Research into the origins and progress of the process of industrial development over a longer period clearly reveals, according to Schumpeter , that it always occurs in a long wave movement extending over a period of around 45 to 60 years.
Over the last decade the possibility of innovations in areas such as artificial intelligence or biotechnology contributing to the emergence of a ‘posthuman’ life form has become a focal point of public debate and mainstream artistic concern. This multi-disciplinary discourse is premised on developments in the so-called ‘NBIC’ technologies – Nanotechnology, Biotechnology, Information Technology and Cognitive Science. The transhumanist claim that human nature should be improved technologically is likewise predicated on the NBIC suite affording the necessary means for enhancement.
Technology has become perhaps the greatest agent of change in the modern world. While never without risk, positive technological breakthroughs promise innovative solutions to the most pressing global challenges of our time, from resource scarcity to global environmental change. However, a lack of appropriate investment, outdated regulatory frameworks and gaps in public understanding prevent many […]
“Algorithm” is a word that one hears used much more frequently than in the past. One of the reasons is that scientists have learned that computers can learn on their own if given a few simple instructions. That’s really all that algorithms are mathematical instructions. Wikipedia states that an algorithm “is a step-by-step procedure for…
John Martinis is one of the world’s foremost experts on quantum computing, a growing field of science that aims to process information at super high speeds using strange physics of very tiny particles such as electrons and photons. And now, after years as a physics professor at the University of California Santa Barbara, he’s headed…
Mother Nature Network Massive online brain being built for the world's robots Mother Nature Network As individual robots learn new knowledge, this knowledge can also be uploaded to the global brain, meaning that all other robots hooked up to the...
NPR (blog) If We Create Life, Who Will Control It? NPR (blog) The problem, as Lewontin reminds us, is that we often can't rely on those who pursue invention for profit or for military interests to have the best interests of the public in mind.
Book Review: Braidotti's Vital Posthumanism h+ Magazine Some critical posthumanists argue that the idea of the human as a sovereign, free agent “unmarked by its interactions with the object-world” is rendered obsolete by philosophical and...
Adapted from Superintelligence: Paths, Dangers, Strategies by Nick Bostrom. Out now from Oxford University Press. In the recent discussion over the risks of developing superintelligent machines—that is, machines with general intelligence greater than that of humans—two narratives have emerged. One side argues that if a machine ever achieved advanced intelligence, it...
New prospects for secure data traffic: Flashes of light in particularly sensitive quantum states can be transmitted through the atmosphere. Erlangen-based physicists have sent bright pulses in sensitive quantum states through the window of a technical services room on the roof of the Max Planck Institute for the Science of Light to a building of the University Erlangen-Nürnberg.
It could be difficult for the NSA to hack encrypted messages in the future – at least if a technology being investigated by scientists at the Max Planck Institute for the Science of Light in Erlangen and the University Erlangen-Nürnberg will be successful: quantum cryptography. The physicists are now laying the foundation to make this technique, which can already be used for the generation of secret keys, available for a wider range of applications. They are the first scientists to send a pulse of bright light in a particularly sensitive quantum state through 1.6 kilometers of air from the Max Planck Institute to a University building. This quantum state, which they call squeezed, was maintained, which is something many physicists thought to be impossible. Using flashes of bright light for quantum communication through the atmosphere would have several advantages compared to the technique usually used today: it allows the photon packets to be transmitted in sunlight, something that is challenging with individual photons. Moreover, the receivers required for this are already presently in use for optical telecommunication via fibre optics and also via satellite.
Eavesdropping on a message protected by quantum cryptography cannot be done without being noticed. This is because quantum physics prevents a spy from reading a key which is encoded by specific quantum states without influencing these states. This can be exploited in a clever procedure for exchanging the key with which the data is encrypted, so that an unwelcome listener is not only detected, but is also prevented from accessing the information.
The quantum-protected communication is a fragile thing, however, and easily disturbed. All the more remarkable is the work of the Erlangen-based scientists working with Gerd Leuchs, Director at the Max Planck Institute for the Science of Light and professor at the University Erlangen-Nürnberg: "We have now succeeded in transmitting a flash of light, namely a pulse which contains many photons, through the atmosphere in a particularly sensitive quantum state," says Christian Peuntinger, who played an important role in the project. He and his colleagues sent a photon packet in a straight line from the roof of the Max Planck Institute in Nuremberg to the building of the University Erlangen-Nürnberg some 1.6 kilometers away. "This even works in broad daylight," says Christian Peuntinger.
"...Tech changes affect three areas. Individuals acquire greater independence and reach. The locus of power shifts accordingly. And traditional buffers between discordant groups dissolve. These developments call for new structures for moral development, and the radical reassessment of human organization..."
The NSA revelations highlight the role sophisticated algorithms play in sifting through masses of data. But more surprising is their widespread use in our everyday lives. So should we be more wary of their power?
The patron animal of quantum theory poses for a unique portrait in which the camera and the sitter don't share a single photon – except by entanglement.
Information is central to quantum mechanics. In particular, quantum interference occurs only if there exists no information to distinguish between the superposed states. The mere possibility of obtaining information that could distinguish between overlapping states inhibits quantum interference1, 2. Gabriela Barreto Lemos at the Austrian Academy of Sciences introduces and experimentally demonstrates a quantum imaging concept based on induced coherence without induced emission3, 4. The experiment uses two separate down-conversion nonlinear crystals (numbered NL1 and NL2), each illuminated by the same pump laser, creating one pair of photons (denoted idler and signal). If the photon pair is created in NL1, one photon (the idler) passes through the object to be imaged and is overlapped with the idler amplitude created in NL2, its source thus being undefined.
Interference of the signal amplitudes coming from the two crystals then reveals the image of the object. The photons that pass through the imaged object (idler photons from NL1) are never detected, while we obtain images exclusively with the signal photons (from NL1 and NL2), which do not interact with the object.
The experiment is fundamentally different from previous quantum imaging techniques, such as interaction-free imaging5 or ghost imaging6, 7, 8, 9, because now the photons used to illuminate the object do not have to be detected at all and no coincidence detection is necessary. This enables the probe wavelength to be chosen in a range for which suitable detectors are not available. To illustrate this, the researchers show images of objects that are either opaque or invisible to the detected photons. This experiment is a prototype in quantum information—knowledge can be extracted by, and about, a photon that is never detected.