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Watson: supercharged search engine or prototype robot overlord?

February 17, 2011 by Ben Goertzel


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

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

Video conferencing with cardboard cutouts and random images on the walls

December 3, 2010 by Amara D. Angelica


Hey, here’s an idea: How about creating an avatar by copying a face from a photo and pasting it onto a randomly generated avatar? Then a video conferencing service could put your brand new (or old) face, along with those of your friends, into one of several rooms, where you could all chat by voice. You could even display live video from your webcam or computer on the walls.… read more

Transhumanist Science, Futurist Art, Telepresence and Cosmic Visions of the Future at TransVision 2010

November 2, 2010 by Giulio Prisco


The transhumanist conference and community convention TransVision 2010, which took place in Milan October 22 to October 24, 2010, was very intense, informative, and scientific, as well as an entertaining tour de force in contemporary transhumanist thinking, activism, science, technology,  and innovation, and grand visionary dreams.

Over 40 talks over the three days explored the scientific, technological, cultural, artistic and social trends that could change our world… read more

Ads for monkeys: sign of the end times?

June 28, 2011 by Amara D. Angelica

Monkey trades a coin for grapes, picking the better deal (credit: Laurie Santos/Yale University)

This is not an Onion story. No, really.

Turns out Laurie Santos gave a TED talk last year on “monkeynomics” — the realization that monkeys understood an abstract idea like currency. Unfortunately, two advertising executives happened to be in the audience, New Scientist reports today.

The result: a monkey ad campaign (shown at the Cannes Lions Festival) to see if they can change the monkeys’… read more

The future of the newsletter and e-mail

December 31, 2014 by Amara D. Angelica

Oculus Rift: millions sold in 2015? (credit: Samsung)

In “The return of the newsletter,” Wired notes today that with better spam filters and other tools, non-stop overload from Facebook and Twitter, and the death of RSS, newsletters are “making something of a comeback.”

The article mentions KurzweilAI News and nine other newsletters, including mini-AIR, the newsletter of the hilarious Annals of Improbable Research magazine, noted for its annual Ig Nobel Prizes (such as one earlier this… read more

A new blueprint for artificial general intelligence

August 12, 2010 by Amara D. Angelica

(Credit: iStockphoto)

Demis Hassabis, a research fellow at the Gatsby Computational Neuroscience UnitUniversity College London, is out to create a radical new kind of artficial brain.

A former well-known UK videogame designer and programmer, he has produced a number of amazing games, including the legendary Evil Genius — which he denies selling to Microsoft, thus ruining a perfectly good joke. He also won the World Games Championships a record five times.

But… read more

The Singularity arrives in Europe, streaming live

March 4, 2011 by David Orban

National Museum of Science and Technology of Milan (licensed Creative Commons Wikipedia/Pietrodn)

On Saturday, March 5, for the first time, a Singularity-related event will be held in Europe — at the National Museum of Science and Technology in Milan, Italy.

Produced by Milan-based research institute iLabs (Wikipedia page here), the one-day, free iLabs Singularity Summit (not affiliated with the Singularity Institute’s Singularity Summit) will feature speeches by Ray Kurzweil (“Approaching the Singularity”), Aubrey de Grey… read more

Film Review | Smart drug thriller is pretty smart

March 31, 2011 by R.U. Sirius


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


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

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

announcement | Special invitation to apply to Singularity University, featuring full tuition grant

letter from Ray Kurzweil + Peter Diamandis
February 2, 2016

Singularity University - B1

A special invitation from the founders of Singularity University.

Dear readers,

We’re putting out the call for brilliant entrepreneurs, age 21 and older, who want to enroll in Singularity University’s Global Solutions Program — called GSP.

The GSP is where you’ll take your existing start-up idea, or a new one you create, and build it into a Ten to the Ninth plus company that can positively impact… read more

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