Knowmads, Infocology of the future
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onto Knowmads, Infocology of the future! – Tapping into the Secret Language of Plants – Tapping into the Secret Language of Plants | Knowmads, Infocology of the future |

Over that past week I’ve had the great honor of working with both the good people at the North Dakota Bankers Association in Bismarck, ND and the good people at Rabobank in Napa, CA on the rapidly evolving topic of the future of agriculture.

Growing up on a grain farm in the little town of Mobridge, SD is an experience I wouldn’t trade for anything. But over the past several decades, the farming profession has evolved into a very sophisticated industry, with technology permeating virtually every aspect of the seeding, growing, and harvesting of today’s food production systems.

U.S. farmers are clearly on the cutting edge of the world’s ag industry, an industry now tightly interconnected with global distributors and food manufacturers who are insuring a far safer and more durable food supply chain than ever in the past.

But at the same time, we are sitting on the cusp of a new wave of innovation. The same information layers that have invaded our homes and offices are now creating information layers that will touch every plant and animal on our planet as well.

Our mobile communication systems are just beginning to make these connections, and on a certain level, this back and forth information flow becomes a rudimentary form of language between us and our plants. Little did we know, the plants have always been talking, but we haven’t been listening.

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Knowmads, Infocology of the future
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‘Mind-blowing’ discovery could revolutionise our understanding of how brain works

‘Mind-blowing’ discovery could revolutionise our understanding of how brain works | Knowmads, Infocology of the future |
A study of people born with one hand suggests neuroscientists may have fundamentally misunderstood the way the brain is organised, a scientist has claimed.

Dr Tamar Makin, of University College London, said the new theory – if proved correct – would have “massive implications”, adding it was “mind-blowing” to think that scientists could have been mistaken for so long.

An international team of researchers from the UK, Israel, Canada and Switzerland used an MRI scanner to monitor the brains of people who were born with one hand as they performed everyday tasks like handling money or wrapping a present.

They found the area of the brain associated with the missing hand was active when they used different body parts, such as the arm, foot and mouth.

Importantly this happened when these other body parts were used to perform the same function as the second hand in people with both, the researchers reported in the journal Current Biology.

This suggests that the brain is not organised so that each area is responsible for an individual body part, but that different areas are responsible for different functions.

Dr Makin said: “If true, this means we’ve been misinterpreting brain organisation based on body part, rather than based on function.

“It’s kind of mind blowing for me to think we could have been getting this wrong for so long.

“The implications, if this interpretation is correct, are massive.”
Cintia Maria Rodrigues Blanco's curator insight, April 22, 2:01 PM
Fabulous results from this collaborative scientific research!
prgnewshawaii's curator insight, April 22, 10:21 PM

A groundbreaking discovery that will change our concept of how the brain works. The current belief is that our brain is geared to function rather than to specific body parts.  This idea could change how we treat brain diseases, such as alzheimers and parkingsons.

Russell Roberts

Hawaii Intelligence Digest

Miro Svetlik's curator insight, Today, 4:50 AM
This is quite massive one indeed
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The urinal that changed how we think

The urinal that changed how we think | Knowmads, Infocology of the future |
In April 1917, everything changed. At least, that is, in the world of art. It was then that the legendary avant-garde French artist and cultural prankster, Marcel Duchamp, conceived a work so controversial in its making and meaning that it would alter forever the way the game of art is played. The work in question was a porcelain urinal that Duchamp quizzically flipped onto its back, signed with a mysterious nom de plume, and called Fountain. Like a genius move by a stealthy chess master, the introduction of Fountain into the history of image-making had the effect of check-mating the art world’s sensibilities, marking the end of one kind of game and the start of another. The analogy to chess is more than merely fanciful. Insisting that it “has all the beauty of art and much more”, Duchamp was obsessed with the game. (So obsessed in fact he forfeited significant pieces of his personal and creative life to its pursuit. In November 1927, after having, years earlier, shifted his energies entirely from making art to playing chess, his new wife Lydie had had enough of his incessant strategizing of moves and countermoves. One night, while he was sleeping, she glued the pieces of his set to the board. They divorced a month later.) Duchamp’s mischievous creation of Fountain 100 years ago this month is deeply in accord with the artist’s lifelong inclination towards cerebral playfulness and demonstrates the same skilful sleights of hand that a grandmaster displays when wiping the board clean with his opponents.
prgnewshawaii's curator insight, April 22, 10:33 PM

Marcel Duchamp's supreme joke on all of us.  Duchamp lead the way for such artists as Andy Warhol and Pollock.  

Russell Roberts

Hawaii Intelligence Digest

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Are 'machine values' replacing our principles? - Futurity

Are 'machine values' replacing our principles? - Futurity | Knowmads, Infocology of the future |
We need to consider the possible consequences of our 24-7 reliance on digital technology, warns a new book.

Our dependence on our phones, tablets, and laptops has dramatically changed how we communicate and interact, and is slowly eroding some of our core principles, says Michael Bugeja, professor and director of the Greenlee School of Journalism and Communication at Iowa State University. Bugeja is not advocating against technology—in fact, he relies on it for his work and personal life.

But in his forthcoming book, Interpersonal Divide in the Age of the Machine (Oxford University Press, 2017), Bugeja explores what might happen if we allow machines to dictate our life. Those machines range from smartphones to robotics to virtual reality. Bugeja theorizes that because of our reliance on machines, we will start to develop the universal principles of technology, such as urgency, a need for constant updates, and a loss of privacy.

“We are losing empathy, compassion, truth-telling, fairness, and responsibility and replacing them with all these machine values,” Bugeja says. “If we embed ourselves in technology, what happens to those universal principles that have stopped wars and elevated human consciousness and conscience above more primitive times in history?”
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Brain scans highlight a hidden, "higher" state of consciousness

Brain scans highlight a hidden, "higher" state of consciousness | Knowmads, Infocology of the future |
Reaching a higher state of consciousness is a concept you're more likely to hear a spiritualist spout than a scientist, but now neuroscientists at the University of Sussex claim to have found the first evidence of just such a state. From wakefulness down to a deep coma, consciousness is on a sliding scale measured by the diversity of brain signals, and the researchers found that when under the influence of psychedelic drugs, that diversity jumps to new heights above the everyday baseline.

The research builds on data gathered about a year ago by a team at Imperial College London, which dosed up volunteers with psychedelics, including LSD, psilocybin and ketamine, then scanned their brains with magnetoencephalographic (MEG) techniques to examine the effects. This new study set out to determine how a psychedelic state would compare to other levels of wakefulness and unconsciousness, according to a scale of brain signal diversity measured by monitoring the magnetic fields produced by the brain.

When a person is asleep, their brain signals are far less diverse than when they're awake and aware, and past research has noted that it varies by what stage of the sleep cycle they're in. Being put under different types of anaesthesia induce even lower scores, and it bottoms out for those in a vegetative state. But this is the first time signal diversity has been seen to be higher than the normal readings of an alert, conscious mind.
"This finding shows that the brain-on-psychedelics behaves very differently from normal," says Anil Seth, corresponding author of the study. "During the psychedelic state, the electrical activity of the brain is less predictable and less 'integrated' than during normal conscious wakefulness – as measured by 'global signal diversity.' Since this measure has already shown its value as a measure of 'conscious level', we can say that the psychedelic state appears as a higher 'level' of consciousness than normal – but only with respect to this specific mathematical measure."
Mick jones's comment, April 21, 11:20 AM
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prgnewshawaii's curator insight, April 21, 11:25 AM

Perhaps gurus and ancient mystics knew something about the mind that we did not. New research shows we have hidden states of consciousness that were unknown before brain scans.

Russell Roberts

Hawaii Intelligence Digest

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Scientists Have Created a Device That Sucks Water Out of Thin Air, Even in the Desert

Scientists Have Created a Device That Sucks Water Out of Thin Air, Even in the Desert | Knowmads, Infocology of the future |
When it comes to future challenges, one of the biggest will be water scarcity - on a warming planet we're going to have plenty of seawater, but not enough fresh, clean water in the right places for everybody to drink.

And while a lot of research has focussed on desalination, a team of scientists have now come up with another possible solution - a device that pulls fresh water out of thin air, even in places with humidity as low as 20 percent. All it needs is sunlight.

It might sound too good to be true, but so far the research is solid. Called the 'solar-powered harvester', the device was created by teams from MIT and the University of California, Berkeley, using a special type of material known as a metal-organic framework (MOF).

To be clear, it's only in the prototype phase right now and has been tested in pretty limited situations, but the results so far have just been published in Science.

"This is a major breakthrough in the long-standing challenge of harvesting water from the air at low humidity," said one of the researchers, Omar Yaghi from UC Berkeley.

"There is no other way to do that right now, except by using extra energy. Your electric dehumidifier at home 'produces' very expensive water."
Prameela Chintala's comment, April 14, 10:51 PM
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It’s time to spend less time on Facebook and actually learn something

It’s time to spend less time on Facebook and actually learn something | Knowmads, Infocology of the future |
About 10 years after TVs began to be ubiquitous in American homes, television broadcasting was a staggering financial success. As the head of the Federal Communications Commission observed in a 1961 speech to broadcast executives, the industry’s revenue, more than $1 billion a year, was rising 9 percent annually, even in a recession. The problem, the FCC chairman told the group, was the way the business was making money: not by serving the public interest above all but by airing a lot of dumb shows and “cajoling and offending” commercials. “When television is bad, nothing is worse,” he said.

That speech would become known for the pejorative that the FCC chairman, Newton Minow, used to describe TV: he called it “a vast wasteland.” It’s a great line, but there are other reasons to revisit the speech now, about 10 years after the emergence of another communications service—Facebook—that has become ubiquitous in American homes, a staggering financial success, and a transmitter of a lot of pernicious schlock. What’s striking today is why Minow said the vast-wasteland problem mattered—and what he wanted to do about it.

As for why it mattered, Minow told the TV executives:

Your industry possesses the most powerful voice in America. It has an inescapable duty to make that voice ring with intelligence and with leadership. In a few years, this exciting industry has grown from a novelty to an instrument of overwhelming impact on the American people. It should be making ready for the kind of leadership that newspapers and magazines assumed years ago, to make our people aware of their world.

On that point in particular, Mark Zuckerberg apparently would agree. “Are we building the world we all want?” he wrote in February, in a 5,700-word manifesto that reflected on the sometimes dubious role Facebook has been playing in civic life. Referring to its propensity to turbocharge hoaxes and to the way it tends to make news feel sensational, he wrote that Facebook’s goal “must be to help people see a more complete picture” of the world.
prgnewshawaii's curator insight, April 12, 12:24 AM

A cautionary note about intrusive media dating back to the 1961 FCC analysis of the television "wasteland."  In some ways, Facebook and the rest of the social media are encouraging fake news and unsubstantiated reporting.  Don't  believe everything you read or hear.  Where vast sums of money are to be made from data mining, be cautious on what sources you cite.

Russell Roberts

Hawaii Intelligence Digest.

Mick jones's comment, April 12, 11:28 AM
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Artificial evolution aims to create life out of non-living matter

Artificial evolution aims to create life out of non-living matter | Knowmads, Infocology of the future |
Evolution is the generally-accepted answer to how life arose, but how did non-living matter transition into living organisms? A team at the University of Wisconsin-Madison is trying to recreate the cradle of life, by gently rocking a combination of key minerals and organic molecules to see if certain chemical reactions give birth to life. If life emerges "easily" from these conditions, it could change our understanding of how common life might be across the universe.

Synthetic life has been created in a lab before. Back in 2010, scientists successfully created a brand-new bacteria by injecting a computer-designed genome into an existing cell, which was then able to replicate itself. A few years later, another team built artificial, self-assembling cell membranes, which could act like the "hardware" to house an artificial genome. More recently, researchers developed a semi-synthetic organism with extra genetic information in its DNA.

But if those scientists were essentially "playing God" by directly creating new life, the UW-Madison project is "playing Mother Nature" by trying to recreate the overall process of evolution itself.
prgnewshawaii's curator insight, April 9, 2:21 AM

This is the stuff of science fiction.  What happens when we finally create artificial life?  There are huge moral, ethical, social, and religious implications of becoming "god".

Russell Roberts

Hawaii Intelligence Digest

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Mind-Reading Computers That Can Translate Thoughts into Words

Mind-Reading Computers That Can Translate Thoughts into Words | Knowmads, Infocology of the future |
It’s a frigid February afternoon, and I’m sitting in a hospital room in downtown Albany, New York, as a team of white-jacketed technicians bustle about the bed of a 40-year-old single mother from Schenectady, named Cathy. And they are getting ready to push the outer bounds of computer-aided “mind reading.” They are attempting to decode “imagined speech.”

I have been led here by Gerwin Schalk, a gregarious, Austrian-born neuroscientist, who has promised to show me just how far he and other neurological codebreakers have travelled since that day decades ago when David Hubel and Torsten Wiesel made history by listening in—and decoding—the patterns of neurons firing in a cat’s visual cortex.

Cathy is epileptic and plans to undergo brain surgery to try to remove the portion of her brain that is the source of her seizures. Three days ago, doctors lifted off the top of Cathy’s skull, and placed 117 tiny electrodes directly onto the right surface of her naked cortex so they could monitor her brain activity and map the target area. While she waits, she has volunteered to participate in Schalk’s research.

Now, next to my chair, Cathy is propped up in a motorized bed. The top of Cathy’s head is swathed in a stiff, plaster-like, mold of bandages and surgical tape. And a thick jumble of mesh-covered wires protrudes from the opening at the top of her skull. It flops over the back of her hospital bed, drops down to the ground and snakes over to a cart holding $250,000 worth of boxes, amplifiers, splitters and computers.
prgnewshawaii's curator insight, March 29, 11:44 AM

We are on the cusp of amazing medical technologies that could improve our quality of life and end misery for millions.

Russell Roberts

Hawaii Intellligence Digest

canopusima's comment, March 31, 10:59 PM
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Silicon Valley’s Quest to Live Forever

Silicon Valley’s Quest to Live Forever | Knowmads, Infocology of the future |
n a velvety March evening in Mandeville Canyon, high above the rest of Los Angeles, Norman Lear’s living room was jammed with powerful people eager to learn the secrets of longevity. When the symposium’s first speaker asked how many people there wanted to live to two hundred, if they could remain healthy, almost every hand went up. Understandably, then, the Moroccan phyllo chicken puffs weren’t going fast. The venture capitalists were keeping slim to maintain their imposing vitality, the scientists were keeping slim because they’d read—and in some cases done—the research on caloric restriction, and the Hollywood stars were keeping slim because of course.

When Liz Blackburn, who won a Nobel Prize for her work in genetics, took questions, Goldie Hawn, regal on a comfy sofa, purred, “I have a question about the mitochondria. I’ve been told about a molecule called glutathione that helps the health of the cell?” Glutathione is a powerful antioxidant that protects cells and their mitochondria, which provide energy; some in Hollywood call it “the God molecule.” But taken in excess it can muffle a number of bodily repair mechanisms, leading to liver and kidney problems or even the rapid and potentially fatal sloughing of your skin. Blackburn gently suggested that a varied, healthy diet was best, and that no single molecule was the answer to the puzzle of aging.

Yet the premise of the evening was that answers, and maybe even an encompassing solution, were just around the corner. The party was the kickoff event for the National Academy of Medicine’s Grand Challenge in Healthy Longevity, which will award at least twenty-five million dollars for breakthroughs in the field. Victor Dzau, the academy’s president, stood to acknowledge several of the scientists in the room. He praised their work with enzymes that help regulate aging; with teasing out genes that control life span in various dog breeds; and with a technique by which an old mouse is surgically connected to a young mouse, shares its blood, and within weeks becomes younger.
nukem777's curator insight, March 28, 9:35 AM


prgnewshawaii's curator insight, March 28, 10:55 AM

Finding the elusive "Fountain of Youth" seems to be on researchers' minds these days.  There are important ethical, religious, social, and political issues to be resolved. Namely, who decides who lives or dies, will the treatments be restricted to those who can afford them, and how will the quality of life be affected?

Russell Roberts

Hawaii Intelligence Digest

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Musk launches company to pursue ‘neural lace’ brain-interface technology | KurzweilAI

Musk launches company to pursue ‘neural lace’ brain-interface technology | KurzweilAI | Knowmads, Infocology of the future |
Elon Musk has launched a California-based company called Neuralink Corp., The Wall Street Journal reported today (Monday, March 27, 2017), citing people familiar with the matter, to pursue “neural lace” brain-interface technology.

Neural lace would help prevent humans from becoming “house cats” to AI, he suggests. “I think one of the solutions that seems maybe the best is to add an AI layer,” Musk hinted at the Code Conference last year. It would be a “digital layer above the cortex that could work well and symbiotically with you.”
prgnewshawaii's curator insight, March 28, 10:59 AM

Another way Artificial Intelligence could be linked to the human brain. Like it or not, this technology is coming. Are we prepared to make the adjustments necessary to interrate machines with our minds?

Russell Roberts

Hawaii Intelligence Digest

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‘Your animal life is over. Machine life has begun.’ The road to immortality

‘Your animal life is over. Machine life has begun.’ The road to immortality | Knowmads, Infocology of the future |
Here’s what happens. You are lying on an operating table, fully conscious, but rendered otherwise insensible, otherwise incapable of movement. A humanoid machine appears at your side, bowing to its task with ceremonial formality. With a brisk sequence of motions, the machine removes a large panel of bone from the rear of your cranium, before carefully laying its fingers, fine and delicate as a spider’s legs, on the viscid surface of your brain. You may be experiencing some misgivings about the procedure at this point. Put them aside, if you can.

You’re in pretty deep with this thing; there’s no backing out now. With their high-resolution microscopic receptors, the machine fingers scan the chemical structure of your brain, transferring the data to a powerful computer on the other side of the operating table. They are sinking further into your cerebral matter now, these fingers, scanning deeper and deeper layers of neurons, building a three-dimensional map of their endlessly complex interrelations, all the while creating code to model this activity in the computer’s hardware. As the work proceeds, another mechanical appendage – less delicate, less careful – removes the scanned material to a biological waste container for later disposal. This is material you will no longer be needing.

At some point, you become aware that you are no longer present in your body. You observe – with sadness, or horror, or detached curiosity – the diminishing spasms of that body on the operating table, the last useless convulsions of a discontinued meat.
nukem777's curator insight, March 26, 10:28 PM

Worth the read, more worth the meditation

fairmath's comment, March 27, 12:29 AM
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Common Sense, the Turing Test, and the Quest for Real AI - MITP on Nautilus

Common Sense, the Turing Test, and the Quest for Real AI - MITP on Nautilus | Knowmads, Infocology of the future |
In trying to make sense of intelligent behavior, it is tempting to try something like this: We begin by looking at the most common cases of the behavior we can think of, and figure out what it would take to handle them. Then we build on it: We refine our account to handle more and more. We stop when our account crosses some threshold and appears to handle (say) 99.9 percent of the cases we are concerned with.

This might be called an engineering strategy. We produce a rough form of the behavior we are after, and then we engineer it to make it work better, handle more. We see this quite clearly in mechanical design. Given a rocket with a thrust of X, how can it be refined to produce a thrust of Y? Given a bridge that will support load X, how can it be bolstered to support load Y?

This engineering strategy does work well with a number of phenomena related to intelligent behavior. For example, when learning to walk, we do indeed start with simple, common cases, like walking on the floor or on hard ground, and eventually graduate to walking on trickier surfaces like soft sand and ice. Similarly, when learning a first language, we start by listening to baby talk, not the latest episode of The McLaughlin Group (or the Dana Carvey parody, for that matter).
ourservices's comment, March 23, 11:05 PM

Thats brilliant
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Where Are Humans Headed?

Where Are Humans Headed? | Knowmads, Infocology of the future |
Like a lot of academics, I have long harbored the desire to write a popular book — in my case, something like Richard Dawkins’s The Selfish Gene. But sadly, I have come to realize that I just don’t have it in me, mainly because, like all philosophers, as soon as I say something interesting I want to qualify it with all sorts of escape clauses. Death by a thousand footnotes.

In Future Humans: Inside the Science of Our Continuing Evolution, the Rice University evolutionary biologist Scott Solomon suffers no such wounds, but he nonetheless finds himself trapped. Refusing to speculate on such a speculative topic, he ends up wandering into an unsatisfying mist of possibilities. For instance, he notes that humans have rapidly evolved to digest milk products and grains since the advent of agriculture. But what now, given the nigh-unlimited powers of genetic modification? Are we still evolving to exploit newly available food options? Will the Scots be able to live indefinitely on a diet of fried Mars bars?

Remaining true to his scientific parameters, he is restricted from venturing into the wilder but potentially more meaningful leaps of imagination enjoyed by fiction writers and even bolder scientific authors.
prgnewshawaii's curator insight, March 21, 12:51 AM

A speculative and fascinating look at what our bodies and minds will look like in the future.

Russell Roberts

Hawaii Intelligence Digest

nukem777's curator insight, March 21, 8:10 AM

Critical we wake up and get back to being human...the A.I.'s are neither human nor have any moral value...they are value neutral, just 1's and 0's and will simply shut down in a more efficient manner once we have arrived at post

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Googling gives us answers—but deprives us of intelligence

Googling gives us answers—but deprives us of intelligence | Knowmads, Infocology of the future |
Search engines play one of the most significant roles in our technologically enabled lives by shaping how we conceptualize and interact with information, knowledge, wisdom, and arguably reality itself. They are our externalized reasoning machines, both facilitating our access to knowledge and quickly becoming our knowledge. They are where we go to research, clarify, and definitively answer our queries, which go on to form the substance of our opinions, views, and beliefs.

From the explicit knowledge acquired from the lost art of slow, considered research to the implicit knowledge lost in imagining what we don’t yet know, search engines are surreptitiously eroding the richness and diversity of our knowledge and lives. We reveal our deepest inner thoughts, fears, and desires to search-engine technologies, replacing the intimate human services otherwise offered by teachers, doctors, librarians, friends, confidants, psychiatrists, religious representatives, and respected elders.

This problem is underscored by worrying reports that document UK students citing “fake news” as objective facts in schoolwork and classroom debates, US sixth graders being taught “news literacy” out of necessity, and the global epidemic of a “post-truth” era that still finds no clear solutions or remedies. As we watch the next-generation—who have never known life without the internet—set adrift in a new world of inherent ambiguity, we urgently need to evolve search engines in parallel with the rapid pace of social progress.
prgnewshawaii's curator insight, April 22, 10:25 PM

The real issue is how we separate "fake news" from "real, verifiable news."  How do we differentiate between rumor and fact based on our internet searches?  Better search engines will have to be developed to mitigate this issue.

Russell Roberts

Hawaii Intelligence Digest

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Our Machines Now Have Knowledge We’ll Never Understand

Our Machines Now Have Knowledge We’ll Never Understand | Knowmads, Infocology of the future |
So wrote Wired’s Chris Anderson in 2008. It kicked up a little storm at the time, as Anderson, the magazine’s editor, undoubtedly intended. For example, an article in a journal of molecular biology asked, “…if we stop looking for models and hypotheses, are we still really doing science?” The answer clearly was supposed to be: “No.”

But today — not even a decade since Anderson’s article — the controversy sounds quaint. Advances in computer software, enabled by our newly capacious, networked hardware, are enabling computers not only to start without models — rule sets that express how the elements of a system affect one another — but to generate their own, albeit ones that may not look much like what humans would create. It’s even becoming a standard method, as any self-respecting tech company has now adopted a “machine-learning first” ethic.

We are increasingly relying on machines that derive conclusions from models that they themselves have created, models that are often beyond human comprehension, models that “think” about the world differently than we do.

But this comes with a price. This infusion of alien intelligence is bringing into question the assumptions embedded in our long Western tradition. We thought knowledge was about finding the order hidden in the chaos. We thought it was about simplifying the world. It looks like we were wrong. Knowing the world may require giving up on understanding it.
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This New Browser Plug-in Lets You Access Millions of Scientific Papers for Free

This New Browser Plug-in Lets You Access Millions of Scientific Papers for Free | Knowmads, Infocology of the future |
If you're of the mindset that knowledge should be freely accessible to as many humans as possible, paywalls for academic journals can be downright frustrating. Now a free browser extension is promising to bust through those paywalls wherever possible.

Unpaywall was launched earlier this month by the open source not-for-profit Impactstory – funded by the National Science Foundation and the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation – and it's already making a splash in the traditional publishing industry.

Install the plug-in on your Chrome or Firefox desktop browser, and it will start displaying a little lock symbol whenever you're on the landing page of an article in an academic journal.

If the plug-in can find a freely accessible full-text copy of the paper you're looking at, the lock symbol turns from grey to green, and you can simply click on it to get the PDF. If the lock is gold, the article you're reading already has an open access licence.
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The Guardian view on immortality: not for the faint-hearted | Editorial

The Guardian view on immortality: not for the faint-hearted | Editorial | Knowmads, Infocology of the future |
Good Friday seems a suitable day to consider the fact that, in an era in which life expectancy everywhere has almost doubled, humankind is more confused than ever about death. Nearly half of the British population supposes that death is complete annihilation; an almost equal number still believes in some form of life after death, and, for a subject notably lacking in eyewitness data, a surprisingly small proportion, less than 10%, acknowledge they do not know what happens. Meanwhile, in California but also elsewhere, there are enormously rich men who believe that death is a problem with a technological solution which they hope to live to profit from.

Ideals of technological immortality come in two sorts. There are those who hope that their bodies will be preserved or at least prolonged almost indefinitely, usually by freezing. There is absolutely no reason to suppose that the present technology allows brains to be frozen and rethawed without being reduced to a unworkable state. To hope that this will be changed by some future breakthroughs is an act of faith at least as remarkable as supposing that Jesus rose from the dead. That belief was at least marked since its earliest appearance by a saving ambiguity about what it might actually mean. Saint Paul, for example, was absolutely certain it had happened but nowhere managed to explain what it materially might have been.

The second kind of technological immortality presumes an immaterial soul – a pattern of electrical and chemical activity that can be copied from brains into silicon and then reactivated, either inside a computer or transferred back into a conveniently available human brain. Possibly both: one contemporary science fiction novel, Cory Doctorow’s Walkaway, takes the idea of personalities as computer programs to its logical consequence, and envisages multiple copies of the same program – the same person – running simultaneously on different networks. This is the closest anyone will ever get to the fantasy of cloning identical human beings.
prgnewshawaii's curator insight, April 18, 12:18 AM

While this is enormously fascinating technology, it raises serious moral, religious, ethical, and political questions.  Who determines the right to immortality?  If we become immortal, are we becoming gods?  So many questions, so few answers.

Russell Roberts

Hawaii Intelligence Digest

fulmarvanderbilt's comment, April 20, 4:03 AM
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The Arctic Ocean Is Becoming More Like the Atlantic Ocean

The Arctic Ocean Is Becoming More Like the Atlantic Ocean | Knowmads, Infocology of the future |
The Arctic is undergoing an astonishingly rapid transition as climate change overwhelms the region.

New research sheds light on the latest example of the changes afoot, showing that parts of the Arctic Ocean are becoming more like the Atlantic. Warm waters are streaming into the ocean north of Scandinavia and Russia, altering ocean productivity and chemistry. That’s making sea ice recede and kickstarting a feedback loop that could make summer ice a thing of the past.

“2015 was a really anomalous year when we had problems finding a suitable ice flow to launch our drifting buoys,”Igor Polyakov, an oceanographer at the University of Alaska who led the new study, said. “(There was) nothing like that in the past, and it became a motivation to our analysis: why was ice in 2015 so rotten? What drives this huge change?”

The findings, published in Science on Thursday, show that while warming air has a role to play, processes are playing out in the ocean itself that are fundamentally altering the region.

Those changes will have impacts on the people, plants and animals that call the Arctic home. They could also create more geopolitical tension as resources previously locked under ice become available and shipping lanes open up.
prgnewshawaii's curator insight, April 13, 11:33 PM

Climate change is altering all regions bordering the rapidly warming Arctic Ocean.  The economic, social, and political landscape will be changed as formerly unreachable resources are found and competition begins for these long-covered riches.

Russell Roberts

Hawaii Intelligence Digest

bradyharden's comment, April 15, 12:42 AM
mushyboon's comment, April 17, 3:19 AM
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“Love drugs” will soon be a reality. But should we take them?

“Love drugs” will soon be a reality. But should we take them? | Knowmads, Infocology of the future |
Love potions have been a plot point in fairytales for centuries. Now, thanks to dramatic advances in our understanding of the neuroscience behind love, they’re close enough to reality to be studied by Oxford University researchers.

Anders Sandberg, a neuroethicist at Oxford University’s Future of Humanity Institute, will discuss the role of romance drugs at an upcoming Institute of Art and Ideas conference “Love in the Time of Tinder”. He says that while we can’t buy romance pills yet, it’s only a matter of years before they exist. His work combines neuroscience and philosophy to unpack the ethical consequences of such pills, and just how they’ll fit into our lives.

“All our emotions are built on the foundations of neuroscience,” Sandberg says—whether that’s fear or anger or love. Recently, neuroscientists have begun to map out just what happens in the brain when we’re in love, bringing us closer to artificially recreating those neurochemical processes. “While there’s still not anything you can find in the supermarket or approved, we’re getting towards the point where they probably will show up,” he says.

Neuroimaging studies of brains show that love is, well, extremely complicated. (No surprises there.) Different subsystems of the brain are involved in that initial lustful attraction, the rush that comes when you fall in love, and then the commitment and affection of long-term partnership. It’s that last, lengthy phase of love that romance drugs are likely to focus on, effectively re-booting the romance for existing couples.

“It’s very different to the love potion in fairytales where you drink it and then fall in love with the next person who comes in,” Sandberg says. “From an ethical standpoint, that’s very worrisome… I would imagine a future love drug would be something you take together with your partner, and that causes a slow, long-term experience.”
prgnewshawaii's curator insight, April 10, 12:08 AM

A cautionary tale with multiple moral, ethical, social, and religious issues.  'Reminds me of the "soma" drugs taken in Huxley's "Brave New World."  Science Fiction is becoming science fact.

Russell Roberts

Hawaii Intelligence Digest

Abstract living 's curator insight, April 19, 8:07 PM
#LoveIsTheDrug #RealLove
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Darwin Was a Slacker and You Should Be Too - Issue 46: Balance - Nautilus

Darwin Was a Slacker and You Should Be Too - Issue 46: Balance - Nautilus | Knowmads, Infocology of the future |
When you examine the lives of history’s most creative figures, you are immediately confronted with a paradox: They organize their lives around their work, but not their days.

Figures as different as Charles Dickens, Henri Poincaré, and Ingmar Bergman, working in disparate fields in different times, all shared a passion for their work, a terrific ambition to succeed, and an almost superhuman capacity to focus. Yet when you look closely at their daily lives, they only spent a few hours a day doing what we would recognize as their most important work. The rest of the time, they were hiking mountains, taking naps, going on walks with friends, or just sitting and thinking. Their creativity and productivity, in other words, were not the result of endless hours of toil. Their towering creative achievements result from modest “working” hours.

How did they manage to be so accomplished? Can a generation raised to believe that 80-hour workweeks are necessary for success learn something from the lives of the people who laid the foundations of chaos theory and topology or wrote Great Expectations?
prgnewshawaii's curator insight, April 1, 11:22 AM

A different way to look at the work ethic.  Perhaps an 80 hour work week and overtime aren't the keys to success. It's basically a question of intensity when you are working. "Off time" is necessary to maintain a balance between work and other pursuits.

Russell Roberts

Hawaii Intelligence Digest

R's curator insight, April 6, 1:39 PM
Humans are not one-dimensional. Take heed to listen to all of your needs - physical, emotional and intellectual.
pursuitsdrizzly's comment, April 8, 12:53 AM
Like it
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Immortal Stem Cells Let Scientists Create an Unlimited Supply of Artificial Blood

Immortal Stem Cells Let Scientists Create an Unlimited Supply of Artificial Blood | Knowmads, Infocology of the future |
Researchers have developed a line immortal stem cells that allow them to generate an unlimited supply of artificial red blood cells on demand.

If these artificial blood cells pass clinical trials, they'll be far more efficient for medical use than current red blood cell products, which have to be generated from donor blood - and would be a huge deal for patients with rare blood types, who often struggle to find matching blood donors.

The idea isn't for these immortal stem cells to replace blood donation altogether - when it comes to regular blood transfusions, donated blood still does the trick.

But it's a constant struggle to propagate red blood cells from donor blood. In the UK alone, 1.5 million units of blood need to be collected each year to meet the needs of patients, particularly those with rare blood types of conditions such as sickle-cell disease.

"Globally, there is a need for an alternative red cell product," said lead researcher Jan Frayne from the University of Bristol in the UK.

"Cultured red blood cells have advantages over donor blood, such as reduced risk of infectious disease transmission."

In the past, researchers had attempted to turn donated stem cells straight into mature red blood cells - a technique that works, but is an incredibly inefficient process.
prgnewshawaii's curator insight, March 29, 11:49 AM

A major medical breakthrough that can save thousands of lives, especially where fresh blood supplies are often limited and contaminated.

Russell Roberts

Hawaii Intelligence Digest

Aleisha Daley's curator insight, April 4, 11:51 AM
This article talks about a line of ‘immortal’ stem cell that scientists have developed, these cells allow them to generate an unlimited supply of artificial red blood cells. The cells have not yet passed clinical tests but if they are able to this could be a huge step. This would be a huge step for people with rare blood types. They don't plan to completely replace blood donations but if someone has a rare blood type it could be extremely difficult to find a donor. I think that if people can make this successful it would be amazing.
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Why the Rise of AI Makes Human Intelligence More Valuable Than Ever

Why the Rise of AI Makes Human Intelligence More Valuable Than Ever | Knowmads, Infocology of the future |
In the popular TV show Sherlock, visual depictions of our hero’s deductive reasoning often look like machine algorithms. And probably not by accident, given that this version of Conan Doyle’s detective processes tremendous amounts of observed data—the sort of minutiae that the average person tends to pass over or forget—more like a computer than a human.

Sherlock's intelligence is both strength and limitation. His way of thinking is often bounded by an inability to intuitively understand social and emotional contexts. The show's central premise is that Sherlock Holmes needs his friend John Watson to help him synthesize empirical data into human truth.

In Sherlock we see the analog for modern AI: highly performant learning machines that can achieve metacognitive results with the assistance of fully cognitive human partners. Machine intelligence does not by its nature make human intelligence obsolete. Quite the opposite, really—machines need human guidance.

prgnewshawaii's curator insight, March 28, 11:11 AM

Perhaps the human mind has one valuable escape route from the fears of Artificial Intelligence. As the article states:  "Machines need human guidance" to work properly.  As long as we can control a machine's programming, it will serve us well.  If, however, machines develop sentience and learn to program themselves, we may be in deep trouble.

Russell Roberts

Hawaii Intelligence Digest

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Silicon Valley Would Rather Cure Death Than Make Life Worth Living

Silicon Valley Would Rather Cure Death Than Make Life Worth Living | Knowmads, Infocology of the future |
Silicon Valley is coming for death. But it’s looking in the wrong place.

After disrupting the way we love, communicate, travel, work, and even eat, technologists believe they can solve the ultimate problem. Perennially youthful Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg and his wife Priscilla Chan announced last year a $3 billion initiative to obliterate human disease. Among his many crusades, Paypal co-founder and Trump advisor Peter Thiel aims to end mortality. (“Basically, I’m against it,” he has said.) Alphabet has a whole company devoted to curing this most intractable of inconveniences.

And they aren’t necessarily crazy to try. Since the 19th century, average life expectancies have risen for everyone (though not at equal rates) thanks to advances in science and technology. But over the past two decades, deaths attributed to inequality, isolation, and addiction have risen for both men and women without a college education in the US. In particular, as Princeton economists revealed today, white middle-aged men with a high school education or less, hit disproportionately by the Great Recession, are dying of despair. Well-heeled techies obsessed with life extension have little to say about these problems, suggesting a grim blind spot: Are they really trying to extend everyone’s lives? Or just those of people already doing great?
prgnewshawaii's curator insight, March 26, 7:39 PM

A double-edged sword. The crux of the matter lies in who will determine the beneficiaries of new life extending technologies. Will such technology really be affordable to the mass of humanity? I really doubt it.  The issue revolves around control and power reserved for the few.  A grand vision that will be restricted to those deemed "worthy."

Russell Roberts

Hawaii Intelligence Digest

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DoorDash Will Start Delivering Food Via Robots In California This Thursday

DoorDash Will Start Delivering Food Via Robots In California This Thursday | Knowmads, Infocology of the future |
This Thursday, the on-demand delivery company DoorDash's human couriers will begin working alongside a new type of coworker: robots.

DoorDash is putting a small fleet of six-wheeled delivery robots into action for the first time in Redwood City, California, following weeks of tests. The robots, built by a company called Starship Technologies, are about the size of a golden retriever and roll around sidewalks with relative ease. They'll be used to lug food from restaurants to customers on short-distance orders spanning anywhere from one to two miles.
prgnewshawaii's curator insight, March 25, 11:35 AM

The human-machine relationship is growing. There are more applications of this technology in the wings, including the delivery of medical supplies to shut-ins and the evolution of new business courier systems.

Russell Roberts

Hawaii Intelligence Digest

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Being Lazy Is the Key to Success, According to the Best-Selling Author of 'Moneyball'

Do you think of yourself as lazy? If so, do you think that's a good thing? It just might be the key to success. That's according to Michael Lewis, author of the bestsellers Moneyball, The Big Short, and many more.

Lewis was a keynote speaker at the 2017 Insight Summit put on by online survey company Qualtrics. In a candid interview with Qualtrics CEO Ryan Smith, Lewis explained why laziness never seemed like a bad thing in his mind, and how it's helped him succeed.

"I grew up in New Orleans, where no one did anything," he said. "It's an endlessly charming and delightful place, but the idea that your worth was connected to things you did in the world was an alien idea." In fact, Lewis recalled, his father had him convinced that there was a Lewis family crest with this motto: "Do as little as possible, and that unwillingly, because it is better to receive a slight reprimand than perform an arduous task." That turned out to be untrue, but the idea that leisure was to be cherished and that being constantly busy was not necessarily a good thing stuck with the younger Lewis.

Embracing laziness has helped him be successful because he focuses his efforts only where it really matters, he explained. Here's how that can create a real advantage:
You're OK with doing nothing.

When was the last time you felt comfortable doing nothing? Not for an hour or a day, but in general, with no immediate projects at hand? Lewis said he has no problem with inactivity if nothing worthwhile has captured his attention. If he believed that being industrious was important, he said, "I'd be panicked at the question 'What are you working on?' if I wasn't working on anything."

Have you ever taken on a project just so you wouldn't be inactive, just to keep things going? How many better opportunities have you missed because that project made you too busy to pursue them? Being willing to be inactive or less active means you'll be available when something truly worthy of your best effort comes along. It also means you'll have the time and space to go looking for those really worthwhile projects. If you're busy being busy, you'll miss them.
prgnewshawaii's curator insight, March 24, 12:21 PM

A counter intuitive idea that may be attractive, but not necessarily beneficial in the "real world."  Lewis's book "Moneyball" is a good read with plenty of fascinating ideas offered for improving your life and business relationships.  Whether creative laziness is for you is something only you can work out.  Perhaps it would be better to find a job that offers challenges, rewards, and fulfillment rather than just waiting for something to come along.

Russell Roberts

Hawaii Intelligence Digest

Jose Luis Yañez's curator insight, April 1, 12:56 PM
Being Lazy Is the Key to Success, According to the Best-Selling Author of 'Moneyball'