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Oct 6, 2015

UN panel warns against ‘designer babies’ and eugenics in ‘editing’ of human DNA

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

Warning that rapid advances in genetics make “designer babies” an increasing possibility, a United Nations panel today called for a moratorium on “editing” the human genome, pending wider public debate lest changes in DNA be transmitted to future generations or foster eugenics.

While acknowledging the therapeutic value of genetic interventions, the panel stressed that the process raises serious concerns, especially if the editing of the human genome should be applied to the germline, thereby introducing hereditary modifications.

“Gene therapy could be a watershed in the history of medicine and genome editing is unquestionably one of the most promising undertakings of science for the sake of all humankind,” the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) said in a news release on a report by its International Bioethics Committee (IBC).

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Oct 5, 2015

Australian engineers just built a quantum logic gate in silicon for the first time

Posted by in categories: computing, materials, particle physics, quantum physics

For decades, researchers have been trying to build a computer that harnesses the enormous potential of quantum mechanics. Now engineers from the University of New South Wales (UNSW) in Australia have overcome the final hurdle, by creating a quantum logic gate in silicon — the same material that today’s computer chips are made from.

The newly developed device allows two quantum bits — or qubits — to communicate and perform calculations together, which is a crucial requirement for quantum computers. Even better, the researchers have also worked out how to scale the technology up to millions of qubits, which means they now have the ability to build the world’s first quantum processor chip and, eventually, the first silicon-based quantum computer.

Continue reading “Australian engineers just built a quantum logic gate in silicon for the first time” »

Oct 5, 2015

MIT’s SOLVE Program Launched 05–08 October 2015

Posted by in categories: economics, education, energy, environmental, food, futurism, health, water


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“Solve is a cross-disciplinary program led by MIT to convene the people and organizations that are addressing the world’s most pressing challenges in healthcare, energy, the environment, education, food & water, civil infrastructure and the economy.”

Live stream

Oct 5, 2015

This Startup Wants To Plant One Billion Trees a Year Using Drones

Posted by in categories: drones, engineering, food, information science, robotics/AI

The future of Eco conservation?


Deforestation downs 10 billion trees around the globe annually. Replanting trees by hand is slow, expensive, and barely puts a dent in reversing the damage. But one startup wants to use drones that can reforest our increasingly tree-strapped Earth, on a big enough scale to replace slow and expensive hired humans.

The small company, called BioCarbon Engineering, says unmanned aerial vehicles are a great way of covering ravaged woodlands with seedlings that can repopulate the area’s tree population. Around the world, forests and jungles are still being leveled due to lumber overproduction, strip surface mining, urban expansion, and land use for agriculture.

Continue reading “This Startup Wants To Plant One Billion Trees a Year Using Drones” »

Oct 5, 2015

A quantum logic gate in silicon built for the for the first time (w/video)

Posted by in categories: computing, encryption, quantum physics, supercomputing

A Game Changer in Quantum Computing:
The ingredients for superfast computers could be nearly in place. For the first time, researchers have demonstrated that two silicon transistors acting as quantum bits can perform a tiny calculation.

The advance represents the final physical component needed to realise the promise of super-powerful silicon quantum computers, which harness the science of the very small — the strange behaviour of subatomic particles — to solve computing challenges that are beyond the reach of even today’s fastest supercomputers. Potentially transforming fields like encryption and the search for new pharmaceuticals.

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Oct 5, 2015

Flying Robot Bees Can Now Swim, Too

Posted by in category: robotics/AI

And sink!

Continue reading “Flying Robot Bees Can Now Swim, Too” »

Oct 5, 2015

Ray Kurzweil on Artificial Intelligence: Don’t Listen to Stephen Hawking and Elon Musk

Posted by in categories: Elon Musk, Ray Kurzweil, robotics/AI

There’s a rift emerging among the members of the tech super-geniuses club. It’s not about matters of human intelligence, though. Physicist Stephen Hawking and Tesla /SpaceX founder Elon Musk have both recently warned that our sci-fi nightmares about artificial intelligence could actually come true in our lifetimes.

Here’s what Musk, for instance, said during a recent stop at MIT:

I think we should be very careful about artificial intelligence. Our biggest existential threat is probably that … There should be some regulatory oversight at the national and international level, just to make sure that we don’t do something very foolish. With artificial intelligence we are summoning the demon. In all those stories where there’s the guy with the pentagram and the holy water, it’s like, he’s sure he can control the demon. Didn’t work out.

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Oct 5, 2015

This Prosthetic Could Restore Memory In Dementia Victims

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, cyborgs, electronics, information science, neuroscience

Memory loss is a truly devastating part of dementia, but this invention aims to fix that by bypassing the damage, and repairing long term memory.

Alzheimer’s and dementia are complex diseases, and there’s currently no effective treatment. Given the unpleasant nature of the disease, there’s an urgent need for results. Instead of taking the usual biological route, one team has constructed a prosthetic made up of a small electrode array — which can help re-encode short term memory into long term.

Built using decades of research, the device operates using a new algorithm based on accumulated neural data. New sensory information is normally translated into a quick memory and transported as an electrical signal through the hippocampus, potentially for long term storage. If this region is damaged then the process is disturbed, and new experiences fail to be encoded. Alzheimer’s patients can often remember childhood events, but struggle with recent experiences; specifically because of this hippocampal damage.

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Oct 5, 2015

Why I’m running for president—and got a chip implanted in my hand

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, computing, cyborgs, geopolitics, life extension, sex, transhumanism, virtual reality

My new and first article for The Daily Dot. It’s about transhumanism and the Immortality Bus tour:

Continue reading “Why I’m running for president—and got a chip implanted in my hand” »

Oct 5, 2015

This device could harvest energy from the air to power our home gadgets

Posted by in categories: electronics, energy, internet, mobile phones

A British tech company has come up with a new way of powering wearables and smart home devices: a device called the Freevolt, which can harvest the ambient energy from radio waves and turn it into a small amount of electricity for low-energy gadgets to tap into.

As CNET reports, this level of energy can’t keep a smartphone running, but it could be enough to power that remote sensor on your garden gate. If sensors and beacons have a wireless energy source plus wireless connectivity, it opens up more possibilities for kitting out our homes and gardens with these kind of devices.

“Companies have been researching how to harvest energy from Wi-Fi, cellular, and broadcast networks for many years,” Drayton Technologies CEO and chairman, Lord Drayson, said in a press statement. “But it is difficult, because there is only a small amount of energy to harvest and achieving the right level of rectifying efficiency has been the issue — up until now. For the first time, we have solved the problem of harvesting usable energy from a small radio frequency signal.”

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