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Existence, uplift, and science news

October 26, 2012 by David Brin


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

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

‘Avatars’ to replace some humans at NYC area airports

May 23, 2012 by Amara D. Angelica


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

Hit TV show Humans on intelligent android servants

June 26, 2015 by Amara D. Angelica

HUMANS robots

A reminder: HUMANS premieres in the U.S. Sunday June 28, 2015 at 9PM EDT on AMC.

This eight-part drama series takes place in a parallel present, featuring the Synth — a highly developed, artificially intelligent android servant.

Having seen the first two episodes, I’m totally hooked. I found the show surprisingly believable. It (almost) fills the void left after Almost Human and Fringe.

The Atlanticread 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

Ray Kurzweil receives 2015 Technical Grammy Award for outstanding achievements in music technology

February 7, 2015

Grammy Awards - 57th - logo

Ray Kurzweil received the 2015 Technical Grammy Award on February 7, 2015 for his outstanding achievements in the field of music technology.

One of his primary inventions paved the way for re-creating acoustic instruments with electronic equivalents.

The Technical Grammy Award is a Special Merit Award presented by vote of the National Academy of Recording Arts & Sciences Trustees, for contributions of outstanding technical significance to the recording… read more

Microsoft offers a glimpse into the future of productivity

October 28, 2011 by Amara D. Angelica


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

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

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


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

Superintelligence: fears, promises, and potentials

Reflections on Bostrom’s Superintelligence, Yudkowsky’s From AI to Zombies, and Weaver and Veitas’s Open-Ended Intelligence
December 28, 2015

superintelligence ft

KurzweilAI is honored to publish this awesome article by artificial general intelligence guru Ben Goertzel. Focusing on the emergence of superintelligence — arguably the most important issue for our future — Ben expertly dissects, deconstructs, and challenges the arguments of the key experts, no words minced. Enjoy! — Amara D. Angelica, Editor, KurzweilAI.   

Ben Goertzel Ph.D.
Chairman, Novamente LLC


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

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:

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