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Passing of the typewriter

April 27, 2011 by Amara D. Angelica

(Credit: iStockhphoto)

Sadly, one of the world’s last remaining typewriter factories, Godrej & Boyce in Mumbai, India, is closing down its typewriter production line, survived only by Moonachie, N.J.-based Swintec.

We may not know what we’ve lost. Despite its limitations, with a typewriter, you are pressed to think out the entirety of what you are trying to say in your head to avoid endless retyping (or using… read more

Report on the fourth conference on artificial general intelligence

September 3, 2011 by Ben Goertzel

The Fourth Conference on Artificial General Intelligence (AGI-11) was held on Google’s campus in Mountain View (Silicon Valley), California, in the first week of August 2011. This was the largest AGI conference yet, with more than 200 people attending, and it had a markedly different tone from the prior conferences in the series.

A number of participants noted that there was less of an out-of-the-mainstream, wild-eyed maverick… read more

GLITCHES IN THE MATRIX . . . AND HOW TO FIX THEM

March 2, 2003 by Peter B. Lloyd

Why, exactly, do the rebels have to enter the Matrix via the phone system (which after all doesn’t physically exist)? And what really happens when Neo takes the red pill (which also doesn’t really exist)? And how does the Matrix know what fried chicken tastes like? Technologist and philosopher Peter Lloyd answers these questions and more.… read more

Crowdfunded science projects

March 14, 2012 by Amara D. Angelica

Exomoon project (Harvard)

Got a cool idea for a research project, but need funding? Check out Petridish.org, which has just launched crowdfunded science and research projects. I think this is a really great idea that could open up funding for some amazing research ideas.

On Petridish.org, researchers post materials about themselves and their research, and the public can discover projects that are exciting to them. In exchange for contributing to… read more

Future food for cities

September 10, 2010 by Derek Jacoby

8 25

Within the next decade you will be able to grow all of your vegetables in a box barely larger than your refrigerator. This surprising statement is the result of a class project at Singularity University this summer. Here’s how we came to believe that this is true.

In the first week at Singularity University, we were introduced to a team project called “Food for Cities.” The project… read more

USC engineers build synthetic synapse with carbon nanotubes

May 2, 2011 by Amara D. Angelica

Field effect transistor using carbon nanotubes to create synthetic synapse (credit: USC Viterbi School of Engineering)

Engineering researchers at the University of Southern California have built a carbon nanotube circuit that reproduces the function of a neural synapse.

“This is a necessary first step in the process,” said Professor Alice Parker, who began the complex project of looking at the possibility of developing a synthetic brain in 2006.

“We wanted to answer the question: Can you build a circuit that… read more

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

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

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

Why we can trust scientists with the power of new gene-editing technology

December 1, 2015

Gene editing allows us to eliminate any misspellings, introduce beneficial natural variants, or perhaps cut out or insert new genes (credit: Libertas Academica/Flickr, CC BY-SA)

 By
Dean of Science and Professor of Molecular Biology, UNSW Australia

A summit of experts from around the world is meeting in Washington to consider the scientific, ethical and governance issues linked to research into gene editing. Convened in response to recent advances in the field, the summit includes experts from the U.S. National Academy of Science, the UK’sread 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

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