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The significance of Watson

February 13, 2011 by Ray Kurzweil

IBM WATSON Deep QA program running on IBM Power7 Servers (credit: IBM TJ Watson Research Labs)

In The Age of Intelligent Machines, which I wrote in the mid-1980s, I predicted that a computer would defeat the world chess champion by 1998. My estimate was based on the predictable exponential growth of computing power (an example of what I now call the “law of accelerating returns”) and my estimate of what level of computing was needed to achieve a chess rating of just under 2800… read more

The search for ET continues — in West Virginia

May 15, 2011 by Amara D. Angelica

Robert C. Byrd Green Bank Telescope (GBT), the world's largest fully steerable single-aperture antenna (credit: NRAO)

Now that NASA’s Kepler space telescope has identified 1,235 possible planets around stars in our galaxy, astronomers at the University of California, Berkeley, are aiming a radio telescope — the 100 meter Robert C. Byrd Green Bank Telescope, the largest steerable radio telescope in the world — at the most Earth-like of these worlds to see if they can detect signals from an advanced… read more

The rise of the machines: and now the really bad news

September 26, 2012 by Amara D. Angelica


Vice just posted an update to their “we’re living in a simulation“ interview with Dr. Rich Terrile of NASA JPL.

“I think our machines will wake up and take over our society,” he said. “They will become us, we will become them. We’ll merge with machines.

Take over? Now wait a minute there, rocket man….

“We have to wake the machines up. Humans look like… read more

The real reasons we don’t have AGI yet

A response to David Deutsch’s recent article on AGI
October 8, 2012 by Ben Goertzel

(Credit: iStockphoto)

As we noted in a recent post, physicist David Deutsch said the field of “artificial general intelligence” or AGI has made “no progress whatever during the entire six decades of its existence.” We asked Dr. Ben Goertzel, who introduced the term AGI and founded the AGI conference series, to respond. — Ed.

Like so many others, I’ve been extremely impressed and fascinated by physicist David Deutsch’s work on quantum computation… 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

The proposed ban on offensive autonomous weapons is unrealistic and dangerous

So says former U.S. Army officer and autonomous weapons expert Sam Wallace
August 5, 2015

From Call of Duty Black Ops 2 (credit: Activision Publishing)

The open letter from the Future of Life Institute (FLI) calling for a “ban on offensive autonomous weapons” is as unrealistic as the broad relinquishment of nuclear weapons would have been at the height of the cold war.

A treaty or international agreement banning the development of artificially intelligent robotic drones for military use would not be effective. It would be impossible to completely stop nations from… read more

The Planetary Mood Ring

July 4, 2010 by Bruce Damer


What if there was a central place for all of humanity to text, tweet, email, blog and click in the essence of their mood in the moment? This gigantic feelings aggregator would provide a massive emotional pulse check on the planet that runs continually. Represented as a color wheel inspired by the mood rings of the 1970s, blue and violet would signify people being in cooler, calmer… 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

The new iPad: awesome

March 7, 2012 by Amara D. Angelica


The new iPad, introduced today, has a 264 pixels/inch “retina” display with 2048 x 1536 pixels (3.1 million), compared to 1920 x 1080 with HDTV; 5 megapixels camera with 1080P HD video (and new version of iMovie) with autofocus and face detection in still images; new A5X quad-core processor that is “four times as fast as the nearest competition”; and next-gen 4G (up to LTE) connection. Unbelievable.… 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

The Limits of the Earth — Part 2: Expanding the Limits

April 19, 2013 by Ramez Naam

Naam-Limits-of-Earth-Part1-001-earth (600x600)

This is part two of a two-part series on the limits of human economic growth on planet Earth.  Part one details some of the environmental and natural resource challenges we’re up against. Part two, here, looks at the ultimate size of the resource pool and solutions to our problems.  Both parts are based on Ramez Naam’s new book, The Infinite Resource: The Power of Ideas on a Finiteread more

The Limits of the Earth — Part 1: Problems

April 18, 2013 by Ramez Naam

Naam-Limits-of-Earth-Part1-001-earth (600x600)

This is part one of a two-part series on the limits of human economic growth on planet Earth. Part one details some of the environmental and natural resource challenges we’re up against. Part two, on the ultimate size of the resource pool and solutions to our problems, will be published tomorrow and linked here. Both parts are based on Ramez Naam’s new book, The Infinite Resource: The Powerread more

The Internet, peer-reviewed

October 28, 2011 by Amara D. Angelica


It could be one of the most important innovations on the Internet since the browser.

Imagine an open-source, crowd-sourced, community-moderated, distributed platform for sentence-level annotation of the Web. In other words, a way to cut through the babble and restore some sanity and trust.

That’s the idea behind It will work as an overlay on top of any stable content, including news, blogs, scientific articles, books,… read more


March 2, 2003 by Ray Kurzweil

Most viewers of The Matrix consider the more fanciful elements–intelligent computers, downloading information into the human brain, virtual reality indistinguishable from real life–to be fun as science fiction, but quite remote from real life. Most viewers would be wrong. As renowned computer scientist and entrepreneur Ray Kurzweil explains, these elements are very feasible and are quite likely to be a reality within our lifetimes.… 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

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