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book review | Alone Together: Why We Expect More from Technology and Less from Each Other

January 24, 2011 by R.U. Sirius

In 1938, existentialist philosopher Jean Paul Sartre wrote “Hell is other people.” Sartre may never have cobbled together his existential philosophy that viewed human individuals as utterly alone — alienated, atomized beings in a vast meaningless universe — if he had grown up playing with social robots and holding others at a discreet psychological distance by communicating with them nearly exclusively via instant messaging.

According to Wikipedia, one… read more

How to synthesize a new kind of yeast cell — or person

September 19, 2011 by Amara D. Angelica

Dr._Moreau

Scientists, in theory, could one day create whole new lifeforms, going way beyond simple cloning, new research at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine suggests.

The scientists have now replaced the DNA in a yeast chromosome with computer-designed, synthetically produced DNA (structurally distinct from its original DNA), producing a healthy yeast cell.

So perhaps one day, a mad scientist could even create an entirely new… read more

A super-memory smart drug?

December 15, 2011 by Amara D. Angelica

Suppression of PKR

Could this be the “Limitless” breakthrough we’ve been looking for?

Researchers at Baylor College of Medicine  (BCM) have discovered that when the activity of PKR — a molecule normally elevated during viral infections — is inhibited in the brain, mice learn and remember dramatically better.

“The molecule PKR (the double-stranded RNA-activated protein kinase) was originally described as a sensor of viral infections,… read more

Virtual self

January 25, 2011

A still image of a Project LifeLike avatar conversing with a person. Project LifeLike is a collaboration between the Intelligent Systems Laboratory (ISL) at the University of Central Florida (UCF) and the Electronic Visualization Laboratory (EVL) at the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC) that aims to create visualizations of people, or avatars, that are as realistic as possible. While their current results are far from perfect replications of a specific person, their work has advanced the field forward and opens up a host of possible applications in the not-too-distant future.  (University of Chicago/University of Central Florida)

Your avatar may be just a virtual identity, but it can also affect how you are in the real world.

“In this world of new media, people spend a lot of time interacting with digital versions of one another.” — Jeremy Bailenson

If you spend a lot of time online, you may even have an electronic alter ego–an avatar. An avatar is a movable image that people design… read more

Breakthrough: proton-based chips that communicate directly with living things

September 21, 2011 by Amara D. Angelica
Proton communication

University of Washington scientists have just crossed another major threshold between humans and machines: they’ve built a transistor that uses protons instead of electrons.

Their ultimate goal: create devices that can communicate directly with living things certain biological functions that involve protons — eventually even control them — a “first step toward ‘bionanoprotonics‘.”

Yes, there are implants (such as cochlear… read more

X Prize launches artificially intelligent TED presentation contest

March 20, 2014

robots in conversation on stage

Call for feedback from X Prize for a contest, presented by TED, that features a talk written and showcased on stafe by an artificial intelligence.

X Prize | Announcing the creation of a new X Prize in artificial intelligence. Give us your input into the rules of this competition!

On March 20, 2014, from the TED 2014 stage, Chris Anderson and Peter Diamandis joined forces to announce the AI… read more

The Mind and How to Build One

August 12, 2010 by Ray Kurzweil

At the Singularity Summit in San Francisco at 11:00 am on Saturday, August 14, Ray Kurzweil will present an overview of “arguably the most important project in the history of the human-machine civilization”: to model and reverse-engineer the brain, with the goal of creating intelligent machines to address the grand challenges of humanity. He prepared the following statement on his talk at the conference.

What does it… read more

A Connectome Observatory for nanoscale brain imaging

November 14, 2011 by Giulio Prisco

Ken Hayworth's online talk

Dr. Ken Hayworth, a postdoctoral fellow at Harvard University and designer of the Automatic Tape-Collecting Lathe Ultramicrotome (ATLUM), proposed to build a “Connectome Observatory” for nanoscale brain imaging in an online talk Sunday, How to create a Connectome Observatory of the mouse brain and beyond, presented in teleXLR8, a 3D interactive video conferencing space.

Hayworth suggested that Focused Ion Beam Scanning Electron Microscopes… read more

New hope for repairing diseased or damaged brains

November 25, 2011 by Amara D. Angelica

Two exciting landmark studies of ways to repair damaged or diseased brains have just been published, and are discussed on KurzweilAI today.

The University of Wisconsin-Madison study found that when neurons generated from human embryonic stem cells (hESC) were implanted into the hippocampus of a mouse, the neurons began to behave like normal rat neurons. That means that for humans in the future, there could be limitless… read more

H+ Summit @ Harvard: The Rise of the Citizen Scientist

July 4, 2010 by Ben Goertzel

Shoshin character

On June 12-13 of this year, Harvard University hosted the H+ Summit, organized by the nonprofit Humanity+ and loosely focused on the theme, Rise of the Citizen Scientist.

I attended and spoke at the Summit and enjoyed it very much; nearly every speaker had something interesting to say, and one came away from the conference with an excited feeling that the Singularity is, indeed, drawing palpably nearer… read more

Singularity and Rationality: Eliezer Yudkowsky speaks out

August 5, 2010 by Thomas McCabe

Eliezer Yudkowsky

Eliezer Yudkowsky is a Research Fellow at the Singularity Institute for Artificial Intelligence and founder of the community blog Less Wrong. We discussed his coming talk at the Singularity Summit on August 15, his forthcoming book on human rationality, his theory of “friendly AI,” and the likelihood of the Singularity and how to achieve it.

What are you working on currently?

I’m working on… read more

Singularity video game by Activision

February 8, 2011

(Image: Activision )

While the concept behind this video game is likely riffing on the various defintions of singularity from physics, as opposed to the metaphorical “technological Singularity,” it’s clear that the term has wormed its way into mainstream pop culture, and is having a strong impact on the cultural zeitgeist.

Wikipedia | Singularity is a video game developed by Raven Software, published by Activision Blizzard, Inc. and… read more

Related:
Singularity official website by Activision
Activision Blizzard, Inc.

CERN physicists trap antimatter for 1,000 seconds — unlimited future energy?

June 6, 2011 by Amara D. Angelica

Antimatter Bottle

Geneva, Switzerland — CERN physicists have reported they created antimatter in the Large Hadron Collider and stored it in three vials. Unfortunately, one of the vials has been stolen and will explode ritualistically at the Vatican if the battery dies and the magnetic containment field fails.

Wait, that’s a scene from the Angels and Demons movie. Last I checked, Europe is still there. In the nonfiction world, an… read more

Watson: supercharged search engine or prototype robot overlord?

February 17, 2011 by Ben Goertzel

watson

My initial reaction to reading about IBM’s “Watson” supercomputer and software was a big fat ho-hum. “OK,” I figured, “a program that plays “Jeopardy!” may be impressive to Joe Blow in the street, but I’m an AI guru so I know pretty much exactly what kind of specialized trickery they’re using under the hood. It’s not really a high-level mind, just a fancy database lookup system.”… read more

How fleas jump (not an Onion story)

February 10, 2011 by Amara D. Angelica

The anatomy of a flea. Credit: Gregory Sutton

Well, the 44-year mystery has finally been solved, The Company of Biologists just announced. Biologists have settled the argument and resolved how fleas jump: with their toes, not their knees. (Ah, I could have told them that — ever try jumping with your knees, unless you’re a TM practitioner, that is?)

In 1967, Henry Bennet-Clark discovered that fleas store the energy needed to catapult themselves… read more

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