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Douglas Adams, 1952 — 2001

May 14, 2001

Lament for Douglas by Richard Dawkins.

Aaron: AI-based painter program

May 12, 2001

Aaron, an AI-based program that creates original paintings on your computer’s screen, has passed the art world’s Turing Test, says its creator, Harold Cohen, artist and University of California at San Diego art professor.

“Aaron’s output has been hung in major museums all around the world,” he said. “Since most of that happened before anybody was aware of how powerful the computer was, I have to assume… read more

A Quicker Map for Disease

May 11, 2001

Mapping common genetic diseases may turn out to be much easier. Segments of DNA shared by people with common ancestors can be much larger than previously thought — significantly decreasing the number of starting places researchers need to map genetic disorders.

Creating a Modern Ark of Genetic Samples

May 11, 2001

American Museum of Natural History scientists are building a 21st century version of Noah’s Ark.

It will contain 70,000 tissue samples immersed in liquid nitrogen and will act as a central repository for nonhuman comparative genomics. It also may one day provide source material for creating clones of endangered or extinct animals.

KurzweilAI.net newsletter published

May 10, 2001

The KurzweilAI.net newsletter, which alerts you to accelerating-intelligence news and new articles on this site, is now available, with daily or weekly options. To subscribe, click here (free).

AOL using

May 8, 2001

America Online has begun using new “context recognition” filtering technology to power its “parental control” options for kids, young teens and older teens.

The automated technology — provided by RuleSpace — recognizes eight languages and can analyze the content of 47 million webpages per day.

Robo-eels, critters on chips lead cyborg pack

May 8, 2001

Melding animals and automatons, researchers have concocted a growing number of bizarre cyborgs that could transform science and perhaps the human species itself.

Mixing and matching parts of everything from fish with robots and bacteria with microchips, scientists hope their creations someday lead to advances in medicine, warfare and environmental protection.

Critics wonder if the biotech hybrids might lead to Frankenstein-like outcomes.

Sony empowers Aibo pet robot to read e-mail

May 7, 2001

Sony has unveiled software that allows its second-generation Aibo robots to read e-mail messages and Web pages, using a speech synthesizer, in Japanese or English.

Aibo Messenger also recognizes up to 50 words, so an owner can program the pet to “fetch,” etc.

Genetically altered babies born

May 5, 2001

The first genetically altered humans have been born and are healthy. The children were born following a technique called ooplasmic transfer, which involves taking some of the contents of the donor cell and injecting it into the egg cell of a woman with infertility problems.

Up to 30 such children have been born, 15 of them as a result of one experimental programme at the Institute for Reproductive Medicine… read more

Light-driven micromachines?

May 4, 2001

Scottish researchers have devised a way to use lasers to spin even the most delicate microscopic objects without damaging them. This system may give researchers an unprecedented amount of control for manipulating objects in living cells or components of micromachines.

“Our technique could be used to drive motors, mixers, centrifuges, and other rotating parts in cheap, tiny, automated technologies of the future,” said Science author Kishan Dholakia of St.… read more

The ultimate no-brainer

May 3, 2001

In theory, a quantum computer could exploit the principles of quantum mechanics to achieve massively parallel processing. Quantum laws allow for the bizarre phenomenon of “counterfactuality”: one can glean information about a quantum event that did not actually take place.

Two British researchers have described a hypothetical scheme that could achieve just that. It would allow for probing all the possible states of a quantum computer, including that in… read more

Brain cells grown after death

May 3, 2001

Salk Institute scientists have isolated cells from the brains of human cadavers that can grow, divide and form specialized classes of brain cells.

The recovered cells had the ability to differentiate into neurons, astrocytes (nourish and protect neurons), and oligodendrocytes, which insulate neurons with a myelin sheath.

“I find it remarkable that we all have pockets of cells in our brains that can grow and differentiate… read more

Mechanized Assistants Are Becoming More Lifelike

May 2, 2001

Robotics are no longer just the stuff of science fiction. From robotic pets to assembly lines and hospitals, humanoid machines are gradually infiltrating everyday life.

A multifunction android capable of almost substituting for a general-purpose waiter is likely five to 10 years away and a food delivery robot for fast-food restaurants could be a reality very soon.

One of the first humanoids on the market will be Honda’s… read more

Protein Chips

May 2, 2001

The most important emerging tools in battling disease by reading the vast protein library of the body are micro-arrays, small chips containing thousands of protein samples that can be analyzed quickly and cheaply.

“Useful protein chips for diagnostics should be available in a couple of years,” says N. Leigh Anderson, CEO of Large Scale Proteomics.

Virtual Addiction

May 2, 2001

The Internet is a place so diverse, challenging and compelling that many of the people who go online regularly sometimes struggle with finding the right balance between life online and off.

In Virtual Addiction, Dr. David Greenfield argues that multimedia stimulation, ease of access, twenty-four-hour availability, lack of boundaries, loss of time, disinhibition, and stimulating and creative content can contribute to compulsive, even addictive Net use.

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