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Aug 27, 2018

Expert meet at new UN-hosted talks about ‘killer robots’

Posted by in categories: futurism, robotics/AI

GENEVA (AP) — Experts from scores of countries are meeting to discuss ways to define and deal with “killer robots” — futuristic weapons systems that could conduct war without human intervention.

The weeklong gathering is the second this year at U.N. offices in Geneva to focus on such lethal autonomous weapons systems and explore ways of possibly regulating them, among other issues.

Some top advocacy groups say governments and militaries should be prevented from developing such systems, which have sparked fears and led some critics to envisage harrowing scenarios about their use.

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Aug 27, 2018

What Is Nothing? Martin Rees Q&A

Posted by in categories: cosmology, physics

This article was originally published at The Conversation. The publication contributed the article to Space.com’s Expert Voices: Op-Ed & Insights.

Philosophers have debated the nature of “nothing” for thousands of years, but what has modern science got to say about it? In an interview with The Conversation, Martin Rees, Astronomer Royal and Emeritus Professor of Cosmology and Astrophysics at the University of Cambridge, explains that when physicists talk about nothing, they mean empty space (vacuum). This may sound straightforward, but experiments show that empty space isn’t really empty – there’s a mysterious energy latent in it which can tell us something about the fate of the universe.

Rees was interviewed for The Conversation’s Anthill podcast on Nothing. This Q&A is based on an edited transcript of that interview.

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Aug 27, 2018

See the ‘periodic table’ of molecular knots

Posted by in category: futurism

A new table of knots points the way to twisting molecules in increasingly complex pretzels.

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Aug 27, 2018

Spear-toting robot can guard coral reefs against invasive lionfish

Posted by in category: robotics/AI

Lionfish are threats to not only fragile coral reef ecosystems, but the divers who keep them in check. They not only take advantage of unsuspecting fish populations, but carry poisonous spines that make them challenging to catch. Student researchers at Worcester Polytechnic Institute may have a solution: robotic guardians. They’ve crafted an autonomous robot (below) that can hunt lionfish without requiring a tethered operator that could harm the reefs.

The bot attaches to an existing submersible robot and relies on computer vision (trained with thousands of photos) to spot examples of the invasive species and jab them with one of its eight spears. Each spear tip is detachable and buoyant, so any successful kill sends the fish to the surface. The machine is well-suited to the realities of the ocean, too — it’s both resistant to saltwater corrosion and uses an airtight chamber to maintain buoyancy after every spear use.

WPI’s automaton isn’t ready for service yet. A follow-up group of students will work on a navigation system that can help the robot create a 3D search grid. If that’s successful, though, the robot could become a valuable part of reef defense that spares humans from getting involved until (and unless) they have no other choice.

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Aug 27, 2018

The 2018 Gartner Hype Cycle

Posted by in category: futurism

I see a lot of future video ideas here (and some we’ve already covered)!

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Aug 27, 2018

The natural sugar that reduces the risk of diabetes in mice

Posted by in category: biotech/medical

Sugar may be the villain of our time, with too much of the sweet stuff known to be a leading cause of developing diabetes. But now researchers at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis have discovered a new way to reduce the risk of this condition – sugar. Trehalose is a natural sugar that has now been found to deprive the liver of glucose and activate a gene that improves insulin sensitivity and triggers the burning of more fat.

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Aug 27, 2018

Thousands submitted DNA to police to help solve a 1998 Dutch boy’s killing. One man was conspicuously missing

Posted by in category: biotech/medical

Jos Brech didn’t submit his DNA as requested by authorities. But his relatives did.

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Aug 27, 2018

Artificial Intelligence Is Now a Pentagon Priority. Will Silicon Valley Help?

Posted by in categories: military, robotics/AI

Nonetheless, the Pentagon appears to be pushing ahead on its own, looking for ways to strengthen its ties with A.I. researchers, particularly in Silicon Valley, where there is considerable wariness about working with the military and intelligence agencies.


The Defense Department, believing that A.I. research should be a national priority, has called on the White House to “inspire a whole of country effort.”

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Aug 26, 2018

Meet Amazon’s Next Megabillion-Dollar Business

Posted by in category: business

This small but fast-growing business has the potential to be the next AWS and drive Amazon stock higher.

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Aug 26, 2018

China is building a police station powered by AI, not humans

Posted by in categories: robotics/AI, transportation

China has announced an unmanned police station will soon be put into use.” The station will provide numerous driver and vehicle related services via AI.

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