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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

Psychedelic drugs should be legally reclassified, says psychiatrist

Pre-1967 research showed "beneficial change in many psychiatric disorders"
May 28, 2015

(credit: Salvador Dali)

Psychedelic drugs such as LSD are much less harmful than claimed and should be legally reclassified to allow further research on their medical use, says James Rucker, a psychiatrist and honorary lecturer at the Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology and Neuroscience, King’s College London.

These substances “were extensively used and researched in clinical psychiatry” before their prohibition in 1967 and many trials of these drugs in the 1950s and 1960s… 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

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

Huge ultra-realistic outdoor 3D displays without glasses planned for next year

The boundaries of reality are about to dissolve
January 19, 2015

Billboards of the future could show astonishing 3D effects - due to a new technology developed in Austria. (Credit: TriLite)

Vienna University of Technology (TU Vienna) physicists have designed a radical autostereoscopic (“glasses-free”) laser display that will send different ultrathin laser beams directly to individual viewers’ eyes, with full sunlight readability. The objective: create a realistic 3D illusion that changes as viewers walk or fly around the virtual object, with up to several thousand 3D viewing zones — each zone displaying a different view.

TU Vienna spinoff… read more

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

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

Electrical signatures of consciousness in the dying brain

Higher levels of brain activity than in waking state
August 15, 2013

(Credit: iStockphoto)

A University of Michigan animal study shows that shortly after clinical death, in which the heart stops beating and blood stops flowing to the brain, rats display brain activity patterns characteristic of conscious perception.

The “near-death experience” (NDE) reported by cardiac arrest survivors worldwide may be grounded in science, according to research at the University of Michigan Health System.

“This study, performed in… 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

The dilemma of human enhancement

August 20, 2015

Crosstalks

How far can science push the limits of human life?

That was the theme of a Crosstalks webcast today, “The dilemma of human enhancement,” available for download.

The show addressed questions like “Can we prevent people from dying? With implants, nanotechnology, artificial body parts and smart drugs we can enhance human physiology beyond our current limitations. But should we really pursue this? And can… read 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

White House petition proposes space solar power as national energy and space goal

Would task the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy
March 10, 2013

spsalpha

A petition to the White House to task the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy to examine space solar power (SSP) as a new energy and space goal for the U.S. has been posted on the White House WE the PEOPLE website, with a goal of 100,000 signatures by April 3, 2013.

The petition, initiated by SSP pioneer John C. Mankins,… 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

Break gridlock on global challenges or risk an unstable future, says report

October 28, 2013

now_for_the_long_term

The Oxford Martin Commission for Future Generations has launched a report, Now for the Long Term, on the successes and failures in addressing global challenges over recent decades.

Published by the Oxford Martin School at Oxford University, the report calls for a radical shake-up in politics and business to deliver progress on climate change, reduce economic inequality, improve corporate practices, and address the chronic… 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

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