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Sep 17, 2019

Ministry of Defence is developing ‘military Alexa’ to give soldiers crucial information using artificial intelligence

Posted by in categories: military, robotics/AI

Hey Google, how many enemy combatants remain standing?


British soldiers could soon be offered a “military Alexa” digital assistant which would provide troops in the field with automated information from combat tactics to repair instructions.

The Ministry of Defence has awarded a £700,000 contract to a British technology company to explore the feasibility of an artificial intelligence “chatbot” which will allow soldiers on deployment to obtain crucial information via computer link.

Continue reading “Ministry of Defence is developing ‘military Alexa’ to give soldiers crucial information using artificial intelligence” »

Sep 17, 2019

Prof. Steve Fuller on Transhumanism: Ask yourself what is human?

Posted by in categories: Elon Musk, existential risks, genetics, life extension, robotics/AI, singularity, transhumanism

Prof. Steve Fuller is the author of 25 books including a trilogy relating to the idea of a ‘post-’ or ‘trans-‘human future, and most recently, Nietzschean Meditations: Untimely Thoughts at the Dawn of the Transhuman Age.

During this 2h 15 min interview with Steve Fuller we cover a variety of interesting topics such as: the social foundations of knowledge and our shared love of books; Transhumanism as a scientistic way of understanding who we are; the proactionary vs the precautionary principle; Pierre Teilhard de Chardin and the Omega Point; Julian and Aldous Huxley’s diverging takes on Transhumanism; David Pearce’s Hedonistic Imperative as a concept straight out of Brave New World; the concept and meaning of being human, transhuman and posthuman; humanity’s special place in the cosmos; my Socratic Test of (Artificial) Intelligence; Transhumanism as a materialist theology – i.e. religion for geeks; Elon Musk, cosmism and populating Mars; de-extinction, genetics and the sociological elements of a given species; the greatest issues that humanity is facing today; AI, the Singularity and armed conflict; morphological freedom and becoming human; longevity and the “Death is Wrong” argument; Zoltan Istvan and the Transhumanist Wager; Transhumanism as a way of entrenching rather than transcending one’s original views…

Continue reading “Prof. Steve Fuller on Transhumanism: Ask yourself what is human?” »

Sep 17, 2019

French woman set to be rehabilitated as world’s oldest person

Posted by in category: futurism

Jeanne Calment died in 1997, aged 122. New research has rejected claims she was a fraud.

Sep 17, 2019

Nano-Sized Solution for Efficient and Versatile CRISPR Gene Editing

Posted by in categories: bioengineering, biotech/medical, genetics, nanotechnology

If used to make non-heritable genetic changes, CRISPR gene-editing technology holds tremendous promise for treating or curing a wide range of devastating disorders, including sickle cell disease, vision loss, and muscular dystrophy. Early efforts to deliver CRISPR-based therapies to affected tissues in a patient’s body typically have involved packing the gene-editing tools into viral vectors, which may cause unwanted immune reactions and other adverse effects.

Now, NIH-supported researchers have developed an alternative CRISPR delivery system: nanocapsules. Not only do these tiny, synthetic capsules appear to pose a lower risk of side effects, they can be precisely customized to deliver their gene-editing payloads to many different types of cells or tissues in the body, which can be extremely tough to do with a virus. Another advantage of these gene-editing nanocapsules is that they can be freeze-dried into a powder that’s easier than viral systems to transport, store, and administer at different doses.

In findings published in Nature Nanotechnology [1], researchers, led by Shaoqin Gong and Krishanu Saha, University of Wisconsin-Madison, developed the nanocapsules with specific design criteria in mind. They would need to be extremely small, about the size of a small virus, for easy entry into cells. Their surface would need to be adaptable for targeting different cell types. They also had to be highly stable in the bloodstream and yet easily degraded to release their contents once inside a cell.

Sep 17, 2019

Uhh, Part of the Facility Where Russia Stores Smallpox and Ebola Exploded

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, materials

блядь! An explosion at Russia’s State Research Centre of Virology and Biotechnology (Vector) resulted in a fire, glass blown out throughout the building, and one worker suffering third degree burns on Monday, according to the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists. Vector is one of the only two places in the world where live smallpox virus samples are officially stored, as well as retains stocks of other deadly pathogens including the Ebola virus and anthrax spores.

According to the state-run TASS news agency, Koltsovo city head administrator Nikolai Krasnikov said that the blast occurred during scheduled repair work, blowing out glass in the building and starting a 30 square meter fire. Various reports have indicated the incident started with a gas explosion. However, Krasnikov emphasized that no biohazardous materials were stored where the explosion and blaze occurred, and that there is no threat to the general population. The Vector building in question did not suffer structural damage, Krasnikov added, while the worker is in “intensive” condition.

Sep 17, 2019

Inside Lockheed Martin’s New Facility for Simulating Space Wars

Posted by in category: space

‘Pulsar Guardian’ will let governmental and commercial customers run wargames simulating conflict in space.

Sep 17, 2019

An Interview with Prof. S. Jay Olshansky

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, life extension

Prof. S. Jay Olshansky is a Professor of the School of Public Health at the University of Illinois at Chicago, Research Associate at the Center on Aging at the University of Chicago and at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, and Chief Scientist at Lapetus Solutions, Inc. He has received multiple scientific awards, including the Irving S. Wright Award from the American Federation for Aging Research.

Prof. Olshansky is the co-author of multiple papers related to epidemiology and population, and the areas of his current research include estimates of the upper limits to human longevity, opportunities and challenges related to population aging, how morbidity changes over time, and forecasts of the size and age demographics of the population with and without medicines that address the underlying mechanisms of aging.

We had the opportunity to interview Prof. Olshansky at International Perspectives in Geroscience, a conference hosted at Weizmann Institute of Science (Israel) on September 4–5.

Sep 17, 2019

Posthuman Times

Posted by in categories: biological, physics

Humanist and technoscientific notions of progress have been (mis)used to classify human and nonhuman life forms into hierarchical categories, thereby reducing the complexities of life stories into a linear account of development and innovation. At the same time, critical reflections on key concepts of modernist, Eurocentric and industry-driven concepts of time and historicity and, more forcefully perhaps, new findings in evolutionary biology and physics, have produced alternative narratives, sometimes with a reconsideration of premodern understandings of temporality like, for example, Gilles Deleuze ’s rereading of Leibniz in The Fold.[1] The modernist conception of History (with a capital H) as both an empirical reality and a specific disciplinary and disciplining knowledge [2] has thus become just one possible manifestation within a plurality of histor ies conditioned by socio-cultural particularities that honour the experience of bodies that, voluntarily or not, live outside re/productive timelines, for example.

An increasing number of researchers as well as artists are no longer interested in the taking and making time and space as human universals but in genealogies, intersections, “multiple modernities”[3] and the coexistence of non-simultaneous phenomena in the era of globalization, asymmetrical power relations and technoculture. Moreover, post-anthropocentric thinking and creativity, fostered in posthumanist discourse (including new materialism, speculative realism, object-oriented ontology, neocybernetic systems theory, etc.), also increasingly attends to nonhuman temporalities and how these are entangled, often in conflicting ways, with human time. Such considerations include the vexing question of how emancipatory goals of progressive social trans/formation and justice can be envisaged, let alone obtained, if we can no longer ground our theories and political practices in enlightened narratives of humanist progress and liberation.

Sep 17, 2019

A 22-year-old missing person’s case was solved thanks to eagle-eyed neighbors and Google Earth

Posted by in category: futurism

The disappearance of 40-year-old mortgage broker William Earl Moldt remained a mystery for 22 years because the technology used to find him hadn’t been developed yet.

Moldt was reported missing on November 8, 1997. He had left a nightclub around 11 p.m. where he had been drinking. He wasn’t known as a heavy drinker and witnesses at the bar said he didn’t seem intoxicated when he left.

Sep 17, 2019

Model independence

Posted by in categories: particle physics, robotics/AI

Particle physicists are planning the successor to CERN’s Large Hadron Collider – but how will they deal with the deluge of data from a future machine and the proliferation of theoretical models? Michela Massimi explains why a new scientific methodology called “model independence” could hold the answer.

It’s been an exciting few months for particle physicists. In May more than 600 researchers gathered in Granada, Spain, to discuss the European Particle Physics Strategy, while in June CERN held a meeting in Brussels, Belgium, to debate plans for the Future Circular Collider (FCC). This giant machine – 100 km in circumference and earmarked for the Geneva lab – is just one of several different projects (including those in astroparticle physics and machine learning) that particle physicists are working on to explore the frontiers of high-energy physics.

CERN’s Large Hadron Collider (LHC) has been collecting data from vast numbers of proton–proton collisions since 2010 – first at an energy of 8 TeV and then 13 TeV during its second run. These have enabled scientists on the ATLAS and CMS experiments at the LHC to discover the Higgs boson in 2012, while light has also been shed on other vital aspects of the Standard Model of particle physics.