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Ambition: The Great Disruptor

Ambition: The Great Disruptor | Knowmads, Infocology of the future | Scoop.it
Technologies that can deliver self-improvement are becoming ever more accessible to those who seek it.

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Statistics help us grasp the massively complex forces shaping the world. Economists, sociologists, journalists and even philanthropists use statistics as a kind of tuning fork to pick up signals of disruption. But underlying all such measures is a force larger and more powerful than anything that can be quantified. That most disruptive of forces is ambition.

In our interconnected, interdependent world, ambition is no longer local, limited to what people see or experience directly. Thanks to the ubiquity of the internet and mobile phones, just about anyone anywhere, including the 3+ billion of the global population living on $2.50 a day or less, now has access to information they could not have imagined even a decade ago.

Ask any of those living in poverty what's important and their answers will be much the same: Ways to provide for their families, enough to eat, healthcare, education, safety, and the dignity of self-determination. In other words, more than half the world's population aspires to what others take for granted.

Ambition translates aspiration into action. It's the secret sauce that accelerates problem solving, spurs entrepreneurship, and galvanizes leadership. Most important, ambition is what drives human beings to improve their lives.

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Knowmads, Infocology of the future
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Explainer: how the latest earphones translate languages

In the Hitchhiker’s Guide to The Galaxy, Douglas Adams’s seminal 1978 BBC broadcast (then book, feature film and now cultural icon), one of the many technology predictions was the Babel Fish. This tiny yellow life-form, inserted into the human ear and fed by brain energy, was able to translate to and from any language.

Web giant Google have now seemingly developed their own version of the Babel Fish, called Pixel Buds. These wireless earbuds make use of Google Assistant, a smart application which can speak to, understand and assist the wearer. One of the headline abilities is support for Google Translate which is said to be able to translate up to 40 different languages. Impressive technology for under US$200.

So how does it work?

Real-time speech translation consists of a chain of several distinct technologies – each of which have experienced rapid degrees of improvement over recent years. The chain, from input to output, goes like this:

Input conditioning: the earbuds pick up background noise and interference, effectively recording a mixture of the users’ voice and other sounds. “Denoising” removes background sounds while a voice activity detector (VAD) is used to turn the system on only when the correct person is speaking (and not someone standing behind you in a queue saying “OK Google” very loudly). Touch control is used to improve the VAD accuracy.

Language identification (LID): this system uses machine learning to identify what language is being spoken within a couple of seconds. This is important because everything that follows is language specific. For language identification, phonetic characteristics alone are insufficient to distinguish languages (languages pairs like Ukrainian and Russian, Urdu and Hindi are virtually identical in their units of sound, or “phonemes”), so completely new acoustic representations had to be developed.

Automatic speech recognition (ASR): ASR uses an acoustic model to convert the recorded speech into a string of phonemes and then language modelling is used to convert the phonetic information into words. By using the rules of spoken grammar, context, probability and a pronunciation dictionary, ASR systems fill in gaps of missing information and correct mistakenly recognised phonemes to infer a textual representation of what the speaker said.
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Eugenics 2.0: We’re at the dawn of choosing embryos by health, height, and more

Eugenics 2.0: We’re at the dawn of choosing embryos by health, height, and more | Knowmads, Infocology of the future | Scoop.it

Will you be among the first to pick your kids’ IQ? As machine learning unlocks predictions from DNA databases, scientists say parents could have choices never before possible.


Nathan Treff was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes at 24. It’s a disease that runs in families, but it has complex causes. More than one gene is involved. And the environment plays a role too. So you don’t know who will get it. Treff’s grandfather had it, and lost a leg. But Treff’s three young kids are fine, so far. He’s crossing his fingers they won’t develop it later. Now Treff, an in vitro fertilization specialist, is working on a radical way to change the odds. Using a combination of computer models and DNA tests, the startup company he’s working with, Genomic Prediction, thinks it has a way of predicting which IVF embryos in a laboratory dish would be most likely to develop type 1 diabetes or other complex diseases. Armed with such statistical scorecards, doctors and parents could huddle and choose to avoid embryos with failing grades. IVF clinics already test the DNA of embryos to spot rare diseases, like cystic fibrosis, caused by defects in a single gene. But these “preimplantation” tests are poised for a dramatic leap forward as it becomes possible to peer more deeply at an embryo’s genome and create broad statistical forecasts about the person it would become. The advance is occurring, say scientists, thanks to a growing flood of genetic data collected from large population studies. As statistical models known as predictors gobble up DNA and health information about hundreds of thousands of people, they’re getting more accurate at spotting the genetic patterns that foreshadow disease risk. But they have a controversial side, since the same techniques can be used to project the eventual height, weight, skin tone, and even intelligence of an IVF embryo.

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Scientists Just Found a Vital Missing Link in The Origins of Life on Earth

Scientists Just Found a Vital Missing Link in The Origins of Life on Earth | Knowmads, Infocology of the future | Scoop.it
Carbon might be the backbone of organic chemistry, but life on Earth wouldn't be what it is today if it weren't for another critical member of the periodic table – phosphorus.

Transforming run of the mill hydrocarbons into the kinds of molecules that include this important element is a giant evolutionary leap, chemically speaking. But now scientists think they know how such a vital step was accomplished.

Researchers from The Scripps Research Institute in California have identified a molecule capable of performing phosphorylation in water, making it a solid candidate for what has until now been a missing link in the chain from lifeless soup to evolving cells.

In the classic chicken and egg conundrum of biology's origins, debate continues to rage over which process kicked off others in order to get to life. Was RNA was followed by protein structures? Did metabolism spark the whole shebang? And what about the lipids?

No matter what school of abiogenesis you hail from, the production of these various classes of organic molecules requires a process called phosphorylation – getting a group of three oxygens and a phosphorus to attach to other molecules.

Nobody has provided strong evidence in support of any particular agent that might have been responsible for making this happen to prebiotic compounds. Until now.

"We suggest a phosphorylation chemistry that could have given rise, all in the same place, to oligonucleotides, oligopeptides, and the cell-like structures to enclose them," says researcher Ramanarayanan Krishnamurthy.
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Here's How to Get to Conscious Machines, Neuroscientists Say

Here's How to Get to Conscious Machines, Neuroscientists Say | Knowmads, Infocology of the future | Scoop.it
If consciousness results purely from computations in our brain, then endowing machines with a similar quality may only require translating biology to code.
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teamfillets's comment, November 3, 10:53 PM
Its sweet
flaredauction's comment, November 4, 1:00 AM
Its sweet
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A Scientist Trained an AI to Invent Halloween Costume Ideas, And They Are So Good

A Scientist Trained an AI to Invent Halloween Costume Ideas, And They Are So Good | Knowmads, Infocology of the future | Scoop.it

Pickle Witch or The Shark Knight?


It's hard coming up with clever new Halloween costume ideas, so why do all the work yourself? Research scientist Janelle Shane decided to enlist her computer to help with the annual task, and she's built a first-of-its-kind neural network that can spit out brand-new Halloween costume ideas. First, she fed her computer data on 4,500 Halloween costume names she crowdsourced from the internet. Then, it was up to the machine to figure out how to riff on those names and toss around new Halloween costume ideas. It did pop out some gibberish, especially at first. But it also came up with ideas like the goddess butterfly, sad pumpkin king, party scarecrow, pickle witch, and this dragon of liberty:

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Solve These Tough Data Problems and Watch Job Offers Roll In

Solve These Tough Data Problems and Watch Job Offers Roll In | Knowmads, Infocology of the future | Scoop.it

Google-owned Kaggle hosts competitions for tough data-analysis problems. Highly ranked solvers are flooded with job offers

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Veteran Kagglers say the opportunities that flow from a good ranking are generally more bankable than the prizes. Participants say they learn new data-analysis and machine-learning skills. Plus, the best performers like the 95 “grandmasters” that top Kaggle’s rankings are highly sought talents in an occupation crucial to today’s data-centric economy. Glassdoor has declared data scientist the best job in America for the past two years, based on the thousands of vacancies, good salaries, and high job satisfaction. Companies large and small recruit from Kaggle’s fertile field of problem solvers. In March, Google came calling and acquired Kaggle itself. It has been integrated into the company’s cloud-computing division, and begun to emphasize features that let people and companies share and test data and code outside of competitions, too. Google hopes other companies will come to Kaggle for the people, code, and data they need for new projects involving machine learning—and run them in Google’s cloud..

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goatringtone's comment, October 30, 7:14 AM
Nice..!
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Neuroeducation Will Lead to Big Breakthroughs in Learning

Neuroeducation Will Lead to Big Breakthroughs in Learning | Knowmads, Infocology of the future | Scoop.it

As neuroscience brings greater understanding of the human brain, experts are applying those findings in the classroom to improve how we teach and learn.


In recent decades we’ve seen the rise of an emerging interdisciplinary field that brings together neuroscientists and educators. As technologies like brain mapping and scanning continue to advance our understanding of the human brain, a sub-sector of experts are applying those findings to the classroom. Instead of being based on traditional or individual assumptions about learning, education is beginning to be treated more like a science. The new discipline, neuroeducation, serves to apply the scientific method to curricula design and teaching strategies. This comes with attempts for a more objective understanding of learning that is based on evidence. What Is Neuroeducation? All human abilities, including learning, are a result of our brain activity. Hence, a better understanding of how our brains operate can result in a better understanding of learning. As we continue to unravel the issues and limitations of traditional education, many solutions involve a better scientific basis behind how we teach. The goal of neuroeducation (also known as mind and brain education or educational neuroscience) is to solidify a scientific basis in teaching and learning. The field uses the latest findings from neuroscience, psychology, and cognitive science to inform education and consequently, teaching strategies.

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Ocean´s five's curator insight, October 27, 3:23 AM
¿Qué es la neuroeducación? 
 Todas las habilidades humanas, incluido el aprendizaje, son el resultado de nuestra actividad cerebral. Por lo tanto, una mejor comprensión de cómo funciona nuestro cerebro puede resultar en una mejor comprensión del aprendizaje.
Dani Rivera's curator insight, November 2, 11:35 AM
It shows findings in neuroeducation and how does that affect the nree metholodiges and techniques for teaching int he classroom, for instance that affective filters is linked with theories like neurolinguistic and linguistic programming, (you are able to understand and to perfom activities if you think you can do it and have the abilities to do it), another finding is that in the future mind mappings could be done per individuals of the brain, this means that teachers in the future will be able to understand the synapsis of the brain of the students, in order to know how they learn and how their neurons activate through different learning styles.
Florencia's curator insight, November 9, 10:02 AM
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A former Google design ethicist fights against what he sees as mass manipulation by social media

A former Google design ethicist fights against what he sees as mass manipulation by social media | Knowmads, Infocology of the future | Scoop.it
If, like an ever-growing majority of people in the U.S., you own a smartphone, you might have the sense that apps in the age of the pocket-sized computer are designed to keep your attention as long as possible. You might not have the sense that they’re manipulating you one tap, swipe, or notification at a time.

But Tristan Harris thinks that’s just what’s happening to the billions of us who use social networks like Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, and Twitter, and he’s on a mission to steer us toward potential solutions—or at least to get us to acknowledge that this manipulation is, in fact, going on.

Harris, formerly a product manager turned design ethicist at Google, runs a nonprofit called Time Well Spent, which focuses on the addictive nature of technology and how apps could be better designed; it pursues public advocacy and supports design standards that take into account what’s good for people’s lives, rather than just seeking to maximize screen time. He says he’s moving away from Time Well Spent these days (his new effort is as yet unnamed), trying to hold the tech industry accountable for the way it persuades us to spend as much time as possible online, with tactics ranging from Snapchat’s snapstreaks to auto-playing videos on sites like YouTube and Facebook.
“It’s so invisible what we’re doing to ourselves,” he says. “It’s like a public health crisis. It’s like cigarettes, except because we’re given so many benefits, people can’t actually see and admit the erosion of human thought that’s occurring at the same time.”
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Andres Gomez's curator insight, October 20, 2:31 AM
Nowadays the use of technology is one the principals factor of problems and accidents around the world because many people do not use it in a good way or just think about this type of instruments such as way to know new people no more
Félix Santamaria's curator insight, October 20, 8:41 AM
Smartphones Are Weapons of Mass Manipulation...
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Funny people are more intelligent than their po-faced peers

Albert Einstein attributed his brilliant mind to having a child-like sense of humour. Indeed, a number of studies have found an association between humour and intelligence.

Researchers in Austria recently discovered that funny people, particularly those who enjoy dark humour, have higher IQs than their less funny peers. They argue that it takes both cognitive and emotional ability to process and produce humour. Their analysis shows that funny people have higher verbal and non-verbal intelligence, and they score lower in mood disturbance and aggressiveness.

Not only are funny people smart, they’re nice to be around. Evidence suggests that having a good sense of humour is linked to high emotional intelligence and is a highly desirable quality in a partner. Evolutionary psychologists describe humour as a “heritable trait” that signals mental fitness and intellectual agility to prospective mates. In studies of attractiveness, both men and women rate funny people as more attractive, and cite having a good sense of humour as being one of the most important traits in a long-term partner.

In psychology we use the term “positive humour style” to refer to people who use humour to enhance relationships and reduce conflict. This type of humour is associated with relationship satisfaction, extroversion and high self-esteem Having a humorous outlook on life is also a good coping strategy. It helps people better manage stress and adversity.

More negative humour styles, such as sarcasm, ridicule and self-defeating humour, do not offer the same benefits. Instead, they tend to alienate people and are more often associated with depressed mood and aggression.

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Can You Be Hacked by the World Around You?

Can You Be Hacked by the World Around You? | Knowmads, Infocology of the future | Scoop.it
You’ve probably been told it’s dangerous to open unexpected attachment files in your email—just like you shouldn’t open suspicious packages in your mailbox. But have you been warned against scanning unknown QR codes or just taking a picture with your phone? New research suggests that cyberattackers could exploit cameras and sensors in phones and other devices.

As someone who researches 3D modeling, including assessing 3D printed objects to be sure they meet quality standards, I’m aware of being vulnerable to methods of storing malicious computer code in the physical world. Our group’s work is in the laboratory and has not yet encountered malware hidden in 3D printing instructions or encoded in the structure of an item being scanned. But we’re preparing for that possibility.

At the moment, it’s not very likely for us: An attacker would need very specialized knowledge about our system’s functions to succeed in attacking it. But the day is coming when intrusions can happen through normal communications with or sensing performed by a computer or smartphone. Product designers and users alike need to be aware of the risks.
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rinkeyrozario's curator insight, October 14, 3:06 AM

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Optical fiber delivers light into body then biodegrades - Futurity

Optical fiber delivers light into body then biodegrades - Futurity | Knowmads, Infocology of the future | Scoop.it
A new flexible, biodegradable polymer fiber may make it easier to deliver light into the body, which typically requires the implantation of an optical fiber made of glass.

The ability to deliver light into the body is important for laser surgery, drug activation, optical imaging, diagnosis of disease, and in optogenetics, the experimental field in which light manipulates the function of neurons in the brain.

“The problem is that visible light can only penetrate to a certain depth, maybe hundreds of microns,” says Jian Yang, professor of biomedical engineering at Penn State. “Near infrared light might be able to penetrate a few millimeters to a centimeter, but that is not enough to see what is going on.”

Currently, people use glass fiber to get light into biological tissue at depth, but glass is brittle and isn’t biodegradable. It can also break and damage tissue if implanted.
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Why Facebook Is the Junk Food of Socializing - Facts So Romantic - Nautilus

Why Facebook Is the Junk Food of Socializing - Facts So Romantic - Nautilus | Knowmads, Infocology of the future | Scoop.it
Have you ever been walking in a dark alley and seen something that you thought was a crouching person, but it turned out to be a garbage bag or something similarly innocuous? Me too.

Have you ever seen a person crouching in a dark alley and mistaken it for a garbage bag? Me neither. Why does the error go one way and not the other?
Human beings are intensely social animals. We live in hierarchical social environments in which our comfort, reproduction, and very survival depend on our relationships with other people. As a result, we are very good at thinking about things in social ways. In fact, some scientists have argued that the evolutionary arms race for strategic social thinking—either for competition, for cooperation, or both—was a large part of why we became so intelligent as a species.This affinity for social reasoning, however, has resulted in systematic quirks in human reasoning about the non-human. This happens in two ways. First, we tend to see humanlike agency where there isn’t any, a common form of pareidolia. Many people view the sun as happy, for instance, and in religions the world over, diseases are seen as curses cast by witches. This effect has been argued to be one of the main reasons religions exist at all: People imagine that there must be supernatural beings behind the scenes, making the world work the way it does.1 Second, we are more prone to believe in explanations when they are couched in terms of the everyday psychology people use to explain and predict people’s behavior. Teachers sometimes take advantage of this, using “anthropomorphic” glosses on natural phenomena to help their students learn (e.g., “the water wants to find its level.”)
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Does self-marriage challenge romantic ideals or just cave to them? – Polina Aronson | Aeon Essays

Does self-marriage challenge romantic ideals or just cave to them? – Polina Aronson | Aeon Essays | Knowmads, Infocology of the future | Scoop.it
This summer I got married for the second time. Unlike my first wedding, in a town hall 11 years ago, this one was strictly informal. The ceremony took place at the Karaoke Pit in Berlin’s Mauerpark, a dilapidated concrete amphitheatre in the middle of the former no-man’s land between East and West Berlin. There were some 500 guests in attendance, most of whom I’d never met before and would never see again. My dress was black and I kept my sunglasses on. There were no bridesmaids, no public registrar, let alone a priest or rabbi, and no papers were issued at the end. Moreover, there was no bridegroom: I was, as it happened, getting married to my own self – with my husband and our two children watching from the front row.

I formalised my vows with karaoke, offering a musical and performative statement of intent in front of the assembled (and mostly unwitting) witnesses. This improbable 4.5-minute ceremony was the way I capped off a 10-week online course on self-marriage, which I took this spring. I was motivated three-quarters by what C W Mills in 1959 called the ‘sociological imagination’ – the capacity to discern the link between our everyday experience and wider society – and one-quarter by unbridled curiosity about the intricate workings of modern love.
‘Sologamy’ is the latest relationship trend not only in Europe and the United States but also Japan. A budding industry of self-marriages promises to make us happier by celebrating commitment to the only person in this world truly worthy of a relationship investment: our precious self. A variety of coaches worldwide offer self-marriage courses, including guidance through preparatory steps (such as writing love poems and composing vows) and orchestration of the ceremony itself.
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Mushrooms may be stuffed with anti-aging potential

Mushrooms may be stuffed with anti-aging potential | Knowmads, Infocology of the future | Scoop.it

​Ergothioneine and glutathione. Hardly household names when it comes to health, but some scientists believe these antioxidants can play a vital role in fighting aging and its associated diseases, and a new study has found mushrooms to be packed with them


Ergothioneine and glutathione. Hardly household names when it comes to health, but some scientists believe these antioxidants can play a vital role in fighting aging and its associated diseases. A new study has found mushrooms to be packed with these compounds, and in good news for fans of funghi-finished pizzas, high temperatures don't seem to alter their effects. One school of thought when it comes to aging is known as the free radical theory. Free radicals are oxygen atoms with unpaired electrons that arise as a by-product of the process in which the body converts food into energy. These highly reactive atoms then travel around the body in search of other electrons to pair up with, causing oxidative damage to the cells, proteins and even DNA in their path. "The body has mechanisms to control most of them, including ergothioneine and glutathione, but eventually enough accrue to cause damage, which has been associated with many of the diseases of aging, like cancer, coronary heart disease and Alzheimer's," said Robert Beelman, professor emeritus of food science and director of the Penn State Center for Plant and Mushroom Products for Health..

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New silicon ‘Neuropixels’ probes record activity of hundreds of neurons simultaneously | KurzweilAI

New silicon ‘Neuropixels’ probes record activity of hundreds of neurons simultaneously | KurzweilAI | Knowmads, Infocology of the future | Scoop.it

A section of a Neuropixels probe (credit: Howard Hughes Medical Institute) In a $5.5 million international collaboration, researchers and engineers have


In a $5.5 million international collaboration, researchers and engineers have developed powerful new “Neuropixels” brain probes that can simultaneously monitor the neural activity of hundreds of neurons at several layers of a rodent’s brain for the first time. Described in a paper published today (November 8, 2017) in Nature, Neuropixels probes represent a significant advance in neuroscience measurement technology, and will allow for the most precise understanding yet of how large networks of nerve cells coordinate to give rise to behavior and cognition, according to the researchers.

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What evolutionary theory can teach us about the appearance of aliens

Aliens are highly likely to undergo natural selection, shows new research.


Aliens could be everywhere. There are at least 100 billion planets in our galaxy alone, and at least 20% of them could be habitable. Even if a tiny fraction of those planets – less than one percent of one percent – evolved life, there would still be tens of thousands of planets with aliens in our vicinity. But if we want to figure out where to start looking for these neighbours, we need to understand what they might be like and where they might thrive. Ultimately, we want to understand as much as possible about an extraterrestrial species before we encounter it. And yet, making predictions about aliens is hard. The reason is simple: we have only one example – life on Earth – to extrapolate from. Just because eyes and limbs have evolved many times on Earth doesn’t mean they’ll appear even once elsewhere. Just because we are made of carbon and coded by DNA doesn’t mean aliens will be – they could be silicon based and coded by “XNA”. However, as my colleagues and I argue in our new study, published in the International Journal of Astrobiology, there is another approach to making predictions about aliens that gets around this problem. That is to use evolutionary theory as a guiding principle. The theory of natural selection allows us to make predictions that don’t depend on the details of Earth, and so will hold even for eyeless, nitrogen-breathing aliens. Darwin formulated his theory of natural selection long before we knew what DNA was, how mutations appeared, or even how traits were passed on. It is remarkably simple, and requires just a few ingredients to work: variation (some giraffes have longer necks than others), heritability of that variation (long-necked giraffes have long-necked babies) and differential success linked to the variation (long-necked giraffes eat more leaves and have more babies).

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Can you train yourself to develop 'super senses'?

Can you train yourself to develop 'super senses'? | Knowmads, Infocology of the future | Scoop.it

Some people can see at a finer resolution than the spacing between individual photo-receptors in the eye – and it's all down to their brains.


Wouldn’t it be great to be able to hear what people whispered behind your back? Or to read the bus timetable from across the street? We all differ dramatically in our perceptual abilities – for all our senses. But do we have to accept what we’ve got when it comes to sensory perception? Or can we actually do something to improve it? Differences in perceptual ability are most obvious for the more valued senses – hearing and vision. But some people have enhanced abilities for the other senses too. For example, there are “supertasters” among us mere mortals who perceive stronger tastes from various sweet and bitter substances (a trait linked with a greater number of taste receptors on the tip of the tongue). It’s not all good news for the supertasters though – they also perceive more burn from oral irritants like alcohol and chilli. Women have been shown to be better at feeling touch than men. Interestingly, this turns out not to really be a gender thing at all, but rather down to having smaller fingers. This means touch receptors that are more closely packed together, and therefore the possibility for perception at a finer resolution. Thus, if a man and woman have the same sized fingers, they will have equivalent touch perception.

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How the god you worship influences the ghosts you see

Most religions are populated by an impressive cadre of ghosts, gods, spirits and angels.


If you’ve ever seen a ghost, you have something in common with 18 percent of Americans. But while there’s evidence that our brains are hardwired to see ghosts, the apparitions we see tend to vary. Historians who study and catalogue ghostly encounters across time will tell you that ghosts come in a range of shapes and forms. Some haunt individuals, appearing in dreams or popping up at unexpected times. Others haunt a specific location and are prepared to spook any passersby. Some are the spitting images of what were once real humans. And then there are the noisy and troublesome poltergeists, which appear as uncontrollable supernatural forces instead of people. What might explain such discrepancies? And are some people more likely to see ghosts than others? It turns out that our religious background could play a role. Religion might ease one fear Some argue that religion evolved as a terror management device, a handy way to remove the uncertainty surrounding one of the scariest things we can imagine: death. Almost every religion offers an explanation for what happens to us after we die, with the assurance that death isn’t the end. And there is, in fact, evidence that very religious people don’t fear death as much as others. Protestants, Catholics and Muslims all believe in a day of resurrection and judgment, in which our souls are directed to heaven (“Jannah” in the case of Muslims) or hell based upon our good deeds (or misdeeds) during our time spent on Earth. Catholics also believe in a halfway house called purgatory, in which people who aren’t quite worthy of heaven but are too good for hell can pay their dues before getting a ticket to paradise.

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Javier Lopez's comment, November 1, 4:32 AM
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This Study Has Good News For People Who Spend All Their Time Daydreaming

This Study Has Good News For People Who Spend All Their Time Daydreaming | Knowmads, Infocology of the future | Scoop.it

To the imaginarium!


Unable to stay focused? Frequently going away with the fairies? It may be because you have so much brain capacity that it needs to find ways to keep itself occupied, according to new research. A team of psychologists has found a positive correlation between a person's tendency to daydream and their levels of intelligence and creativity. "People tend to think of mind wandering as something that is bad. You try to pay attention and you can't," said one of the team, Eric Schumacher from Georgia Institute of Technology. "Our data are consistent with the idea that this isn't always true. Some people have more efficient brains." The researchers examined the brain patterns of 112 study participants as they lay in an fMRI machine not doing anything in particular and just staring at a fixed point for five minutes. This is known as a resting state scan, and the team used this data to figure out which parts of the participants' brains worked together in unison in what's called the default mode network. These participants also completed a questionnaire about daydreaming, and, once the researchers figured out how their brains worked, tests of executive function, fluid intelligence and creativity. There were several correlations. Those participants who self-reported higher rates of daydreaming had a higher rate of default mode network connectivity in the brain, as well as a higher rate of control between the default mode network and the frontoparietal control network of the brain. Those participants also performed better on the fluid intelligence and creativity tests than the participants who weren't daydreamers.

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The Third Wave of AI – Becoming Human

The Third Wave of AI – Becoming Human | Knowmads, Infocology of the future | Scoop.it

Over the decades, combinations of various programming techniques have enabled slow spotty progress in AI — punctuated by occasional breakthroughs such as certain expert, decision and planning systems, and mastering Chess and Jeopardy! These approaches, and in particular those focused on symbolic representations, are generally referred to as GOFAI (Good Old-Fashioned AI). Importantly, a key characteristic that they share is that applications are hand-crafted and custom engineered: Programmers figure out how to solve a particular problem, then turning their insights into code. This essentially represents the ‘First Wave’.


Via Spaceweaver
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Spaceweaver's curator insight, October 7, 8:26 AM
Very informative and clear article. Worth reading.
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'It's able to create knowledge itself': Google unveils AI that learns on its own

'It's able to create knowledge itself': Google unveils AI that learns on its own | Knowmads, Infocology of the future | Scoop.it
Google’s artificial intelligence group, DeepMind, has unveiled the latest incarnation of its Go-playing program, AlphaGo – an AI so powerful that it derived thousands of years of human knowledge of the game before inventing better moves of its own, all in the space of three days.

Named AlphaGo Zero, the AI program has been hailed as a major advance because it mastered the ancient Chinese board game from scratch, and with no human help beyond being told the rules. In games against the 2015 version, which famously beat Lee Sedol, the South Korean grandmaster, AlphaGo Zero won 100 to 0.

The feat marks a milestone on the road to general-purpose AIs that can do more than thrash humans at board games. Because AlphaGo Zero learns on its own from a blank slate, its talents can now be turned to a host of real-world problems.

At DeepMind, which is based in London, AlphaGo Zero is working out how proteins fold, a massive scientific challenge that could give drug discovery a sorely needed shot in the arm.
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Can we teach robots ethics?

Can we teach robots ethics? | Knowmads, Infocology of the future | Scoop.it
We are not used to the idea of machines making ethical decisions, but the day when they will routinely do this - by themselves - is fast approaching. So how, asks the BBC's David Edmonds, will we teach them to do the right thing?

The car arrives at your home bang on schedule at 8am to take you to work. You climb into the back seat and remove your electronic reading device from your briefcase to scan the news. There has never been trouble on the journey before: there's usually little congestion. But today something unusual and terrible occurs: two children, wrestling playfully on a grassy bank, roll on to the road in front of you. There's no time to brake. But if the car skidded to the left it would hit an oncoming motorbike.

Neither outcome is good, but which is least bad?

The year is 2027, and there's something else you should know. The car has no driver.
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Study shows North Atlantic wind farms could power the whole world

Wind is one of the cleanest energy sources available, and the US is sitting next to a gold mine. A new study has found that wind speeds over the oceans could allow offshore turbines to generate far more energy than a land-based wind farm – with the North Atlantic, in particular, theoretically able to provide enough energy for all of human civilization.

In tapping into wind as an energy source, the US has for decades lagged behind Europe and UK, which are home to the largest offshore wind farms in the world, including the London Array and the Netherlands' Gemini wind farm. But the US is catching up: the country's first facility opened up off the coast of Rhode Island last year, and if the Trident Winds project goes ahead, it could snatch up the title of world's largest wind farm.

In addition to being safer to bird life and less disruptive to humans, the main advantage of setting up wind farms offshore is the fact that the wind speeds are higher out there. In theory, those speeds mean there's five times as much energy blowing around over water than there is over land, but whether that would translate to electricity production gains was another question. Researchers from Carnegie Science set out to find the answer.
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Controlled by a synthetic gene circuit, self-assembling bacteria build working electronic sensors | KurzweilAI

Using a synthetic gene circuit, Duke University researchers have programmed self-assembling bacteria to build useful electronic devices — a first.

Other experiments have successfully grown materials using bacterial processes (for example, MIT engineers have coaxed bacterial cells to produce biofilms that can incorporate nonliving materials, such as gold nanoparticles and quantum dots). However, they have relied entirely on external control over where the bacteria grow and they have been limited to two dimensions.

In the new study, the researchers demonstrated the production of a composite structure by programming the cells themselves and controlling their access to nutrients, but still leaving the bacteria free to grow in three dimensions.*
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This ICO for an AI blockchain is the most tech-hype idea of the year

This ICO for an AI blockchain is the most tech-hype idea of the year | Knowmads, Infocology of the future | Scoop.it
We might have just hit Peak 2017 Buzzword: a startup is about to launch an Initial Coin Offering (ICO) to fund a blockchain-based network of Artificial Intelligences (AI), called SingularityNET.

Its goal — as the venture’s Kurzweilian name sort of gives away — is fostering the emergence of human-level artificial intelligence on a decentralised, open-source platform, spoiling the game for governments and technology colossuses striving to conjure up general AI in their secretive data centres.

The driving force behind the project is Ben Goertzel, a Hong Kong-based AI researcher and Chief Scientist of Hanson Robotics, a company specialised in building humanoid robots — such as eerie talking head Sophia. Over the last few years, Goertzel has grown wary of the concentration of AI power in the hands of a few Silicon Valley giants.

“I don’t think that what’s happening—with a few companies essentially owning AI, hiring every AI researcher, and buying every AI startup— is best for humanity,” he says. “It means that eventually human-level AI will come from these big corporations.”
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