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Avatars meet in Second Life to celebrate Future Day 2012

March 5, 2012 by Natasha Vita-More

natashafutureday2012

The first Future Day on March 1 featured events in 14 cities in 8 countries. The largest event was at Terasem Island in Second Life, with about 50 attendees.

The auditorium at Terasem Island was full and we were eagerly awaiting three of the speakers to arrive: Ben Goertzel, Martine Rothblatt, and Howard Bloom.

I introduced the event by… read more

‘Avatars’ to replace some humans at NYC area airports

May 23, 2012 by Amara D. Angelica

airlineavatar1

As if TSA groping in airports wasn’t enough, now we’re going to be subjected to some kind of creepy composite of Princess Leia from Star Wars and the advertising scene in Minority Report.

“I can be just about anything you want me to be,” over-enthuses the simulated “customer service representative,” five of which are intended for installation in LaGuardia, JFK. and Liberty Newark airports in early July, according to read more

Battle of the ‘Fantastic Voyage’ researchers

January 12, 2012 by Amara D. Angelica

Cap-sule

The 1961 classic science-fiction movie Fantastic Voyage movie is about a team of scientists who are shrunk down and sent in a miniature submarine inside the body to repair a blood clot in an ailing colleague’s brain. How far have today’s scientists come in exploring inside the body?

Pretty far. We’ve reported on 17 research projects since 2003 to develop innovative endoscopes and other devices… read more

Beyond GPS: your phone in 2015

November 1, 2011 by Giulio Prisco

Galileo GNSS

Attention smartphone users: the recent launch of the first two satellites for Europe’s Galileo global navigation satellite system (GNSS) could make things a lot more interesting in about four years.

Galileo will deliver real-time positioning accuracy down to one meter range, compared to 10 meters for GPS, the European Space Agency (ESA) states, and it plans to give non-European… read more

Beyond texting: augmented-reality windshields — what could go wrong?

January 16, 2012 by Amara D. Angelica

ar_car

What? You thought distracted drivers texting on cell phones and swerving erratically is a problem? That’s so 2011.

Imagine a future in which icons flash on your car windshield, hologram-style, as your car approaches restaurants, stores, historic landmarks or the homes of friends, effuses CNN.

Simply point your hand at them, and the icons open to show real-time information: when that bridge over there was built,… read more

Bigelow to lease space habitats to clients in seven nations

February 7, 2011 by Amara D. Angelica

Space habitat photo: Bigelow Aerospace

Bigelow Aerospace has announced plans to lease space aboard its inflatable space habitats to seven clients in The Netherlands, Sweden, Japan, Singapore, Australia, United Kingdom and the United Arab Emirate of Dubai, according to Aviation Week.

At the meeting in Cape Canaveral on Wednesday, Bigelow Aerospace founder Robert Bigelow stated that one of the main types of customers that his company is looking at is… read more

Bing likes Britannica, Bruno burns

June 11, 2012 by Amara D. Angelica

Giordano Bruno, heretical cosmologist

Microsoft has announced a deal with Encyclopaedia Britannica to add entries from the prestigious reference work to Bing search results.

The deal appears related to Britannica’s decision in March to stop producing a print edition and Google’s “knowledge graph,” which consolidates search information about specific subjects.

Et tu, Bruno?

For example, a Bing search for Giordano Bruno would provide a quick overview of… read more

Black boxes to be required in all new cars from 2015

April 23, 2012 by Amara D. Angelica

1984-Big-Brother

A new bill (Senate Bill 1813, known as MAP-21) passed by the U.S. Senate in March calls for “mandatory event data recorders” to be installed in all new passenger motor vehicles sold in the U.S. for recording data before, during, or after a crash.

As stated in Section 31406 of the bill, the government would have the power to access it in a number of

read more

book review | Human+ — smartdust, spooks, psychics, and transhumans

September 9, 2012 by Giulio Prisco

human_plus_martin_higgins_book

Each artificial neuron would communicate with the brain via electrical signals and would be able to wirelessly interface with external hardware, enabling brain-computer networking. Once such networking was established, David noted with interest, Internet telephony could be quite simply deployed. Synthetic telepathy, in other words. …

Such advanced technology may be developed in a couple of decades, transforming us into a “telepathic” species. But what if we already have… read more

book review | Nexus continues in Crux by Ramez Naam

August 9, 2013 by Giulio Prisco

crux-cover

Readers of Ramez Naam‘s techno-thriller NEXUS will not want to miss the awesome CRUX sequel, to be published August 27.

Set in a not-too-distant future, these novels tackle head-on an important conflict of our times: between the libertarian approach (those who think that people should be free to experiment with emerging technologies without harming others) and the authoritarian approach (those who want to… 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

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

book review | Alone Together: Why We Expect More from Technology and Less from Each Other

January 24, 2011 by R.U. Sirius

In 1938, existentialist philosopher Jean Paul Sartre wrote “Hell is other people.” Sartre may never have cobbled together his existential philosophy that viewed human individuals as utterly alone — alienated, atomized beings in a vast meaningless universe — if he had grown up playing with social robots and holding others at a discreet psychological distance by communicating with them nearly exclusively via instant messaging.

According to Wikipedia, one… read more

book review | Apocalyptic AI: Visions of heaven in robotics, artificial intelligence, and virtual reality

March 31, 2010

Apocalyptic AI

Source: Giulio Prisco's Blog — March 13, 2010 | Giulio Prisco

Geraci defines Apocalyptic AI as a modern cultural and religious trend originating in the popular science press: “Popular science authors in robotics and artificial intelligence have become the most influential spokespeople for apocalyptic theology in the Western world. Apocalyptic AI advocates promise that in the very near future technological progress will allow us to build supremely intelligent machines and to copy our own minds into machines so that we can… 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.

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