Knowmads, Infocology of the future
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How the Internet (and sex) amplifies irrational group behavior | KurzweilAI

How the Internet (and sex) amplifies irrational group behavior | KurzweilAI | Knowmads, Infocology of the future |
(Credit: New Line Home Video) New research from the University of Copenhagen combines formal philosophy, social psychology, and decision theory to understand and tackle these phenomena.

“Group behavior that encourages us to make decisions based on false beliefs has always existed.

However, with the advent of the Internet and social media, this kind of behavior is more likely to occur than ever, and on a much larger scale, with possibly severe consequences for the democratic institutions underpinning the information societies we live in,” says professor of philosophy Vincent F. Hendricks at the University of Copenhagen.

He and fellow researchers Pelle G. Hansen and Rasmus Rendsvig analyze a number of social information processes that are enhanced by modern information technology.

Informational cascades and Sex and the City

Curiously, an old book entitled Love Letters of Great Men and Women: From the 18th Century to the Present Day, which in 2007 suddenly climbed the bestseller list, provides a good example of group behavior set in an online context:

“What generated the huge interest in this long forgotten book was a scene in the movie Sex and the City in which the main character Carrie Bradshaw reads a book entitled Love Letters of Great Men — which does not exist. So, when fans of the movie searched for this book, Amazon’s search engine suggested Love Letters of Great Men and Women instead, which made a lot of people buy a book they did not want. Then Amazon’s computers started pairing the book with Sex and the City merchandise, and the old book sold in great numbers,” Vincent F. Hendricks points out.

“This is known as an ‘informational cascade’ in which otherwise rational individuals base their decisions not only on their own private information, but also on the actions of those who act before them. The point is that, in an online context, this can take on massive proportions and result in actions that miss their intended purpose.”

Online discussions take place in echo chambers

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Are We All Racists Deep Inside?

Are We All Racists Deep Inside? | Knowmads, Infocology of the future |
Novelists often offer deep insights into the human psyche that take psychologists years to test. In his 1864 Notes from Underground, for example, Russian novelist Fyodor Dostoyevsky observed: “Every man has reminiscences which he would not tell to everyone, but only to his friends. He has other matters in his mind which he would not reveal even to his friends, but only to himself, and that in secret. But there are other things which a man is afraid to tell even to himself, and every decent man has a number of such things stored away in his mind.”

Intuitively, the observation rings true, but is it true experimentally? Twenty years ago social psychologists Anthony Greenwald, Mahzarin Banaji and Brian Nosek developed an instrument called the Implicit Association Test (IAT) that, they claimed, can read the innermost thoughts that you are afraid to tell even yourself. And those thoughts appear to be dark and prejudiced: we favor white over black, young over old, thin over fat, straight over gay, able over disabled, and more.

I took the test myself, as can you (Google “Project Implicit”). The race task first asks you to separate black and white faces into one of two categories: White people and Black people. Simple. Next you are asked to sort a list of words (joy, terrible, love, agony, peace, horrible, wonderful, nasty, and so on) into either Good or Bad buckets. Easy. Then the words and the black and white faces appear on the screen one at a time for you to sort into either Black people/Good or White people/Bad. The word “joy,” for example, would go into the first category, whereas a white face would go into the second category. This sorting becomes noticeably slower. Finally, you are tasked with sorting the words and faces into the categories White people/Good or Black people/Bad. Distressingly, I was much quicker to associate words like joy, love and pleasure with White people/Good than I was with Black people/Good.

The test's assessment of me was not heartening: “Your data suggest a strong automatic preference for White people over Black people. Your result is described as 'automatic preference for Black people over White people' if you were faster responding when Black people and Good are assigned to the same response key than when White people and Good were classified with the same key. Your score is described as an 'automatic preference for White people over Black people' if the opposite occurred.”

prgnewshawaii's curator insight, Today, 11:38 AM

A disturbing test that reveals the innermost secrets of our psyche. Perhaps, we are all racist deep inside our mind. You can take this test and find out for yourself. An adventure into our darker side.

Russell Roberts

Hawaii Intelligence Digest

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Your Brain Doesn't Contain Memories. It Is Memories

Your Brain Doesn't Contain Memories. It Is Memories | Knowmads, Infocology of the future |
Recall your favorite memory: the big game you won; the moment you first saw your child's face; the day you realized you had fallen in love. It's not a single memory, though, is it? Reconstructing it, you remember the smells, the colors, the funny thing some other person said, and the way it all made you feel.

Your brain's ability to collect, connect, and create mosaics from these milliseconds-long impressions is the basis of every memory. By extension, it is the basis of you. This isn't just metaphysical poetics. Every sensory experience triggers changes in the molecules of your neurons, reshaping the way they connect to one another. That means your brain is literally made of memories, and memories constantly remake your brain. This framework for memory dates back decades. And a sprawling new review published today in Neuron adds an even finer point: Memory exists because your brain’s molecules, cells, and synapses can tell time.

Defining memory is about as difficult as defining time. In general terms, memory is a change to a system that alters the way that system works in the future. "A typical memory is really just a reactivation of connections between different parts of your brain that were active at some previous time," says neuroscientist Nikolay Kukushkin, coauthor of this paper. And all animals—along with many single-celled organisms—possess some sort of ability to learn from the past.
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Gif and image written into the DNA of bacteria - BBC News

Gif and image written into the DNA of bacteria - BBC News | Knowmads, Infocology of the future |
An image and short film has been encoded in DNA, using the units of inheritance as a medium for storing information.

Using a genome editing tool known as Crispr, US scientists inserted a gif - five frames of a horse galloping - into the DNA of bacteria.

Then the team sequenced the bacterial DNA to retrieve the gif and the image, verifying that the microbes had indeed incorporated the data as intended.

The results appear in Nature journal.

For their experiments, the team from Harvard University in Cambridge, Massachusetts, used an image of a human hand and five frames of the horse Annie G captured in the late 19th Century by the British photography pioneer Eadweard Muybridge.

In order to insert this information into the genomes of bacteria, the researchers transferred the image and the movie onto nucleotides (building blocks of DNA), producing a code that related to the individual pixels of each image.

The researchers then employed the Crispr platform, in which two proteins are used to insert genetic code into the DNA of target cells - in this case, those of E.coli bacteria.

For the gif, sequences were delivered frame-by-frame over five days to the bacterial cells.

The data were spread across the genomes of multiple bacteria, rather than just one, explained co-author Seth Shipman, from Harvard University in Massachusetts.
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The sixth mass genesis? New species are coming into existence faster than ever thanks to humans

The sixth mass genesis? New species are coming into existence faster than ever thanks to humans | Knowmads, Infocology of the future |
Animals and plants are seemingly disappearing faster than at any time since the dinosaurs died out, 66m years ago. The death knell tolls for life on Earth. Rhinos will soon be gone unless we defend them, Mexico’s final few Vaquita porpoises are drowning in fishing nets, and in America, Franklin trees survive only in parks and gardens.

Yet the survivors are taking advantage of new opportunities created by humans. Many are spreading into new parts of the world, adapting to new conditions, and even evolving into new species. In some respects, diversity is actually increasing in the human epoch, the Anthropocene. It is these biological gains that I contemplate in a new book, Inheritors of the Earth: How Nature is Thriving in and Age of Extinction, in which I argue that it is no longer credible for us to take a loss-only view of the world’s biodiversity.

The beneficiaries surround us all. Glancing out of my study window, I see poppies and camomile plants sprouting in the margins of the adjacent barley field. These plants are southern European “weeds” taking advantage of a new human-created habitat. When I visit London, I see pigeons nesting on human-built cliffs (their ancestors nested on sea cliffs) and I listen out for the cries of skyscraper-dwelling peregrine falcons which hunt them.

Climate change has brought tree bumblebees from continental Europe to my Yorkshire garden in recent years. They are joined by an influx of world travellers, moved by humans as ornamental garden plants, pets, crops, and livestock, or simply by accident, before they escaped into the wild. Neither the hares nor the rabbits in my field are “native” to Britai
prgnewshawaii's curator insight, July 10, 4:05 PM

A fascinating look at how new species are being created thanks to the workings of human societies.  New human- created habitats are providing refuge for a large variety of animal and plant life. The current extinction wave may end up creating more life than it destroys.

Russell Roberts

Hawaii Intelligence Digest

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The World May Be Headed for a Fragmented ‘Splinternet’

The World May Be Headed for a Fragmented ‘Splinternet’ | Knowmads, Infocology of the future |
The rulings on online speech are coming down all over the world. Most recently, on June 30, Germany passed a law that orders social media companies operating in the country to delete hate speech within 24 hours of it being posted, or face fines of up to $57 million per instance. That came two days after a Canada Supreme Court ruling that Google must scrub search results about pirated products. And in May a court in Austria ruled that Facebook must take down specific posts that were considered hateful toward the country’s Green party leader. Each of those rulings mandated that companies remove the content not just in the countries where it was posted, but globally. Currently, in France, the country’s privacy regulator is fighting Google in the courts to get the tech giant to apply Europe’s “right to be forgotten” laws worldwide. And, around the world, dozens of similar cases are pending.

The trend of courts applying country-specific social media laws worldwide could radically change what is allowed to be on the internet, setting a troubling precedent. What happens to the global internet when countries with different cultures have sharply diverging definitions of what is acceptable online speech? What happens when one country's idea of acceptable speech clashes with another's idea of hate speech? Experts worry the biggest risk is that the whole internet will be forced to comport with the strictest legal limitations.
prgnewshawaii's curator insight, July 10, 12:38 AM

With more countries putting more restrictions on what can be discussed on the internet, the concept of net neutrality and freedom of speech is in deep trouble. Country specific laws will radically change the internet.

Russell Roberts

Hawaii Intelligence Digest

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Lasers recreate 'molecule that made the universe' - Futurity

Lasers recreate 'molecule that made the universe' - Futurity | Knowmads, Infocology of the future |
A team of scientists has duplicated the chemical reaction that creates trihydrogen, or H3+, which some call the molecule that made the universe.

While H3+ is astronomically abundant, no scientist understood the mechanisms that form it from organic molecules. Until now.

The scientists found H3+ when they used a strong-field laser to initiate a reaction and a second femtosecond laser to probe its progress. These interactions often lead to exotic chemical reactions. In this case, it unexpectedly revealed the phantom mechanisms of H3+.

“We found that a roaming H2 molecule is responsible for the chemical reaction, producing H3+; roaming chemistry is extremely new and little is known about it,” says Marcos Dantus, a professor of chemistry and physics at Michigan State University.

“This is the first documented case for a roaming H2 reaction, which is significant because roaming mechanisms are a budding chapter of chemistry—one that may provide explanations for unlikely and unexplained chemical reactions,” Dantus adds.

One reason for the dearth of knowledge is that the process happens in near immeasurable time. The entire reaction, involving cleavage and formation of three chemical bonds, takes between 100 or 240 femtoseconds. That’s less time than it takes a bullet to travel the width of an atom, Dantus adds.
prgnewshawaii's curator insight, July 7, 8:51 PM

Perhaps, astronomers have duplicated the original building blocks of the universe. We are gradually unveiling the deepest secret of our universe--the identity of the molecule that made life possible.

Russell Roberts

Hawaii Intelligence Digest

nullskirt's comment, July 9, 9:34 AM
Its amazing
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Self-Driving Cars Could Make Moral Decisions Like Humans With a Simple Algorithm

Self-Driving Cars Could Make Moral Decisions Like Humans With a Simple Algorithm | Knowmads, Infocology of the future |
Self-driving cars are almost here, but one big question remains - how do they make hard choices in a life and death situation? Now researchers have demonstrated that smart vehicles are capable of making ethical decisions on the road, just like we do everyday.

By studying human behaviour in a series of virtual reality-based trials, the team were able to describe moral decision making in the form of an algorithm. This is huge because previously, researchers have assumed that modelling complex ethical choices is out of reach.

"But we found quite the opposite," says Leon Sütfeld, one of the researchers from the University of Osnabruck, Germany. "Human behaviour in dilemma situations can be modelled by a rather simple value-of-life-based model that is attributed by the participant to every human, animal, or inanimate object."

If you take a quick glance at the statistics, humans can be pretty terrible drivers that are often prone to distraction, road rage and drink driving. It's no surprise then that there are almost 1.3 million deaths on the road worldwide each year, with 93 percent of accidents in the US caused by human error.

But is kicking back in the seat of a self-driving car really a safer option? The outlook is promising. One report estimates that driverless vehicles could reduce the number of road deaths by 90 percent, which works out to be around 300,000 saved lives a decade in the US alone.

Despite the glowing figures, developing a self-driving car that can respond to unpredictable situations on the road hasn't been a smooth ride. One stumbling block is figuring out how these smart cars will deal with road dilemmas that require ethical decision-making and moral judgement.
Science Square's curator insight, July 7, 8:14 AM

Self-Driving Cars Could Make Moral Decisions Like Humans With a Simple Algorithm

George Khairy's curator insight, July 20, 8:42 AM
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How your pile of laundry fills the sea with plastic pollution

How your pile of laundry fills the sea with plastic pollution | Knowmads, Infocology of the future |
After decades of intense observation and campaigning by conservation groups, awareness of microplastic pollution has fortunately grown. There is now worldwide concern about tiny pieces of plastic litter that are having a harmful impact on marine species and habitats.

Large plastic litter has already been identified as both an eyesore and a danger to turtles, seabirds and marine mammals. So the scene was already set for mass action against microbeads and other forms of tiny plastics, which are present in things such as shower gels and beauty products.

But most of the small plastic we find doesn’t come from your face wash. It is formed from the breakdown of larger plastics such as bottles and bags.

Less widely known as a source of microplastic is the breakdown of synthetic fabrics, which forms tiny plastic fibres. Reports now indicate that these are the most common form of microplastic recovered from sediment and water samples. And the vast majority of these are produced during domestic clothes washing.

In the washing machine, abrasion of clothes removes tiny fibres which are too small to be caught by the machine’s filters. This may add up to hundreds of thousands of fibres from a single wash. These fibres are then carried in the waste water into the sewage system, but are far too small to be removed in the treatment plants where other solid materials and pollutants are caught.

As a result, the fibres escape into rivers and then oceans. The fibres which end up in the ocean come from every kind of synthetic garment – from your socks and swimsuits to pullovers and parkas.
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Tumblr’s Unclear Future Shows That There’s No Money in Internet Culture

Tumblr’s Unclear Future Shows That There’s No Money in Internet Culture | Knowmads, Infocology of the future |
Earlier this month, Verizon completed its acquisition of Yahoo, incorporating the internet-portal pioneer’s slate of brands under a new umbrella corporation named, ominously, Oath. Among those Yahoo brands is the website Tumblr, a blog-based social network that you either know well to the point of obsession, or find completely incomprehensible. As Verizon completed its acquisition, a number of Tumblr employees, as well as those at other Verizon-owned properties, like the Huffington Post, were laid off.

The future of Tumblr is still an open question. The site is enormously popular among the coveted youth crowd — that’s partly why then-CEO Marissa Mayer paid $1 billion for the property in 2013 — but despite a user base near the size of Instagram’s, Tumblr never quite figured out how to make money at the level Facebook has led managers and shareholders to expect. For a long time, its founder and CEO David Karp was publicly against the idea of inserting ads into users’ timelines. (Other experiments in monetization, like premium options, never caught on: It’s tough to generate revenue when your most active user base is too young to have a steady income.) Even once the timeline became open to advertising, it was tough to find clients willing to brave the sometimes-porny waters of the Tumblr Dashboard. Since it joined Yahoo, the site has started displaying low-quality “chum”-style ads in between user posts on the Dashboard. Looked at from a bottom-line perspective, Tumblr is an also-ran like its parent company — a once-hot start-up that has eased into tech-industry irrelevance.

Looked at from another angle, however, Tumblr is among the most important sites online — a central hub of what is nebulously known as “internet culture.” Most recently, the site gave us Dat Boi, the unicycling frog, but Tumblr’s most famous legacy is probably the reaction GIF, which was popularized by Tumblr accounts like What Should We Call Me. Tumblr’s reblog structure, which created lengthy, publicly shared conversations between strangers, also helped popularize the concept of the Discourse, the internetwide conversation happening all at once. It is also the primary meeting place for fandoms of shows like Doctor Who and Supernatural, and films like the Marvel movies — some of the most aggressive fandoms are cultivated on Tumblr.
prgnewshawaii's curator insight, July 2, 11:51 AM

The unclear future of Tumblr is exposed in this article. If a business doesn't generated a profit, it will disappear.  Popularity isn't enough. Fandom doesn't pay the bills.

Russell Roberts

Hawaii Intelligence Diges

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The key to jobs in the future is not college but compassion – Livia Gershon | Aeon Essays

The key to jobs in the future is not college but compassion – Livia Gershon | Aeon Essays | Knowmads, Infocology of the future |
Early last year, the World Economic Forum issued a paper warning that technological change is on the verge of upending the global economy. To fill the sophisticated jobs of tomorrow, the authors argued, the ‘reskilling and upskilling of today’s workers will be critical’. Around the same time, the then president Barack Obama announced a ‘computer science for all’ programme for elementary and high schools in the United States. ‘[W]e have to make sure all our kids are equipped for the jobs of the future, which means not just being able to work with computers but developing the analytical and coding skills to power our innovation economy,’ he said.

But the truth is, only a tiny percentage of people in the post-industrial world will ever end up working in software engineering, biotechnology or advanced manufacturing. Just as the behemoth machines of the industrial revolution made physical strength less necessary for humans, the information revolution frees us to complement, rather than compete with, the technical competence of computers. Many of the most important jobs of the future will require soft skills, not advanced algebra.
Back in 1983, the sociologist Arlie Russell Hochschild coined the term ‘emotional labour’ to describe the processes involved in managing the emotional demands of work. She explored the techniques that flight attendants used to maintain the friendly demeanours their airline demanded in the face of abusive customers: taking deep breaths, silently reminding themselves to stay cool, or building empathy for the nasty passenger. ‘I try to remember that if he’s drinking too much, he’s probably really scared of flying,’ one attendant explained. ‘I think to myself: “He’s like a little child.”’
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Algorithms decode complex thoughts from brain scans - Futurity

Algorithms decode complex thoughts from brain scans - Futurity | Knowmads, Infocology of the future |
Scientists can now use brain activation patterns to identify complex thoughts like “The witness shouted during the trial.”

The research uses machine-learning algorithms and brain-imaging technology to “mind read.”

The findings indicate that the mind’s building blocks for constructing complex thoughts are formed by the brain’s various sub-systems and are not word-based. Published in Human Brain Mapping, the study offers new evidence that the neural dimensions of concept representation are universal across people and languages.

“One of the big advances of the human brain was the ability to combine individual concepts into complex thoughts, to think not just of ‘bananas,’ but ‘I like to eat bananas in evening with my friends,'” says Marcel Just, professor of psychology in Carnegie Mellon University’s Dietrich College of Humanities and Social Sciences.

“We have finally developed a way to see thoughts of that complexity in the fMRI signal. The discovery of this correspondence between thoughts and brain activation patterns tells us what the thoughts are built of.”
Landscaping Lehi's curator insight, June 28, 6:19 PM
A good front yard landscaping idea can improve the appearance of the home and make it seem like a more inviting place. Using a front yard landscaping idea for the front yard of a home may benefit the homeowner in more ways than they think. Great home landscaping idea is to use different colors in the area around the home to make the open areas appear larger and more spacious. If the landscaping design places dark colors in the center of the area and pight colors around the edges, it will give the area around the home some definition and will create the illusion that the area around the home is bigger than it truly is. Having lighter colors on the edged of the yard and darker colors in the center causes the eye to move from the inside to the outside of the area and moving the eyes outwards creates the appearance of more space. This technique can be used for areas inside the home as well to make small rooms appear more spacious than they really are. Visit to learn about more.
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Calling all 'Time Ninjas': let's put a stop to ludicrous job titles

Calling all 'Time Ninjas': let's put a stop to ludicrous job titles | Knowmads, Infocology of the future |
Wacky job titles aren’t new. Google has employed a Captain of Moonshots since around 2010. Astro Teller – his real name – currently holds the post and heads up research and development. In another universe, he’d just be “head of research and development”.

It’s not just the Wild West of tech that’s in on it. Wall Street bellwether Berkshire Hathaway has had a Director of Chaos since before 2006. This person is in charge of organising the annual meeting for investor Warren Buffett’s famous conglomerate. Outside the corporate stratosphere, the people stuffing diced olives into warm baguettes in your high street Subway, are called “sandwich artists”.

Esoteric job titles began as a defining quirk of industry-leading companies. They were used to communicate something about their unique culture. There’s nothing inherently bad about the practice, in the right context.

For example, we can all forgive the Make-A-Wish Foundation, the charity which arranges dream-come-true experiences for kids with life-threatening illnesses. It sometimes lets its staff pick their own titles. PR Managers are “Magic Messengers” and the CEO is known as the “Fairy Godmother of Wishes”. These titles, which appear alongside the more traditional variation of the title, only work because of the context.
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'Woke' and 'post-truth' added to Oxford English Dictionary

'Woke' and 'post-truth' added to Oxford English Dictionary | Knowmads, Infocology of the future |
The Oxford English Dictionary is getting political in its latest update, with "woke" and "post-truth" now included.

The original meaning of woke is to awaken after sleep but the word now has other social connotations.

"By the mid-20th century," says the Oxford English Dictionary (OED), "woke had been extended figuratively to refer to being 'aware' or 'well informed' in a political or cultural sense."

Post-truth was 2016's word of the year.

It is defined as "relating to or denoting circumstances in which objective facts are less influential in shaping political debate or public opinion than appeals to emotion and personal belief".

These words are especially linked to recent events in the US, such as the last presidential campaign and issues around race and police shootings.
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"Empowering" robots could replace the Three Laws of Robotics

Isaac Asimov's Three Laws of Robotics are versatile and simple enough that they still persist 75 years after he first coined them. But our current world, where robots and AI agents are cleaning our houses, driving our cars and working alongside us, is vastly different than even the most forward-thinking sci-fi writers could imagine. To make sure the guidelines for programming artificial intelligence cast as wide a net as possible, experts from the University of Hertfordshire have detailed a new system they call "Empowerment."

Originally created as a safety feature of the robots in Asimov's speculative stories, the Three Laws are elegant in their simplicity. 1) A robot may not injure a human being, or, through inaction, allow a human being to come to harm. 2) A robot must obey the orders given it by human beings except where such orders would conflict with the First Law. 3) A robot must protect its own existence so long as such protection does not conflict with the First or Second Laws.

But the Hertfordshire researchers believe that these laws don't quite cover all the nuances that could arise in a robot's day-to-day life. Any guidelines for robot behavior need to be simultaneously generic enough to apply to any situation, yet well defined enough to ensure the robot always acts in the best interests of themselves and the humans around them.
prgnewshawaii's curator insight, Today, 11:35 AM

A new look at the Three Laws of Robotics envisioned by the late Isaac Asimov.  These laws may change as we fully integrate our personalities with robots. 

Russell Roberts

Hawaii Intelligence Digest

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Smart glove translates sign language gestures into text

Unless you're hard of hearing, or have hearing-impaired friends or relatives, you probably won't understand sign language, which is frustrating for those who rely on it to communicate. Now engineers at the University of California San Diego have developed a prototype of what they call "The Language of Glove," a Bluetooth-enabled, sensor-packed glove that reads the sign language hand gestures and translates them into text.

This isn't the first device designed to break down this particular language barrier. The 2012 Microsoft Imagine Cup was taken out by the EnableTalk gloves, which translate gestures into speech, and a London team developed a similar system a few years later called the SignLanguageGlove. Uni, meanwhile, is a tablet-like solution that uses infrared motion tracking to convert gestures to speech and text.

The Language of Glove uses a similar tracking method to the other glove-based systems. Nine stretchable sensors are attached to the knuckles of a leather athletic glove, two on each finger and one on the thumb. These are connected to a circuit board on the wrist, which generates a letter of the American Sign Language alphabet based on the position of the fingers.
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The future of translation is part human, part machine

The future of translation is part human, part machine | Knowmads, Infocology of the future |
Imagine a world where everyone can perfectly understand each other. Language is translated as we speak, and awkward moments of trying to be understood are a thing of the past.

This elusive idea is something that developers have been chasing for years. Free tools like Google Translate – which is used to translate over 100 billion words a day – along with other apps and hardware that claim to translate foreign languages as they are spoken are now available, but something is still missing.

Yes, you can now buy earpiece technology reminiscent of the Hitchiker’s Guide to the Galaxy babel fish – a bit of kit which claims to so a similar job to that a university-trained, professionally-experienced, multilingual translator – but it’s really not that simple.

Despite the rather interesting claim in 1958 that translation is a Roman invention, it’s likely that it has been around as long as the written word, and interpretation even longer. We have evidence of interpreters being employed by ancient civilisations. Greece and Rome were, like many areas of the ancient world, multilingual, and so needed both translators and interpreters.

The question of how one should translate is just as old. Roman poet Cicero dictated that a translation ought to be “non verbum de verbo, sed sensum exprimere de sensu” – of expressing not word for word, but sense for sense.

This brief trip into the world of theory has one simple purpose: to emphasise that translation is not just about the words, and automating the process of replacing one with another could never be a substitute for human translation. Translation is about the words’ meaning, their connotative as well as their denotative sense, and how to express that meaning in such a way that it is both readable and comprehensible.
prgnewshawaii's curator insight, July 12, 8:42 PM

This article reminds me of the translation "decoders" used during the long-running "Star Trek" tv and film series. Gene Rodenberry was way ahead of his time. One of these days, we'll just plug a cable into a surgically implanted brain port and use artificial intelligence/machine learning to instantly translate our words to others.

Russell Roberts

Hawaii Intelligence Digest

densesmew's comment, July 18, 5:27 AM
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Are Humans Getting Smarter or Less Intelligent?

Are Humans Getting Smarter or Less Intelligent? | Knowmads, Infocology of the future |

Observe the behavior of shoppers in a long supermarket line or drivers snarled in traffic, and you can quickly become disillusioned about humanity and its collective IQ. Reality TV and websites like People of Walmart inflame this consideration. Lots of songs, both popular and underground, even utter the phrase “only stupid people are breeding.” Apparently, many of us can relate.

And yet, we’re better at technology today than in times past. Never before have we been more productive, better educated, or more technologically savvy. I had a teacher in high school who said that at the time Einstein was considering relativity, few people in the entire world were intelligent enough to understand it. But just a generation later, everyone had the theory in high school and understood it well, or at least well enough to pass the test.

So at different times and in different ways, we get competing impressions as to whether humanity collectively is getting smarter or less intelligent than before. Of course, the problem with personal experience is that it’s myopic or shortsighted. So what do studies tell us? What’s really going on here? Well, things get more complex and thornier moving forward, as they often do.

go read this..

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Impossible Foods CEO: we want to eliminate all meat from human diets

Impossible Foods CEO: we want to eliminate all meat from human diets | Knowmads, Infocology of the future |
It’s the veggie burger that bleeds. When eaten, it tastes and feels remarkably similar in your mouth to a burger made from animal meat.

After a blaze of publicity, the US-based company behind it, Impossible Foods, is scaling up production. A new facility in California will open before the end of the year with the ability to produce four million burgers a month.

Impossible Foods founder Pat Brown explains the impact he hopes to have on our health, the future of the livestock industry and the natural environment.
You’ve said your burger is healthier for us. How?

We think we’ve made choices that have the net effect of making this better for consumers’ health than what it replaces. There are intrinsic safety issues with food from animals. You can’t make ground beef without faecal bacteria getting into it. It’s part of the process. That carries irreducible food safety hazards which we can readily avoid.

There is no cholesterol [in our burger] ... there is a significant population of people for whom it [cholesterol] has negative health consequences. There is also data suggesting that mammalian meat triggers an inflammatory response in humans that has some negative health consequences that we don’t have with our product.

nullskirt's comment, July 9, 9:33 AM
Extremely good...!!
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A Crack in Creation: Gene Editing and the Unthinkable Power to Control Evolution | KurzweilAI

Doudna, professor of biology at UC-Berkeley, and Sternberg, her former graduate student and current collaborator, explain the basics of the potentially revolutionary CRISPR technology, the events leading up to Doudna’s discovery of that technology, and the ethical dilemmas posed by the newfound ability to alter any living being’s genetic composition. The authors describe the biological mechanisms in a way that nonspecialists can appreciate, though the simplistic diagrams scattered throughout add little to the text. They also enthusiastically survey many of the uses to which CRISPR technology has already been applied, noting the great interest by venture capitalists who have already invested well over $1 billion in this technology. Doudna and Sternberg make a clear distinction between manipulating reproductive and non-reproductive cells, since the former can cause permanent evolutionary shifts. The second half of the book delves into the ethical implications arising from this difference, thoughtfully covering effects on both human and non-human species. Though the authors note that science involves both “competition and collaboration,” they avoid discussion of the myriad conflicts that exist in this exciting new field—an absence that makes the rosy picture presented in this otherwise excellent book just a bit too unbelievable.
flint63's curator insight, July 6, 3:54 AM

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prgnewshawaii's curator insight, July 6, 8:13 PM

A cautionary tale for all of us desiring to make "a more perfect society" by controlling evolution. The revolutionary CRISPR technology is a double-edge sword.  In the hands of the rich and powerful you get the scenario of Huxley's "Brave New World", where our futures are predetermined by manipulating our genes and DNA.  Modern dystopian novels, such as "The Handmaiden's Tale," outline the dangers involved in manipulating our reproductive cells.

Russell Roberts

Hawaii Intelligence Digest

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Why women are dressing up as Margaret Atwood's Handmaids

Why women are dressing up as Margaret Atwood's Handmaids | Knowmads, Infocology of the future |
Margaret Atwood’s novel The Handmaid’s Tale has remained popular since its publication in 1985. It has been translated into dozens of languages, made into a film in 1990, and even became a ballet and an opera. It is read in schools the world over. Most recently, there has been a new wave of interest in the dystopian story thanks to the TV adaptation by MGM and Hulu.

However, it isn’t the adaptation alone that has caused this popularity, the novel has seen a reported 200% increase in sales since Donald Trump was elected as US president.

The series takes place in the fictional nation state of Gilead (established in North America after an uprising has overthrown the US government and murdered the US president and Congress). There, a Christian theocracy has dealt with a global fertility crisis by enslaving fertile women. They are systematically raped by high-ranking officials in order to bear children for the new nation. Filmed during the 2016 election race, the cast and crew has since spoken about how political events gave a whole new weight to the series.

And since the series has been aired, it has fed back into politics. Women have been dressing as handmaids to express their anger, frustration and dissent in a relatable and visually striking way. By dressing in these instantly recognisable costumes the handmaids have been bearing witness to federal and state attempts to limit women’s reproductive choices.

While there are some clear differences between Atwood’s Gilead and Trump’s current US administration (for one, climate change is a government priority in Gilead), increasing threats to women’s reproductive rights in the US have led protestors to adopt the message and aesthetic of The Handmaid’s Tale.

Placards have been spotted at anti-Trump protests bearing slogans such as “The Handmaid’s Tale is not an instruction manual” and “Make Margaret Atwood fiction again”.
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Why 2,000 Year-Old Roman Concrete Is So Much Better Than What We Produce Today

Why 2,000 Year-Old Roman Concrete Is So Much Better Than What We Produce Today | Knowmads, Infocology of the future |
One of the fascinating mysteries of Ancient Rome is the impressive longevity of some of their concrete harbour structures. Battered by sea waves for 2,000 years, these things are still around while our modern concoctions erode over mere decades.

Now scientists have uncovered the incredible chemistry behind this phenomenon, getting closer to unlocking its long-lost recipe. As it turns out, not only is Roman concrete more durable than what we can make today, but it actually gets stronger over time.

Researchers led by geologist Marie Jackson from the University of Utah have been chipping away at the mysteries of Roman concrete for years, and now they have mapped its crystalline structure, figuring out precisely how this ancient material solidifies over time.

Modern concrete is typically made with portland cement, a mixture of silica sand, limestone, clay, chalk and other ingredients melted together at blistering temperatures. In concrete, this paste binds 'aggregate' - chunks of rock and sand.

This aggregate has to be inert, because any unwanted chemical reaction can cause cracks in the concrete, leading to erosion and crumbling of the structures. This is why concrete doesn't have the longevity of natural rocks.

But that's not how Roman concrete works.

Theirs was created with volcanic ash, lime and seawater, taking advantage of a chemical reaction Romans may have observed in naturally cemented volcanic ash deposits called tuff rocks.
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A million bottles a minute: world's plastic binge 'as dangerous as climate change'

A million bottles a minute: world's plastic binge 'as dangerous as climate change' | Knowmads, Infocology of the future |
A million plastic bottles are bought around the world every minute and the number will jump another 20% by 2021, creating an environmental crisis some campaigners predict will be as serious as climate change.

New figures obtained by the Guardian reveal the surge in usage of plastic bottles, more than half a trillion of which will be sold annually by the end of the decade.

The demand, equivalent to about 20,000 bottles being bought every second, is driven by an apparently insatiable desire for bottled water and the spread of a western, urbanised “on the go” culture to China and the Asia Pacific region.

More than 480bn plastic drinking bottles were sold in 2016 across the world, up from about 300bn a decade ago. If placed end to end, they would extend more than halfway to the sun. By 2021 this will increase to 583.3bn, according to the most up-to-date estimates from Euromonitor International’s global packaging trends report.

Most plastic bottles used for soft drinks and water are made from polyethylene terephthalate (Pet), which is highly recyclable. But as their use soars across the globe, efforts to collect and recycle the bottles to keep them from polluting the oceans, are failing to keep up.

Fewer than half of the bottles bought in 2016 were collected for recycling and just 7% of those collected were turned into new bottles. Instead most plastic bottles produced end up in landfill or in the ocean.

Between 5m and 13m tonnes of plastic leaks into the world’s oceans each year to be ingested by sea birds, fish and other organisms, and by 2050 the ocean will contain more plastic by weight than fish, according to research by the Ellen MacArthur Foundation.

Experts warn that some of it is already finding its way into the human food chain.
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A Group of Scientists Says We Have Three Years to Save The Planet From Irreversible Destruction

A Group of Scientists Says We Have Three Years to Save The Planet From Irreversible Destruction | Knowmads, Infocology of the future |
A planet devastated by climate change may seem like a distant future. But Earth is already experiencing effects today.

Globally, the mean rate of sea level rise increased 50 percent in the last two decades. In 2017, temperatures have already reached their highest levels in history in some areas, from California to Vietnam. And the past three years were the hottest on record.

In a new open letter, six prominent scientists and diplomats, including former UN climate chief Christiana Figueres and physicist Stefan Rahmstorf, wrote that the world has approximately three years before the worst effects of climate change take hold.

Published June 28, the letter urges governments, businesses, scientists, and citizens to address the world's greenhouse-gas emissions now.

If emissions can be permanently lowered by 2020, global temperatures will likely avoid reaching an irreversible threshold, they write.

Impacts would include rapid deforestation, floods from rising sea levels, and unpredictable weather shifts that could ravage agriculture and affect life on the coasts, where the vast majority of people live.

Their plan includes six goals for 2020:

Increase renewable energy to 30 percent of electricity use.
Draft plans for cities and states to ditch fossil fuel energy by 2050, with funding of US$300 billion annually.
Ensure 15 percent of all new vehicles sold are electric.
Cut net emissions from deforestation.
Publish plan for halving emissions from deforestation well before 2050.
Encourage the financial sector to issue more "green bonds" toward climate-mitigation efforts.

The letter's goals are at odds with the priorities of the Trump administration, which has signalled that climate change is not on its agenda.

In early June, President Trump announced that, in 2019, the US will withdraw from the Paris Agreement, which sets national benchmarks for curbing greenhouse-gas emissions.

The authors call for cities and businesses to fight e
Dove Nobel's comment, July 1, 12:04 PM
prgnewshawaii's curator insight, July 2, 12:08 PM

Time is running out to save our world from "irreversible destruction." According to scientists, we may have less than three years to reverse the damage already underway.

Russell Roberts

Hawaii Intelligence Digest

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Sea Level Rise Isn't Just Happening, It's Getting Faster

Sea Level Rise Isn't Just Happening, It's Getting Faster | Knowmads, Infocology of the future |
In at least the third such study published in the past year, scientists have confirmed seas are rising, and the rate of sea level rise is increasing as time passes - a sobering punchline for coastal communities that are only now beginning to prepare for a troubling future.

What was a 2.2 millimetre per year rise in 1993 was a 3.3 millimetre rise in 2014, based on estimates of the mass changes of a number of key components of sea level rise, such as the melting of the Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets, the study in Nature Climate Change found.

That's the difference between 0.86 and 1.29 inches per decade - and the researchers suggest further sea level acceleration could be in store.

The chief cause of the acceleration was the melting of the Greenland ice sheet, which went from contributing less than 5 percent of all sea level rise in 1993 to contributing more than 25 percent in 2014, the study found. The loss of ice in Antarctica and smaller glaciers over the same time period also contributed to quicker sea level rise.

The increase in the rate of sea level rise "highlights the importance and urgency of mitigating climate change and formulating coastal adaptation plans to mitigate the impacts of ongoing sea level rise," write Xianyao Chen of the Ocean University of China and Qingdao National Laboratory of Marine Science and Technology, and colleagues. Chen's co-authors hailed from institutions in China, Australia and the United States.
prgnewshawaii's curator insight, June 29, 2:10 AM

A sobering report says sea level rise is more than expected...a clear warning for all coastal communities. Time is running out to mitigate the worst effects of this process.

Russell Roberts

Hawaii Intelligence Digest

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Tech firms want to detect your emotions and expressions, but people don't like it

Tech firms want to detect your emotions and expressions, but people don't like it | Knowmads, Infocology of the future |
As revealed in a patent filing, Facebook is interested in using webcams and smartphone cameras to read our emotions, and track expressions and reactions. The idea is that by understanding emotional behaviour, Facebook can show us more of what we react positively to in our Facebook news feeds and less of what we do not – whether that’s friends’ holiday photos, or advertisements.

This might appear innocuous, but consider some of the detail. In addition to smiles, joy, amazement, surprise, humour and excitement, the patent also lists negative emotions. Possibly being read for signs of disappointment, confusion, indifference, boredom, anger, pain and depression is neither innocent, nor fun.

In fact, Facebook is no stranger to using data about emotions. Some readers might remember the furore when Facebook secretly tweaked user’s news feeds to understand “emotional contagion”. This meant that when users logged into their Facebook pages, some were shown content in their news feeds with a greater number of positive words and others were shown content deemed as sadder than average. This changed the emotional behaviour of those users that were “infected”.

Given that Facebook has around two billion users, this patent to read emotions via cameras is important. But there is a bigger story, which is that the largest technology companies have been buying, researching and developing these applications for some time.
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