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Jan 18, 2018

Could science destroy the world? These scholars want to save us from a modern-day Frankenstein

Posted by in categories: bioengineering, biological, existential risks, health, nanotechnology, robotics/AI, science

The dozen people working at CSER itself—little more than a large room in an out-of-the-way building near the university’s occupational health service—organize talks, convene scientists to discuss future developments, and publish on topics from regulation of synthetic biology to ecological tipping points. A lot of their time is spent pondering end-of-the-world scenarios and potential safeguards.

A small cadre of scientists worries that lab-made viruses, AI, or nanobots could drive humans to extinction.

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Jan 17, 2018

Pentagon Plans Citywide Drone-Catching Dragnets

Posted by in categories: drones, military

It may take a drone to hunt a drone in the system that DARPA could begin testing later this year.

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Jan 17, 2018

Philip K. Dick and the Fake Humans

Posted by in categories: finance, information science, internet, robotics/AI

Standard utopias and standard dystopias are each perfect after their own particular fashion. We live somewhere queasier—a world in which technology is developing in ways that make it increasingly hard to distinguish human beings from artificial things. The world that the Internet and social media have created is less a system than an ecology, a proliferation of unexpected niches, and entities created and adapted to exploit them in deceptive ways. Vast commercial architectures are being colonized by quasi-autonomous parasites. Scammers have built algorithms to write fake books from scratch to sell on Amazon, compiling and modifying text from other books and online sources such as Wikipedia, to fool buyers or to take advantage of loopholes in Amazon’s compensation structure. Much of the world’s financial system is made out of bots—automated systems designed to continually probe markets for fleeting arbitrage opportunities. Less sophisticated programs plague online commerce systems such as eBay and Amazon, occasionally with extraordinary consequences, as when two warring bots bid the price of a biology book up to $23,698,655.93 (plus $3.99 shipping).

In other words, we live in Philip K. Dick’s future, not George Orwell’s or Aldous Huxley’s. Dick was no better a prophet of technology than any science fiction writer, and was arguably worse than most. His imagined worlds jam together odd bits of fifties’ and sixties’ California with rocket ships, drugs, and social speculation. Dick usually wrote in a hurry and for money, and sometimes under the influence of drugs or a recent and urgent personal religious revelation.

Still, what he captured with genius was the ontological unease of a world in which the human and the abhuman, the real and the fake, blur together. As Dick described his work (in the opening essay to his 1985 collection, I Hope I Shall Arrive Soon):

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Jan 17, 2018

Can We Live to 120 On Metformin?

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, life extension

A look back at the most popular life extension articles of 2017.

Review of metformin and anti-aging medicine. Metformin was shown to be anti-aging in diabetics. The TAME study wants to do same for all of us.

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Jan 17, 2018

Bioquark Inc. — IdeaxMe — Ira Pastor

Posted by in categories: aging, bioengineering, biological, biotech/medical, business, cryonics, disruptive technology, DNA, futurism, genetics

Jan 17, 2018

‘Potentially hazardous’ asteroid is headed towards Earth

Posted by in category: space

The asteroid is around 0.7 miles (1.1km) wide — making it longer than the Burj Khalifa in Dubai, which stands at 0.5 miles high (0.8km).

It is set to pass by our planet on the 4th February at a distance of around 2,615,128 miles (4,208,641km) away — which is relatively close in space terms.

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Jan 17, 2018

Major gravity experiment recreated aboard a satellite

Posted by in category: space travel

A spacecraft was used to “drop” two objects and test their rate of fall. The new, super-precise findings confirm objects will fall at the same rate (in the absence of air resistance) — and that when it comes defining the effects of gravity, Einstein got it right.

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Jan 17, 2018

These were the 6 most popular trends I saw at the biggest technology show of 2018

Posted by in category: robotics/AI

From adorable robots to modular TVs, these were the biggest trends I saw at this year’s Consumer Electronics Show.

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Jan 17, 2018

Google will construct three new undersea cables in 2019

Posted by in category: mobile phones

Can’t get enough Google? You’re in luck.

The company, a division of Alphabet Inc., has announced that it will expand its Cloud services to five new regions, and build three new submarine cables to service its capacity needs.

SEE ALSO: Google wants your phone screen to double as a speaker.

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Jan 17, 2018

Ferrari will make an electric supercar (and an SUV)

Posted by in category: futurism

Giving Tesla a run for its money.

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