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Mar 12, 2015

Sci-Fi Sunday: Deep Space Is a Weird and Lonely Place for Humans and AI Alike

Posted by in categories: robotics/AI, space travel

By Jason Dorrier — Singularity Hubhttp://cdn.singularityhub.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/02/sci-fi-sunday-2-1000x400.jpg

The desolate reaches of deep space figure heavily in today’s sci-fi short film double feature. Space, as it turns out, is really big and empty. Until we get warp drive or discover a local wormhole—getting anywhere will be a long, lonely slog. The other thread tying the films together? They’re both by director Eli Sasich.

First up is HENRi. The film is like an episode of Life After People in space. What happens to a ship’s artificially intelligent computer after its crew dies? It gets melancholy, begins missing its human friends something terrible, and builds itself a robot body out of the ship’s rusty scrap and spare parts.

“My particular interest for this film was memory and its intrinsic relationship with consciousness,” Sasich writes in an article about the film’s making. “I also wanted a robot of my very own.”

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Mar 11, 2015

Are We Hunting A Cure For Death In All The Wrong Places?

Posted by in category: life extension

Steven Kotler — Singularity Hub
http://cdn.singularityhub.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/03/hunting-death-cure-92-1000x400.jpg

Death—that was so last century. Here in the early 21st, it’s all about life. More life. A lot more life.

Right now, anti-aging medicine is booming. For certain, the size of the market is a little hard to determine, but most estimates put it close to $300 billion. And growing.

Already, serious heavyweights like Google and Human Longevity Inc. (HLI)—the company founded by X Prize founder Peter Diamandis, stem-cell pioneer Robert Hariri, and genomics visionary Craig Venter—have entered the fray. And, of course, ideas about slowing the insults of time are everywhere.

Continue reading “Are We Hunting A Cure For Death In All The Wrong Places?” »


Mar 11, 2015

The Internet of Things Will Be a Giant Persuasion Machine

Posted by in category: internet

Jordan Pearson — Motherboard

It’s 2020, and you’ve signed up for a weight-loss program. You’re alone on a Saturday night because your significant other is out of town, none of your friends are available to catch a flick at the theatre, and a pizza is sounding pretty good. You Google the address for your favorite joint and walk over instead of ordering dro​ne delivery because it’s cheaper, and you’re old fashioned like that. Just before you order at the counter, however, your friend calls you to ask if you want to see a movie after all.

How did this happen? An algorithm analyzing your communications and monitoring your friend netw​orks learned that your partner was away, and your Facebook posts revealed that you wanted to see a movie but nobody was available. Sentiment analysis of your tweets​ suggested that you were feeling alone and a little sad.
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Mar 10, 2015

Big Data Helps Find the Achilles Heel of Each Individual Cancer

Posted by in categories: big data, biotech/medical

By Kat McGowan — Nautilus
gene data
In January, the pharmaceutical company Roche paid more than a billion dollars to buy about half of a small company called Foundation Medicine. Foundation has not invented any new drugs or life-saving devices. Most insurance companies won’t pay for its main product, and like a lot of biotech companies, it loses money.

The big bucks are for Foundation’s information. Roche, Foundation, and many other cancer researchers now believe that thinking about cancer in terms of data is going to be the way to beat the disease. The deal gives Roche access to Foundation’s database, which holds the DNA sequences of the tumors of 35,000 cancer patients, along with information about what kinds of drugs they were treated with and how good those drugs were at beating back the cancer.
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Mar 10, 2015

To Bring Virtual Reality to Market, Furious Efforts to Solve Nausea

Posted by in category: augmented reality

— The New York Times

SAN FRANCISCO — Few technologies have generated more attention than virtual reality, which promises to immerse people in 3-D games and video.

Yet for the last couple of years, the companies building virtual reality headsets have begged for patience from content creators and the public. The companies’ biggest concern: that unpolished virtual reality products could make people physically sick.

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Mar 10, 2015

Clean Disruption of Energy and Transportation: book review

Posted by in categories: energy, transportation

Clean Disruption of Energy and Transportation:
How Silicon Valley Will Make Oil, Nuclear, Natural Gas, Coal, Electric Utilities and Conventional Cars Obsolete by 2030
By Tony Seba

Book review by Jose Cordeiro


All the armies in the world are not as powerful as an idea whose time has come.
Victor Hugo, 1854

Continue reading “Clean Disruption of Energy and Transportation: book review” »


Mar 9, 2015

Computers are so easy that we’ve forgotten how to create

Posted by in categories: computing, innovation, software

Samuel Arbesman — Aeon

My family’s first computer was the Commodore VIC-20. Billed by its pitchman, Star Trek’s William Shatner, as the ‘wonder computer of the 1980s’, I have many fond memories of this antiquated machine. I used to play games on it, with cassette tapes that served as primitive storage devices. One of the cassettes we bought was a Pac-Man clone that my brother and I would play. Instead of a yellow pie with a mouth, it used racing cars.

My most vivid memories are of the games whose code I typed in myself. While you could buy software for the VIC-20 (like the racecar game), a major way that people acquired software in those days was through computer code published in the pages of magazines. Want to play a fun skiing game? Then type out the computer program into your computer, line by line, and get to play it yourself. No purchase necessary. These programs were common then, but no longer. The tens of millions of lines of code that make up Microsoft Office won’t fit in a magazine. It would take shelves-worth of books.
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Mar 9, 2015

100 Year Starship Establishes EU Hub in Brussels to Advance Space, Science and Technology Initiatives with European Partners

Posted by in categories: space, space travel

International Audacious SpaceInitiative Partners with Brussels-Based ISC Intelligence to Support EU’s Horizon 2020 Research and Innovation Goals to Meet Global Challenges on Earth

BRUSSELS/HOUSTON, March 5, 2015100 Year Starship™ (100YSS™), an independent, long-term global initiative working to ensure that the capabilities for human interstellar travel, beyond our solar system to another star, exist within the next 100 years today announced the establishment of its hub in the European Union. The inaugural 100YSS@EUä Hub debuted at the ES:GC2 (European Science: Global Challenges Global Collaboration) Conference held by the Brussels partner ISC Intelligence.

The 100YSS@EU Hub will further the 100YSS mission and facilitate robust transatlantic and international collaboration in research and innovation, science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) capacity building, entrepreneurship and education projects between organizations, companies, universities and individuals, as well as support the objectives of the EU’s Horizon 2020. The U.S.-based 100YSS began with a competitive seed-funding grant from DARPA (Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency).

Horizon 2020 is the largest EU Research and Innovation programme ever and is aimed at implementing the Innovation Union, a Europe 2020 flagship initiative designed to secure Europe’s global competitiveness.

Continue reading “100 Year Starship Establishes EU Hub in Brussels to Advance Space, Science and Technology Initiatives with European Partners” »


Mar 9, 2015

Striking the Balance on Artificial Intelligence

Posted by in category: robotics/AI

By — Slate
The dangers of AI.

In January, I joined Stephen Hawking, Elon Musk, Lord Martin Rees, and other artificial intelligence researchers, policymakers, and entrepreneurs in signing an open letter asking for a change in A.I. research priorities. The letter was the product of a four-day conference (held in Puerto Rico in January), and it makes three claims:
  • Current A.I. research seeks to develop intelligent agents. The foremost goal of research is to construct systems that perceive and act in a particular environment at (or above) human level.
  • A.I. research is advancing very quickly and has great potential to benefit humanity. Fast and steady progress in A.I. forecasts a growing impact on society. The potential benefits are unprecedented, so emphasis should be on developing “useful A.I.,” rather than simply improving capacity.
  • With great power comes great responsibility. A.I. has great potential to help humanity but it can also be extremely damaging. Hence, great care is needed in reaping its benefits while avoiding potential pitfalls.

In response to the release of this letter (which anyone can now sign and has been endorsed by more than 6,000 people), news organizations published articles with headlines like:

Mar 8, 2015

Why Robots Will Be The Biggest Job Creators In World History

Posted by in category: robotics/AI

John Tammy — Forbes

As robots increasingly adopt human qualities, including those that allow them to replace actual human labor, economists are starting to worry. As the Wall Street Journal reported last week, some “wonder if automation technology is near a tipping point, when machines finally master traits that have kept human workers irreplaceable.”

The fears of economists, politicians and workers themselves are way overdone. They should embrace the rise of robots precisely because they love job creation. As my upcoming book Popular Economics points out with regularity, abundant job creation is always and everywhere the happy result of technological advances that tautologically lead to job destruction.

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