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Aug 27, 2016

People will lie to robots to avoid hurting their feelings

Posted by in categories: food, robotics/AI

In a test lab, Bert2 — a humanoid robot with three separate displays, allowing its eyes and mouth to express various emotions — performed in three different ways. One was silent and made zero mistakes, while a second was mute and programmed to make a single blunder (which it would then correct, quietly). A third was able to speak and accept simple “yes” or “no” responses from the user. In a basic kitchen scenario, the vocal android would apologise for its mistakes — after dropping an egg, for instance — and give a heads-up when it was about to try a new technique.

While the slowest, it was the robot that most people preferred.

But here’s where it gets interesting. At the end of the exchange, the robot would ask for a job. Some participants were reluctant to say no — even if they preferred the silent, more efficient robot — because they thought it would upset the machine. “It felt appropriate to say no, but I felt really bad saying it,” one of the test participants said. “When the face was really sad, I felt even worse. I felt bad because the robot was trying to do its job.”

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Aug 27, 2016

Students Need More Access to Authentic Science Research Programs — By Camila Lock, Michael Pedicini, Jessica Quenzer, Maris Wagner | Math for America blog

Posted by in categories: education, science


“Our students do not require multiple years of experience, large amounts of money, or sophisticated lab equipment to do authentic science.”

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Aug 27, 2016

WebTorrent: 250K Downloads & Strong With Zero Revenue

Posted by in categories: innovation, internet

The desktop variant of innovative torrent client WebTorrent has now clocked up an impressive 250,000 downloads, its founder reports. In a market where competing clients are often closed source or commercial ventures, WebTorrent promises to be transparent and non-commercial, forever. And that’s despite Netflix knocking at the door.

Stanford University graduate Feross Aboukhadijeh is passionate about P2P technology. The founder of P2P-assisted content delivery network PeerCDN (sold to Yahoo in 2013), Feross is also the inventor of WebTorrent.

In its classic form, WebTorrent is a BitTorrent client for the web. No external clients are needed for people to share files since everything is done in the user’s web browser with Javascript. No browser plugins or extensions need to be installed, nothing needs to be configured.

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Aug 27, 2016

SpaceX’s biggest rival is developing “space trucks” to ferry cargo in an orbital economy

Posted by in categories: business, economics, Elon Musk, military, space travel

The big kahuna of American rocket companies is the United Launch Alliance, a joint venture of Boeing and Lockheed Martin that until this year held a monopoly on the lucrative business of launching rockets for the US Air Force.

But that monopoly is no more. The company faces a new era of competition as Elon Musk’s maturing SpaceX aims to fly more space missions in one year than ULA does, and as Jeff Bezos’ Blue Origin breaks ground on a new factory for orbital rockets.

ULA, for its part, isn’t sitting still. “I came here to transform the company, position it in this new competitive marketplace with all these different players,” says Tony Bruno, who took the CEO job at ULA in August 2014 after a three-decade career in Lockheed’s missile-defense business. In his first full year in charge, ULA returned more than $400 million in operating profits to its two owners, but the company must prepare for when its final no-bid launch contract expires in 2019.

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Aug 27, 2016

If You Edit Genes Using CRISPR, Can You Undo the Effects?

Posted by in categories: bioengineering, biotech/medical, genetics

#CRISPR can be used to alter the genes of not only one organism, but an entire species, through a method of inheritance known as a gene drive. But what happens if something goes awry?

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Aug 27, 2016

Aubrey de Grey — Pushing back Death

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, finance, life extension

Even insurance companies are taking longevity seriously now!


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Aug 27, 2016

The Gist

Posted by in category: food

Join our network of mentors and thought-leaders in the real food revolution.

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Aug 27, 2016

The ‘star in a jar’ that could provide limitless energy on Earth: US Government reveals experiments to create compact fusion plants

Posted by in categories: government, nuclear energy, physics

It would provide humankind with near limitless energy, ending dependence on fossil fuels for generating electricity.

US Government physicists have backed plans to create ‘a star in a jar’ — replicating on Earth the way the sun and stars create energy through fusion.

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Aug 27, 2016

‘Terminators’ will be built by our enemies, says top US military chief

Posted by in categories: military, robotics/AI

What he says is mostly true. Russia and China will build robot soldiers. Russia is actually ahead of the US in robotic tank type vehicles. But, i doubt these countries will hesitate to raise an army of robot combat soldiers when that becomes practical, probably around 2025’ish, which would force the US to field their own.

The future of war will involve autonomous robots instead of humans, according to Air Force General and Vice Chair of the Joint of Chiefs of Staff Paul Selva, who warned enemies could build “Terminator”-like machines to fight in battlefields.

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Aug 27, 2016

Ray Kurzweil Explores How Self-Driving Cars Will Choose Between Life or Death

Posted by in categories: computing, information science, Ray Kurzweil, robotics/AI, transportation

Driving a motor vehicle requires making tough choices in the heat of the moment. Whether slamming on the brakes in traffic or speeding up before a light turns red, split-second decisions are often a choice between the lesser of two evils. Sometimes, a choice could lead to bodily injury or even a loss of life.

As more self-driving cars reach the road, life-and-death decisions once made by humans alone will increasingly shift to machines. Yet the idea of giving that responsibility over to a computer may be unsettling to some.

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