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Tracking the Future
Explore the most important technology and science trends! News, Analysis, Interviews, Presentations, Documentaries. All in one place at Tracking the future magazine
Curated by Szabolcs Kósa
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The Obsolete Know-It-All: Ken Jennings at TEDxSeattleU

Ken Jennings was an anonymous computer programmer in 2004 when his 75-game streak on the quiz show Jeopardy! Made him into a geek folk icon almost overnight. Today, Jennings is freelance writer who celebrates, in the words of Time magazine, "the world of triva...a place where minutiae have paradoxical grandeur and no fact is meaningless."

Szabolcs Kósa's insight:

Ken Jennings shares the story of IBM's Watson AI beating him in Jeopardy and asks some serious questions about knowledge management in the digital age.

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Toward next-generation nanomedicines for cancer therapy

Toward next-generation nanomedicines for cancer therapy | Tracking the Future | Scoop.it

The ultimate goal of drug delivery, especially with regard to cancer therapy, is to ferry most of the administered drug to the target, while eliminating or minimizing the accumulation of the drug at any non-target tissues. Nanomedicine applications with targeted nanoparticles are expected to revolutionize cancer therapy. The use of such nanoparticles to deliver therapeutic agents is currently being studied as a promising method by which drugs can be effectively targeted to specific cells in the body, such as tumor cells.

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Rethinking objects and form are key to 3D printing revolution

Rethinking objects and form are key to 3D printing revolution | Tracking the Future | Scoop.it

3D printing has already changed the game for manufacturing specialized products such as medical devices but the real revolution will come when designers start to rethink the shapes of objects.

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Daniel Sandstrom's curator insight, March 21, 2013 5:49 AM

Contains interesting statistics and facts about 3D printing as well as some current and future products and projects that utilise the technology.


"Whatever can be designed on a computer can be turned into an object."

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Allan Savory: How to green the world's deserts and reverse climate change

"Desertification is a fancy word for land that is turning to desert," begins Allan Savory in this quietly powerful talk. And terrifyingly, it's happening to about two-thirds of the world's grasslands, accelerating climate change and causing traditional grazing societies to descend into social chaos. Savory has devoted his life to stopping it. He now believes -- and his work so far shows -- that a surprising factor can protect grasslands and even reclaim degraded land that was once desert.

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IBM: Watson will eventually fit on a smartphone, diagnose illness

IBM: Watson will eventually fit on a smartphone, diagnose illness | Tracking the Future | Scoop.it

IBM's Jeopardy!-winning supercomputer, Watson, may have started out the size of a master bedroom, but it will eventually shrink to the size of a smart phone, its inventors say.
The supercomputer is currently performing "residencies" at several hospitals around the country, offering its data analytics capabilities serving as a decision support tool for physicians.
IBM is also working to program Watson so that it can pass the U.S. Medical Licensing Examination. Yes, the "Dr. Watson" moniker used in the media will someday be applicable.
Even today, a Watson supercomputer with the same computational capabilities as the system that took on Jeopardy!'s all-time champions, is a fraction of its former size. And, the smaller Watson is almost two-and-a-half times faster than the original system, according to Dan Pelino, general manager of IBM's Global Healthcare & Life Sciences business.
"It was the size of a master bedroom, but now it's the size of a bathroom," Pelino said "It will get to be a handheld device by 2020 based on a trajectory of Moore's Law."

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Brown University creates first wireless, implanted brain-computer interface

Brown University creates first wireless, implanted brain-computer interface | Tracking the Future | Scoop.it

Brown’s wireless BCI, fashioned out of hermetically sealed titanium, looks a lot like a pacemaker. Inside there’s a li-ion battery, an inductive (wireless) charging loop, a chip that digitizes the signals from your brain, and an antenna for transmitting those neural spikes to a nearby computer. The BCI is connected to a small chip with 100 electrodes protruding from it, which, in this study, was embedded in the somatosensory cortex or motor cortex. These 100 electrodes produce a lot of data, which the BCI transmits at 24Mbps over the 3.2 and 3.8GHz bands to a receiver that is one meter away. The BCI’s battery takes two hours to charge via wireless inductive charging, and then has enough juice to last for six hours of use.

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Nacho Vega's curator insight, March 5, 2013 2:10 AM

Where do we go?!!!

Gust MEES's curator insight, March 5, 2013 1:17 PM

 

These 100 electrodes produce a lot of data, which the BCI transmits at 24Mbps over the 3.2 and 3.8GHz bands to a receiver that is one meter away.

 

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Brain Surgeons Find The Neurological Basis of Human Speech

Brain Surgeons Find The Neurological Basis of Human Speech | Tracking the Future | Scoop.it

A team of scientists at UC San Francisco has uncovered the neurological basis of speech motor control, the complex coordinated activity of tiny brain regions that controls our lips, jaw, tongue and larynx as we talk.
Published recently in the journal Nature, the work has potential implications for developing computer-brain interfaces for artificial speech communication and for the treatment of speech disorders. It also sheds light on an ability that is unique to humans among living creatures but poorly understood.

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Why Synthetic Biology Is the Field of the Future

Why Synthetic Biology Is the Field of the Future | Tracking the Future | Scoop.it

Synthetic biology is a relatively young field, begun only about ten years ago. But in that time, we have made some astonishing progress. This is due, in part, to the enormous improvements in our ability to synthesize and sequence DNA. But we’ve also gained a much greater understanding of how the various parts of the genome interact. We now can reliably combine various genetic pieces to produce a range of consumer products, from biofuels to cosmetics.

In medicine, the synthetic biology community is pushing the boundaries by designing microbes that will seek and destroy tumors in the body before self-destructing. Synthetic biology also provides us a way to clean up our environment. We can build organisms to consume toxic chemicals in water or soil that would not otherwise decompose, for example. It can also help us to better understand flu strains and create vaccines. Synthetic biology will even help us feed the world. At MIT, researchers are working to build a process that will allow plants to fix nitrogen. If successful, farmers will no longer require fertilizer for their crops.

That’s not all we’re doing with plants, either. At the Joint BioEnergy Institute in California, scientists have found a way to expand the sugar content of biomass crops to increase their density and decrease the cost of biofuels produced from them. We envision that eventually we will be able to build just about anything from biology. Don’t be surprised if one day your computer has biological parts.


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Socrates Logos's curator insight, February 28, 2013 3:48 PM

by
Jay Keasling

"Most Americans may not be familiar with synthetic biology, but they may come to appreciate its advances someday soon. Synthetic biology focuses on creating technologies for designing and building biological organisms. A multidisciplinary effort, it calls biologists, engineers, software developers, and others to collaborate on finding ways to understand how genetic parts work together, and then to combine them to produce useful applications.

 Synthetic biology is a relatively young field, begun only about ten years ago. But in that time, we have made some astonishing progress. This is due, in part, to the enormous improvements in our ability to synthesize and sequence DNA. But we’ve also gained a much greater understanding of how the various parts of the genome interact. We now can reliably combine various genetic pieces to produce a range of consumer products, from biofuels to cosmetics....."

http://to.pbs.org/Z0UEAQ

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I.B.M. Exploring New Feats for Watson-projects involve developing drugs and creating food recipes.

I.B.M. Exploring New Feats for Watson-projects involve developing drugs and creating food recipes. | Tracking the Future | Scoop.it

I.B.M. is trying to expand its artificial intelligence technology by training the computer Watson in projects that involve developing drugs and creating food recipes.

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I.B.M.’s Watson beat “Jeopardy” champions two years ago. But can it whip up something tasty in the kitchen?

That is just one of the questions that I.B.M. is asking as it tries to expand its artificial intelligence technology and turn Watson into something that actually makes commercial sense.

The company is betting that it can build a big business by taking the Watson technology into new fields. The uses it will be showing off to Wall Street analysts at a gathering in the company’s Almaden Research Center in San Jose, Calif., on Thursday include helping to develop drugs, predicting when industrial machines need maintenance and even coming up with novel recipes for tasty foods. In health care, Watson is training to become a diagnostic assistant at a few medical centers, including the Cleveland Clinic.

The new Watson projects — some on the cusp of commercialization, others still research initiatives — are at the leading edge of a much larger business for I.B.M. and other technology companies. That market involves helping corporations, government agencies and science laboratories find useful insights in a rising flood of data from many sources — Web pages, social network messages, sensor signals, medical images, patent filings, location data from cellphones and others.


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Jennifer Granholm: A clean energy proposal -- race to the top!

Kicking off the TED2013 conference, Jennifer Granholm asks a very American question with worldwide implications: How do we make more jobs? Her big idea: Invest in new alternative energy sources. And her big challenge: Can it be done with or without our broken Congress?

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Graphene micro-supercapacitors to replace batteries for microelectonics devices

Graphene micro-supercapacitors to replace batteries for microelectonics devices | Tracking the Future | Scoop.it

UCLA researchers have developed a groundbreaking technique that uses a DVD burner to fabricate miniature graphene-based supercapacitors — devices that can charge and discharge a hundred to a thousand times faster than standard batteries.
These micro-supercapacitors, made from a one-atom–thick layer of carbon, can be easily manufactured and readily integrated into small devices, such as next-generation pacemakers.
The new cost-effective fabrication method holds promise for the mass production of these supercapacitors, which have the potential to transform electronics and other fields.

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Maxwell Tech's curator insight, January 14, 3:08 PM

Talk about creative inventions! UCLA researchers have developed a DVD burner that would fabricate into minature graphene-based supercapacitors. It looks pretty cool and unique.

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Intercontinental mind-meld unites two rats

Intercontinental mind-meld unites two rats | Tracking the Future | Scoop.it

The brains of two rats on different continents have been made to act in tandem. When the first, in Brazil, uses its whiskers to choose between two stimuli, an implant records its brain activity and signals to a similar device in the brain of a rat in the United States. The US rat then usually makes the same choice on the same task.
Miguel Nicolelis, a neuroscientist at Duke University in Durham, North Carolina, says that this system allows one rat to use the senses of another, incorporating information from its far-away partner into its own representation of the world. “It’s not telepathy. It’s not the Borg,” he says. “But we created a new central nervous system made of two brains.”

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Millionaire Dennis Tito plans to send woman and man to Mars and back

Millionaire Dennis Tito plans to send woman and man to Mars and back | Tracking the Future | Scoop.it

Millionaire space tourist Dennis Tito's plan to send two astronauts on a 501-day flight that zooms past Mars and swings back to Earth would set plenty of precedents on the final frontier — but the most intriguing precedent might have to do with the astronauts that are to be sent: one man and one woman, preferably a married couple beyond childbearing years.

 

 


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Augmenting Human Capability: Marc Israel at TEDxPlainesWilhems

In this talk, Marc takes us on a journey of how technology as a tool aims at augmenting our basic capabilities to take us to the next human level up.
Marc Israel is a high tech guru, passionate about technology and its applications in complimenting our lives. An engineer by profession specialising in robotics, Marc moved to Mauritius 13 years ago after a career as an entrepreneur in France. He is an author of several books on database management, programming and presentation software.

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Should we put robots on trial?

Should we put robots on trial? | Tracking the Future | Scoop.it

With most robot-like machines that exist today, any serious problems can be easily traced back to a human somewhere, whether because the machine was used carelessly or because it was intentionally programmed to do harm. But experts in artificial intelligence and the emerging field of robot ethics say that is likely to change. With the advent of technological marvels like the self-driving car and increasingly sophisticated drones, they say we’ll soon be seeing the emergence of machines that are essentially autonomous. And when these machines behave in ways unpredictable to their makers, it will be unclear who should be held legally responsible for their actions.
With their eyes on this apparently inevitable future, some specialists have started to argue that our legal system is woefully unprepared—that in a world in which more and more decisions are made by entities with no moral compass, the laws we have are not enough. In fact, some are arguing that it’s time to do something surprising: to extend our idea of what it means to be an “independent actor,” and perhaps even hold the robots themselves legally culpable.

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How do we redesign a new economic theory framed by ecological systems?

How do we redesign a new economic theory framed by ecological systems? | Tracking the Future | Scoop.it

Economics as we know it today is broken. Unable to explain, to predict or to protect, it is need of root-and-branch replacement. Or, to borrow from Alan Greenspan, it is fundamentally "flawed".

But where do we look for inspiration in facilitating what is the mother of all paradigm shifts? Interestingly, the most insightful and strikingly innovative ideas are coming from all directions other than the economics profession.

Ecology offers the insight that the economy is best understood as a complex adaptive system, more a garden to be lovingly observed and tended than a machine to be regulated by mathematically calculable formulae.

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Watson goes to college: How the world's smartest PC will revolutionize AI

Watson goes to college: How the world's smartest PC will revolutionize AI | Tracking the Future | Scoop.it

In 2011, IBM achieved a quantum leap in artificial intelligence technology when its Watson computer program trounced human champions Ken Jennings and Brad Rutter in a three-day Jeopardy! tourney, taking home the million-dollar prize by outscoring the second place competitor by a three-to-one margin.
Since then, Watson has shown its computing prowess in the world of medicine and in other business settings. However, as was recently announced, IBM decided Watson could use a college education and so will join here us at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. With its help, we hope to further advance artificial intelligence in a number of key areas.

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Dr. Marvin Minsky — Immortal minds are a matter of time

In this video Dr. Marvin Minsky discusses the future of human minds, possibility of overcoming death and invites participants to the second international Global Future 2045 congress (June 2013) http://www.GF2045.com/

Widely recognized as one of the world's foremost experts and pioneers of Artificial Intelligence. Toshiba Professor of Media Arts and Sciences, and Professor of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science at M.I.T. His research led to advances in mathematics, neural and computer science, physics, psychology, computer graphics, symbolic mathematical computation, neural networks, knowledge representation, computational semantics, machine perception, symbolic learning and connectionist learning.

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Will 3D Printing Change the World?

Much attention has been paid to 3D Printing lately, with new companies developing cheaper and more efficient consumer models that have wowed the tech community. They herald 3D Printing as a revolutionary and disruptive technology, but how will these printers truly affect our society? Beyond an initial novelty, 3D Printing could have a game-changing impact on consumer culture, copyright and patent law, and even the very concept of scarcity on which our economy is based. From at-home repairs to new businesses, from medical to ecological developments, 3D Printing has an undeniably wide range of possibilities which could profoundly change our world

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11 Emerging Scientific Fields That Everyone Should Know About

11 Emerging Scientific Fields That Everyone Should Know About | Tracking the Future | Scoop.it

There was a time when science could be broken down into neat-and-tidy disciplines — straightforward things like biology, chemistry, physics, and astronomy. But as science advances, these fields are becoming increasingly specialized and interdisciplinary, leading to entirely new avenues of inquiry. Here are 11 emerging scientific fields you should know about.

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Dr. Miguel Nicolelis Explains Brain to Brain Interface Study Published in Scientific Reports

Dr. Miguel Nicolelis Explains Brain to Brain Interface Study Published in Scientific Reports, February 28, 2013

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4D printing sees materials form themselves into anything

4D printing sees materials form themselves into anything | Tracking the Future | Scoop.it

There are 3D printers that build things up, adding one sliver of plastic at a time, and 3D mills that tear things down, grinding away one small chunk at a time. But Skylar Tibbits offer a very provocative alternative: technology for 3D printing where the chunks start separated and intelligently arrange themselves into basically any object.
Tibbits' latest technology for so-called "4D printing," unveiled during a talk at the TED conference on 26 February in Long Beach, California, uses water to activate and power strands of material that fold themselves into desired shapes. It will be developed in part by the new MIT Self Assembly Lab -- to be headed by Tibbits and also announced during his talk -- and also by Stratasys, a Minnesota- and Israel-based maker of 3D printers. Tibbits, a faculty member at the MIT Department of Architecture, is also working with Autodesk on software to program 4D printing systems.

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Mind of its own: building a human brain

Mind of its own: building a human brain | Tracking the Future | Scoop.it

Henry Markram, 50, is in charge of the Human Brain Project (HBP) at the École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL) in Switzerland. By creating a computer simulation of an entire human brain, Markram’s team aims to discover 'profound insights into what makes us human, develop new treatments for brain diseases and build revolutionary new computing technologies.’
As the Cambridge Project for Existential Risk was fretting about the future, Markram was waiting to hear whether the HBP had won €1 billion in EU funding – a sum that would transform it over 10 years into one of the biggest scientific quests in the world.
The race for that funding has been run since 2009, with 23 proposals vying to become the first two EU Future and Emerging Technologies (FET) flagship projects. The flagships idea was set up to foster research into radical scientific concepts across the continent. On January 28, at a conference in Brussels, Markram’s project was announced as one of the winners

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The Rise of the Cyborgs: The Incorporation of Machines into the Human Body

The Rise of the Cyborgs: The Incorporation of Machines into the Human Body | Tracking the Future | Scoop.it

With rapidly evolving technology , it is inevitable that the future of humanity lies in machines. Traditionally, there has been a divide in the type of progress for humans to achieve an advanced state of being. On one hand, there are people who advocate the development of artificial intelligence technologies to imbue human cognitive abilities on robots. An alternate approach is one parallel to many science fiction fantasizes–the creation of cyborgs, or human-machine hybrids. The creation of cyborg technology has already been set in motion and this article will examine it’s evolution and benefits.

 

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Researchers create CMOS-compatible, 30nm programmable graphene transistor

Researchers create CMOS-compatible, 30nm programmable graphene transistor | Tracking the Future | Scoop.it

Electronic engineers at Japan’s GNC and AIST research centers have successfully created graphene transistors that are constructed and operated in a way that redefines 50 years of transistor development. These graphene transistors can be built using conventional CMOS processes, and could potentially be many times smaller, hundreds of times faster, and consume much less power than silicon transistors.

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