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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

Google I/O 2014 | video: Ray Kurzweil presents “Biologically Inspired Models of Intelligence”

Dates: June 25 – 26, 2014
Location: San Francisco, California

IO 2014

Google I/O 2014 | Ray Kurzweil: “Biologically Inspired Models of Intelligence,” filmed June 25, 2014

Google | For decades Ray Kurzweil has explored how artificial intelligence can enrich and expand human capabilities. In his latest book How to Create a Mind, he takes this exploration to the next step: reverse-engineering the brain to understand precisely how it works, then applying that knowledge to create intelligent machines.

In… 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

read more

The Internet, peer-reviewed

October 28, 2011 by Amara D. Angelica

hypothesis

It could be one of the most important innovations on the Internet since the browser.

Imagine an open-source, crowd-sourced, community-moderated, distributed platform for sentence-level annotation of the Web. In other words, a way to cut through the babble and restore some sanity and trust.

That’s the idea behind Hypothes.is. It will work as an overlay on top of any stable content, including news, blogs, scientific articles, books,… read more

How to make movies of what the brain sees

September 23, 2011 by Amara D. Angelica

brainstorm

Remember the movie Brainstorm? Imagine watching someone’s dream, or tapping directly into the mind of a coma patient. University of California, Berkeley scientists claim they have finally achieved this classic futuristic movie “mind reading” trope. Sorta.

They’re using functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging (fMRI) and computational models to decode and reconstruct people’s dynamic visual experiences.

So far, the technology can only reconstruct movie clips you’ve… read more

New plant paradigms from The Human Race to the Future

Genetically engineering exotic foods of the future
April 4, 2014 by Daniel Berleant

Dragonfruit (credit: Wikimedia Commons)

Excerpted and adapted from the book The Human Race to the Future: What Could Happen and What to Do.

An exponential change perspective, well-known among futures enthusiasts, was applied to time itself by Freeman Dyson in 1997. He taxonomized the future in terms of different, order of magnitude generations — time horizons of 10 years, 100, 1,000, and so on.

My book The Humanread more

Ask Ray | Science and God

March 21, 2011 by Ray Kurzweil

sky

Hi Ray,

It was nice to see you again at the Transcendent Man film screening. I enjoyed the movie and the discussion. The way I see it, over time we have been discovering the intelligence that is manifested in nature. This intelligence is much greater than our own —  however, piece by piece, we have been stitching it together.

The point is that we have been making these discoveries… read more

Panoramic hi-res augmented reality glasses: most radical CES intro so far?

January 7, 2014 by Amara D. Angelica

Innovega Inc. is demonstrating at CES prototypes of what looks like the most radical augmented-reality eyewear yet.

Intrigued, I called Innovega CEO Steve Willey Monday night. He ran down the specs of their iOptik design: binocular 720 x 1280 pixels, 3D (depth) vision, and a humungous field of view of 90 degrees, as shown in the image above. That’s six times the number of… read more

Why China makes our electronic products (it’s not just cheaper labor)

January 22, 2012 by Amara D. Angelica

(Credit: Apple Inc.)

It’s not just that workers are cheaper abroad, according to an important article in The New York Times Saturday. Most of the components of cellphones, computers, and other electronic products are now manufactured in China (and European and other East-Asia countries), so assembling the device half-a-world away would create huge logistical challenges, the article points out.

China now has a far larger supply of qualified engineers than… read more

Why the sponge’s protosynapses never evolved into the real thing

June 25, 2012 by Amara D. Angelica

ucsb_sponge

It was a mystery: sponges had evolved a protosynapse — the beginning of a nervous system — but never actually developed a real synapse.

It was the evolutionary period of time when virtually the rest of the entire animal kingdom branched off from a common ancestor it shared with sponges, the oldest known animal group with living representatives.

Ironically, sponges themselves have no nervous system. So what happened to… read more

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