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China’s next-generation Internet is a world-beater

March 12, 2013

Artist rendering of city-sized cloud computing and office complex being built in China (IBM)

An open-access report published in the Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society last week details China’s advances in creating a next-generation Internet that is on a national level and on a larger scale than anything in the West, New Scientist reports.

At the root of the problem are “two major gaps in the architecture of the Internet”, according to a report from the… read more

Ability to ‘think about thinking’ not limited to humans

Another distinction between "humans" and "animals" removed
April 4, 2013

Chimpanzee (credit: Thomas Lersch/Wikimedia Commons)

Humans’ closest animal relatives, chimpanzees, have metacognition — knowing what one knows, according to new research by scientists at Georgia State University and the University at Buffalo.

“The demonstration of metacognition in nonhuman primates has important implications regarding the emergence of self-reflective mind during humans’ cognitive evolution,” the research team noted.

Metacognition is the ability to recognize one’s own cognitive states. For example, a game show… read more

How the Internet of everything will change the world

November 8, 2012

Internet-of-Everything

From the Internet of Things (IoT), where we are today, we are just beginning to enter a new realm: the Internet of Everything (IoE), where things will gain context awareness, increased processing power, and greater sensing abilities, says Cisco in their blog.

Add people and information into the mix and you get a network of networks where billions or even trillions of connections create unprecedented opportunities and… read more

3D printing may put global supply chains out of business: report

October 11, 2012

make_replicator_2

Will 3D printing make global supply chains unnecessary? That’s a real possibility, according to a recent report from Transport Intelligence, Smart Planet reports.

3D printing (or “additive manufacturing,” as it’s called in industrial circles) takes offshore manufacturing and brings it back close to the consumer. It has enormous potential to shift the trade balance. Goods will be cheaper to reproduce within the domestic market, versus manufacturing and then shipping them… read more

First direct brain-to-brain interface between two animals

Remote collaborative brain linking, networks of rat brains solving problems, mind-swapping ... what's going on here?
March 1, 2013

brain_2_brain_rats

Researchers have electronically linked the brains of pairs of rats for the first time, enabling them to communicate directly to solve simple behavioral puzzles.

They even brain-linked two animals thousands of miles apart — one in Durham, North Carolina and one in Natal, Brazil.

The researchers think linking multiple brains could form the first “organic computer.”

“Our previous studies with brain-machine interfaces had convinced us… read more

UN urges people to eat insects to fight world hunger

May 14, 2013

800px-Insect_food_stall

The report by the UN Food and Agriculture Organization says that eating insects could help boost nutrition and reduce pollution, BBC News reports.

It notes than over 2 billion people worldwide already supplement their diet with insects.

Wasps, beetles and other insects are currently “underutilized” as food for people and livestock, the report says.

The authors point out that insects are nutritious, with… read more

IBM reveals five innovations that will change our lives within five years

The era of cognitive systems: when computers will, in their own way, see, smell, touch, taste and hear
December 18, 2012

IBM announced today the seventh annual “IBM 5 in 5” — a list of innovations that have the potential to change the way people work, live and interact during the next five years, based on market and societal trends as well as emerging technologies from IBM’s R&D labs. This one is focused on cognitive systems.

Touch

In the next five years, industries… read more

Global Trends 2030: Alternative Worlds

December 12, 2012

share of power

The National Intelligence Council has issued Global Trends 2030: Alternative Worlds, “intended to stimulate thinking about the rapid and vast geopolitical changes characterizing the world today and possible global trajectories during the next 15-20 years.”

The report sees four megatrends:

Individual empowerment will accelerate substantially during the next 15-20 years owing to poverty reduction and a huge growth of the global middle class, greater educational attainment,… read more

Converting algae to crude oil — a million-year natural process — in minutes

December 20, 2013

Algae slurry

Engineers at the Department of Energy’s Pacific Northwest National Laboratory have created a continuous chemical process that produces useful crude oil from harvested algae in minutes, described in the journal Algae Research.

Utah-based Genifuel Corp. has licensed the technology and is working with an industrial partner to build a pilot plant using the technology.

How to create ‘instant oil’

A slurry of… read more

Robot learns ‘self-awareness’

August 24, 2012

nico-mirror.streams_desktop_medium

“Only humans can be self-aware.”

Another myth bites the dust. Yale roboticists have programmed Nico, a robot, to be able to recognize itself in a mirror.

Why is this important? Because robots will need to learn about themselves and how they affect the world around them — especially people.

Using knowledge that it has learned about itself, Nico is able to use a mirror as an instrument… read more

Sea level rise ‘locking in’ quickly, cities threatened

July 30, 2013

climate_change_threatens_cities

Measurements tell us that global average sea level is currently rising by about 1 inch per decade. But in an invisible shadow process, our long-term sea level rise commitment or “lock-in” — the sea level rise we don’t see now, but which carbon emissions and warming have locked in for later years — is growing 10 times faster, and this growth rate is accelerating, writes Benread more

The Singularity Is Near movie to be available this Summer

June 18, 2012

TheSingularityIsNearMoviePromo

The Singularity Is Near: a True Story About the Future movie will be available to the public this Summer, KurzweilAI announced today (June 16, 2012).

The movie will be available for downloading and via DVD.

A new website, singularity.com/themovie, launched today, includes a movie teaser and links to Facebook and Twitter. You can also sign up to be notified when… read more

We are now one year away from global riots, complex systems theorists say

September 11, 2012

Riots

What’s the number one reason we riot? Hunger — food becoming too scarce or too expensive. So argues a group of complex systems theorists in Cambridge, and it makes sense, Motherboard reports.

In a 2011 paper, researchers at the Complex Systems Institute (CSI) unveiled a model that accurately explained why the waves of unrest that swept the world in 2008 and 2011 crashed when they… read more

The BRAIN Initiative: BAM or BUST?

April 9, 2013

President Barack Obama is introduced by Dr. Francis Collins, Director, National Institutes of Health, at the BRAIN Initiative event in the East Room of the White House, April 2, 2013 (credit: Official White House Photo by Chuck Kennedy)

What is the BRAIN* Project about? What are its goals?

“Well, nobody knows, actually. I certainly don’t know. But it appears that no one else knows either.” So says Scicurious, a PhD in Physiology and currently a postdoc in biomedical research, on her The Scicurious Brain blog on Scientific American.

“Basically, BRAIN is a very fancy initiative, with a fancy name … and so far,… read more

Are we taking AI seriously enough?

AI success would be the biggest event in history, but maybe the last, warn Hawking, Russell, Tegmark, and Wilczek.
May 5, 2014

MQ-9 Reaper unmanned combat air vehicle (credit: General Atomics)

“Dismissing the notion of highly intelligent machines as mere science fiction,” as portrayed in current movies, would be a mistake, and “potentially our worst mistake in history,” write leading scientists Stephen Hawking, Stuart Russell, Max Tegmark, and Frank Wilczek, in The Independent.

AI research is now progressing rapidly, and “will probably pale against what the coming decades will bring, the scientists suggest. “Success in creating AI would be… read more

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