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Jan 29, 2018

How to Optimize Your Home for Robot Servants

Posted by in categories: robotics/AI, transportation

Robots can walk, talk, run a hotel … and are entirely stumped by a doorknob. Or a mailbox. Or a dirty bathtub—zzzzt, dead. Sure, the SpotMini, a doglike domestic helper from Boston Dynamics, can climb stairs, but it struggles to reliably hand over a can of soda. That’s why some roboticists think the field needs to flip its perspective. “There are two approaches to building robots,” says Maya Cakmak, a researcher at the University of Washington. “Make the robot more humanlike to handle the environment, or design the environment to make it a better fit for the robot.” Cakmak pursues the latter, and to do that, she studies so-called universal design—the ways in which buildings and products are constructed for older people or those with disabilities. Robot can’t handle the twisting staircase? Put in a ramp. As for that pesky doorknob? Make entryways motion-activated. If you want droids at your beck and call someday, start thinking about robo-fitting your digs now.

1. Wide-Open Floor Plan Any serious sans-­human housekeeping needs a wheeled robotic butler with arms, Cakmak says. That means fewer steps, plus hallways wide enough for U-turns. Oh, and hardwood floors. Thick carpeting slows a bot’s roll.

2. Visual Waypoints Factory robots work so fast in part because their world is highly structured—conveyor belt here, truck over there. So for your robo-home, create landmarks that anchor the bots in space—a promi­nent light fixture, say, that tells them, “You’re in the dining room.” (RFID tags will help bots locate smaller objects, like cleaning supplies.)

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Jan 29, 2018

Owning An Electric Car Is Twice As Cheap As Owning A Gas Vehicle

Posted by in categories: sustainability, transportation

Want to save money? Stop paying for gas.

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Jan 29, 2018

The Doomsday Clock Just Moved Closer to Midnight. Here’s What You Need to Know

Posted by in category: existential risks

The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists moved the doomsday clock closer to midnight on Thursday morning, warning the world that it is as close to catastrophe in 2018 as it has ever been.

They say the world is as close to catastrophe as it has been in the nuclear age.

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Jan 28, 2018

Over 60 years ago, Albert Einstein’s brain was stolen, dissected and sent in pieces all around the world

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, life extension, neuroscience

Einstein’s secret to an incredibly intelligent brain may be in part to how well his brain aged…

Samples of his brain revealed he was missing a protein Lipofuscin, a not so well understood compound which contains lipid residues of lysosomal digestion that accumulates in the brain liver kidney, heart muscle, retina, adrenals, nerve cells, and ganglion cells.

Lipofuscin busting drugs could have a lot of potential for anti-aging therapies for the future.

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Jan 28, 2018

Does our telomere length play a role in our health? (a look back)

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, life extension

The debate over telomeres length is now back in the spotlight… Here is a brief review of the top articles on telomere length, telomerase and human diseases such as cancer…

A review of the top articles on telomerase and telomere length which play a role in the chronic diseases of aging, such as cancer.

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Jan 28, 2018

How the (Likely) Next NSA/CyberCom Chief Wants to Enlist AI

Posted by in categories: cybercrime/malcode, military, privacy, robotics/AI

A look at Lt. Gen. Paul Nakasone’s public statements about artificial intelligence, offense, and defense.

The Army general likely to be tapped to head U.S. Cyber Command and the NSA has some big plans for deploying cyber forces and using artificial intelligence in information attacks.

Lt. Gen. Paul Nakasone, who currently leads U.S. Army Cyber Command, is expected to nominated in the next few months to replace Adm. Michael Rogers, as first reported by The Cipher Brief (and confirmed by the Washington Post and a Pentagon source of our own). But caution is in order: the rumor mill says several other contenders are in the running, including Army Lt. Gen. William Mayville. Neither Cyber Command nor the Pentagon would comment about the potential nomination.

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Jan 28, 2018

The Future Is Automated And Every Job Is At Risk [Automation, Pt. 1]

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, education, employment, law, robotics/AI

Robots are already changing jobs as an endless array of robots enter our everyday lives. From trucking to service work to high-end jobs like doctors and lawyers, this documentary explores how robotics and artificial intelligence are changing the workplace.

AJ+‘s documentary series on automation explores how advancements in artificial intelligence, robotics, machine learning and automated vehicles will affect jobs, cities and inequality. From trucking to radiology, new technology is already changing white collar and blue collar occupations, reshaping cities and concentrating wealth in the hands of the few. Robots are taking over the world as companies like Tesla, Amazon, Uber and Google are using robots to automate.

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Jan 28, 2018

Amazon’s New Supermarket Could Be Grim News for Human Workers

Posted by in categories: employment, robotics/AI

Sheelah Kolhatkar on whether the technology in Amazon’s new automated grocery store, Amazon Go, in Seattle, could eventually eliminate millions of retail jobs.

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Jan 28, 2018

Suppliers Say the Future of Fruit Growing is Automated

Posted by in category: futurism

Labor woes are starting to be felt on the supply-side.

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Jan 28, 2018

Supersonic air travel just took another big step toward rebirth

Posted by in categories: futurism, transportation


We are one step closer to an affordable reboot of supersonic flight. Japan Airlines (JAL) has invested $10 million in the Denver-based aerospace company, Boom Supersonic, that’s planning to resurrect the method of travel. In exchange for their funding, JAL will be able to pre-order 20 of the new aircraft. The airline’s president, Yoshiharu Ueki, said in a press release from December 5: “Through this partnership, we hope to contribute to the future of supersonic flight with the intent of providing more time to our valued passengers while emphasizing flight safety.”

It’s been 14 years since British Airways and Air France grounded their Concorde fleets, and commercial air travel hasn’t hit supersonic speeds since. Fourteen of these planes ferried first-class passengers from New York to London at speeds of 1,353 mph (2177.44 kph) — twice as fast as the speed of sound — making the jaunt across the pond in only 3.5 hours. That’s about half the time it takes a normal passenger plane to cross the Atlantic Ocean.

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