevertheless will help in narrowing down the search space for others. (“News from Alpha Centauri.” Cool to say that!)

In a related… read more

3D augmented reality holograms are finally here (almost)

December 18, 2013 by Amara D. Angelica

MetaPro (credit: Meta)

Admit it: you want to play Iron Man’s Tony Stark, manipulating amazing inventions and taking over the world. June 2014, you’ll have your chance.

That’s when Meta’s aviator-style MetaPro “holographic” glasses — a consumer version of the $667 Meta 1 developer version* — will ship. Meta is taking pre-orders now for this pricey but powerful $3,000 gadget.

It will have 1280×720 pixels for… read more

Robotic space-colony construction, cubesats for Mars, transhumanists on space, and more….

May 22, 2013 by Amara D. Angelica

Artist's concept of jig factory in space (credit: Anna Nesterova and John Strickland)

The International Space Development Conference (ISDC), produced by the National Space Society (NSS) — the happening place to learn about the future of space — kicks off Thursday May 23 and runs through Monday May 27 at the Hyatt Regency La Jolla in San Diego, California. ISDC speakers will discuss a wide range of breakthroughs in space development. Here are just two that I find especially interesting. (Full… read more

Nanoclusters that diffuse laser beams or create 3D telepresence

August 31, 2012 by Amara D. Angelica

Atomic clusters of metals are an emerging class of extremely interesting materials occupying the intermediate size regime between atoms and nanoparticles. (credit: /Nano Letters)

Think of the possibilities.

University of Central Florida assistant professor  Jayan Thomas, in collaboration with Carnegie Mellon University Associate Professor Rongchao Jin, has developed a new material based on gold nanoparticles smaller than 2 nanometers, in a regime between atoms and nanoparticles called nanoclusters.

Thomas and his team found that nanoclusters developed by adding atoms in a sequential manner could provide interesting new optical properties that make… read more

Ask Ray | E.M. Forster’s 1909 story ‘The Machine Stops’ predicts the web, tablets and artificial intelligence

June 30, 2014

The Machine Stops - book cover front

Dear readers,

A remarkable foreshadowing of the internet, tablet computers and artificial intelligence from a century ago: E.M. Forster’s 1909 short story “The Machine Stops.”

Ray Kurzweil

Wikipedia | “The Machine Stops” is a science fiction short story by E. M. Forster. After initial publication in The Oxford and Cambridge Review in November 1909, the story was republished in Forster’s The Eternal Moment and Otherread more

Microsoft offers a glimpse into the future of productivity

October 28, 2011 by Amara D. Angelica

cell

Microsoft has posted an awesome new concept video with some ubercool new interfaces that could be here in five to ten years, estimates Kurt DelBene, President, Microsoft Office Division.

That sounds a bit conservative. “All of the ideas in the video are based on real technology,” he said. “Some of the capabilities, such as speech recognition, real time collaboration, and data visualization, already… read more

Decentralizing education: how startups are dismantling the university

October 8, 2012 by Dale J. Stephens

(Credit: iStockphoto)

Dale J. Stephens leads UnCollege, the social movement changing the notion that college is the only path to success. His first book, Hacking Your Education, will be published by Penguin in 2013. Also see the three related posts today (below).

Student/teacher interaction

“What about student/teacher interaction? What about building a social and professional network? How can you get a job without a degree? How will you know you’re succeeding without grades?”read more

‘Avatars’ to replace some humans at NYC area airports

May 23, 2012 by Amara D. Angelica

airlineavatar1

As if TSA groping in airports wasn’t enough, now we’re going to be subjected to some kind of creepy composite of Princess Leia from Star Wars and the advertising scene in Minority Report.

“I can be just about anything you want me to be,” over-enthuses the simulated “customer service representative,” five of which are intended for installation in LaGuardia, JFK. and Liberty Newark airports in early July, according to read more

Fed-funded research: magic mushrooms create ‘openness’

September 30, 2011 by Amara D. Angelica

Psilocybe cubensis (credit: Wikimedia Commons)

A single high dose of the hallucinogen psilocybin, the active ingredient in “magic mushrooms,” was enough to bring about a measureable and lasting personality change — “openness” — lasting at least a year in nearly 60 percent of the 51 participants in a new study, say Johns Hopkins researchers.

Well, doh, didn’t Timothy Leary discover that in the 60s? Um, OK, controlled experiments….… read more

First Pass: What’s Wrong with the Grand Challenges for Engineering

October 11, 2010 by Daniel W. Rasmus

At the risk of committing more over-thinking of the Grand Challenges for Engineering, I want to take a first pass at discussing what I think is wrong with them in a very specific way, and honing the list into something more grand.

Here is the current list:

read more

Cellphones that can see through walls and detect cancer

April 23, 2012 by Amara D. Angelica

Terahertz imager

University of Texas at Dallas researchers have designed an imager chip that could one day turn mobile phones into devices that can see through walls, wood, plastics, paper and other objects.

The UT Dallas imager chip technology being explored by UT Dallas researchers is designed for imaging in the terahertz frequency range, specifically from 280 GHz (.28 THz) to about 1 THz. The terahertz frequency range is 1000 times higher than… read more

NASA Ames’ Worden reveals DARPA-funded ‘Hundred Year Starship’ program

October 18, 2010 by Amara D. Angelica

"We'Pete Worden at Long Conversation (Long Now Foundation)

Video of Pete Worden and Peter Schwartz. Audio podcast of the full 19-minute conversation also available.

NASA Ames Director Simon “Pete” Worden revealed Saturday that NASA Ames has “just started a project with DARPA called the Hundred Year Starship,” with $1 million funding from DARPA and $100K from NASA.

“You heard it here,” said Worden at “Long Conversation,” a Long Now

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