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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

hypothesis

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 Hypothes.is. It will work as an overlay on top of any stable content, including news, blogs, scientific articles, books,… read more

THE HUMAN MACHINE MERGER: ARE WE HEADED FOR THE MATRIX?

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

The future of autonomous cars … and planes

January 27, 2012 by Amara D. Angelica

(Credit: BMW)

If you’re driving on the Autobahn right now, I advise you keep an eye out for this guy, who is apparently praying his driverless BMW doesn’t crash into something (note: this is a highway without speed limits — not reassuring).

(Videos here.)

Hey, BMW: why not toss in a robot driver to carry groceries and fight off the crowds at Walmart on Black Friday?… read more

The BRAIN mapping initiative needs rethinking

April 10, 2013 by Don Stein

Grid structure of cerebral pathways (credit: Science)

As a biomedical research scientist I am concerned about President Obama’s broad new research initiative ”to map the human brain.”

The BRAIN ((Brain Research through Advancing Innovative Neurotechnologies) initiative is a very ambitious, and perhaps even noble, effort, and I am most definitely not against imaging or nanotechnology as tools for research.

But, without specific goals, hypotheses or endpoints, the research effort becomes a fishing expedition. That is,… read more

The best tribute to Aaron Swartz

January 15, 2013 by Giulio Prisco

AaronSwartzPIPA

If you are a scientist, you can pay the best and most effective tribute to the memory of Aaron Swartz by sharing PDFs of your published work on pdftribute.net via the hashtag #pdftribute on Twitter.

Researchers are now offering open-access versions of their work using this hashtag.

I also suggest to boycott the pay-walled journals of the science mafia and publish on… read more

teleXLR8 returns, featuring quantum physicist Gildert on ‘Hack the Multiverse!’

August 16, 2011 by Amara D. Angelica

hack_the_multiverse

This exciting news just in from Giulio Prisco: “teleXLR8 is reopening on Sunday 21 10 a.m. PST with a talk by [experimental quantum physicist/programmer] Suzanne Gildert on Hack the Multiverse!.”

The teleXLR8 online talk program is “a telepresence community for cultural acceleration,” as their blog puts it. Translation: an audiovideo seminar — think TED in Second Life, plus webcam videoconferencing and video session… read more

TED Talk 2014 | Ray Kurzweil: “Get ready for hybrid thinking” video now playing

June 4, 2014

TED 30 years logo

TED | Two hundred million years ago, our mammal ancestors developed a new brain feature: the neocortex. This stamp-sized piece of tissue, wrapped around a brain the size of a walnut, is the key to what humanity has become.

Now, futurist Ray Kurzweil suggests, we should get ready for the next big leap in brain power, as we tap into the computing power in the cloud.… read more

Teaching a robot to anticipate human actions

May 30, 2013 by Amara D. Angelica

A robot that anticipates your actions (credit

Why can’t a robot be like a servant (to paraphrase My Fair Lady)? You know, one who would anticipate your every need — even before you asked?

The folks at the Personal Robotics Lab of Ashutosh Saxena, Cornell assistant professor of computer science have gone and done just that.

When we last (virtually) visited the lab, we learned that the roboticists taught  “hallucinating” robots to arrange your room… read more

Take back the Internet

September 17, 2013 by Bruce Schneier

bruce-blog2

Government and industry have betrayed the Internet, and us.

By subverting the Internet at every level to make it a vast, multi-layered and robust surveillance platform, the NSA has undermined a fundamental social contract. The companies that build and manage our Internet infrastructure, the companies that create and sell us our hardware and software, or the companies that host our data: we can no longer trust them to be… read more

Synthespianism and anthropomorphization of computer graphics

October 2, 2002 by Diana Walczak

The anthropomorphization of computer graphics has been a classiccase of exponential growth powered by technology, art, commerceand culture. Funding for military and aerospace applications likenuclear weapons design, weather prediction and flight simulationpaid for much of the initial heavy lifting required to build thefoundation of the computer graphics industry during the 1960′s andearly 1970′s.

As the sophistication of graphics software marched forward andthe cost of computing slid downward, the annual… read more

Swarms of tiny intelligent drones with cameras — what could go wrong?

May 10, 2012 by Amara D. Angelica

flying_3d_eyebots

Are you ready for Eye-Bots — flying smarms of intelligent drones that zoom in and track everything going on?

Yo boy, this one’s gonna make them spyder bots in Minority Report and Big-Brother TV sets in 1984 look positively user-friendly.

A flock of flying robots rises slowly into the air with a loud buzzing noise. They perform an intricate dance in the sky above the seethingread more

Surrogates vs. avatars

February 18, 2010 by L. Stephen Coles

mannequin

“Surrogates” scenario: FBI agents (Bruce Willis and Radha Mitchell) investigate the mysterious murder of a college student linked to the man who helped create a high-tech surrogate phenomenon that allows people to purchase unflawed robotic versions of themselves—fit, good looking remotely controlled machines that ultimately assume their life roles—enabling people to experience life vicariously from the comfort and safety of their own homes.… read more

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