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Humanity in jeopardy

"We should spend 1% of GDP studying singularity issues and deciding what to do," says Max Tegmark
January 13, 2014 by Max Tegmark

Watson vs. humans, January 13, 2011 (credit: IBM)

Exactly three years ago, on January 13, 2011, humans were dethroned by a computer on the quiz show Jeopardy! A year later, a computer was licensed to drive cars in Nevada, after being judged safer than a human. (link to article)

What’s next? Will computers eventually beat us at all tasks, developing superhuman intelligence?

I have little doubt that this can happen: our brains are a bunch of particles obeying the laws of… read more

Panoramic hi-res augmented reality glasses: most radical CES intro so far?

January 7, 2014 by Amara D. Angelica

Innovega Inc. is demonstrating at CES prototypes of what looks like the most radical augmented-reality eyewear yet.

Intrigued, I called Innovega CEO Steve Willey Monday night. He ran down the specs of their iOptik design: binocular 720 x 1280 pixels, 3D (depth) vision, and a humungous field of view of 90 degrees, as shown in the image above. That’s six times the number of… read more

Reverse-engineering Hollywood

How to bypass Netflix and create your own custom search genres
January 6, 2014 by Amara D. Angelica

sliders

If you’re a combo Netflix/Internet-text-algorithm-obsessed geek like me, you will totally love this amazing article in The Atlantic.

Turns out Netflix has created a database of 76,897 micro-genres that offer a peek into the American psyche, The Atlantic senior editor Alexis Madrigal has discovered, using a program called UBot Studio to scrape every single one of them and then deconstruct the system.

Hidden syntax revealed

“As the… read more

Are you ready for virtual taste?

January 3, 2014 by Amara D. Angelica

nus_digital taste

We’ve talked about robot burger makers. How about virtual tasting, so you could sample your burger before buying it, without grossing everyone out — even taste a pizza before having it delivered?

A National University of Singapore (NUS) researcher has taken an early step in that direction. Dr. Nimesha Ranasinghe has invented a digital gadget that can recreate the taste of virtual food and drinks.… read more

Ask Ray | Study shows a 30% lower rate of breast cancer mortality with supplement use

December 30, 2013 by Terry Grossman

Breast Cancer Research and Treatment cover

Dear readers,

Here is a study coming out of the large and well respected Women’s Health Initiative showing positive results for supplements and breast cancer.

Unfortunately, the media has largely ignored it.

It seems there is a strong media bias to headline studies suggesting negative or no benefit results and to ignore positive ones that do show benefit. For example, this study shows a 30% lower rate… read more

Ask Ray | Supplement study quoted in The Wall Street Journal is misleading

December 29, 2013 by Ray Kurzweil

(credit: iStock)

Dear readers,

I read this recent article: The Wall Street Journal | “Multivitamins found to have little benefit — no effect seen in preventing cognitive decline, heart disease”

Readers have asked, “What is your response to the recent ‘anti-supplement’ research study?”

The study quoted by The Wall Street Journal is misleading. It only looked at low potency (and low quality) supplement combinations and set a… read more

Smart glasses from Evena Medical detect patient veins for precise IV placement

December 26, 2013 by Amara D. Angelica

Eyes-On Glasses (credit: Evena Medical)

Ever had a nurse stick you multiple times, trying to locate a vein to draw blood? That pain is about to be history.

The new Eyes-On “smart glasses” from Evena Medical now allow nurses to see through a patient’s skin to the vasculature beneath.

The device adds multispectral 3D imaging to Epson Moverio glasses. Nurses can share images remotely via Bluetooth,… read more

3D augmented reality holograms are finally here (almost)

December 18, 2013 by Amara D. Angelica

MetaPro (credit: Meta)

Admit it: you want to play Iron Man’s Tony Stark, manipulating amazing inventions and taking over the world. June 2014, you’ll have your chance.

That’s when Meta’s aviator-style MetaPro “holographic” glasses — a consumer version of the $667 Meta 1 developer version* — will ship. Meta is taking pre-orders now for this pricey but powerful $3,000 gadget.

It will have 1280×720 pixels for… read more

Ask Ray | Thoughts on Amazon’s plans to use drones for delivery

December 4, 2013 by Ray Kurzweil

Amazon Prime Air drone in warehouse

Dear readers,

I am reviewing the recent news on Amazon’s interest in using unmanned drones to make product deliveries.

There is public discussion about the feasibility of this logistically, and some concerns about using drones in public due to privacy and other issues.

You can read some background on Amazon’s plans in this report by 60 Minutes:

CBS News | “Amazon unveils futuristic planread more

Ask Ray | Death can be erased if humanity makes the right moves

November 26, 2013 by Ray Kurzweil

medical doctor with virtual DNA scan of patient

Dear Dr. Kurzweil,

Is it stressful to view life as a sort of race against the clock, in which it’s presumably — at least partly — in your power whether you die like all past humans have, or find a way to survive indefinitely?

It seems like a lot of pressure to live with, no? I’m speaking purely from a personal, psychological/emotional point of view here.… read more

Aokify America Charity for brain research

November 10, 2013 by John Smart

Aoki Charity

You get to vote: the American Brain Foundation, U. of Rochester Memory Care Center (both research ways to prevent neurodegenerative diseases); Infusio, a German wellness clinic; or the Brain Preservation Foundation (BPF), a research charity I’m affiliated with seeking evidence that computational neuroscience and automation can revive the memory and minds of chemopreserved and cryopreserved brains in the future.*… read more

Attention, Kmart shoppers: there’s a robot checker open in aisle six

November 5, 2013 by Amara D. Angelica

Robot clerk 'attacks' human

Wow, it’s happening already. Cornell robotics researchers are now teaching robots complex tasks such as performing as grocery-store checkout clerks.

Can robot butlers (as in Robot & Frank) be far behind?

This is a big step beyond what Cornell researchers in Prof. Ashutosh Saxena’s lab were teaching their smart robots the last time we (virtually) visited the lab in May.

We saw then… read more

Singularity or Bust award-winning documentary now free online

"I believe we can have a positive Singularity within ten years." -- Ben Goertzel, PhD
October 31, 2013 by Ben Goertzel

Singularity0rBust

In 2009, filmmaker and former AI programmer Raj Dye spent his summer following futurist AI researchers Ben Goertzel and Hugo de Garis around Hong Kong and Xiamen, documenting their doings and gathering their perspectives.

The result, after some work by crack film editor Alex MacKenzie, was the 45 minute documentary Singularity or Bust — a uniquely edgy, experimental Singularitarian road movie, featuring perhaps the most philosophical three-foot-tall humanoid robot ever,… read more

book review | Our Final Invention: Artificial Intelligence and the End of the Human Era

October 4, 2013 by Luke Muehlhauser

our final invention

Kurzweil-influenced futurism is sometimes dismissed as naive techno-optimism, but Ray Kurzweil himself is no Pollyanna.

It was Kurzweil who inspired Bill Joy to write the famously pessimistic Wired essay “Why the Future Doesn’t Need Us,” and Kurzweil devoted an entire chapter of The Singularity is Near to the risks of advanced technologies.There, he wrote that despite his reputation as a technological optimist, “I often… read more

Critique of a claimed discovery of a diatom from outer space [UPDATED]

September 21, 2013 by Richard Gordon

Comet C/2001 Q4 (NEAT) (credit: Kitt Peak National Observatory)

A recent paper by Milton Wainwright et al. [1] claimed that sampling of the stratosphere revealed a diatom frustule captured from a height of >25km.

The paper, published in Journal of Cosmology, also argues that the object came from space, with a probable origin in the watery environment of a comet.

There are a number of problems that I would have flagged had I been a… read more

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