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Why A.I. Is Brain-Dead

July 16, 2003

“There is no computer that has common sense,” says Marvin Minsky. “We’re only getting the kinds of things that are capable of making an airline reservation. No computer can look around a room and tell you about it.”

AI’s biggest deficiency right now: “The lack of people with an interest in commonsense reasoning for computers…it’s hard to get 10 capable people.”

Asked to “Pick one: Bill Joy or… read more

Machine vs. Man: Checkmate

July 16, 2003

“There’s a scary lesson in these contests between the grandmaster and his soulless opponents. We are sharing our world with another species, one that gets smarter and more independent every year. Though some people scoff at the idea that machines could become autonomous, remember it wasn’t long ago that almost no one thought a computer would ever beat a human chess champion. Could we ever face anything akin to the… read more

Fat Pipe Dream

July 16, 2003

A new gigabit Ethernet network provides Internet access to Japanese homes at 12 megabits per second — eight times faster than what Americans are used to — for about $21 a month.

The “Yahoo! BB” brand service includes voice-over-IP (less than 3 cents a minute for a call from Tokyo to New York), which could eventually put Japan’s NTT telephone company out of business.

A video-on-demand service that… read more

Telomere shortening may be early marker of cancer activity

July 16, 2003

Telomere shortening may be one of the earliest and most prevalent changes on a cell’s path to cancer, according to two studies presented at the 94th Annual Meeting of the American Association for Cancer Research (AACR).

As cells divide and age, telomere DNA is lost and telomeres get shorter and shorter. The new study suggests that telomere dysfunction from the shortening may play a causal role in human intraepithelial… read more

UCLA Physicists Create Single Molecule Nanoscale Sensor

July 15, 2003

Physicists have created a first-of-its-kind nanoscale sensor, using a single molecule more than 1,000 times smaller than the thickness of a human hair to recognize the presence of a specific short sequence in a mixture of DNA or RNA molecules that could help with early diagnosis of genetic diseases, and have numerous other applications for medicine, biotechnology and other fields.

Weird Web Data Foxes Experts

July 15, 2003

Strange packets of data found on the Internet are worrying net security experts. Some believe the packets are part of a new scanning tool that maps networks and reports vulnerabilities that it finds. Efforts to track down the source of the large data packets have proved largely fruitless.

Early Voices: The Leap to Language

July 15, 2003

Biologists and linguists have long inhabited different worlds, with linguists taking little interest in evolution, the guiding theory of all biology. But the faculty for language, along with the evidence of how it evolved, is written somewhere in the now decoded human genome, waiting for biologists and linguists to identify the genetic program that generates words and syntax.

Teaching Computers to Work in Unison

July 15, 2003

This month, grid computing moved further toward the commercial mainstream when the Globus Project released new software tools that blend the grid standards with a programming technology called Web services, developed mainly in corporate labs, for automated computer-to-computer communications.

Enthusiasm for grid computing is also broadening among scientists. A report this year by a National Science Foundation panel, “Revolutionizing Science and Engineering Through Cyberinfrastructure,” called for new financing of… read more

Accelerating-change conference announced

July 14, 2003

The Accelerating Change Conference (ACC2003): Exploring the Future of Accelerating Change, will be held at Stanford University, September 12-14, 2003.

ACC2003 speakers include Ray Kurzweil (via Teleportec’s 3D Telepresence Lectern); venture capitalist Steve Jurvetson of Draper Fisher Jurvetson; K. Eric Drexler, Founder and Chairman of Foresight Institute; Greg Papadopoulos, CTO of Sun Microsystems; Tim O’Reilly, CEO of O’Reilly & Associates; Howard Bloom, author of Global Brain; and… read more

Intel keeping options open at 32-nm node

July 14, 2003

Despite its decision to pass on 157-nm lithography at the 45-nm node, Intel Corp. is “keeping all of its options open” for the 32-nm node, which moves into volume production toward the end of this decade.

Gladiator-style ‘wars’ select out weak programs

July 14, 2003

Computer scientists have found the ultimate way to debug their programs –let them compete against other programs in a gladiator-style tournament.

Dubbed Grid Wars II, the contest held at the ClusterWorld conference in San Jose, California, last month was like a software version of television’s Robot Wars and Battle Bots. In each battle, programs fought to gain control of processing power in a huge parallel computer.

‘Augmented reality’ speeding assembly and service tasks

July 14, 2003

Shorter development times and faster repairs are making “augmented reality,” a system for displaying electronic information in the form of images, a possibility.

“In one possible scenario, a technician with data goggles bends over the engine block of a luxury car and removes the covering. He is receiving instructions through an ear piece telling him what to do next while his data goggles mark the screws and bolts on… read more

Construction bugs find tiny work

July 11, 2003

“Biorobotic” bugs could help to construct nanoscale microscopic electrical circuits or other devices, using severed bacterial arms to lift and move objects, according to researchers speaking at the American Society of Microbiology’s Conference on Bio-, Micro- and Nanosystems.

Spin Me Right Round

July 11, 2003
A molecular motor moves its rotors in one direction because of hydrogen-bonding stations specific to its rotor rings, while sitting in molecules of dichloromethane.

Tiny rotary motors made of spinning molecules hold the promise of driving microscopic devices of the future. But so far, scientists have had a difficult time controlling which direction tiny artificial cogs spin. New interlocking rings designed by a team of researchers may solve that problem, bringing the vision of clockwork machinery on a molecular scale one step closer to reality.

UV laser bursts could easily make the rings… read more

Red-hot growth seen in wireless Internet hotspots

July 11, 2003

The number of worldwide “hotspots” for high-speed wireless Internet is expected to grow to at least 160,000 in 2007 from 28,000 this year, according to market research firm
Allied Business Intelligence.

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