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UPDATE | The buzzer factor: did Watson have an unfair advantage?

February 18, 2011 by Amara D. Angelica

Watson mechanical buzzer

Does Watson have an unfair advantage over humans because it can signal its response instantly? It seemed that way in the three “Jeopardy!” TV shows this week, especially Wednesday night, as Watson proceeded to totally own the humans.

ADDED FEBRUARY 24, 2011:

From Final Jeopardy: Man vs Machine and the Quest to Know Everything by Stephen Baker:

“After the match, Jennings and Rutter stressed that… read more

Ray Kurzweil receives IEEE Eta Kappa Nu honor society’s top honor

November 30, 2014

Saurabh Sinha, PhD, Chair of the IEEE Educational Activities Board; Ray Kurzweil, IEEE Eta Kappa Nu “Eminent Member” honoree; Karen Panetta, PhD, Chair of the IEEE Education Activities Board and Recognition Committee; John Orr, PhD, President of Eta Kappa Nu, the IEEE Honor Society. (credit: IEEE)

Ray Kurzweil was presented with the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers Eta Kappa Nu honor society top honor, Eminent Member, at the 2014 IEEE Educational Activities Board Awards Ceremony. He received the honor for technical attainments and contributions to society through outstanding leadership in the profession of electrical and computer engineering.

The Induction and Awards presentation took place during the week of IEEE’s Meeting Series. Members of the… 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

‘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

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

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

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

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