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Artificial Superintelligence: A Futuristic Approach

July 1, 2013


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

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

February 4, 2013


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

‘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


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

Johnny Depp uploaded to supercomputer in film about the Singularity

December 13, 2012


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

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

January 15, 2015


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

Humanized pig organs to revolutionize transplantation

Initial focus: the almost 400,000 people who die from lung disease, including cancer, each year
May 7, 2014

(Credit: iStock)

Genome pioneer J. Craig Venter’s Synthetic Genomics Inc. (SGI) is teaming up with United Therapeutics Corporation subsidiary Lung Biotechnology Inc. to use synthetic genomic advances to develop humanized pig lungs.

The collaboration will focus on creating organs that are safe and effective for use in human patients in need of transplantation, with an initial focus on lung diseases — addressing specifically the urgent need… read more

Another Earth just 12 light-years away?

December 19, 2012


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


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

Is this the biggest breakthrough in propulsion since the jet engine?

November 30, 2012


Reaction Engines Ltd. has announced what is says is the “biggest breakthrough in aerospace propulsion technology since the invention of the jet engine.”

Critical tests have been successfully completed on the key technology for SABRE, an engine that will enable aircraft to reach the opposite side of the world in under four hours, or to fly directly into orbit and return in a single stage,… read more

‘Big data’ and cloud computing empower smart machines to do human work, take human jobs

January 28, 2013

The "bookBots" in the Hunt Library on Centennial Campus at NC State University will house over 2 million volumes of books. The Hunt Library will be one of the most high-tech, innovative libraries around the world. (Credit: NC State - College of Design)

From giant corporations to university libraries to start-up businesses, employers are using rapidly improving technology to do tasks that humans used to do.

That means millions of workers are caught in a competition they can’t win against machines that keep getting more powerful, cheaper and easier to use, the Washington Post reports.

To better understand the impact of technology on jobs, The Associated Press analyzed employment… read more

A fuel cell for the home

June 3, 2014

Production of the cell stacks at the Fraunhofer IKTS (credit: Fraunhofer IKTS)

A simple fuel cell for home use has been developed by Fraunhofer Institute for Ceramic Technologies and Systems IKTS in Germany and heater manufacturer Vaillant.

With an output of one kilowatt, they cover the average current consumption for a four-person household.

Fuel cells convert natural gas directly into electrical energy. They are many times more efficient than are combustion engines, such as the car engine.… read more

The sixth mass extinction is here, say Stanford researchers

June 19, 2015

extinctions ft

There is no longer any doubt: we are entering a mass extinction that threatens humanity’s existence.

That’s the conclusion of a new study by a group of scientists including Paul Ehrlich, the Bing Professor of Population Studies in biology and a senior fellow at the Stanford Woods Institute for the Environment. Ehrlich and his co-authors call for fast action to conserve threatened species, populations and habitat, but… read more

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