At Peter Thiel’s invitation-only “Breakthrough Philanthropy” event in San Francisco on December 7, which brought together Silicon Valley’s top entrepreneurs with eight of the most visionary non-profits, Patri Friedman, grandson of legendary economist Milton Friedman, presented one of the most radical, imaginative concepts I’ve heard in some time. Here’s the text of his four-minute talk (video below — other Breakthrough Philanthropy speaker videos here).… read more
August 2, 2011 by Amara D. Angelica
A humanoid robot that “learns from the Internet and from other robots” and can “think, learn, and act by itself” has been developed by the Hasegawa Lab at the Tokyo Institute of Technology, DigInfo TV reports.
OK, this is freaking me out just a little. I don’t want a bot that learns on the Internet how to make me green tea (see video),… read more
With deterioration of the nuclear reactor situation in Japan and radiation heading for Tokyo — in one extreme Pentagon scenario, catastrophic meltdowns and megadeaths in Japan, according to a source — many scientists are ramping up the search for alternates to earthquake-vulnerable nuclear power.
“The Japanese Government has dissembled regarding the gravity of the failure of their power plants and the potential for meltdown of their containment… read more
Finally: a robot I really need. Like right now.
Researchers at Cornell’s Personal Robotics Lab have trained a robot to survey a room, identify all the objects, figure out where they belong, and put them away. Bingo!
“This is the first work that places objects in non-trivial places,” said Ashutosh Saxena, assistant professor of computer science.
“It learns not to put a shoe in the refrigerator,”… read more
December 28, 2012 by Amara D. Angelica
“We are so excited and pleased to release a new version [of Flutter] that allows you to control music & videos in Google Chrome using gestures — just in time for the holiday season. Flutter now supports YouTube, Pandora, Grooveshark & Netflix. We will be updating AppStore version in early 2013. For now direct download the new version.”… read more
February 5, 2013 by Amara D. Angelica
We recently got a note from Evan Younger, vocalist/bassist for Brooklyn-based orchestral rockers Miracles of Modern Science mentioning a single he wrote, “The Singularity.” How could I resist? I punched up the podcast link.
Yes! Very nice! Powerful lyrics that definitely get it, and the music combines the richness and intelligence of acoustic strings with the energy of a rock beat. Accelerates my thinking. I have to say… read more
December 8, 2011 by Amara D. Angelica
The next generation of the Kinect (bundled with future Xbox consoles) may be “so accurate it can lip read,” the Technology Review Hello World headline breathlessly reads — evoking HAL 9000 in 2001.
What’s more, says Eurogamer, citing a nameless source, “Kinect 2 will be so powerful it will enable games to detect when players are angry, and determine in which direction they are facing,… read more
October 5, 2012 by Amara D. Angelica
NASA landed a rover on Mars. So what’s the next step? Right: land a boat on Titan!
Hey, come on, it’s gotta be the ultimate travel destiny:
- A magical moon that’s actually more like a planet.
- One of the most Earth-like bodies in the Solar System.
- Has an atmosphere (OK, mostly nitrogen — so bring your own oxygen, stop kvetching).
- A vast network of
In “Against Naive Uploadism: Memory, Consciousness and Synaptic Homeostasis,” neuroscientist Seth Weisberg challenges the comparison of a neuron to a digital computer and the idea that an action potential (spike) fired by one neuron equals one calculation at each synapse. He also challenges the assumption that we are approaching computing power comparable to the human brain.
Overall, Seth Weisberg’s article is refreshing and clearly spoken, in that… read more
Physicists have designed several wild experiments to see if humans can see quantum images.
The latest, just described in the Physics arXiv Blog: Geraldo Barbosa at Northwestern University plans to use a laser beam shaped into an image, such as the letter A.
This laser beam hits a non-linear crystal, generating entangled pairs of photons that retain this image shape and are detected by human eyeballs.
(Hmm,… read more