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The real world of Second Life

May 17, 2010


Life 2.0, a documentary about the real physical lives of Second Lifers, focuses on the people behind the avatars.

The real-life future for A.I. robots

July 1, 2001
Flesh Fair: orgas vs. mechas

Some researchers believe the A.I. film’s robots are a reasonable approximation of where robotics is headed.

Ray Kurzweil believes human emotions, especially love, are half a century away from being replicated by machines. Should that day arrive, says Kurzweil, machines will have become human.

The robot-boy David expresses an unrequited love for his human owner, all the while wishing he were “a real boy.”

To… read more

The Reality of Robot Surrogates

September 25, 2009

Telepresence will become a significant feature of the US $1.16 billion personal robotics market, says NextGen Research.

Applications include remote security and surveillance robots, monitoring by health-care professionals of elderly people taking medication at home, telecommuting, teleoperated robotic servants, remote medical diagnosis and doctor training, and remote control of robots via a brain/computer interface.

The Red Queen was right: life must continually evolve to avoid extinction

June 22, 2013


A University of California, Berkeley study has found that a lack of new emerging species contributes to extinction over a period of millions of years.

The researchers studied 19 groups of mammals that either are extinct or in decline from a past peak in diversity, as in the case of horses, elephants, rhinos and others.

The “Red Queen” hypothesis

The study was conducted… read more

The relentless rise of the digital worker

January 18, 2010

Opportunities are opening in the emerging area of “cloud labor,” where a virtual workforce can undertake any task via the Internet.

The Remarkable Pattern Of Neuronal Activity In The Brain

January 14, 2011

Researchers at Federal University of Pernambuco in Brazil have carried out the first measurements of “criticality” — which occurs in systems that are delicately balanced between inactivity, where the changes are always small, to a state of overactivity where any change tends to be runaway.neuronal avalanche distribution — in animals carrying out tasks and throughout their full sleep-wake cycle.

Ribeiro say their results show clear evidence of criticality throughout… read more

The replicator: create your own body double

June 9, 2005

Two computer scientists are trying to build an intelligent material that can replicate a physical 3-D facsimile of you from nothing more than a stream of video images.

If it works, all you’ll need to project yourself around the globe is an Internet connection and a pile of their “claytronics” self-organizing nanocomputers that can stick to each other and communicate with built-in wireless at the other end to assemble… read more

The Right to Human Enhancement

June 6, 2006

The recent Human Enhancement Technologies and Human Rights conference examined the right to use enhancing technologies, such as making inheritable changes to the human genome, controlling our own brain, and uploading human consciousness into a computer.

  • Martine Rothblatt, Terasem Foundation: “Bemes” — units of beingness — could eventually be captured, perhaps by wearable recording systems and neuron-sensing nanowires, and uploaded into computers.
  • Richard Glen Boire, Center
  • read more

    The Rise of Crowdsourcing

    May 26, 2006

    Technological advances in everything from product design software to digital video cameras are breaking down the cost barriers that once separated amateurs from professionals. Hobbyists, part-timers, and dabblers suddenly have a market for their efforts, as smart companies in industries as disparate as pharmaceuticals and television discover ways to tap the latent talent of the crowd. The labor isn’t always free, but it costs a lot less than paying traditional… read more

    The rise of ‘Digital People’

    July 15, 2004

    Tales about artificial beings have sparked fascination and fear for centuries; now the tales are turning into reality.

    The Rise of India

    December 17, 2003

    India’s technological success is challenging the definitions of globalization and Corporate America is becoming concerned. “There’s just no place left to squeeze” costs in the U.S., says Chris Disher, a Booz Allen Hamilton Inc. outsourcing specialist.

    “That’s why every CEO is looking at India, and every board is asking about it.” neoIT, a consultant advising U.S. clients on how to set up shop in India, says it has been… read more

    The Rise of the 3-D Printers

    September 30, 2010

    This year, the talk in online discussions, at conferences and among the nerdosphere is all about 3-D printing.

    One of the fascinating aspects of this technology is that it is so diverse. There are open-source products, like 3-D printers that cost as little as $650 from MakerBot, based in the Brooklyn. And there are high-end 3-D printer options from companies like Dimension Printing, which begin at around $20,000. And… read more

    The Rise of the Answerbots

    May 6, 2009

    IBM’s new DeepQA project, aimed at creating a program that can beat humans at the question-answering game of Jeopardy, and the European Large Knowledge Collider project could mean that these projects are on the path to creating a human-level AI.

    The Rise of the Body Bots

    October 10, 2005

    The most advanced exoskeleton projects are at the University of California, Berkeley, and at Sarcos Research Corp., in Salt Lake City. Both are funded under a $50 million, five-year program begun by DARPA in 2001. During the past several months, each group has been working on a second-generation exoskeleton that is a huge improvement over its predecessor.

    The rise of the emotional robot

    April 7, 2008

    Figuring out just how far humans are willing to go in shifting the boundaries towards accepting robots as partners rather than mere machines will help designers decide what tasks and functions are appropriate for robots.

    To work out which kinds of robots are more likely to coax social responses from humans, researchers led by Frank Heger at Bielefeld University in Germany are scanning the brains of people as they… read more

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