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Video game playing found beneficial for the brain

November 1, 2013

Super Mario 64 (credit: Nintendo)

Playing the Super Mario 64 video game causes increased size in brain regions responsible for spatial orientation, memory formation and strategic planning as well as fine motor skills, a new study conducted at the Max Planck Institute for Human Development and Charité University Medicine St. Hedwig-Krankenhaus has found.

The positive effects of video gaming may also be useful in therapeutic interventions targeting psychiatric disorders.

To investigate… read more

Moral machines

Oops! Now other countries have drones.
November 29, 2012

google_car

Google’s driver-less cars are already street-legal in three states, California, Florida, and Nevada, and some day similar devices may not just be possible but mandatory.

Eventually (though not yet) automated vehicles will be able to drive better, and more safely than you can; no drinking, no distraction, better reflexes, and better awareness (via networking) of other vehicles.

Within two or three decades the difference between automated driving and… read more

Neanderthals were not inferior to modern humans, says study

May 5, 2014

Geico got it right (credit: Geico)

The widely held notion that Neanderthals were dimwitted and that their inferior intelligence allowed them to be driven to extinction by the much brighter ancestors of modern humans is not supported by scientific evidence, according to researcher Paola Villa at the University of Colorado Boulder.

Neanderthals thrived in a large swath of Europe and Asia between about 350,000 and 40,000 years ago. They disappeared after our ancestors,… read more

Fear of thinking war machines may push US to exascale

June 23, 2013

Tianhe-2-supercomputer

China’s retaking of the global supercomputing crown was discussed at a congressional forum this week on cognitive computing, Computerworld reports.

Unlike China and Europe, the U.S. has yet to adopt and fund an exascale development program.

Rep. Randy Hultgren (R-Ill.), who talked about China’s new 33.89-petaflop system, Tianhe-2, is finalizing a bill “that will push our nation toward exascale” — the American… read more

78,000 sign up for one-way mission to Mars

May 10, 2013

Mars One

Mars One says it has received applications from more than 78,000 people in more than 120 countries for the Mars One astronaut selection program, in hopes of becoming a Mars settler in 2023.

Most applications come from the U.S. (17324), followed by China (10241), United Kingdom (3581), Russia, Mexico, Brazil, Canada, Colombia, Argentina and India.

The most popular candidate (for site visitors) so far is Andersread more

Scientists discover mechanism that could reduce obesity

December 12, 2012

Lightmatter_lab_mice

An international team of scientists led by Virginia Commonwealth University Massey Cancer Center researcher Andrew Larner, M.D., Ph.D., has successfully reversed obesity in mice by manipulating the production of an enzyme known as tyrosine-protein kinase-2 (Tyk2).

In their experiments, the scientists discovered that Tyk2 helps regulate obesity in mice and humans through the differentiation of a type of fat tissue known as brown adipose tissue (BAT).… read more

Hangout on Air: Which technologies will have the biggest impact by 2025?

November 2, 2013

London Futurists

Which five futuristic technologies are likely to have the biggest impact by 2025? And what can people start doing, from today, to prepare for the changes and to ensure positive outcomes?

This London Futurists Hngout on Air featured a live discussion between futurists Kevin Russell,Peter Rothman, Riva-Melissa Tez, Clyde DeSouza, and José Luis Cordeiro.

When: 7 pm to 8.30 pm London time (2 pm to 3:30 pm EST) on… read more

New augmented-reality glasses due out in 2013

November 21, 2012

Vuzix Smart Glasses M100 (credit: Vuzix Corporation)

Google Glass now has a competitor: Vuzix Corporation’s Vuzix Smart Glasses M100 — designed for on-the-go data access from your smartphone and the Internet.

It will have a WQVGA color 16×9 screen, look like a 4” cellphone screen at 14” and will work on either eye, and will be available commercially for $500 in mid-2013, Vuzix CEO Paul J. Travers told KurzweilAI.

Like Google Glass, the Vuzix M100 contains a virtual… read more

Spooky alignment of quasar axes across billions of light-years with large-scale structure

November 21, 2014

This artist's impression shows schematically the mysterious alignments between the spin axes of quasars and the large-scale structures that they inhabit that observations with ESO’s Very Large Telescope have revealed. These alignments are over billions of light-years and are the largest known in the Universe. The large-scale structure is shown in blue and quasars are marked in white with the rotation axes of their black holes indicated with a line around them. This picture is for illustration only and does not depict the real distribution of galaxies and quasars. (Credit: ESO/M. Kornmesser)

New observations with ESO’s Very Large Telescope (VLT) in Chile have revealed alignments over the largest structures ever discovered in the Universe. A European research team has found that the rotation axes of the central supermassive black holes in a sample of quasars are parallel to each other over distances of billions of light-years. The team has also found that the rotation axes of these quasars tend to… read more

Introducing a new feature of IBM’s Watson: The Debater

Can extract information from Wikipedia, "understand" it, and reason from that information, IBM claims
May 5, 2014

(Credit: IBM)

“Can a computer with access to large bodies of information like Wikipedia extract relevant information, digest and reason on that information and understand the context … and present it in natural language, with no human intervention?”

That’s how John Kelly III, Senior Vice President and Director, IBM Research, introduced a new feature of Watson called “The Debater” (starts at 45:25 in video below) at an April 30, 2014… read more

Georgia Tech professor proposes another alternative to the Turing test

The Lovelace 2.0 Test of Artificial Creativity and Intelligence assesses a computer's capacity for human-level intelligence by its ability to create, rather than to converse or deceive
November 20, 2014

But would mathematician-programmer Countess Lady Lovelace have approved?

Georgia Tech associate professor Mark Ried has developed a new kind of “Turing test” — a test proposed in 1950 by computing pioneer Alan Turing to determine whether a machine or computer program exhibits human-level intelligence.Most Turing test designs require a machine to engage in dialogue and convince (trick) a human judge that it is an actual person. But creating certain types of art also requires intelligence, leading Reid to consider… read more

Are jobs obsolete?

September 8, 2011

We need a new productivity-based model to cope with human work replaced by technology (case in point: U.S. Post Office vs. email), says Douglas Rushkoff in a special to CNN. It’s not about jobs, he says, it’s about productivity. Technology lets us bypass corporations, make our own work — a new model.

“The question we have to begin to ask ourselves is not how do we employ… read more

Computers to grade tests and essays at college level: EdX

April 5, 2013

student-laptop-cheering

 

Imagine taking a college exam and receiving a grade back instantly, your essay scored by a software program. Then immediately redoing the test to try to improve your grade.

EdX, the nonprofit enterprise founded by Harvard and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology to offer courses on the Internet, has just introduced such software. It can grade student essays and short written answers, freeing… read more

Google’s self-driving car prototype: no steering wheel, brake, or accelerator

May 30, 2014

Google car

Google is exploring what fully self-driving vehicles would look like without a steering wheel, accelerator pedal, or brake pedal. “Our software and sensors do all the work,” says the company.

The early prototypes have sensors that remove blind spots, and can detect objects out to a distance of more than two football fields in all directions, which is especially helpful on busy streets with lotsread more

How to save money by making stuff with 3D printers

July 31, 2013

RepRap print

A Michigan Technological University researcher is predicting that personal manufacturing, like personal computing before it, is about to enter the consumer mainstream in a big way.

“For the average American consumer, 3D printing is ready for showtime,” said Associate Professor Joshua Pearce.

The reason is financial: the typical family can already save a great deal of money by making things with a 3D printer… read more

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