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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

Ask Ray | How do you find the motivation to live forever?

May 26, 2012 by Ray Kurzweil

Transcendent Man poster earth

Dear Ray:

How do you find motivation to want to live forever? How do you find comfort in your father’s death, knowing you may never truly see him again — only an avatar of what he’d represent?

John Hansen

John:

I have the motivation to live to tomorrow, metaphorically speaking. I think everyone has that motivation. As we get to times in the… read more

This is your brain on magic mushrooms

January 24, 2012 by Amara D. Angelica

psilocybin

Stoner alert: psilocybin (the active ingredient in hallucinogenic mushrooms) messes with your brain.

OK, not exactly a news flash. But that’s what researchers in the U.K. and Denmark found when they scanned the brains of 30 people tripping on psilocybin.

But here’s what’s interesting: the researchers did two different types of functional MRI (fMRI) brain scans with two groups of 15 — one scan that measured blood flow throughout the… read more

Welcome to your future android clone

March 12, 2012 by Amara D. Angelica

Bina48 android (credit:

This is the most interesting event at SXSW I’ve heard of so far: “Robot panelists, AI and the future of identity.”

It’s a session Monday at SXSW (3:30PM  – 4:30PM), where Bruce Duncan, Managing Director of the Terasem Movement Foundation, will bring us up to date on Terasem’s amazing LifeNaut project.

LifeNaut is a free online service (and experiment) for personal data storage and avatar interactivity,… read more

Who blew up the rocket?

What happens when you mix space pork, greedy megacorporations, and recycled Russian rocket engines?
November 6, 2014 by Howard Bloom

Antares launch failure, (credit: NASA)

Exactly what exploded in a ball of flame over Wallops Island, Virginia, on Tuesday October 28 at 6:22 pm? And what brought down Virgin Galactic’s SpaceShipTwo over the Mojave Desert Friday morning just after ten am?

Was the vehicle that exploded above the launch pad in Virginia, as some headlines have proclaimed, a NASA rocket? Was it, as others have said, a commercial rocket? Or were both… read more

Why immersive virtual reality is the next generation of gaming: part 2

A new head-mounted display called Oculus RIFT promises to change the gaming industry
July 14, 2012 by James Iliff

Doom3 BFG

At the recent E3 2012 show, I saw the future of virtual reality and gaming.

It’s a robust stereoscopic head-mounted display (HMD) called the Oculus RIFT from hardware pioneer Palmer Luckey, shown off by legendary computer graphics guru John Carmack, technical director of Id Software.

Using aspheric lenses and side-by-side stereoscopy, the Oculus RIFT boasts a wide field-of-view of 90 degrees horizontal and 110… read more

A Darwinian explanation for the Fermi paradox [UPDATED 4/21/2011]

April 18, 2011 by Amara D. Angelica

Arecibo Observatory: risking destruction of the Earth?

The Fermi paradox is the apparent contradiction between high estimates of the probability of the existence of extraterrestrial civilizations and the lack of evidence for, or contact with, such civilizations. As Enrico Fermi asked, “Where is everybody?”

One answer is that extraterrestial life sufficiently advanced to be capable of interstellar travel or communication must be rare, since otherwise we would have seen evidence of it by now. This in… read more

‘Creative right brain’ myth debunked

March 7, 2012 by Amara D. Angelica

Brain

Yet another brain myth bites the dust, joining “we only use 10 percent of our brain,” and other pseudoscience nonsense that tries to cram people in nice neat boxes.

The left hemisphere of your brain, thought to be the logic and math portion, actually plays a critical role in creative thinking, University of Southern California (USC) researchers have found, at least for visual creative tasks… read more

The new iPad: awesome

March 7, 2012 by Amara D. Angelica

the-new-ipad

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 Singularity is Far: A Neuroscientist’s View

July 21, 2011 by David J. Linden

SingularityIsFar

David J. Linden is the author of a new book, The Compass of Pleasure: How Our Brains Make Fatty Foods, Orgasm, Exercise, Marijuana, Generosity, Vodka, Learning, and Gambling Feel So Good. He is a Professor of Neuroscience at The Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine and Chief Editor of the Journal of Neurophysiology.

It should be noted that many of the criticisms in this blog postread more

Google I/O 2014 | video: Ray Kurzweil presents “Biologically Inspired Models of Intelligence”

Dates: June 25 – 26, 2014
Location: San Francisco, California

IO 2014

Google I/O 2014 | Ray Kurzweil: “Biologically Inspired Models of Intelligence,” filmed June 25, 2014

Google | For decades Ray Kurzweil has explored how artificial intelligence can enrich and expand human capabilities. In his latest book How to Create a Mind, he takes this exploration to the next step: reverse-engineering the brain to understand precisely how it works, then applying that knowledge to create intelligent machines.

In… read more

Late-night radio host Art Bell returns with new show, Dark Matter

September 17, 2013 by Amara D. Angelica

(Credit: Chris Moet)

Talk-radio legend Art Bell launched Monday night his new nightly radio show, Dark Matter, with guest Dr. Michio Kaku.

Dark Matter airs on SiriusXM Indie Talk channel 104 (30-day trial available) at 10PM Eastern/7PM Pacific* (also available via Internet and apps), covering wild ideas at the edge of reality.

Art was a founder and original host of the read more

A miniature humanoid robot lives on your shoulder and wants to be your friend

May 30, 2012 by Amara D. Angelica

mh2_shoulder_robot

OK, this one pushes me over the “Onion threshold,” to coin a term.

A wearable miniature humanoid lives on your shoulder and can be remotely inhabited by your friends from anywhere in the world.

Hey, I’m not making this stuff up — it comes from IEEE Spectrum, a credible source, and it’s not April 1!

Anyway, it turns out Yamagata University researchers are developing a robot to make… read more

Kinect tracks bionic rescue roaches

Trapped in an earthquake? Don't panic. Hissing roaches with backpack WiFi, microphones, and speakers are coming for you. OK, that might make you panic.
June 27, 2013 by Amara D. Angelica

(credit: Alper Bozkurt/NC State University)

When we last visited our “RoboRoach” bionic cockroach, it was being remotely controlled by a mobile phone that triggered hallucinations of an invisible wall (for educational purposes only, mind you).

Seriously.

Now Dr. Alper Bozkurt, an assistant professor of electrical and computer engineering at  North Carolina State University, and his team want to take it a step further. They plan to use their Madagascar hissing roaches (dubbed… read more

AI and Ethiopia: an unexpected synergy

October 25, 2012 by Ben Goertzel

Getnet Aseffa explains Ray Kurzweil's exponential growth of computing (credit: Getnet Aseffa)

In February of this year, KurzweilAI.net’s Amara Angelica put me in touch with an enterprising young Ethiopian engineer named Getnet Aseffa, who was interested in advanced technologies and their implications, and especially in their potential application to help Ethiopia and other African nations.

After some email dialogue, Getnet arranged for me to give a talk via Skype to an audience at Addis Ababa Institute of Technology. The themes of… read more

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