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Oct 5, 2015

Flying Robot Bees Can Now Swim, Too

Posted by in category: robotics/AI

And sink!

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Oct 5, 2015

Ray Kurzweil on Artificial Intelligence: Don’t Listen to Stephen Hawking and Elon Musk

Posted by in categories: Elon Musk, Ray Kurzweil, robotics/AI

There’s a rift emerging among the members of the tech super-geniuses club. It’s not about matters of human intelligence, though. Physicist Stephen Hawking and Tesla /SpaceX founder Elon Musk have both recently warned that our sci-fi nightmares about artificial intelligence could actually come true in our lifetimes.

Here’s what Musk, for instance, said during a recent stop at MIT:

I think we should be very careful about artificial intelligence. Our biggest existential threat is probably that … There should be some regulatory oversight at the national and international level, just to make sure that we don’t do something very foolish. With artificial intelligence we are summoning the demon. In all those stories where there’s the guy with the pentagram and the holy water, it’s like, he’s sure he can control the demon. Didn’t work out.

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Oct 5, 2015

This Prosthetic Could Restore Memory In Dementia Victims

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, cyborgs, electronics, information science, neuroscience

Memory loss is a truly devastating part of dementia, but this invention aims to fix that by bypassing the damage, and repairing long term memory.

Alzheimer’s and dementia are complex diseases, and there’s currently no effective treatment. Given the unpleasant nature of the disease, there’s an urgent need for results. Instead of taking the usual biological route, one team has constructed a prosthetic made up of a small electrode array — which can help re-encode short term memory into long term.

Built using decades of research, the device operates using a new algorithm based on accumulated neural data. New sensory information is normally translated into a quick memory and transported as an electrical signal through the hippocampus, potentially for long term storage. If this region is damaged then the process is disturbed, and new experiences fail to be encoded. Alzheimer’s patients can often remember childhood events, but struggle with recent experiences; specifically because of this hippocampal damage.

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Oct 5, 2015

Why I’m running for president—and got a chip implanted in my hand

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, computing, cyborgs, geopolitics, life extension, sex, transhumanism, virtual reality

My new and first article for The Daily Dot. It’s about transhumanism and the Immortality Bus tour:

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Oct 5, 2015

This device could harvest energy from the air to power our home gadgets

Posted by in categories: electronics, energy, internet, mobile phones

A British tech company has come up with a new way of powering wearables and smart home devices: a device called the Freevolt, which can harvest the ambient energy from radio waves and turn it into a small amount of electricity for low-energy gadgets to tap into.

As CNET reports, this level of energy can’t keep a smartphone running, but it could be enough to power that remote sensor on your garden gate. If sensors and beacons have a wireless energy source plus wireless connectivity, it opens up more possibilities for kitting out our homes and gardens with these kind of devices.

“Companies have been researching how to harvest energy from Wi-Fi, cellular, and broadcast networks for many years,” Drayton Technologies CEO and chairman, Lord Drayson, said in a press statement. “But it is difficult, because there is only a small amount of energy to harvest and achieving the right level of rectifying efficiency has been the issue — up until now. For the first time, we have solved the problem of harvesting usable energy from a small radio frequency signal.”

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Oct 5, 2015

This is pretty amazing

Posted by in category: futurism

OIL FROM PLASTIC.

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Oct 5, 2015

Computer algorithm created to encode human memories

Posted by in categories: computing, information science, neuroscience

Researchers have developed a computer algorithm that mimics the brain’s electrical signalling and helps memory. The FT reports.

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Oct 5, 2015

“I feel like I’m driving into the future right now” — Bill Whitaker reports on self-driving cars

Posted by in categories: robotics/AI, transportation

Mercedes F 015 Self Driving Car.

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Oct 4, 2015

The interfaces that bridge the human-machine divide

Posted by in category: computing

First it was toggle switches. And then keyboards, the mouse and other standard interface devices gave us control of computers and the digital world. From the tangible, to hands-free and beyond, the ways in which we control digital systems are expanding. We’ve collected just a few of the interesting products and concepts that are breaching the two-dimensional world of computing and merging it with our physical reality.

[Image: Jinha Lee / MIT Media Lab].

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Oct 4, 2015

Sweden sets its sights on becoming the world’s first fossil fuel-free nation

Posted by in category: sustainability

The Swedish government announced this week that they will be spending an extra US$546 million on renewable energy and climate change action in their 2016 budget, with the aim of becoming one of the world’s first nations to end its dependence on fossil fuels. They haven’t set a deadline for this ambitious goal just yet, but last year the country announced plans to make its capital Stockholm fossil fuel-free by 2050, so we’re imagining a similar time frame.

It may seem like a pretty big task, but the Scandinavian country already gets two-thirds of its electricity from non-fossil fuel energy sources — predominately hydroelectric and nuclear — and it will now be focussing on increasing its solar and wind energy potential, as well as making its transport industry more sustainable. The majority of the budget increase will be financed by heavier taxes on petrol and diesel fuel.

“Sweden will become one of the first fossil-free welfare states in the world,” Prime Minister Stefan Löfven told the press. “When European regulations do not go far enough Sweden will lead the way.”

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