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Review: ‘Minority’ tech mostly on target

December 17, 2002

The seeds already have been planted for much of the technology portrayed in Steven Spielberg’s “Minority Report,” including biometrics, ads that call you by name, holographic displays, motion capture, and swarm robotics.

Virtual world will run on real cash

December 17, 2002

Project Entropia, a 3D futuristic role-playing game set in a virtual online world in which players can earn and spend real money, will launch on January 30.

A Supercomputer to Save Earth?

December 17, 2002

“Running 35.6 trillion calculations per second, the Earth Simulator is the fastest supercomputer in the world…According to the Department of Energy, the Earth Simulator has put American scientists at a 10- to 100- fold disadvantage in weather studies. And there are much deeper implications….”

The Dream of Mechanical Life

December 17, 2002

“A spate of new books addresses eighteenth-century automata, ventriloquists’ dummies, and puppets– together with more recent avatars of chess computers, artificial intelligence, androids, robots, and cyborgs. Does ‘computerization’ challenge human identity as ominously as ‘mechanization’ previously seemed to?”

Scientists Ask: What Is A Gene, Anyway?

December 17, 2002

Two years after the human genome was mapped, scientists are drawing a stunning insight by comparing human genes with those of mice. Researchers now agree human genes are definitely missing something; they’re just not entirely sure what. Figuring it out could involve arguments about the very definition of the word “gene.”

Be Afraid

December 13, 2002

Prey, Michael Crichton’s latest techno-thriller, fictionalizes Bill Joy’s notorious Wired article, “Why the Future Doesn’t Need Us,” which warned, “Our most powerful 21st-century technologies — robotics, genetic engineering, and nanotech — are threatening to make humans an endangered species.”

The technophobic novel (and coming film version) is based on the “gray goo” scenario (nanoparticles out of control).

“Crichton’s new novel further solidifies his position as our generation’s bush-league… read more

Movie Posters That Talk Back

December 13, 2002

Interactive movie posters (called ThinkPix Smart Displays) have been developed that can collect marketing information, like how many times their posters and trailers are shown, how many people walk up to them, how long they looked at them, even how close they got to them.

Intelligence could saturate the universe, says Kurzweil

December 12, 2002

Based on the exponential growth of computational capacity, if we could overcome the speed-of-light limitation, intelligence would spread to the entire universe within 300 years, said Ray Kurzweil, speaking at Edge’s REBOOTING CIVILIZATION II meeting.

Within that time, we would “multiply current computational capacities by a factor of 1090, and thus exceed Seth Lloyd’s estimate of 1090 bits in the Universe.”

Click here to read “The… read more

Biology aiding nanotech researchers

December 12, 2002

The latest avenue in nanotechnology involves harnessing biological structures and processes, scientists said Wednesday at a National Science Foundation conference.

Software gambler takes on the tipsters

December 12, 2002

Software developed by Australian IT researcher Alan McCabe uses a neural network to learn which features of a team’s performance make them winners. The neural network is trained with match data obtained from a national bookmaker, such as a team’s current success rate and the points scored for and against them each week.

The World According to Google

December 12, 2002

Google is transforming the masses into data-miners and becoming a cultural phenomenon.

But its founders have even bigger plans. “The ultimate search engine would be smart; it would understand everything in the world,” says Larry Page. “I view Google as a way to augment your brain with the knowledge of the world,” says Sergey Brin. “It will be included in your brain.”

New Stanford Institute Is to Study Controversial Stem Cell Manipulation

December 12, 2002

A new stem cell institute being set up at Stanford University will study human diseases through two advanced but controversial techniques of cell manipulation: nuclear transfer (also used in cloning animals) and generating new lines of human embryonic stem cells.

The Wi-Fi Boom

December 12, 2002

High-speed Wi-Fi wireless access to the Internet in public and private spaces is a growing national trend.

Intel’s Grove warns of the end of Moore’s Law

December 12, 2002

As chips become increasingly dense, heat developed by current leakage from chips “will become a limiting factor in how complex we can build chips,” said Intel chairman Andy Grove.

Chips constructed of increasing numbers of transistors can suffer power leakage of up to 40 per cent; chips made up of a billion transistors may leak between 60 and 70 Watts of power, he warned.

Would You Buy a Car From a Robot?

December 12, 2002

Honda is using its Asimo walking-talking robot as a promotional tool, reciting information about cars in showrooms and appearing in commercials and at events.

Asimo uses the visual information from a camera to recognize ten different preprogrammed faces, follows movements, and takes direction for its movements.

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