science + technology news

KEEP | Leading AI country will be ‘ruler of the world,’ says Putin

"When one party’s drones are destroyed by drones of another, it will have no other choice but to surrender.”
September 3, 2017

Autonomous drone swarms (credit: U.S. Dept. of Defense)

Russian President Vladimir Putin warned Friday (Sept. 1, 2017) that the country that becomes the leader in developing artificial intelligence will be “the ruler of the world,” reports the Associated Press.

AI development “raises colossal opportunities and threats that are difficult to predict now,” Putin said in a lecture to students, warning that “it would be strongly undesirable if someone wins a monopolist position.”

Future wars will be… read more

A single-molecule room-temperature transistor made from 14 atoms

September 1, 2017

Columbia researchers wired a single molecular cluster to gold electrodes to show that it exhibits a quantized and controllable flow of charge at room temperature. (credit: Bonnie Choi/Columbia University)

Columbia Engineering researchers have taken a key step toward atomically precise, reproducible transistors made from single molecules and operating at room temperature — a major goal in the field of molecular electronics.

The team created a two-terminal transistor with a diameter of about 0.5 nanometers and core consisting of just 14 atoms. The device can reliably switch from insulator to conductor when charge is added or removed, one electron at a time… read more

Astronomers detect 15 high-frequency ‘fast radio bursts’ from distant galaxy

Were these powerful bursts used by an extraterrestrial civilization to power exploratory spacecraft?
August 30, 2017

Greenbank Radio Telescope (credit: Geremia/CC)

Using the Green Bank radio telescope, astronomers at Breakthrough Listen, a $100 million initiative to find signs of intelligent life in the universe, have detected 15 brief but powerful “fast radio bursts” (FRBs). These microwave radio pulses are from a mysterious source known as FRB 121102* in a dwarf galaxy about 3 billion light years from Earth, transmitting at record high frequencies (4 to 8 GHz),… read more

Will AI enable the third stage of life?

By Max Tegmark, PhD
August 29, 2017

life-30-cover

In his new book Life 3.0: Being Human in the Age of Artificial Intelligence, MIT physicist and AI researcher Max Tegmark explores the future of technology, life, and intelligence.

The question of how to define life is notoriously controversial. Competing definitions abound, some of which include highly specific requirements such as being composed of cells, which might… read more

Single-molecule-level data storage may achieve 100 times higher data density

Imagine storing more than 25 terabytes of data in a device the size of a U.S. quarter or British 50p coin
August 28, 2017

Data center (credit: Getty)

Scientists at the University of Manchester have developed a data-storage method that could achieve 100 times higher data density than current technologies.*

The system would allow for data servers to operate at the (relatively high) temperature of -213 °C. That could make it possible in the future for data servers to be chilled by liquid nitrogen (-196 °C) — a cooling method that is relatively cheap compared to the… read more

Black Mirror Season 4 coming to Netflix

August 25, 2017

Black Mirror ft

Netflix has announced the episode titles for “Black Mirror’s” fourth season, to premiere on the streaming service later this year: “Arkangel,” “Black Museum,” “Crocodile,” “Hang the DJ,” “Metalhead,” and “USS Callister” (an apparent Star Trek takeoff).

 

How to design a custom robot in minutes without being a roboticist

August 25, 2017

Full Robot Set ft

MIT’s new “Interactive Robogami” system will let you design a robot in minutes and then 3D-print and assemble it in about four hours.

“Designing robots usually requires expertise that only mechanical engineers and roboticists have,” says PhD student Adriana Schulz, co-lead author of a paper in The International Journal of Robotics Research and a researcher in MIT’s Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (CSAIL). “What’s… read more

Flexible ‘electronic skin’ patch provides wearable health monitoring anywhere on the body

August 23, 2017

Mobile Application of the Soft Electronic Skin ft

A radical new electronic skin monitor developed by Korean and U.S. scientists tracks heart rate, respiration, muscle movement, acceleration, and electrical activity in the heart, muscles, eyes, and brain and wirelessly transmits it to a smartphone, allowing for continuous health monitoring.

KurzweilAI has covered a number of biomedical skin-monitoring devices. This new design is noteworthy because the soft, flexible self-adhesive patch (a soft silicone material about four centimeters or 1.5… read more

A breakthrough new method for 3D-printing living tissues

August 21, 2017

3D-droplet bioprinter ft

Scientists at the University of Oxford have developed a radical new method of 3D-printing laboratory-grown cells that can form complex living tissues and cartilage to potentially support, repair, or augment diseased and damaged areas of the body.

Printing high-resolution living tissues is currently difficult because the cells often move within printed structures and can collapse on themselves. So the team devised a new way to produce tissues… read more

KurzweilAI special project August 7–18

August 4, 2017

Dear reader,

The KurzweilAI editorial/research team will be working on a special 10-day project starting Monday August 7, so we will be suspending newsletter publication until Monday August 21.

Our website will remain up and we will continue to welcome your emails. We hope you’re enjoying your summer vacation.

Thanks for your always-interesting participation,

Amara D. Angelica
Research Director/Editor, KurzweilAI

How to turn a crystal into an erasable electrical circuit

August 4, 2017

Washington State University researchers used light to write a highly conducting electric path in a crystal. This opens up the possibility of transparent, three-dimensional electronics that, like an Etch-A-Sketch, can be erased and reconfigured. On the left, a photograph of a sample with four metal contacts. On the right, an illustration of a laser drawing a conductive path between two contacts. (credit: Washington State University)

Washington State University (WSU) physicists have found a way to write an electrical circuit into a crystal, opening up the possibility of transparent, three-dimensional electronics that, like an Etch A Sketch, can be erased and reconfigured.

Ordinarily, a crystal does not conduct electricity. But when the researchers heated up crystal strontium titanate under the specific conditions, the crystal was altered so that light made it conductive. The circuit… read more

Ray Kurzweil reveals plans for ‘linguistically fluent’ Google software

Paper outlines path to understand human language inspired by the hierarchical structure of the human neocortex
August 4, 2017

Smart Reply (credit: Google Research)

Ray Kuzweil, a director of engineering at Google, reveals plans for a future version of Google’s “Smart Reply” machine-learning email software (and more) in a Wired article by Tom Simonite published Wednesday (Aug. 2, 2017).

Running on mobile Gmail and Google Inbox, Smart Reply suggests up to three replies to an email message, saving typing time or giving you ideas for a better reply.

Smarter autocompleteread more

Saturn moon Titan has chemical that could form bio-like ‘membranes’ says NASA

Cassini spacecraft also discovered "carbon chain anions" in Titan’s upper atmosphere that may be building blocks for more complex organic molecules
August 2, 2017

Azotozome (credit: James Stevenson/Cornell)

NASA researchers have found large quantities (2.8 parts per billion) of acrylonitrile* (vinyl cyanide, C2H3CN) in Titan’s atmosphere that could self-assemble as a sheet of material similar to a cell membrane.

Consider these findings, presented July 28, 2017 in the open-access journal Science Advances, based on data from the ALMA telescope in Chile (and confirming earlier observations by NASA’s Cassini spacecraft):… read more

Disney Research’s ‘Magic Bench’ makes augmented reality a headset-free group experience

Lets users see, hear, and feel animated characters, replacing glasses and other devices
July 31, 2017

Magic Bench (credit: Disney Research)

Disney Research has created the first shared, combined augmented/mixed-reality experience, replacing first-person head-mounted displays or handheld devices with a mirrored image on a large screen — allowing people to share the magical experience as a group.

Sit on Disney Research’s Magic Bench and you may see an elephant hand you a glowing orb, hear its voice, and feel it sit down next to you, for example. Or… read more

A living programmable biocomputing device based on RNA

Can sense and analyze multiple complex signals in living cells for future synthetic diagnostics and therapeutics
July 28, 2017

Similar to how computer scientists use logical language to have their programs make accurate AND, OR and NOT decisions towards a final goal, "Ribocomputing Devices" (stylized here in yellow) developed by a team at the Wyss Institute can now be used by synthetic biologists to sense and interpret multiple signals in cells and logically instruct their ribosomes (stylized in blue and green) to produce different proteins. (credit: Wyss Institute at Harvard University)

Synthetic biologists at Harvard’s Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering and associates have developed a living programmable “ribocomputing” device based on networks of precisely designed, self-assembling synthetic RNAs (ribonucleic acid). The RNAs can sense multiple biosignals and make logical decisions to control protein production with high precision.

As reported in Nature, the synthetic biological circuits could be used to produce drugs, fine chemicals, and biofuels… read more

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