Browsing: New Physics


‘Get used to hearing a lot more about artificial intelligence.

Even if you discount the utopian and dystopian hyperbole, the 21st century will broadly be defined not just by advancements in artificial intelligence, robotics, computing and cognitive neuroscience, but how we manage them.

For some, the question of whether or not the human race will live to see a 22nd century turns upon this latter consideration.

While forecasting the imminence of an AI-centric future remains a matter of intense debate, we will need to come to terms with it. For now, there are many more questions than answers.’

Read more: AI experts warn humanity has to prepare now for ‘The Reckoning’ when robots demand equal rights


‘The Financial Times’ Special Report (2/16/2017) published a four-page spread on the ‘use and possible dangers of artificial intelligence (AI)’. Unlike the usual trash journalists who serve as Washington ’s megaphones on the editorial pages and political columns, the Special Report is a thoughtful essay that raises many important issues, even as it is fundamentally flawed.

The writer, Richard Walters, cites several major problems accompanying AI from ‘public anxieties, to inequalities and job insecurity’. Walters pleads with those he calls the ‘controllers of autonomous systems’ to heed social and ‘political frictions’ or face societal ‘disruption’. Experts and journalists, discussing the long-term, large-scale destruction of the working class and service jobs, claim that AI can be ameliorated through management and social engineering.

This essay will proceed to raise fundamental issues, questions leading to an alternative approach to AI relying on class analysis. We will reject the specter of AI as a ‘Frankenstein’ by identifying the social forces, which finance, design and direct AI and which benefit from its negative social impact.’

Read more: Artificial Intelligence: ‘Frankenstein’ or Capitalist Money Machine


‘Augmented reality, or AR, is technology that blends virtual content with real-world surroundings. Unlike virtual reality, which immerses you in a self-contained digital world, AR overlays 3D graphics and interactive characters into your everyday world.

In the hit game Pokémon Go, players use their smartphones to catch Pokémon characters in the local park or at the office. Released in July 2016, the game was downloaded faster than any mobile app in history and generated nearly $1 billion in revenue in its first six months.

Yet despite Pokémon Go’s huge numbers, when surveyors asked average Americans what they thought about augmented reality, the majority of people didn’t have a clue.’

Read more: When Will Augmented Reality Get Real?


‘Late last year, famed physicist Stephen Hawking issued a warning that the continued advancement of artificial intelligence will either be “the best, or the worst thing, ever to happen to humanity”.

We’ve all seen the Terminator movies, and the apocalyptic nightmare that the self-aware AI system, Skynet, wrought upon humanity, and now results from recent behaviour tests of Google’s new DeepMind AI system are making it clear just how careful we need to be when building the robots of the future.

In tests late last year, Google’s DeepMind AI system demonstrated an ability to learn independently from its own memory, and beat the world’s best Go players at their own game. It’s since been figuring out how to seamlessly mimic a human voice.

Now, researchers have been testing its willingness to cooperate with others, and have revealed that when DeepMind feels like it’s about to lose, it opts for “highly aggressive” strategies to ensure that it comes out on top.’

Read more: Google’s New AI Has Learned to Become ‘Highly Aggressive’ in Stressful Situations


‘Russia’s Foundation for Advanced Research is opening a laboratory in Moscow to conduct ‘liquid breathing’ tests with animals, in the hope of applying the results to human medicine and the development of emergency evacuation technology for submarine crews.

Liquid breathing involves using biomedical technology to ventilate the lungs of air-breathing organisms with an oxygen-rich liquid.

The technology “allows the animals to breathe underwater and stay there for long periods of time,” the Foundation for Advanced Research (FAR) press service told Izvestia newspaper.

Mice, hamsters and dogs will become test subjects during the study, the scientists told the paper.’

Read more: Russian scientists to teach mice, hamsters & dogs to breathe underwater


‘Since graphene’s discovery just over a decade ago, scientists have been exploring its remarkable properties and potential uses in a wide range of applications, including that of a superconductor.

Superconductivity is the ability of certain materials to enable the flow of an electric current with little or zero resistance. This is usually only achieved at very low temperatures, which makes superconductivity rather expensive and currently impractical for many applications.

Early on, it was theorized that graphene might have superconductive properties, but until now, researchers have been unable to harness its potential without involving other materials in the process.’

Read more: Graphene achieves superconductivity breakthrough: A whole new way to move electrons without resistance


download (1)

‘Scientists have created a new “unnatural” organism by expanding the letters in the genetic alphabet. Unlike previous attempts, this bacteria-based lifeform turned out to be more “life-like.”

The genetic alphabet encodes the biological information of all types of life on Earth. It is made up of four letters that form two base pairs – the DNA double helix.

However, a team of scientists from the Scripps Research Institute in La Jolla, California have created a lab organism that has been modified to add two more letters, giving it a genetic code of six letters.

The team, whose work is published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS) journal, have shown that their single-celled organism can hold on indefinitely to the synthetic base pair as it divides.’

Read more: Scientists add letters to DNA alphabet to create ‘semisynthetic’ life

download (103)

‘A popular article from Extreme Tech describes it in the headline: “Smart dust: A complete computer that’s smaller than a grain of sand.” An article from War is Boring is titled “Future Military Sensors Could Be Tiny Specks of ‘Smart Dust’ New technologies allow for extremely small—and ubiquitous—military sensors.” A paper from University of California, San Diego describes smart dust:

“The term “smart dust” originally referred to miniature wireless semiconductor devices made using fabrication techniques derived from the microelectronics industry. These devices incorporate sensing, computing and communications in a centimetre-sized package.”

It is promoted as an eventuality, that smart dust will cover streets and buildings to identify people, that people will have smart dust in their bodies, and other things in mainstream television and media. They paint a utopian, blissful picture of it.’

Read more: Smart Dust – The Future of Involuntary Treatment of the Public


‘Recently a 13-year-old boy may have just cracked the next step in the evolution of solar energy. His idea is based on the Fibonacci sequence.
It all started with trees…

After realizing that branches were frequently displayed in a spiral, and further, that spiral seemed to correspond to a pattern known as the Fibonacci sequence, then 13-year-old Aidan Dwyer began building test models to better understand the relationship.

What he found is something scientists have known for a long time – the Fibonacci sequence and it’s ratio, known as the golden ratio, are repeated throughout nature. In the case of trees, it helps maximize sunlight exposure.’

Read more: This 13-Year-Old Inventor Has Cracked The Secret Of Trees To Revolutionize Solar Energy


‘Rice University’s Aging in Place lab in Austin, Texas is working with tech giant IBM to create a robot to take care of your grandma.

Called the Multi-Purpose Eldercare Robot Assistant (MERA), the Watson-powered robot referred to as a “robotic roommate” is supposed to help take care of elderly people in a more affordable way than nursing homes or hospice care can offer.

The robot will constantly scan the living environment for health and safety hazards, taking biometric readings of its human roommate. Business Insider reports:

Sensors can detect when the stove’s burners are on, or when a person has fallen down. Even in its prototype stage, MERA is equipped with cameras to read facial expressions, sensors to capture vital signs, and Watson-powered speech recognition to know when to call for help.’

Read more: IBM Is Creating a ‘Robotic Roommate’ to ‘Take Care’ of Your Grandma