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The Future of AI

June 12, 2006

To explore the future of AI, IEEE Intelligent Systems invited well-known AI scientists to contribute articles speculating about where AI is headed and how we might get there.

This special issue commemorates the 50th anniversary of the 1956 Dartmouth summer workshop, which brought together the field’s lead¬ing researchers.

Articles may be downloaded free.

Problems That Lie Ahead

June 12, 2006

We’re approaching a critical period in the history of humankind. The choices we make — or don’t make — over the next five to fifteen years could have consequences that will be felt for centuries to come.

A Sixth Sense for a Wired World

June 12, 2006

What if, seconds before your laptop began stalling, you could feel the hard drive spin up under the load? Or you could tell if an electrical cord was live before you touched it?

For the few people who have rare earth magnets implanted in their fingers, these are among the reported effects — a finger that feels omagnetic fields along with the normal sense of touch.

Browse the Web in Three Dimensions

June 12, 2006

An XML format called X3D that can “represent and communicate 3D scenes and objects” on the Web is starting to take hold.

A Dose Of Genius

June 12, 2006

The use of “smart pills” that increase concentration, focus, wakefulness and short-term memory is soaring.

Trust me, I’m a robot

June 12, 2006

Roboticists are trying to find ways to prevent robots from harming people.

Regulating the behavior of robots is going to become more difficult in the future, since they will increasingly have self-learning mechanisms built into them. And there is the question of unpredictable failures.

Nano-tip could play integral part in heat-assisted data storage devices

June 12, 2006

Using a tip with a nano heat source that never touches the surface, scientists have shown how to heat a localized surface with no contact. The discovery could open the doors to heat-assisted data storage devices and nano thermometers.

Rare counting ability induced by temporarily switching off brain region

June 12, 2006

Applying transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) to the left anterior temporal lobe allow for temporary exceptional counting and calculating abilities similar to those of autistic savants, according to Allan Snyder of Australian National University.

By temporarily inhibiting activity in the left anterior temporal cortex, the TMS allows the brain’s number estimator to act on raw sensory data, without it having already been automatically grouped together into patterns or shapes.

Teachers envisage the science textbooks of the future

June 12, 2006

Computer simulations, inquiry-based learning, programs that use Web-linked embedded illustrations, and other online techniques are replacing printed textbooks.

Congressman concerned about superintelligence becoming self-aware

June 9, 2006

Rep. Brad Sherman (D-Calif.) said at a House Science Committe meeting Wednesday that based on the opinions of experts, there is reason to believe that in about 25 years a supercomputer will be built that “exceeds human intelligence,” Inside Higher Ed reports.

Sherman said he hopes that some of the future researchers that the bills would cultivate will be steered toward the potentially emerging field of making… read more

Touch sensor is as sensitive as your fingertip

June 8, 2006

An artificial touch sensor as sensitive as a human fingertip could one day let surgeons remotely “feel” tissue through an endoscope and help robots pour drinks without spilling a drop.

Error-check breakthrough in quantum computing

June 8, 2006

An error-checking method that could prove crucial to the development of a practical quantum computer has been developed.

Physicists at the University of California, Santa Barbara, have discovered a new way to check how much the information stored inside a quantum computer has decayed. This is an impressive feat since measuring the state of a qubit normally destroys its quantum properties.

Be careful with this brave new world

June 8, 2006

Where do we draw the line between eradicating genetic disease and enhancing a child?

In his new book, After Dolly: The Uses and Misuses of Human Cloning, Ian Wilmut considers the moral and ethical implications that the cloning of Dolly the sheep raises for mankind.

Mysterious carbon excess found in infant solar system

June 8, 2006

Astronomers detected unusually high quantities of carbon, the basis of all terrestrial life, in an infant solar system around nearby star Beta Pictoris, 63 light years away.

Arts and Crafts for the Digital Age

June 8, 2006

PicoCricket Kit is a craft kit for the digital age. It includes electronic sensors, motors, sound boxes, connecting cables and a palm-size, battery-powered, programmable computer.

Children as young as 9 can invent interactive jewelry, fanciful creatures that dance, musical sculptures and more, said Mitchel Resnick, an assistant professor of learning research at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology Media Lab.

Its central tool is PicoBlocks software, a point-and-click, drop-and-drag… read more

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