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Apr 15, 2017

Getting paid to do nothing: why the idea of China’s dibao is catching on

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

China’s minimum living standard guarantee, named dibao, is receiving fresh interest in the region as countries from Korea to India turn to universal basic income (UBI) to boost their economies and combat the coming automation-induced job crisis.


Asia-Pacific countries are beginning to consider their own form of universal basic income in the face of an automation-induced jobs crisis.

By David Green

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Apr 15, 2017

Mom or dad: Russia has a more powerful bomb than the U.S.

Posted by in category: military

Washington recently used the world’s most powerful non-nuclear bomb, coined ‘The Mother of All Bombs,’ against ISIS – but Russia has a device that can easily play the ‘father’ role.

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Apr 15, 2017

Black silicon prevents eye implant from gumming up

Posted by in category: biotech/medical

A team of researchers led by Caltech’s Hyuck Choo has developed an eye implant for glaucoma patients that could one day lead to more timely and effective treatment.

If you have ever been to an ophthalmologist, you have probably had your checked: with your chin resting on a support to keep your head still, the doctor applies pressure to your eye either via a puff of warm air or by gently pressing a probe against the eye’s . By measuring the amount that surface deforms as a result of a known amount of pressure, the ophthalmologist can calculate a rough estimate of the intraocular pressure.

While effective enough for routine eye exams, the technique is not sufficient for patients suffering from glaucoma. Glaucoma affects more than 2 million people in the United States, and is the second leading cause of blindness after cataracts. It is actually a family of eye diseases that are characterized by an increase in the pressure of the fluid inside the eye. That pressure damages the optic nerve at the back of the eye.

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Apr 15, 2017

Trapped ions and superconductors face off in quantum benchmark

Posted by in categories: computing, quantum physics

The race to build larger and larger quantum computers is heating up, with several technologies competing for a role in future devices. Each potential platform has strengths and weaknesses, but little has been done to directly compare the performance of early prototypes. Now, researchers at the JQI have performed a first-of-its-kind benchmark test of two small quantum computers built from different technologies.

The team, working with JQI Fellow Christopher Monroe and led by postdoctoral researcher Norbert Linke, sized up their own small-scale against a device built by IBM. Both machines use five qubits—the fundamental units of information in a quantum computer—and both machines have similar error rates. But while the JQI device relies on chains of trapped atomic ions, IBM Q uses coupled regions of superconducting material.

To make their comparison, the JQI team ran several quantum programs on the devices, each of which solved a simple problem using a series of logic gates to manipulate one or two qubits at a time. Researchers accessed the IBM device using an online interface, which allows anyone to try their hand at programming IBM Q.

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Apr 15, 2017

Computers create recipe for two new magnetic materials

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, computing

Material scientists have predicted and built two new magnetic materials, atom-by-atom, using high-throughput computational models. The success marks a new era for the large-scale design of new magnetic materials at unprecedented speed.

Although magnets abound in everyday life, they are actually rarities—only about five percent of known inorganic compounds show even a hint of . And of those, just a few dozen are useful in real-world applications because of variability in properties such as effective temperature range and magnetic permanence.

The relative scarcity of these can make them expensive or difficult to obtain, leading many to search for new options given how important magnets are in applications ranging from motors to (MRI) machines. The traditional process involves little more than trial and error, as researchers produce different molecular structures in hopes of finding one with magnetic properties. Many high-performance magnets, however, are singular oddities among physical and chemical trends that defy intuition.

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Apr 14, 2017

Archinaut, The In-Space Robotic Manufacture and Assembly Technology

Posted by in categories: robotics/AI, space travel

When we think about our species’ future in space, we often imagine a network of large space stations, on-orbit factories producing large transport vessels, and giant imaging systems gazing deep into the universe’s history. That future is achievable, but it requires we think about more than just lowering the cost of launching to space. The International Space Station, the largest structure humans have put in space thus far, took more than a decade, billions of dollars, and dozens of launches and spacewalks to complete. Despite an incredible result, this construction approach won’t scale to meet future demand. A future in space that includes residences, industrial facilities, and transport stations needs platforms that allow us to manufacture and assemble large space systems in space.

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Apr 14, 2017

Zoltan Istvan — Cybrink Podcast #3

Posted by in categories: robotics/AI, singularity, transhumanism

A new 45-min video podcast interview I did with Cybrink on #transhumanism, my #libertarian run for Governor, and the singularity:


Cybrink talks with Zoltan Istvan about transhumanism, artificial intelligence, the singularity and his run for Governor of California in 2018.

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Apr 14, 2017

Watch Russian space-bound FEDOR robot fire dual-wielding pistols

Posted by in categories: robotics/AI, space

Because the world isn’t already terrifying enough.

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Apr 14, 2017

How to condense water out of air using only sunlight for energy

Posted by in categories: energy, sustainability

A water harvester designed and built at MIT condenses water from air. The harvester uses sunlight to heat metal-organic framework (MOF) material (inserted just below the glass plate on top), driving off the water vapor and condensing it (in the yellow and red condenser sitting at the bottom) for home use. (photo credit: Hyunho Kim/MIT)

MIT scientists have invented a water harvester that uses only sunlight to pull water out of the air under desert conditions, using a “metal-organic framework” (MOF) powdered material developed at the University of California, Berkeley (UC Berkeley).

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Apr 14, 2017

Carnegie Mellon University AI beats top Chinese poker players

Posted by in category: robotics/AI

Carnegie Mellon University professor Tuomas Sandholm talks to Kai-Fu Lee, head of Sinovation Ventures, a Chinese venture capital firm, as Lee plays poker against Lengpudashi AI (credit: Sinovation Ventures)

Artificial intelligence (AI) triumphed over human poker players again (see “Carnegie Mellon AI beats top poker pros — a first “), as a computer sprogram developed by Carnegie Mellon University (CMU) researchers beat six Chinese players by a total of $792,327 in virtual chips during a five-day, 36,000-hand exhibition that ended today (April 10, 2017) in Hainan, China.

The AI software program, called Lengpudashi (“cold poker master”) is a version of Libratus, the CMU AI that beat four top poker professionals during a 20-day, 120,000-hand Heads-Up No-Limit Texas Hold’em competition in January in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

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