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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

Film Review | Smart drug thriller is pretty smart

March 31, 2011 by R.U. Sirius

limitless-thumb


Limitless | Director: Neil Burger. Cast: Bradley Cooper, Robert De Niro, Abbie Cornish

The moment I saw the film title — Limitless — I knew I was in for an oversimplified Hollywood-styled dramatization of transhuman themes, and set my expectations to a moderately amusing piece of crap.

Surprise! This is a tightly constructed and reasonably clever piece of entertainment with some… read more

The physics of Jackson Pollock

June 30, 2011 by Amara D. Angelica

Jackson-Pollock

Can you tell the difference between a painting by an elephant and Jackson Pollack? (Take this test before reading further.)

A mathematician at Harvard University and a physicist-art historian at Boston College think they can. Pollock was an “intuitive master” of laws that govern the flow of liquids under gravity, they believe.

The researchers examined the black and red painting “Untitled… read more

Ask Ray | Welcome, new computer overlords!

March 21, 2011 by Ray Kurzweil

hail ants

Ray, 

I noticed in one of your recent essays (on IBM’s Watson) you say “I, for one, would then regard it (an AI) as human.” I, for one, find that to be your most controversial statement in that article. Apparently, Jeopardy! champion Ken Jennings did you one better the next day when he wrote on his screen (as part of his final written wager) before being defeated by Watson: “I,… read more

How to Prevent a Global Aging Crisis

July 17, 2010 by David Despain

Chronic diseases and aging. The incidence of major chronic diseases rises exponentially with age, as shown: cardiovascular disease (blue squares) [data from (32) , cancer (red diamonds) [data from (32) , AD (gray squares) [data from (33) , and influenza-associated hospitalization (green triangles)"]. Incidence rates are normalized to the first data point. (Illustration: AAAS)

A handful of forward-thinking biogerontologists has joined together to offer a new direction for aging intervention. Their commentary, published July 14 in Science Translational Medicine, presents the case for preventing what the scientists call an “unprecedented global aging crisis”—a sharp rise in the numbers of retired elderly in developing and industrialized nations across the world.

From both a humane and economic standpoint, a world with too many sick… read more

How your memories can be twisted under social pressure

July 4, 2011 by Amara D. Angelica

False memories show a strong co-activation and connectivity between two brain areas: the hippocampus and the amygdala (credit: Weizmann Institute)

Listen up, Facebook and Twitter groupies: how easily can social pressure affect your memory?

Very easily, researchers at the Weizmann Institute and University College London have proved, and they think they even know what part of the brain is responsible.

The participants conformed to the group on these “planted” responses, giving incorrect answers nearly 70% of the time.

Volunteers watched a… read more

Ask Ray | Future battle for resource storage as a substrate for sentience

April 7, 2011 by Ray Kurzweil

universe

Ray,

A disturbing thought occurred to me recently: given that we are on the cusp of personal immortality and the entrance into the age of conscious information (for lack of a better term), it seems that there will eventually become a real resource shortage at the most fundamental level.

What I’m suggesting (and you’ve probably already considered) is that as individuals make the transition to electronic… read more

Is the iPad the New Guillotine?

July 4, 2010 by Howard Bloom

Follow Osama’s Example–Shred Red Tape With Personal Tech

What Do Brooklyn’s Tea Lounge and Al Qaeda Have In Common? It’s time to kill bureaucracy. What do I mean? And what does this call for revolution have to do with the next generation of netbooks, Apple tablets and Google Phones? Not to mention with the Taliban and Al Qaeda?

America needs a productivity revolution to lead the world into… read more

Thinking about the hardware of thinking: Can disruptive technologies help us achieve uploading?

November 30, 2010 by Suzanne Gildert

thinking_about_the_hardware_of_thinking

As we begin to run larger and more brain-like emulations, will our current methods of simulating neural networks, using general-purpose silicon processors, be enough, even in principle? As we wish to run computations faster and more efficiently, we might we need to consider if the design of the hardware that we all take for granted is optimal.

In a presentation (at Teleplace,… read more

The questionable observer detector

January 25, 2011 by Lakshmi Sandhana

University of Notre Dame

Exclusive | Kevin W. Bowyer, Chair of the Department of Computer Science and Engineering at the University of Notre Dame, Indiana is out to create a tool to reliably identify criminals who may be hanging out at the crime scene after the event.

Their Questionable Observer Detector (QuOD) can process any available video clips of groups of people present at the scene of event, spanning different times… read more

Nuclear radiation paranoid’s handy reference [UPDATED 3/22]

March 21, 2011 by Amara D. Angelica

RadNet

The Likely Radiation Distribution in Japan (March 19)
Added 3/22:
Iodine from plant detected in Tokyo: .046 µSv/hr. (438 µSv per year — about 4 chest x-rays); Fukushima Pref.: 21.9 µSv/hr. (191,844 µSv per year or 1918 chest x-rays).

Dealing with radiation fears, potassium iodide requests: side effects include nausea, diarrhea, allergy, interference with the body’s normal production of… read more

Carboncopies–Realistic Routes to Substrate-Independent Minds

August 9, 2010 by Randal Koene, Suzanne Gildert

carboncopies

What might brains and minds look like in the future? It can be difficult to manage and organize ideas from many highly specialized fields of expertise that must necessarily converge to answer this intriguing question. Not only must one consider the areas of brain imaging, neuroscience, and cognitive psychology, but also artificial intelligence, nanotechnology, biotechnology, computational hardware architectures, and philosophy.

In the past, the transferal of minds into computer-based… read more

Mask-bot: A talking video humanoid robot

November 8, 2011 by Amara D. Angelica

Mask-Bot

Welcome to the creepiest uncanny-valley experience yet: a talking robot face called Mask-botdeveloped by a team at the Institute for Cognitive Systems (ICS) at TU München and AIST, the National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology in Japan.

What sets Mask-bot apart is that it can instantly construct and project a static video image of anyone’s face (from a photo) on a 3D surface,… read more

By 2018, supercomputers could operate 100 times faster than the human brain

December 2, 2010 by Amara D. Angelica

ibm_supercomputers

The breakthrough (see Breakthrough Chip Technology Lights the Path to Exascale Computing) announced Wednesday by IBM researchers has been long sought: a way to use pulses of light in waveguides instead of electrons in wires for chip connections. Electrons generate heat, which limits has fast chips can work and requires a lot of power for cooling. Light has no such… read more

Watson and the future of AI

January 31, 2011 by Hans Moravec

binary head

Radical roboticist Hans Moravec, former director of the Mobile Robot Laboratory at Carnegie Mellon University,  expanded our imagination with his vision of future robots as our “mind children.” Now he’s revolutionizing industry with his enhanced-vision mobile robots. We asked him to help us put Watson in perspective. Full disclosure: Ray Kurzweil is on the board of directors of Seegrid Corporation. — Ed.

Let’s take a moment to lift our… read more

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