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HUMOR | Google does April Fools’ with “Custom time” and Mars trip

April 2, 2008

Google’s Gmail rolled out a fake “custom time” feature, which purports to let users send e-mails into the past and consequently never miss important deadlines again.

And starting in 2014, Google’s home page announced, Virgin founder Richard Branson and Google co-founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin will be leading hundreds of users on one of the grandest adventures in human history: Project Virgle, the first permanent human colony on… read more

HUMOR | Hilarious computer pranks

January 10, 2008

Source: YouTube — February 15, 2007

book review | Mind as Machine: A History of Cognitive Science

December 10, 2007

mind_as_machine

Source: American Scientist — February 2008

In Mind as Machine: A History of Cognitive Science, Margaret A. Boden’s goal, she says, is to show how cognitive scientists have tried to find computational or informational answers to frequently asked questions about the mind — “what it is, what it does, how it works, how it evolved, and how it’s even possible.”

How do our brains generate consciousness? Are animals or newborn babies conscious? Can machines… read more

BOOK REVIEW | Almost Human: Making Robots Think

March 19, 2007

almost_human

Source: Los Angeles Times — Mar 18, 2007

“Making Robots Think” is an entertaining peek behind the scenes at engineers of the groundbreaking Robotics Institute, much of whose research is funded by NASA, the National Science Foundation and the Defense Department.

The book, however, is more about frustration than achievement. Despite the round-the-clock efforts of the best and the brightest, today’s real-life robots are a dim, lumbering lot, a far cry from the wise, nimble models… read more

HUMOR | The Cure For Information Overload

April 2, 2006

The Singularity may bring major information overload. Is this a cure — or a cause?

Nine years to the Singularity

March 21, 2006

blade running

Source: Avram Grumer's Journal — March 20, 2006

Someone at The Economist with a bit of extra time on his hands was looking at the recent proliferation of many-bladed razors, and noticed that the time gap between blade increments seems to be shrinking: 70 years before someone added the second blade, a couple of decades to the third, only two or three years between the four-bladed Schick Quattro and the five-bladed Gillette Fusion. Might there be a Moore’s… read more

BOOK REVIEW | The Cosmic Landscape

March 12, 2006

cosmic_landscape

Source: Fourmilog: None Dare Call It Reason — March 12, 2006

Leonard Susskind’s new book, The Cosmic Landscape, pits intelligent design against string theory and the megaverse.

Surprisingly, Autodesk founder John Walker sides with intelligent design, but not by a deity — by post-Singularity intelligences creating a reality simulation: “What would we expect to see if we inhabited a simulation? Well, there would probably be a discrete time step and granularity in position fixed by the time and position… read more

BOOK REVIEW | How to Survive a Robot Uprising

October 31, 2005

how_to_survive_a_robot_uprising

Source: Post-Gazette — October 30, 2005

A guidebook for battling a robot takeover of Earth subtly educates about robots and technology while coming across as humor.

The book was written by roboticist Daniel H. Wilson, a graduate of Carnegie Mellon University’s Robotics Institute. Paramount has bought movie rights.

What makes the book cool — and unlike some other survival books — is that Wilson is an actual roboticist, who got his Ph.D. from… read more

BOOK REVIEW | Warped Passages

October 24, 2005

warped_passages

Source: New York Times — Oct 23, 2005

In a new book, Warped Passages, Lisa Randall gives an engaging and remarkably clear account of how the existence of dimensions beyond the familiar three may resolve a host of cosmic quandaries.

Randall argues that without any experimental feedback, string theorists may never reach their goal. She prefers a different strategy, called model building. Rather than seeking to create an all-encompassing theory, she develops models — mini-theories that… read more

Google announces plan to destroy all information it can’t index

August 31, 2005

Source: The Onion — August 31, 2005

Executives at Google announced Monday Google Purge, the latest step in their expansion effort: a far-reaching plan to destroy all the information it is unable to index.

“A year ago, Google offered to scan every book on the planet for its Google Print project. Now, they are promising to burn the rest,” John Battelle wrote in his widely read “Searchblog.” “Thanks to Google Purge, you’ll never have to worry… read more

BOOK REVIEW | Radical Evolution

May 23, 2005

radical_evolution

Source: BookReporter — May 2005 | Curtis Edmonds

Joel Garreau’s provocative new book, Radical Evolution, is divided into different scenarios. One that he calls “Heaven” is largely the vision of Ray Kurzweil, one of the founders of modern assistive technology.

Kurzweil imagines a future where the positive aspects of the new technology are available freely to everyone, allowing each of us to customize our own selves to the point where immortality — or complete spiritual freedom… read more

BOOK REVIEW | Augmented Animals

May 4, 2005

augmented_animals

Source: Wired News — May 3, 2005

James Auger in his controversial new book, Augmented Animals, envisions animals, birds, reptiles and even fish using specially engineered gadgets to help them overcome their evolutionary shortcomings.

He imagines rodents zooming around with night-vision survival goggles, squirrels hoarding nuts using GPS locators and fish armed with metal detectors to avoid the angler’s hook.

BOOK REVIEW | Dark Hero of the Information Age

March 21, 2005

dark_hero

Source: New York Times — Mar 20, 2005 | Clive Thompson

Norbert Wiener, the inventor of cybernetics, is profiled in a new book, Dark Hero of the Information Age, by journalists Flo Conway and Jim Siegelman.

Cybernetics is the science of feedback — how information can help self-regulate a system. That includes everything from biological mechanisms (like the human immune system) to artificial ones, like thermostats that regulate a building’s temperature. Even in the early 20th century, when Wiener… read more

The Matrix loses its way: Reflections on The Matrix and The Matrix Reloaded

May 19, 2003 by Ray Kurzweil

Matrix Reloaded poster

The Matrix Reloaded is crippled by senseless fighting and chase scenes, weak plot and character development, tepid acting, and sophomoric dialogues. It shares the dystopian, Luddite perspective of the original movie, but loses the elegance, style, originality, and evocative philosophical musings of the original.… 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

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