science + technology news

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‘Something very big is coming: our most important technology project yet,’ hints Stephen Wolfram

November 14, 2013


In a blog post Wednesday, Stephen Wolfram said that “recently something amazing has happened” that is “profoundly important in the technological world, and beyond.”

He said he and his team have figured out how to take all the things they have been working on in the context of Wolfram|Alpha, Mathematica, CDF and so on — computational knowledge, symbolic programming,… read more

Hawking predicts uploading the brain into a computer

September 26, 2013


Professor Stephen Hawking has predicted that it could be possible to preserve a mind as powerful as his on a computer — but not with technology existing today, The Telegraph reports.

Hawking said the brain operates in a way similar to a computer program, meaning it could in theory be kept running without a body to power it.

“I think the… read more

Advanced humanoid Roboy to be ‘born’ in nine months

December 26, 2012


Meet Roboy, “one of the most advanced humanoid robots,” say researchers at the Artificial Intelligence Laboratory of the University of Zurich.

Their 15 project partners and over 40 engineers and scientists are constructing Roboy as a tendon-driven robot modeled on human beings (robots usually have their motors in their joints, giving them that “robot” break-dance look), so it will move almost as elegantly as a… read more

Tens of billions of potentially habitable, Earth-size planets in our galaxy, say astronomers

The nearest such planet may be within 12 light-years
November 6, 2013

Artist’s representation of the “habitable zone,” the range of orbits where liquid water is permitted on the surface of a planet. The authors find that 22% of Sun-like stars harbor a planet between one and two times the size of Earth in the habitable zone (credit: UC Berkeley)

One in five stars in our galaxy like the Sun have planets about the size of Earth and a surface temperature conducive to life, astronomers at UC Berkeley and University of Hawaii, Manoa now estimate.

The estimate was based on a statistical analysis of all the Kepler observations of NASA’s Kepler space telescope of the 200 billion stars in our galaxy.

Given that about… read more

Is growth over?

December 28, 2012

Growth in real GDP per capita, with actual (from .2 to 2.5 percent per year) and hypothetical paths (credit: Robert J. Gordon)

Global growth from the current industrial revolution (computers, the web, mobile phones) is slowing — especially in advanced-technology economies, and long-term economic growth may grind to a halt, Robert J. Gordon, Stanley G. Harris Professor in the Social Sciences and Professor of Economics at Northwestern University, has argued.

Now economist Paul Krugman counters in The New York Times that we are moving toward a… read more

bulletin board | Kurzweil joins Google to work on new projects involving machine learning and language processing

December 14, 2012

Google logo

Ray Kurzweil confirmed today that he will be joining Google to work on new projects involving machine learning and language processing.

“I’m excited to share that I’ll be joining Google as Director of Engineering this Monday, December 17,” said Kurzweil.

“I’ve been interested in technology, and machine learning in particular, for a long time: when I was 14, I designed software that wrote original music,… read more

Ray Kurzweil’s How to Create a Mind to be published Nov. 13

September 21, 2012


Ray Kurzweil’s next book — How to Create a Mind: The Secret of Human Thought Revealed* — will be published Nov. 13, Viking announced today. It can now be pre-ordered.

In the book, Kurzweil explores the most important science project since the human genome: reverse-engineering the brain to understand precisely how it works, then applying that knowledge to create vastly intelligent machines.

read more

What is DARPA’s Plan X?

October 19, 2012

Plan X (credit: DARPA)

On October 15 and 16, DARPA outlined its plans for Plan X to more than 350 software engineers, cyber researchers, and human-machine interface experts and solicited their feedback, in preparation for anticipated release in the next month of the program’s Broad Agency Announcement (BAA), to be posted to

DARPA‘s Plan X program,. the first of its kind, will attempt to create revolutionary technologies for… read more

Faster-than-light neutrinos dealt another blow

January 5, 2012


A team including Shmuel Nussinov of Tel Aviv University in Israel says the OPERA report that neutrinos faster than light also violates the principle of the conservation of energy.

The energy available to faster-than-light neutrinos from the CERN source (pions) is too small by a factor of 10 to explain the speeds reported, they said.

Ref.: Ramanath Cowsik1, Shmuel Nussinov, and Utpal Sarkar, Superluminal Neutrinos at… read more

New video series aims to popularize transhumanism; Kickstarter launched

November 18, 2013


The newly formed British Institute of Posthuman Studies (BIOPS), A UK think-tank that aims to popularize transhumanism, has launched a Kickstarter campaign to raise the £65,000 needed to produce a series of six in-depth, animated video investigations of transhumanist themes and ideas during 2014.

BIOPS has created Posthuman: An Introduction to Transhumanism (below), a series introduction focusing on superlongevity (Aubrey de Grey’s ideas), superintelligence (Ray Kurzweil’s),… read more

Brain abnormalities associated with casual marijuana use

April 17, 2014

Cannabis leaf (credit: Wikimedia Commons)

Young adults who used marijuana only recreationally showed significant abnormalities in two key brain regions that are important in emotion and motivation, scientists report.

The study was a collaboration between Northwestern Medicine and Massachusetts General Hospital/Harvard Medical School.

This is the first study to show casual use of marijuana is related to major brain changes. It showed the degree of brain abnormalities in these regions is directly related… read more

Political posts

November 6, 2012

Last evening, I posted a video and a blog item related to the U.S. economy and election, meant to stimulate a one-time discussion on a subject that is normally off-topic on KurzweilAI. Some readers found them offensive or irrelevant to the science/technology focus of KurzweilAI. I have now removed them, with apologies to anyone who was offended. It was solely my decision to post them, based on my own political… read more

Will robots create new jobs when they take over existing ones?

April 19, 2013


At a robotics industry event organized by business blog Xconomy in Menlo Park last week, people working on better industrial robots claimed their robotics technology will actually boost the U.S. economy and create more jobs, even if some jobs do disappear forever, MIT Technology Review reports.

“We’re replacing jobs that people don’t want to do and really shouldn’t be doing,” said Aldo Zini, whose company… read more

Nearly half of US jobs could be at risk of computerization, Oxford Martin School study shows

Transport, logistics, and office roles most likely to come under threat
September 19, 2013

probability of computerisation featired

Nearly half of U.S. jobs could be susceptible to computerization over the next two decades, a study from the Oxford Martin Programme on the Impacts of Future Technology suggests.

The study, a collaboration between Dr. Carl Benedikt Frey (Oxford Martin School) and Dr. Michael A. Osborne (Department of Engineering Science, University of Oxford), found that jobs in transportation, logistics, and office/administrative support are at “high… read more

The future of work in America

September 4, 2012


Technology and the Web are destroying far more jobs than they create. We will need to develop a “Third Way” based on community rather than the Market or the State to adapt to this reality, novelist and economic commentator Charles Hugh Smith writes on Business Insider.

“The Internet is destroying vast income streams that once supported tens of thousands of jobs in industries from finance to music.… read more

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