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Feb 4, 2015

Drones Will Be Everywhere Watching, Listening, and…Planting Millions of Trees?

Posted by in category: drones

By — SingularityHub
http://cdn.singularityhub.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/01/drones-will-be-everywhere-2-1000x400.jpg
More and more people are getting to know drones, and not just the military kind.

Drones were one of the hottest gifts over the holidays because they’re not only getting easier to fly (though not yet a no-brainer), they’re also pretty affordable. In fact, a toy drone recently crash landed on the White House lawn, prompting President Obama to call for more regulations (something the FAA is already working on).

While these aircraft show the growing accessibility of drones, they belie their true potential.

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Feb 3, 2015

As the Powerful Argue AI Ethics, Might Superintelligence Arise on the Fringes?

Posted by in categories: robotics/AI, software, supercomputing

By — SingularityHub

http://cdn.singularityhub.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/01/artificial-intelligence-code-1-1000x400.jpg

Last year, Elon Musk and Stephen Hawking admitted they were concerned about artificial intelligence. While undeniably brilliant, neither are AI researchers. Then this week Bill Gates leapt into the fray, also voicing concern—even as a chief of research at Microsoft said advanced AI doesn’t worry him. It’s a hot topic. And hotly debated. Why?

In part, it’s because tech firms are pouring big resources into research. Google, Facebook, Microsoft, and others are making rapid advances in machine learning—a technique where programs learn by interacting with large sets of data.

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Feb 3, 2015

Back-up brains: The era of digital immortality

Posted by in category: neuroscience

Feb 2, 2015

The Mathematical Wonders behind Bitcoin

Posted by in categories: bitcoin, business, education, encryption, finance, hacking, hardware, information science, innovation, privacy

Vires in Bitcoin
Bitcoin as a cryptocurrency has had its moments of strength and weakness. The technology behind bitcoins, however, is a different story. While skeptics don’t expect a lot from Bitcoin as an alternative currency because of its volatility, they do have high hopes for the technological innovation that powers it, believing that it can be further developed to create something much powerful than Bitcoin itself.

To those who know Bitcoin as a great way of transacting online, but don’t completely understand its dynamics, it’s time to get acquainted with the cryptocurrency’s mathematical wonders that make anonymous, faster, and cheaper transactions of moving funds on the internet possible.

Most of us know that Bitcoin uses the SHA-256 hashing algorithm, but hashing serves a different function and purpose from that of digital signatures. Hashing actually provides proof that a message has not been changed because running the same hash always generates similar result.

Any message, regardless of the size can go into a hash function where the algorithm breaks it down, combines the parts, and “digests” it until it makes a fixed-length outcome called “digest”. However, a good hashing algorithm possesses some critical characteristics, in which the same message always produces the same result, as mentioned above, and it only works in one direction.

Continue reading “The Mathematical Wonders behind Bitcoin” »

Feb 2, 2015

Google Pledges $3 Million to Singularity University to Make Graduate Studies Program Free of Charge

Posted by in category: education

Singularity Hub

http://cdn.singularityhub.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/01/singularity-university-metal-logo-1000x400.jpg

Google, a long-time supporter of Singularity University (SU), has agreed to a two-year, $3 million contribution to SU’s flagship Graduate Studies Program (GSP). Google will become the program’s title sponsor and ensure all successful direct applicants get the chance to attend free of charge.

Held every summer, the GSP’s driving goal is to positively impact the lives of a billion people in the next decade using exponential technologies. Participants spend a fast-paced ten weeks learning all they need to know for the final exam—a chance to develop and then pitch a world-changing business plan to a packed house.

Continue reading “Google Pledges $3 Million to Singularity University to Make Graduate Studies Program Free of Charge” »

Feb 2, 2015

The next decade in tech: Three defining forces to watch

Posted by in category: human trajectories

By — TechRepublic
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Something is going to happen in the tech industry in next several years that will surprise us. It will shock us. And the whole industry will make a left turn.

It may be a product. It may be a technology. It may be a new company. We’ve seen it happen over and over again with developments from the integrated circuit to the Macintosh computer to the web browser to the Google search engine. Often, innovation comes from unexpected places.

But, there are also developments we see gathering long before they ever become an industry standard or a dominating force. Right now, there are three of these forces that are preparing to define both the tech industry and society over the next 10 years.

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Feb 1, 2015

RoboCorp — Get ready for companies that run themselves

Posted by in category: bitcoin

by — Aeon

Distributed Autonomous Corporations (DACS)  will see cloud robots manage supply chains free from direct human supervision. Photo by Gallery Stock

It is January 2014 and at least 400 people are packed into a conference hall in Miami Beach. High-profile journalists stand against the walls. Powerful venture capitalists crouch in the aisles. Banking and finance gurus crane their necks from the back of the room. They’re waiting for one of the most anticipated presentations of the 2014 North American Bitcoin Conference. A massive surge in interest from the media has just pushed the price of a single Bitcoin to around $900, up nearly 800 per cent in three months. Bitcoin Miami is the largest ever conference of its kind. In this moment, the possibilities for Bitcoin seem limitless.

What appears to be a teenage boy mounts the stage. The crowd goes quiet. In fact, Vitalik Buterin – all acne-splotched face, spidery fingers and shining eyes – is just a few days shy of 20. He surveys the audience nervously for a moment, then kicks off his presentation by lauding the benefits of the Bitcoin payment network – its speed, security, economy and autonomy.

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Feb 1, 2015

How to Understand the Super Bowl—With Physics!

Posted by in categories: entertainment, physics

By — Wired

New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady throws a pass during a game against the Indianapolis Colts, Jan. 3, 2015.

The Super Bowl isn’t just a football game. It’s an opportunity to discuss physics. Let’s look at some of the interesting physics concepts that go with the game.

Deflategate and Ball Pressure

I don’t know about you, but I’m getting a little weary of the whole “deflategate” thing. In case you missed the controversy, it appears that some of the footballs in the playoff game between the Indianapolis Colts and the New England Patriots had below-acceptable inflation pressure. Now, it’s true that if you put a balloon outside on a cold day, the balloon deflates with the colder temperature. Could something like this have happened to the deflategate balls? The answer is: probably not. If you want more details, Chad Orzel has an excellent piece that looks at the physics of pressurized football. He shows experimentally that a ball in a 50°F football game wouldn’t drop 2 PSI due solely to the temperature change.

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Jan 31, 2015

Innovation Takes the Exponential Express

Posted by in category: innovation

By Jason Bloomberg, Intellyx — Wired

innovation_wall

We’re all familiar with Moore’s Law: the observation that the number of transistors in an integrated circuit doubles every two years or so. We’re also familiar with the plethora of corollaries to the law, pertaining to everything from network speed to hard drive capacity to the number of pixels in our digital cameras. It seems that the natural behavior for technology advancement follows an exponential growth curve.

However, not all innovation follows such a curve. Organizational and process improvements, in particular, seem to proceed at a glacial pace. Management fads come and go, and they don’t even seem to be getting much better, let alone better at a faster rate.

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Jan 30, 2015

Robber barons and silicon sultans

Posted by in categories: business, economics

The Economist

IN THE 50 years between the end of the American civil war in 1865 and the outbreak of the first world war in 1914, a group of entrepreneurs spearheaded America’s transformation from an agricultural into an industrial society, built gigantic business empires and amassed huge fortunes. In 1848 John J. Astor, a merchant trader, was America’s richest man with $20m (now $545m). By the time the United States entered the first world war, John D. Rockefeller had become its first billionaire.

In the 50 years since Data General introduced the first mini-computers in the late 1960s, a group of entrepreneurs have spearheaded the transformation of an industrial age into an information society, built gigantic business empires and acquired huge fortunes. When he died in 1992, Sam Walton, the founder of Walmart, was probably America’s richest man with $8 billion. Today Bill Gates occupies that position with $82.3 billion.

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