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Oct 13, 2015

Does The Potential of Automation Outweigh The Perils?

Posted by in categories: automation, disruptive technology, driverless cars, economics, military

These days, it’s not hard to find someone predicting that robots will take over the world and that automation could one day render human workers obsolete. The real debate is over whether or not the benefits do or do not outweigh the risks. Automation Expert and Author Dr. Daniel Berleant is one person who is more often on the side of automation.

There are many industries that are poised to be affected by the oncoming automation boom (in fact, it’s a challenge to think of one arena that will not in some minimal way be affected). “The government is actually putting quite a bit of money into robotic research for what they call ‘cooperative robotics,’” Berleant said. “Currently, you can’t work near a typical industrial robot without putting yourself in danger. As the research goes forward, the idea is (to develop) robots that become able to work with people rather than putting them in danger.”

While many view industrial robotic development as a menace to humanity, Berleant tends to focus on the areas where automation can be a benefit to society. “The civilized world is getting older and there are going to be more old people,” he said. “The thing I see happening in the next 10 or 20 years is robotic assistance to the elderly. They’re going to need help, and we can help them live vigorous lives and robotics can be a part of that.”

Berleant also believes that food production, particularly in agriculture, could benefit tremendously from automation. And that, he says, could have a positive effect on humanity on a global scale. “I think, as soon as we get robots that can take care of plants and produce food autonomously, that will really be a liberating moment for the human race,” Berleant said. “Ten years might be a little soon (for that to happen), maybe 20 years. There’s not much more than food that you need to survive and that might be a liberating moment for many poor countries.”

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Oct 13, 2015

Ray Kurzweil’s Wildest Prediction: Nanobots Will Plug Our Brains Into the Web by the 2030s

Posted by in categories: engineering, nanotechnology, neuroscience, Ray Kurzweil

I consider Ray Kurzweil a very close friend and a very smart person. Ray is a brilliant technologist, futurist, and a director of engineering at Google focused on AI and language processing. He has also made more correct (and documented) technology predictions about the future than anyone:

As reported, “of the 147 predictions that Kurzweil has made since the 1990s, fully 115 of them have turned out to be correct, and another 12 have turned out to be “essentially correct” (off by a year or two), giving his predictions a stunning 86% accuracy rate.”

Two weeks ago, Ray and I held an hour-long webinar with my Abundance 360 CEOs about predicting the future. During our session, there was one of Ray’s specific predictions that really blew my mind.

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Oct 13, 2015

Self-driving hybrid sports car concept has its own helper drone

Posted by in categories: robotics/AI, transportation

Swiss carmaker and tuning house Rinspeed’s Σtos concept is a self-driving hybrid sports car with its own helper drone.

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Oct 13, 2015

A self-driving Mercedes-Benz truck drove on Germany’s Autobahn

Posted by in categories: robotics/AI, transportation

Click on photo to start video.

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Oct 13, 2015

Will You Ever Be Able to Upload Your Brain?

Posted by in category: neuroscience

Your mind, in all its complexity, dies with you. And that’s it.

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Oct 13, 2015

Ada Lovelace Day — Today — 13 October 2015

Posted by in categories: engineering, science

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“Celebrating the achievements of women in science, technology, engineering and maths”

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Oct 12, 2015

Many of the world’s first cars ran on electricity

Posted by in category: transportation

We think that cars that run on gas are the norm, but that hasn’t always been the case.

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Oct 12, 2015

A newly proposed table-top experiment might be able to demonstrate that gravity is quantized

Posted by in categories: particle physics, quantum physics

Tl;dr: Experimentalists are bringing increasingly massive systems into quantum states. They are now close to masses where they might be able to just measure what happens to the gravitational field.

Quantum effects of gravity are weak, so weak they are widely believed to not be measurable at all. Freeman Dyson indeed is fond of saying that a theory of quantum gravity is entirely unnecessary, arguing that we could never observe its effects anyway. Theorists of course disagree, and not just because they’re being paid to figure out the very theory Dyson deems unnecessary. Measurable or not, they search for a quantized version of gravity because the existing description of nature is not merely incomplete – it is far worse, it contains internal contradictions, meaning we know it is wrong.

Take the century-old double-slit experiment, the prime example for quantum behavior. A single electron that goes through the double-slit is able to interact with itself, as if it went through both slits at once. Its behavior is like that of a wave which overlaps with itself after passing an obstacle. And yet, when you measure the electron after it went through the slit it makes a dot on a screen, like a particle would. The wave-like behavior again shows up if one measures the distribution of many electrons that passed the slit. This and many other experiments demonstrate that the electron is neither a particle nor a wave – it is described by a wave-function from which we obtain a probability distribution, a formulation that is the core of quantum mechanics.

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Oct 12, 2015

Space-inspired objects — By Helen Chislett | Financial Times

Posted by in categories: media & arts, space, space travel

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“When the Rosetta spacecraft deployed the Philae lander to land on a comet last November, the world held its breath. … Little surprise too that space is back on the design agenda as a primary source of inspiration. Visiting Design Miami/Basel in June, it was obvious that the “Philae effect” was having an impact much closer to home.”

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Oct 12, 2015

What Protects Elephants From Cancer?

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, life extension

Elephants are long-lived, and rather large. Given their size and longevity, scientists have pondered what protects them from cancer for a long time. Thanks to new research, we now know.

A mystery unlocked

Cancer is a big problem. A staggering 1 in 2 people born after 1960 in the UK are predicted to develop cancer at some point in their lifetime. We may be living longer, but the extra years are coming with a raised cancer risk. We may be getting better at treatment, but we’re still finding out exactly what causes it, and how we can prevent it from being a danger altogether.

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