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May 23, 2017

Google AI beats Chinese master in ancient game of Go

Posted by in categories: entertainment, robotics/AI

BEIJING A Google artificial intelligence program defeated a Chinese grand master at the ancient board game Go on Tuesday, a major feather in the cap for the firm’s AI ambitions as it looks to woo Beijing to gain re-entry into the country.

In the first of three planned games in the eastern water town of Wuzhen, the AlphaGo program held off China’s world number one Ke Jie in front of Chinese officials and Google parent Alphabet’s (GOOGL.O) chief executive Eric Schmidt.

The victory over the world’s top player — which many thought would take decades to achieve — underlines the potential of artificial intelligence to take on humans at complex tasks.

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May 23, 2017

Sex Equality: I’m With Her

Posted by in categories: education, ethics, policy, rants, sex

Lifeboat Editorial

Lydia Begag is a high school junior at Advanced Math and Science Academy in Massachusetts. She got our attention when she published an editorial critical of the school’s uniform policy. With eloquence and articulation, she laid out a brilliant and persuasive argument that the policy was anything but uniform. It was ambiguous, arbitrary and discriminatory.


I’m with Her
Ideas Regarding Sex Equality
—Forget the Rest

Political and social turmoil are everywhere we turn, especially in the early months of 2017. Lunch conversations, small talk at work, and, of course, the media we consume have all become related to a singular topic: the United States government and its workings. Emotionally, I want to curl up in a ball and block out the political nonsense being spewed left and right until the day I die (pun very much intended)—but I feel intellectually obliged to confront the controversy.

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May 23, 2017

Microsoft Plans to Create DNA Storage System Data Center within a Decade

Posted by in category: computing

MIT Technology Review has reported that researchers working for the company are optimistic they will create an apparatus that replaces tape drives within this decade.

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May 23, 2017

China’s belt and road infrastructure plan also includes science

Posted by in categories: economics, engineering, nanotechnology, quantum physics, robotics/AI, science, sustainability

China is also planning to use the initiative to flex its scientific and engineering muscles, officials made clear at a 2-day Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation that ended yesterday in Beijing. “Innovation is an important force powering development,” Xi said in a speech to the opening session of the forum. And so the initiative will include technical cooperation in fields including artificial intelligence, nanotechnology, quantum computing, and smart cities. He also mentioned the need to pursue economic growth that is in line with sustainable development goals, and that rests on environmentally friendly approaches.


Investment also planned in artificial intelligence, nanotechnology, and other fields.

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May 23, 2017

Self-driving cars could cost America’s professional drivers up to 25,000 jobs a month, Goldman Sachs says

Posted by in categories: economics, employment, robotics/AI, transportation

The full impact of self-driving cars on society is several decades away — but when it hits, the job losses will be substantial for American truck drivers, according to a new report from Goldman Sachs.

When autonomous vehicle saturation peaks, U.S. drivers could see job losses at a rate of 25,000 a month, or 300,000 a year, according to a report from Goldman Sachs Economics Research.

Truck drivers, more so than bus or taxi drivers, will see the bulk of that job loss, according to the report. That makes sense, given today’s employment: In 2014, there were 4 million driver jobs in the U.S., 3.1 million of which were truck drivers, Goldman said. That represents 2 percent of total employment.

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May 22, 2017

Robot cop begins patrolling the streets of Dubai tomorrow night

Posted by in categories: robotics/AI, security

A robotic police officer is making its debut on the streets of Dubai tomorrow night — and I hope everyone there has watched Robocop.

The uniformed bot greeted visitors to the Gulf Information Security and Expo Conference. After the conference wraps on Tuesday, it will be deployed to the streets of Dubai.

The robot rolls around on wheels. It can salute, bow, speak in multiple languages, and recognize hand gestures from up to 1.5 meters away, according to the Khaleej Times. It also has a tablet lodged in its chest which civilians can use to report crimes, according to The Daily Mail. It was designed by the Dubai police, with assistance from IBM’s Watson and Google.

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May 22, 2017

Scientists Have Created Liquid Metal Drops That Move Like T-1000

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, privacy, robotics/AI

Despite the NSA confirming the existence of Skynet, we all should be grateful that technology has not yet advanced to the stage where a liquid metal T-1000 terminator can shape-shift its way into your home and demand to see John Connor.

But scientists in China are making a solid effort make a less sinister version of this scenario at reality, by creating liquid metal droplets that could one day make “self-powered liquid metal machines” a real possibility.

Because of their excellent conductivity, low toxicity, and shape-shifting abilities, liquid metal alloys have been put to good use in targeting cancer cells, creating nature-inspired self-fuelled motors for robots, and many other liquid metal biomaterials.

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May 22, 2017

MIT used bacteria to create a self-ventilating workout shirt

Posted by in categories: bioengineering, wearables

Many rain jackets have zippers at the armpits that, when opened, let out perspiration and funk that would otherwise stay trapped inside. But researchers from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology have created a prototype of a wearable that vents itself automatically in response to sweat—and it does so using bacteria.

Wen Wang, the lead author of a new study about biohybrid wearables in the journal Science Advances, says that the garment with bacteria-triggered vents represents just a stepping stone on their way to creating shirts that do something even better: produce a pleasant smell when you sweat.

To make the prototype garment, the researchers experimented with different structures of latex and bacteria, says Wang, a bioengineer and former research scientist at MIT’s Media Lab and the university’s department of chemical engineering. One such configuration involved just two layers: bacteria on one side, and latex on the other. But what worked best for creating the vented wearable was coating latex on both sides with a type of bacteria called B. subtilis.

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May 22, 2017

These Lowe’s employees are now wearing exosuits to work

Posted by in categories: cyborgs, food

Lowe’s is making it easier for employees to stock shelves.

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May 22, 2017

A fundamental quantum physics problem has been proved unsolvable

Posted by in categories: energy, media & arts, quantum physics

For the first time a major physics problem has been proved unsolvable, meaning that no matter how accurately a material is mathematically described on a microscopic level, there will not be enough information to predict its macroscopic behaviour.

The research, by an international team of scientists from UCL, the Technical University of Music and the Universidad Complutense de Madrid – ICMAT, concerns the spectral gap, a term for the energy required for an electron to transition from a low-energy state to an excited state.

Spectral gaps are a key property in semiconductors, among a multitude of other materials, in particular those with superconducting properties. It was thought that it was possible to determine if a material is superconductive by extrapolating from a complete enough microscopic description of it, however this study has shown that determining whether a material has a spectral gap is what is known as “an undecidable question”.

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