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Apr 9, 2019

The Big Nine: How the Tech Titans and Their Thinking Machines Could Warp Humanity

Posted by in categories: finance, robotics/AI

New book calls Google, Facebook, Amazon, and six more tech giants “the new gods of A.I.” who are “short-changing our futures to reap immediate financial gain”.


A call-to-arms about the broken nature of artificial intelligence, and the powerful corporations that are turning the human-machine relationship on its head.

We like to think that we are in control of the future of “artificial” intelligence. The reality, though, is that we—the everyday people whose data powers AI—aren’t actually in control of anything. When, for example, we speak with Alexa, we contribute that data to a system we can’t see and have no input into—one largely free from regulation or oversight. The big nine corporations—Amazon, Google, Facebook, Tencent, Baidu, Alibaba, Microsoft, IBM and Apple—are the new gods of AI and are short-changing our futures to reap immediate financial gain.

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Apr 9, 2019

Space: The Final Illusion

Posted by in categories: law, space

One persistent illusion is that physical objects only interact with other objects they are close to. This is called the principle of locality. We can express this more precisely by the law that the strengths of forces between any two objects falls off quickly—at least by some power of the distance between them. This can be explained by positing that the bodies do not interact directly, but only through the mediation of a field, such as an electromagnetic field, which propagat…


The intuitive idea that objects influence each other because they’re in physical proximity is soon to become another of those beliefs that turn out to be wrong when we look deeper.

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Apr 9, 2019

Nutrients from food, not supplements, linked to lower risks of death, cancer

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, food, health, policy

For the association between nutrient intake and the risk of death, the researchers found:


Adequate intake of certain nutrients is associated with a reduction in all-cause mortality when the nutrient source is foods, but not supplements, according to a new study. There was no association between dietary supplement use and a lower risk of death.

In addition, excess calcium intake was linked to an increased risk of cancer death, which the researchers found was associated with supplemental doses of calcium exceeding 1,000 mg/day. The study was published on April 9 in Annals of Internal Medicine.

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Apr 9, 2019

Scientists build a machine to generate quantum superposition of possible futures

Posted by in categories: computing, information science, particle physics, quantum physics

In the 2018 movie Avengers: Infinity War, a scene featured Dr. Strange looking into 14 million possible futures to search for a single timeline in which the heroes would be victorious. Perhaps he would have had an easier time with help from a quantum computer. A team of researchers from Nanyang Technological University, Singapore (NTU Singapore) and Griffith University in Australia have constructed a prototype quantum device that can generate all possible futures in a simultaneous quantum superposition.

“When we think about the future, we are confronted by a vast array of possibilities,” explains Assistant Professor Mile Gu of NTU Singapore, who led development of the algorithm that underpins the prototype “These possibilities grow exponentially as we go deeper into the future. For instance, even if we have only two possibilities to choose from each minute, in less than half an hour there are 14 million possible futures. In less than a day, the number exceeds the number of atoms in the universe.” What he and his research group realised, however, was that a quantum computer can examine all possible futures by placing them in a – similar to Schrödinger’s famous cat, which is simultaneously alive and dead.

To realise this scheme, they joined forces with the experimental group led by Professor Geoff Pryde at Griffith University. Together, the team implemented a specially devised photonic quantum information processor in which the potential future outcomes of a decision process are represented by the locations of photons – quantum of light. They then demonstrated that the state of the quantum device was a superposition of multiple potential futures, weighted by their probability of occurrence.

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Apr 9, 2019

Record-breaking Trip to International Space Station in under 4 Hours

Posted by in categories: space, transportation

A resupply mission to the International Space Station (ISS) has made record time, traveling from Earth to the space station in just three hours and 21 minutes. The Soyuz-2.1a carrier rocket with a Progress MS-11 cargo spaceship was launched from the Russian space Agency Roscosmos’ Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan at 7:01 a.m. on Thursday, April 4.

The super speedy travel time was possible due to a change in how resupply craft approach the ISS. Before, the resupply craft would have to orbit around the Earth dozens of times in order to catch up with the speed of the space station. But now there is a “fast-track” launch which allows the craft to catch up to the station in just two rotations. The resupply craft is launched less than a minute before the space station passes overhead of the launch site, so the craft can catch up to the station more quickly.

Nick Hague, an astronaut aboard the ISS, tweeted his approval of the achievement. “The progress resupply vehicle made record timing as it launched and docked to the station in under three and a half hours,” he said. “Pretty impressive!” The people of Twitter were impressed too. “…quicker than JFK-LAX!” one person commented.

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Apr 9, 2019

Scientists in Switzerland create the world’s first fully computer-generated genome of a living organism

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, computing

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Apr 9, 2019

Research team expands quantum network with successful long-distance entanglement experiment

Posted by in categories: computing, particle physics, quantum physics

Scientists from the U.S. Department of Energy’s Brookhaven National Laboratory, Stony Brook University, and DOE’s Energy Sciences Network (ESnet) are collaborating on an experiment that puts U.S. quantum networking research on the international map. Researchers have built a quantum network testbed that connects several buildings on the Brookhaven Lab campus using unique portable quantum entanglement sources and an existing DOE ESnet communications fiber network—a significant step in building a large-scale quantum network that can transmit information over long distances.

“In , the physical properties of entangled particles remain associated, even when separated by vast distances. Thus, when measurements are performed on one side, it also affects the other,” said Kerstin Kleese van Dam, director of Brookhaven Lab’s Computational Science Initiative (CSI). “To date, this work has been successfully demonstrated with entangled photons separated by approximately 11 miles. This is one of the largest quantum entanglement distribution networks in the world, and the longest-distance entanglement experiment in the United States.”

This quantum networking testbed project includes staff from CSI and Brookhaven’s Instrumentation Division and Physics Department, as well as faculty and students from Stony Brook University. The project also is part of the Northeast Quantum Systems Center. One distinct aspect of the team’s work that sets it apart from other quantum networks being run in China and Europe—both long-committed to quantum information science pursuits—is that the entanglement sources are portable and can be easily mounted in standard data center computer server racks that are connected to regular fiber distribution panels.

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Apr 9, 2019

Media Advisory: Press Conference on First Result from the Event Horizon Telescope

Posted by in category: cosmology

Tomorrow (April 10) at 3pm CEST (9am Eastern Time) the first results from the Event Horizon Telescope (EHT) will be announced:

The scientific mission of the EHT is to capture an image of a black hole horizon. So far, we have indirect evidence for the existence of a black hole horizon, but have not actually “seen” one.


ESO, european organisation for astronomical research in the southern hemisphere.

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Apr 9, 2019

The EU releases guidelines to encourage ethical AI development

Posted by in categories: information science, policy, robotics/AI

The European Commission recommends using an assessment list when developing or deploying AI, but the guidelines aren’t meant to be — or interfere with — policy or regulation. Instead, they offer a loose framework. This summer, the Commission will work with stakeholders to identify areas where additional guidance might be necessary and figure out how to best implement and verify its recommendations. In early 2020, the expert group will incorporate feedback from the pilot phase. As we develop the potential to build things like autonomous weapons and fake news-generating algorithms, it’s likely more governments will take a stand on the ethical concerns AI brings to the table.


The EU wants AI that’s fair and accountable, respects human autonomy and prevents harm.

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Apr 8, 2019

A star turned into a black hole before Hubble’s very eyes

Posted by in category: cosmology

Bye bye supernova.

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