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How to find time travelers

January 8, 2014

Is Jay-Z a time traveler? --- desusnice (Buzz Feed) (credit: The Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture/New York Public Library)

If there were time travelers among us, how would you find them?

That question occurred to astrophysicist Robert Nemiroff, a professor at Michigan Technological University. So he and his team developed a search strategy based on what they call “prescient knowledge.”

If they could find a mention of something or someone on the Internet before people should have known about it, that could indicate that whoever wrote it… read more

AI software smart as a 4-year-old

July 16, 2013

682px-Child_drawing

Artificial and natural knowledge researchers at the University of Illinois at Chicago have IQ-tested one of the best available artificial intelligence systems to see how intelligent it really is.

About as smart as the average 4-year-old, they will report July 17 at the U.S. Artificial Intelligence Conference in Bellevue, Wash.

The UIC team put ConceptNet 4, AI software developed at… read more

Delayed aging is better investment than cancer, heart disease research, says study

October 9, 2013

(Credit: iStockphoto)

A new multi-university study shows that research to delay aging and the infirmities of old age would have better population health and economic returns than advances in individual fatal diseases such as cancer or heart disease.

With even modest gains in our scientific understanding of how to slow the aging process, an additional 5 percent of adults over the age of 65 would be healthy rather than… read more

86 civil liberties groups and Internet companies demand an end to NSA spying

June 12, 2013

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A bipartisan coalition of 86 civil liberties organizations and Internet companies — including the Electronic Frontier Foundation, reddit, Mozilla, FreedomWorks, and the American Civil Liberties Union — are demanding swift action from Congress in light of the recent revelations about unchecked domestic surveillance, according to the Electronic Frontier Foundation.

In an open letter to lawmakers sent today, the groups call for a congressional investigatory committee, similar to… read more

If you give people virtual superpowers, will they use those abilities for good or evil?

February 4, 2013

superman

Researchers at Stanford recently investigated the subject by giving people the ability of Superman-like flight in the university’s Virtual Human Interaction Laboratory (VHIL).

While several studies have shown that playing violent videogames can encourage aggressive behavior, the new research suggests that games could be designed to train people to be more empathetic in the real world.

To test this hypothesis, the group — which… read more

Johnny Depp uploaded to supercomputer in film about the Singularity

December 13, 2012

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Johnny Depp will play Will, a scientist whose brain is uploaded into a supercomputer in Transcendence (2014), the movie’s producer told TheWrap.

The plot involves a scientist whose brain is uploaded into a supercomputer with the aim of creating the world’s first self-aware computer. A group of anti-technology terrorists assassinate Will, and his wife Evelyn uploads his brain into a prototype supercomputer.

Will asks… read more

How a choice of social learning networks can make us smarter

November 15, 2013

Experiment 1 - GIMP

The secret to why some cultures thrive and others disappear may lie in our social networks* and our ability to imitate, rather than our individual smarts, according to a new University of British Columbia study.

The study, published in the Proceedings of the Royal Academy: Biological Sciences (open access)shows that when people can observe and learn from a wider range of teachers, groups can better maintain technical skills… read more

Rabbits kept alive by oxygen injections

June 28, 2012

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Rabbits with blocked windpipes have been kept alive for up to 15 minutes without a single breath, after researchers injected oxygen-filled microparticles into the animals’ blood, Nature News reports.

The development is reminescent of a hypothetical concept called respirocytes proposed by Robert A. Freiatas, Jr. —  microscopic, artificial red blood cells that can emulate the function of its organic counterpart, only with 200 times the efficiency, so as to supplement… read more

Artificial Superintelligence: A Futuristic Approach

July 1, 2013

artificial_superintelligence_futurist_approach

Indiegogo fundraiser for Roman V. Yampolskiy‘s book. The book will present research aimed at making sure that emerging superintelligence is beneficial to humanity.

Many philosophers, futurologists and artificial intelligence researchers have conjectured that in the next 20 to 200 years a machine capable of at least human level performance on all tasks will be developed.

Since such a machine would among other things be… read more

‘Robo Brain’ will teach robots everything from the Internet

August 26, 2014

Robo Brain (credit: Saxena Lab)

Robo Brain is currently downloading and processing about 1 billion images, 120,000 YouTube videos, and 100 million how-to documents and appliance manuals, all being translated and stored in a robot-friendly format.

The reason: to serve as helpers in our homes, offices and factories, robots will need to understand how the world works and how the humans around them behave.

Robotics researchers like Ashutosh Saxena,… read more

Bringing people back from the dead

April 25, 2013

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A doctor says people can be revived several hours after they have seemingly died, BBC News reports. Should this change the way we think about death?

“While 45 minutes is absolutely remarkable and a lot of people would have written her off, we now know there are people who have been brought back, three, four, five hours after they’ve died and have led remarkably good quality lives,”… read more

Another Earth just 12 light-years away?

December 19, 2012

alpha_centauri_planet_eso

Astronomers have discovered what may be five planets orbiting Tau Ceti, the closest single star beyond our solar system whose temperature and luminosity nearly match the sun’s, Science Now reports.

If the planets are in fact there, one of them is about the right distance from the star to sport mild temperatures, oceans of liquid water, and even life, and slight changes in Tau Ceti’s… read more

Discovery of quantum vibrations in microtubules inside brain neurons corroborates controversial 20-year-old theory of consciousness

January 16, 2014

Structure of a microtubule. The ring shape depicts a microtubule in cross-section, showing the 13 protofilaments surrounding a hollow center. (Credit: Wikimedia Commons)

A review and update of a controversial 20-year-old theory of consciousness published in  Elsevier’s Physics of Life Reviews (open access) claims that consciousness derives from deeper-level, finer-scale activities inside brain neurons.

The recent discovery of quantum vibrations in microtubules inside brain neurons corroborates this theory, according to review authors Stuart Hameroff and Sir Roger Penrose. They suggest that EEG rhythms (brain waves) also derive from deeper level… read more

Carver Mead: ‘A bunch of big egos’ are strangling science

The scientific revolution has stalled, here's how to kickstart it
February 22, 2013

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ISSCC Microelectronics pioneer, Caltech professor emeritus, and all-around smart guy Carver Mead believes that the scientific revolution that began with the discovery of special relativity and quantum mechanics has stalled, and that it’s up to us to kickstart it, The Register reports.

“A bunch of big egos got in the way,” he told his audience of 3,000-plus chipheads at the International Soild-State Circuits Conference (ISSCC)… read more

Elon Musk donates $10M to ‘keep AI beneficial’

January 15, 2015

FLI

Elon Musk has decided to donate $10M to the Future of Life Institute (FLI) to run a global research program aimed at keeping AI beneficial to humanity.

Musk, who warned last August that “we need to be super careful with AI. Potentially more dangerous than nukes,” said there is now a “broad consensus that AI research is progressing steadily, and that its impact on society… read more

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