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Dec 13, 2017

Engineers create plants that glow

Posted by in categories: engineering, nanotechnology

Imagine that instead of switching on a lamp when it gets dark, you could read by the light of a glowing plant on your desk.

MIT engineers have taken a critical first step toward making that vision a reality. By embedding specialized nanoparticles into the leaves of a watercress plant, they induced the plants to give off dim for nearly four hours. They believe that, with further optimization, such plants will one day be bright enough to illuminate a workspace.

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Dec 13, 2017

People Support Living Longer if it Means Remaining Healthy

Posted by in category: life extension

A number of studies in different countries show that when people are asked “how long would you like to live?”, they respond with a figure equal to or slightly higher than the current life expectancy in a given country[1–4]. So, why does the public often lack enthusiasm for longevity?

These studies have shown that, generally, the public is uninterested in living longer than normal because they believe that these extra years will be spent suffering from the illnesses of old age. This is why the public often reacts to words like ‘longevity’ this way; to them, ten extra years likely means a decade spent in a wheelchair or some other decrepit state robbed of independence and health.

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Dec 13, 2017

In-Space Manufacturing Is About to Get a Big Test

Posted by in categories: 3D printing, space travel

A bold plan to rev up off-Earth manufacturing is about to get a big test.

A small, privately built machine designed to make optical fiber is launching toward the International Space Station (ISS) aboard SpaceX’s Dragon cargo capsule tomorrow (Dec. 12).

If all goes according to plan, this little factory — which is owned by California-based startup Made In Space — will churn out stuff that’s good enough to sell here on Earth, opening up space to greater commercial use. [3D Printing: 10 Ways It Could Transform Space Travel].

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Dec 13, 2017

India’s grasp on IT jobs is loosening up. Is artificial intelligence to blame?

Posted by in categories: business, employment, engineering, information science, robotics/AI

When Kumar lost his job, he became part of a wave of layoffs washing through the Indian IT industry—a term that includes, in its vastness, call centers, engineering services, business process outsourcing firms, and infrastructure management and software companies. The recent layoffs are part of the industry’s most significant period of churn since it began to boom two decades ago. Companies don’t necessarily attribute these layoffs directly to automation, but at the same time, they constantly identify automation as the spark for huge changes in the industry. Bots, machine learning, and algorithms that robotically execute processes are rendering old skills redundant, recasting the idea of work and making a smaller labor force seem likely.

Technology outsourcing has been India’s only reliable job creator in the past 30 years. Now artificial intelligence threatens to wipe out those gains.

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Dec 13, 2017

Releases free preview of Quantum Development Kit

Posted by in categories: computing, quantum physics

So you want to learn how to program a quantum computer. Now, there’s a toolkit for that.

Microsoft is releasing a free preview version of its Quantum Development Kit, which includes the Q# programming language, a quantum computing simulator and other resources for people who want to start writing applications for a quantum computer. The Q# programming language was built from the ground up specifically for quantum computing.

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Dec 12, 2017

About ispace

Posted by in categories: robotics/AI, transportation

Ispace is a private lunar robotic exploration company that is developing micro-robotic technology to provide a low-cost and frequent transportation service to and on the Moon, conduct lunar surface exploration to map, process and deliver resources to our customers in cislunar space.

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Dec 12, 2017

Jeff Bezos says Blue Origin gives test dummy ‘a great ride’ on New Shepard suborbital spaceship

Posted by in category: space travel

Amazon billionaire Jeff Bezos says his space venture, Blue Origin, launched the latest version of its New Shepard suborbital spaceship today for the company’s first test flight in 14 months, with an instrumented test dummy seated aboard.

“He had a great ride,” Bezos said tonight in a tweet.

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Dec 12, 2017

We used predictive keyboards trained on all seven books to ghostwrite this spellbinding new Harry Potter chapter

Posted by in category: futurism

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Dec 12, 2017

Artificially intelligent robots could soon gain consciousness

Posted by in category: robotics/AI

From babysitting children to beating the world champion at Go, robots are slowly but surely developing more and more advanced capabilities.

And many scientists, including Professor Stephen Hawking, suggest it may only be a matter of time before machines gain consciousness.

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Dec 12, 2017

AI is now so complex its creators can’t trust why it makes decisions

Posted by in categories: robotics/AI, space travel

Artificial intelligence is seeping into every nook and cranny of modern life. AI might tag your friends in photos on Facebook or choose what you see on Instagram, but materials scientists and NASA researchers are also beginning to use the technology for scientific discovery and space exploration.

But there’s a core problem with this technology, whether it’s being used in social media or for the Mars rover: The programmers that built it don’t know why AI makes one decision over another.

Modern artificial intelligence is still new. Big tech companies have only ramped up investment and research in the last five years, after a decades-old theory was shown to finally work in 2012. Inspired by the human brain, an artificial neural network relied on layers of thousands to millions of tiny connections between “neurons” or little clusters of mathematic computation, like the connections of neurons in the brain. But that software architecture came with a trade-off: Since the changes throughout those millions of connections were so complex and minute, researchers aren’t able to exactly determine what is happening. They just get an output that works.

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