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May 17, 2015

Robots Might Be the Necessary Future of Urban Pet Ownership — Evan Ackerman | IEEE Spectrum

Posted by in category: robotics/AI

“‘If artificial pets can replicate the human benefits obtained from live pets, does that mean that the human–animal emotional bond is solely dependent on ourselves and the image that we project on a live or artificial interactive partner? Does it ethically matter if the benefits of keeping artificial pets outweigh the risks, sparing other live pets’ potential animal welfare issues?’” Read more

May 17, 2015

How Excited Would Buckminster Fuller Be at the Prospect of 3D Printed Buildings? — By Jason Dorrier SingularityHub

Posted by in categories: 3D printing, architecture

The Experimenters is an excellent new web series of animated interviews with some of the great minds and original thinkers of the last century. Its first episode highlights Buckminster Fuller, best known for his popularization of the geodesic dome—but also for being a one-of-a-kind thinker, inventor, and personality. Read more

May 16, 2015

So, the NSA Has an Actual Skynet Program — Kim Zet Wired

Posted by in categories: privacy, robotics/AI, security, Skynet, supercomputing, surveillance

We’ve suspected it all along—that Skynet, the massive program that brings about world destruction in the Terminator movies, was just a fictionalization of a real program in the hands of the US government. And now it’s confirmed—at least in name.

As The Intercept reports today, the NSA does have a program called Skynet. But unlike the autonomous, self-aware computerized defense system in Terminator that goes rogue and launches a nuclear attack that destroys most of humanity, this one is a surveillance program that uses phone metadata to track the location and call activities of suspected terrorists. A journalist for Al Jazeera reportedly became one of its targets after he was placed on a terrorist watch list. Read more

May 16, 2015

Then and Now: 8 Fun Examples of Exponential Change From the Last Decade — By Peter Diamandis SingularityHub

Posted by in categories: futurism, human trajectories

http://cdn.singularityhub.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/05/10-years-exponential-change-1000x400.jpg

It’s hard to believe, but…

Ten years ago…

  • The first video was uploaded to YouTube.
  • Facebook, then just a year old, dropped “the” from its old URL “thefacebook.com” after acquiring “facebook.com” for $200K.
  • An early prototype of an autonomous car completed the DARPA Grand Challenge for the first time.
  • The term “drone” meant a military weapon system.
  • Bitcoin and blockchain didn’t exist, and wouldn’t be created for three more years.
  • Android was a small startup that Google had just acquired.
  • There were 6.4 billion humans on Earth, only ~1 billion were online, and none of them had heard of Uber or AirBnb. Read more

May 15, 2015

First Look: Oculus Rift Shipping in Early 2016 — By Jason Dorrier SingularityHub

Posted by in category: virtual reality

Since the first Oculus Rift virtual reality headset prototype, people have breathlessly asked, “When will a consumer version be ready?” Oculus played coy and stuck to its guns. When we think it’s ready, they said.

Well, evidently, it’s ready. Read more

May 15, 2015

Virtually Human — A Transhumanist Poem by Veronika Lipinska

Posted by in categories: entertainment, fun, robotics/AI

What follows is a work of transhumanist poetry by the Anglo-Polish lawyer, Veronika Lipinska, Lifeboat Foundation advisory board member and Steve Fuller’s co-author of The Proactionary Imperative: A Foundation for Transhumanism (Palgrave, 2014). The Polish sources of transhumanism remain underexplored, but they range across theology and literature. The ‘Polish Brethren’ were a radical 16–17th century Protestant sect who hosted the heretic Fausto Sozzini — the model for Faust — who laid the theological groundwork for such characteristic Enlightenment religious doctrines as Unitarianism and Deism, both of which posited a more immediate connection between the human and the divine than the established churches found comfortable. In more recent times, most transhumanists will be familiar with the science fiction of Stanislaw Lem, but still more recently the 1980 Nobel Prize winner for Literature, Czeslaw Milosz, has penned a poem, ‘After Enduring’, dedicated to cosmologist Frank Tipler’s efforts to infer Christian eschatology from the physics of the Singularity. This poem is a modest follow-up for a new generation.

Virtually human

He played with my head
Got me hardwired
Connected me to the world
And now I can see everything

Continue reading “Virtually Human -- A Transhumanist Poem by Veronika Lipinska” »

May 15, 2015

Walking Like a Human Is a Stroll in the Park — By Jason Dorrier Singularityhub

Posted by in category: robotics/AI

Humans evolved over millions of years into today’s upright, bipedal walkers. Now, the evolution of some robots is on a similar track. Only the pace is much faster. In recent decades, we’ve gone from stationary robots performing repetive tasks to wheeled and four-legged robots. And now, bipedal bots are on the rise.

Boston Dynamics has famously engineered some of the most advanced bipedal bots in recent memory (e.g., Petman and Atlas). But they aren’t the only lab working on two-legged robots that can walk like us.

Read more

May 14, 2015

Daimler’s Driverless 18-Wheelers Approved to Cruise Nevada’s Highways — By Jason Dorrier SingularityHub

Posted by in category: driverless cars

This summer, while road tripping through Nevada, you may pull up to the sleek silver cab of an 18-wheeler, and get a shock—the driver isn’t looking at the road, and his hands aren’t on the wheel. Is he…reading?

Nevada, one of the first states to write legislation regulating the testing and operation of driverless vehicles, just okayed Daimler’s futuristic Freightliner Inspiration driverless trucks for the highway. But truck drivers need not fear for their jobs—these trucks won’t replace any humans just yet. They’re here to help. Read more

May 14, 2015

A Quantum Computer Is a Delicate Beast: Video Tour of D-Wave’s Black Box (Part I) — By Jason Dorrier SingularityHub

Posted by in categories: computing, quantum physics

http://cdn.singularityhub.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/05/dwave-quantum-computer-vid-1-1000x400.jpg

Quantum computing is an old idea. But in the practical sense, it’s still very early days. If you actually want your own ready-made quantum computer—you won’t have to do much comparison shopping.

The D-Wave series of quantum computers have been making waves in recent years. USC and Lockheed Martin acquired a D-Wave One in 2011, and Google went in on a D-Wave Two with NASA in 2013. Read more

May 13, 2015

More STEM education won’t protect our jobs from robots — Toby Walsh | The Conversation

Posted by in category: robotics/AI

More STEM education won't protect our jobs from robots

“If robots are going to reduce how much we work, the humanities will help us fill time that we are not working in constructive ways. Wouldn’t that be great? If the 21st century became famous for an explosion in great works of art, paintings that changed the way we see the world, symphonies that make us weep, and plays that touch the soul? Robots might one day be able to help make such art, too.”‘ Read more