A collection of analytical articles and advanced research information spiced with mind blowing videos of excellent thinkers and amazing technologies. Explore the rapid advancement of science and technology and the long term impact on society and the future of humanity! Check the filters for the covered topics! Share if you like! Welcome!
Some believe in a utopian future, in which humans can transcend their physical limitations with the aid of machines. But others think humans will eventually relinquish most of their abilities and gradually become absorbed into artificial intelligence (AI)-based organisms, much like the energy making machinery in our own cells.
Biologists have successfully extended the life spans of some mice by as much as 70%, leading many to believe that ongoing experimentation on our mammalian cousins will eventually lead to life-extending therapies in humans. But how reliable are these studies? And do they really apply to humans?
Amon Kalkin is a cognitive scientist, electronic artist and founder of Zero State. He is 40 years old, born in New Zealand and living in the UK, where he spends his time raising a young family and gardening when he isn’t working to create a sphere of influence for positive futurist values.
Danish scientists are hoping for results that will show that “finding a mass-distributable and affordable cure to HIV is possible”.
They are conducting a clinical trial to test a “novel strategy” in which the HIV virus is "reactivated" from its hiding place within human DNA and potentially destroyed permanently by the immune system.
The move would represent a step forward in the attempt to find a cure for the virus, which causes Aids.
The scientists are currently conducting human trials on their treatment, in the hope of proving that it is effective. It has already been found to work in laboratory tests.
The technique involves unmasking the “reservoirs” formed by the HIV virus inside resting immune cells, bringing it to the surface of the cells. Once it comes to the surface, the body’s natural immune system may be able to kill the virus.
The forecast for the future of rainfall on Earth is in: over the next hundred years, areas that receive lots of precipitation right now are only going to get wetter, and dry areas will go for longer periods without seeing a drop, according to a new NASA-led study on global warming. "We looked at rainfall of different types," said William Lau, NASA's deputy director of atmospheric studies and the lead author of the study, in a phone interview with The Verge. "The extreme heavy rain end the prolonged drought side both increase drastically and are also connected physically."
Professor Paul Newman discusses the present and future state of robotics: asking how the state of the discipline measures up to science fiction, and discussing how Robots can learn to navigate our world, with profound consequences for society
Australian scientists have developed a breakthrough technique to read information stored on single atoms that will significantly improve the accuracy of future quantum computers. The University of NSW-led team is the first in the world to use light combined with electrical signals to detect and read information stored on single atoms - the atomic structures that will form the basic storage and processing units of super-powerful quantum computers.
A group of researchers from the University of Duisburg Essen in Germany used fMRI (functional magnetic resonance imaging) to come to the finding, tracking blood flow in the brains of 14 study participants when they were shown videos of humans, robots and inanimate objects being treated either affectionately or harshly. The researchers, who will present their findings at the June International Communication Association conference in London, found that when participants were shown videos of a robot (a product called Pleo, which resembles a dinosaur) petted, tickled and fed, areas in their limbic structures—a region of the brain believed to be involved in emotional responses—activated. When they were shown videos of a human getting a massage, the same sorts of neural activity occurred. The same pattern also occurred when the participants were shown videos of the robots and humans being treated harshly—shaken, dropped or suffocated with a plastic bag—but with a twist. Interestingly, their fMRI results showed levels of limbic activity much greater when they saw humans treated poorly than when they saw the robots. This correlated with the responses on surveys that the participants took after watching the videos, on which they reported some empathy for the robots, but more for the humans.
The technology, often called a brain computer interface, was conceived to enable people with paralysis and other disabilities to interact with computers or control robotic arms, all by simply thinking about such actions. Before long, these technologies could well be in consumer electronics, too.
Soon, we could be turning on the lights at home just by thinking about it, or sending an e-mail from our smartphone without even pulling the device from our pocket.
Molecular Nuclear Medicine is a medical specialty using trace amounts of active substances, called radiopharmaceuticals, to create images of organs and lesions and to treat various diseases, like cancer. This documentary explains how SPECT and PET work, and how Radio Metabolic Therapy can treat cancer. A 22' journey from the history of radioactivity and cancer to the most modern Theragnostic techniques.
After the joy of the birth itself, parenthood sometimes brings the unwelcome news that a newborn has jaundice and must wear goggles and be placed under special lights. Imagine how different this experience might be if there were no goggles, just a warm blanket covering the tiny body, a healing frequency of blue light emanating from its folds. That comforting scene, already a reality in some hospitals, is evidence of the fundamental rethinking of lighting now under way in research labs, executive offices and investor conferences. Digital revolutionaries have Edison’s 130-year-old industry, and its $100 billion in worldwide revenue, in their sights. Color, control and function are all being reassessed, and new players have emerged like a wave of Silicon Valley start-ups.
Though establishing a basic income was once at the forefront of politics, it has since become more of a Utopian, abstract project. But sometimes it is helpful to step back from the day-to-day wonk work and think Utopian.
As we begin to scratch at the basic workings of life, we’ll also inevitably come up against the mechanics of death. Real life extension science is on the horizon, and we should have a belief in place about how to approach these areas of science, because progress is not going to wait while we grapple with imponderables.
There’s a theory that human intelligence stems from a single algorithm. The idea arises from experiments suggesting that the portion of your brain dedicated to processing sound from your ears could also handle sight for your eyes. This is possible only while your brain is in the earliest stages of development, but it implies that the brain is — at its core — a general-purpose machine that can be tuned to specific tasks. About seven years ago, Stanford computer science professor Andrew Ng stumbled across this theory, and it changed the course of his career, reigniting a passion for artificial intelligence, or AI. “For the first time in my life,” Ng says, “it made me feel like it might be possible to make some progress on a small part of the AI dream within our lifetime.”
Rethink doesn't want to be just a robot maker. It wants to use Baxter as platform that anyone can use to improve on existing applications as well as develop completely new ones. To achieve that, Rethink needs to open up its technology, and last week, the company announced a major step in that direction: a version of Baxter designed for researchers.
It's not an accredited university, and it doesn't actually teach the singuarity, the supposed superintelligence that will result when man merges with machine, due (according to prolific inventor and author Ray Kurzweil) sometime around 2045. Still, the official welcome at Singularity University's (SU) opening executive-programme class this fresh December afternoon in Nasa's Ames research campus, at Moffett Federal Airfield, California, is delivered -- appropriately -- by a 60cm-tall NAO humanoid robot. "I am so excited to see you all here," the robot beams to about 80 investors, inventors, entrepreneurs, philanthropists and otherwise future-curious students who have committed up to $12,000 (£7,650) each to spend seven days here exploring advances in biotech, nanotech, AI, robotics, neuroscience, energy systems and other accelerating technologies. The week's takeaways, declares SU's CEO Rob Nail, will be the opportunities offered by abundance, disruptive convergence, "109 thinking", problem-solving and "exponential technological challenges". "It gets really interesting," Nail says, "at the borders of, say, robotics and medicine, or nanotech and neuroscience." Even the course Wi-Fi password is "12481632" -- chosen because "it's exponential".
While we can measure the degree to which technologies transcend physical and physiological boundaries, we can merely speculate about the ethical consequences of these developments and about their effect on human self-perception. The merging of human consciousness and technology changes not only the latter, but also the former. And the question is whether technology will become more human in the long run, or whether humans will become more technical.
An exciting new study published in the prestigious journal Nature shows for the first time that manipulation of a brain chemical in a single region influences lifespan.
The authors conclude:
"To summarize, our study using several mouse models demonstrates that the hypothalamus is important for systemic ageing and lifespan control. This hypothalamic role is significantly mediated by IKK-band NF-kB-directed hypothalamic innate immunity involving microglia–neuron crosstalk. The underlying basis includes integration between immunity and neuroendocrine of the hypothalamus, and immune inhibition and GnRH restoration in the hypothalamus or the brain represent two potential strategies for combating ageing-related health problems."
A group at Tokyo Institute of Technology, led by Dr. Osamu Hasegawa, has succeeded in making further advances with SOINN, their machine learning algorithm, which can now use the internet to learn how to perform new tasks. The system, which is under development as an artificial brain for autonomous mental development robots, is currently being used to learn about objects in photos using image searches on the internet. It can also take aspects of other known objects and combine them to make guesses about objects it doesn't yet recognize.
Google has always been an artificial intelligence company, so it really shouldn’t have been a surprise that Ray Kurzweil, one of the leading scientists in the field, joined the search giant late last year. Nonetheless, the hiring raised some eyebrows, since Kurzweil is perhaps the most prominent proselytizer of “hard AI,” which argues that it is possible to create consciousness in an artificial being. Add to this Google’s revelation that it is using techniques of deep learning to produce an artificial brain, and a subsequent hiring of the godfather of computer neural nets Geoffrey Hinton, and it would seem that Google is becoming the most daring developer of AI, a fact that some may consider thrilling and others deeply unsettling. Or both.
In Los Angeles, a remarkable experiment is underway; the police are trying to predict crime, before it even happens. At the heart of the city of London, one trader believes that he has found the secret of making billions with maths. In South Africa, astronomers are attempting to catalogue the entire cosmos. These very different worlds are united by one thing - an extraordinary explosion in data. Horizon meets the people at the forefront of the data revolution, and reveals the possibilities and the promise of the age of big data.
"The brain is actually able to do more calculations per second than even the fastest supercomputer," says Boahen, a professor at Stanford University, director of the Brains in Silicon research laboratory and an NSF Faculty Early Career grant recipient. That's not to say the brain is faster than a supercomputer. In fact, it's actually much slower. The brain can do more calculations per second because it's "massively parallel," meaning networks of neurons are working simultaneously to solve a great number of problems at once. Traditional computing platforms, no matter how fast, operate sequentially, meaning each step must be complete before the next step is begun. Boahen works at the forefront of a field called neuromorphic engineering, which seeks to replicate the brain's extraordinary computational abilities using innovative hardware and software applications. His laboratory's most recent accomplishment is a new computing platform called Neurogrid, which simulates the activity of 1 million neurons. Neurogrid is not a supercomputer. It can't be used to simulate the big bang, or forecast hurricanes, or predict epidemics. But what it can do sets it apart from any computational platform on earth.