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Mar 5, 2017

Bitcoin ETF Buzz Offers Short Term Opportunity

Posted by in categories: bitcoin, cryptocurrencies, economics, finance, Mark Zuckerberg, policy

If you follow Bitcoin at all, then you know that its value is spiking. It has already surpassed a massive spike on Thanksgiving night 2013, and it has just surpassed the cost of an ounce of gold. [continue below image]

Like any commodity, the exchange value of Bitcoin is driven by supply and demand. But, unlike most commodities, including the US Dollar, the Euro or even gold, the eventual supply is capped. It is a mathematical certainty. Yet, demand is affected by many factors: Adoption as a payment instrument, early signs that it is being considered as a reserve currency, fascination by Geeks and early adopters and its use as a preferred tool by some criminals.

But chief among reasons for acquiring Bitcoin is speculation. Whether it is buy-and-hold or day trading, speculators still outnumber those who use Bitcoin to settle debts or to buy and sell other products and services. (Earlier this week, I argued that speculation is responsible for 85% of demand and of transactions—but that’s another story).

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Mar 5, 2017

Google is using its deep learning tech to diagnose disease

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, robotics/AI

This computer does just as well, if not better, than an ophthalmologist.

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Mar 5, 2017

Dear President Trump: Here’s How to Make Space Great Again

Posted by in categories: military, space

(Credit: NASA Innovative Advanced Concepts)

By Brent Ziarnick, Peter Garretson, Everett Dolman, and Coyote Smith

President-elect Donald Trump often says that Americans no longer dream and must do so again. Nowhere can dreams be more inspiring and profitable than in space. But today, expanding space enterprise is not foremost on the minds of Americans or military strategists. As a recent CNN special showed, defense thinkers feel embattled in space, focused on protecting our existing investments rather than developing new ones that seize strategic advantage.

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Mar 5, 2017

NASA Studying Manned Trip Around the Moon After Prod From Trump

Posted by in category: space

The U.S. is studying a possible manned mission around the moon as early as next year, marking the first such trip since the Apollo era ended in the early 1970s.

Following requests from the White House, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration has formed a team to examine accelerating earlier plans to launch a crew by 2021, William Gerstenmaier, associate administrator of the agency’s Human Exploration and Operations Mission Directorate, said Friday. Preliminary results of the review should be ready in about a month.

“We have a good, crisp list of all the things we would physically have to change” on the launch vehicle under development, Gerstenmaier said on a conference call with reporters. “We asked the team to take a look at potentially what additional tests would be needed to add crew, what the additional risk would be.”

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Mar 5, 2017

Earth’s Orbiting Junkyard Threatens the Space Economy

Posted by in categories: economics, satellites

Rocket and satellite litter is endangering private space commerce. Enter the cosmic debris tracking industry.

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Mar 5, 2017

Boston Dynamic’s Newest Robot Is Like A Horse On Roller Skates

Posted by in category: robotics/AI

This robot has the moves.

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Mar 5, 2017

Oldest fossil ever found on Earth shows organisms thrived 4.2bn years ago – and provides strongest evidence yet for similar life on Mars

Posted by in category: alien life

It’s life, but not as we know it. The oldest fossil ever discovered on Earth shows that organisms were thriving 4.2 billion years ago, hundreds of millions of years earlier than previously thought.

The microscopic bacteria, which were smaller than the width of a human hair, were found in rock formations in Quebec, Canada, but would have lived in hot vents in the 140F (60C) oceans which covered the early planet.

The discovery is the strongest evidence yet that similar organisms could also have evolved on Mars, which at the time still had oceans and an atmosphere, and was being bombarded by comets which probably brought the building blocks of life to Earth.

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Mar 5, 2017

‘Who’s in control?’ Scientists gather to discuss AI doomsday scenarios

Posted by in categories: existential risks, robotics/AI

Artificial intelligence has the capability to transform the world — but not necessarily for the better. A group of scientists gathered to discuss doomsday scenarios, addressing the possibility that AI could become a serious threat.

The event, ‘Great Debate: The Future of Artificial Intelligence — Who’s in Control?’, took place at Arizona State University (ASU) over the weekend.

“Like any new technology, artificial intelligence holds great promise to help humans shape their future, and it also holds great danger in that it could eventually lead to the rise of machines over humanity, according to some futurists. So which course will it be for AI and what can be done now to help shape its trajectory?” ASU wrote in a press release.

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Mar 5, 2017

AI Scientists Gather to Plot Doomsday Scenarios (and Solutions)

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, cybercrime/malcode, Elon Musk, existential risks, military, policy, robotics/AI

Artificial intelligence boosters predict a brave new world of flying cars and cancer cures. Detractors worry about a future where humans are enslaved to an evil race of robot overlords. Veteran AI scientist Eric Horvitz and Doomsday Clock guru Lawrence Krauss, seeking a middle ground, gathered a group of experts in the Arizona desert to discuss the worst that could possibly happen — and how to stop it.

Their workshop took place last weekend at Arizona State University with funding from Tesla Inc. co-founder Elon Musk and Skype co-founder Jaan Tallinn. Officially dubbed “Envisioning and Addressing Adverse AI Outcomes,” it was a kind of AI doomsday games that organized some 40 scientists, cyber-security experts and policy wonks into groups of attackers — the red team — and defenders — blue team — playing out AI-gone-very-wrong scenarios, ranging from stock-market manipulation to global warfare.

Horvitz is optimistic — a good thing because machine intelligence is his life’s work — but some other, more dystopian-minded backers of the project seemed to find his outlook too positive when plans for this event started about two years ago, said Krauss, a theoretical physicist who directs ASU’s Origins Project, the program running the workshop. Yet Horvitz said that for these technologies to move forward successfully and to earn broad public confidence, all concerns must be fully aired and addressed.

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Mar 5, 2017

Bigelow Aerospace offers plan for an expandable space station orbiting the moon by 2020

Posted by in categories: habitats, space travel

Bigelow Aerospace founder Robert Bigelow‘s company makes in-space habitats. One (the BEAM adds 16 cubic meters of living area to the ISS) is now attached to the International Space Station and he and his company are developing permanent, stand-alone habitats to serve as private space stations in orbit around the Earth, ready to house private astronauts.

Bigelow has talked with United Launch Alliance Chief Executive Tory Bruno about using the company’s Atlas V 552 rocket, which has an extra-wide payload fairing, to deliver the B330 into orbit.

United Launch Alliance is developing an advanced upper-stage vehicle, ACES, to provide in-space propulsion.

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