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Mar 18, 2014

Driverless Cars, Meet Captainless Ships: Autonomous Vehicles To Take To The Sea

Posted by in categories: automation, drones

— Singularity Hub
Unmanned-bridge-C-Thomas-Porathe-lg
If artificial intelligence is sophisticated enough to guide a car through Bay Area traffic, surely it can pilot a ship safely from port to port on the open sea. That’s the premise of a European Union-funded project called MUNIN tasked with designing largely automated cargo ships by the beginning of 2015.

The project got a push from Rolls-Royce plc, the major British military contractor that splintered from the car company with the same name in 1973, when an executive hinted that Rolls-Royce may design such systems and that they would bring down the industry’s costs.

“Sometimes what was unthinkable yesterday is tomorrow’s reality. So now it is time to consider a roadmap to unmanned vessels of various types,” Oskar Levander, the company’s vice present of innovation, engineering and technology said in a recent company publication.

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Mar 18, 2014

A Guy Who Owns A Bitcoin-Only Electronics Store Is Revealing Everything On Reddit

Posted by in category: bitcoin

— Business Insider

Screen Shot 2014 03 18 at 9.25.21 AM

Reddit user “Leeburg” has written a post on his nine months and counting of experience in running a Bitcoin-only storefront online. The site is called CoinsForTech, and it deals in smartphones, computers, and all order of electronic gadgets wanted by people all over the world.

Leeburg is able to serve these people because Bitcoin is a geographically agnostic digital currency. Rather than get a bank involved in converting obscure currencies, CoinsForTech simply waits for confirmation that a customer’s payment has arrived at the appropriate Bitcoin wallet. At that point, it can convert to U.S. dollars or do whatever else it would like with the Bitcoins — the payment’s arrived and the irreversible nature of Bitcoin transactions means it’s here to stay.

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Mar 18, 2014

Robotics in reach: Your smartphone could be a robot brain

Posted by in category: robotics/AI

by — RoboHub

António Câmara is a man with a vision.

Despite the widespread adoption of computers and digital technology over the last few decades, how we interact with that technology, and use technology to interact with the world around us has remained largely unchanged. For example, for over 30 years, the primary means of interacting with a computer has been the keyboard and mouse. Certainly there have been updates to the technology – trackpads, for example, have become a popular mouse alternative – but that essential method of interaction remains the same. Even touch screens, perhaps the most widespread change in how people interact with technology, date back to the 1980’s.

However, the widespread adoption and increasing power of smartphones has opened up exciting opportunities for emerging technology; opportunities that Câmara’s company YDreams is exploring. Since its founding in 2000, YDreams has been involved in advancing mobile phone technology. It developed the first location-based games with a visual interface and continues to explore the new possibilities for human-computer interaction, augmented reality and robotics that smartphone technology supplies.

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Mar 17, 2014

Book Review: The Singularity is Near by Ray Kurzweil (2005)

Posted by in categories: human trajectories, singularity, transhumanism

Originally published at h+ Magazine

Ray Kurzweil’s well-received book, The Singularity is Near, is perhaps the best known book related to transhumanism and presents a view of inevitable technological evolution that closely resembles the claim in the later (2010) book What Technology Wants by Wired co-founder Kevin Kelly.

Kurzweil describes six epochs in the history of information. Each significant form of information is superseded by another in a series of stepping stones, exposing a universal will at work within technology towards extropy (this is seen by Kevin Kelly as intelligence and complexity attaining their maximum state possible). The first epoch is physics and chemistry, and is succeeded by biology, brains, technology, the merger of technology and human intelligence and finally the epoch in which the universe “wakes up”. The final epoch achieves what could be called godhood for the universe’s surviving intelligences (p. 15).

Continue reading “Book Review: The Singularity is Near by Ray Kurzweil (2005)” »


Mar 16, 2014

Local Motors will 3D print an EV live in Chicago in September

Posted by in categories: 3D printing, disruptive technology

By  Sebastian Blanco - AutoBlogGreen

Local Motors Rally Fighter

We’ve heard of EV kit cars that can take a week (or an hour) to build, but how long do you think it would take to build an EV from scratch, using this new-fangled 3D-printing technology? If the technology from Local Motors works as advertised, it should take no more than the five days. The public will get to see for ourselves during this year’s International Manufacturing Technology Show in Chicago, IL in September. Two years ago, at the 2012 International Manufacturing Technology Show, Local Motors built its Rally Fighter (pictured) on the grounds during the six-day event.

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Mar 16, 2014

Technology: Rise of the replicants

Posted by in category: robotics/AI

By Richard Waters — Financial Times


If Daniel Nadler is right, a generation of college graduates with well-paid positions as junior researchers and analysts in the banking industry should be worried about their jobs. Very worried.

Mr Nadler’s start-up, staffed with ex–Google engineers and backed partly by money from Google’s venture capital arm, is trying to put them out of work.

Its algorithms assess how different securities are likely to react after the release of a market-moving piece of information, such as a monthly employment report. That is the kind of work usually done by well-educated junior analysts, who pull data from terminals, fill in spreadsheets and crunch numbers. “There are several hundred thousand people employed in that capacity. We do it with machines,” says Mr Nadler. “We’re not competing with other [tech] providers. We’re competing with people.”

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Mar 16, 2014

Artificial intelligence could automate half of U.S. jobs in 20 years

Posted by in category: robotics/AI

Mar 14, 2014

Bitcoin “vault” Xapo offers solution to theft and a tiny nest egg upon signup

Posted by in categories: bitcoin, cybercrime/malcode, hacking

By - GigaOM

Coin image adapted from Flickr user Antana

One of the reason bitcoins get so much attention is because people keep stealing them. Every week it seems that another “secure” wallet service gets plundered by tech-savvy thieves.

That’s one of the appeals of Xapo, a startup that just received a $20 million investment to build out its secure, insured “vault” for bitcoins.

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Mar 14, 2014

Robots Playing Ping Pong: What’s Real, and What’s Not?

Posted by in category: robotics/AI

By Evan Ackerman — IEEE Spectrum

Really, Kuka? You got us all excited for this match between one of your cool new robots and a world champion table tennis player. We were thinking to ourselves, “Wow, Kuka wouldn’t have set this whole thing up unless it was actually going to be a good match! Maybe we’ll see some amazing feats of high speed robot arms, vision systems, and motion tracking!”

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Mar 14, 2014

A ‘Babelfish’ could be the web’s next big thing, says AI expert

Posted by in categories: internet, robotics/AI


The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy: Ford Prefect and Arthur Dent in the BBC's adaptation
Though the idea of the “Babelfish” — a thing able to translate between any two languages on the fly — was created by the author Douglas Adams as a handy solution to the question of how intergalactic travellers could understand each other, it could be reality within 25 years. At least, that is, for human language.

Prof Nigel Shadbolt, a close associate of the web inventor Sir Tim Berners-Lee, says that the idea of automatic machine translation “on the fly” is achievable before the world wide web turns 50.

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