Wil je een videoclip bekijken en stoort het X-files-deuntje jou daarbij. Schakel het deuntje gewoon uit door in deze kolon, helemaal beneden op de 2 witte balkjes in het blauwe cirkeltje te klikken, tot een pijltje verschijnt. Veel kijk- en luisterplezier en bedankt voor jouw bezoek.
The purpose of this blog is the creation of an open, international, independent and free forum, where every UFO-researcher can publish the results of his/her research. The languagues, used for this blog, are Dutch, English and French.You can find the articles of a collegue by selecting his category. Each author stays resposable for the continue of his articles. As blogmaster I have the right to refuse an addition or an article, when it attacks other collegues or UFO-groupes.
UFO'S - MET HET LAATSTE NIEUWS OVER UFO'S BOVEN BELGIË EN IN ANDERE LANDEN...
UFO's in België en de rest van de wereld In België heb je vooral BUFON of het Belgisch UFO-Netwerk, dat zich met UFO's bezighoudt. BEZOEK DUS ZEKER VOOR ALLE OBJECTIEVE INFORMATIE ww.ufo.be.
Verder heb je ook het Belgisch-Ufo-meldpunt en Caelestia, die prachtig, doch ZEER kritisch werk leveren, ja soms zelfs héél sceptisch...
Voor Nederland kan je de mooie site www.ufowijzer.nl bezoeken van Paul Harmans. Een mooie site met veel informatie en artikels.
MUFON of het Mutual UFO Network Inc is een Amerikaanse UFO-vereniging met afdelingen in alle USA-staten en diverse landen.
MUFON's mission is the analytical and scientific investigation of the UFO- Phenomenon for the benefit of humanity...
Je kan ook hun site bekijken onder www.mufon.com.
Ze geven een maandeliiks tijdschrift uit, namelijk The MUFON UFO-Journal. Since 02/01/2013 is Pieter not only president (=voorzitter) of BUFON, but also National Director MUFON / Flanders and the Netherlands. We work together with the French MUFON Reseau MUFON/EUROP.
Printed Solar Tiles Are Thinner, Cheaper, and Easier to Use
Printed Solar Tiles Are Thinner, Cheaper, and Easier to Use
Researchers from the University of Newcastle in Australia have found a way to print solar tiles. This method is cheaper and faster than traditional methods and could potentially be a game changer in the renewable energy industry.
SOLAR’S THE WAY TO GO
Solar panels have become increasingly inexpensive in the past months. However, while a number of large-scale energy producers are shifting towards solar power, there is still a lack of homes that have adopted the technology. In Australia, a place bathed in seemingly constant direct sunlight, price is still a major stumbling block for homeowners considering switching to solar. Things may be about to change, however, thanks to a new variety of solar tile developed by researchers from the University of Newcastle (UON).
Instead of the photovoltaics (PVs) that traditional panels use, UON’s Paul Dastoor and his team are testing printable solar tiles. “It’s completely different from a traditional solar cell. They tend to be large, heavy, encased in glass — tens of millimeters thick,” Dastoor told Mashable. “We’re printing them on plastic film that’s less than 0.1 of a millimeter thick.”
Currently, UON is one of only three sites that are testing printed solar. “We’ve put in the first 100 square metres of printed solar cells up on roofs, and now we’re testing that durability in real weather conditions,” Dastoor said. As soon as the performance and durability of these tiles are confirmed, it could easily go into market production.
CHEAP AND FAST
Dastoor and his team are excited about the potential these printed tiles have in influencing the wide-scale adoption of PVs, especially for homes. “The low-cost and speed at which this technology can be deployed is exciting, particularly in the current Australian energy context where we need to find solutions, and quickly, to reduce demand on base-load power,” he explained in UON feature article.
Just for reference, Tesla’s solar tiles — which Elon Musk promised to be cheaper than regular roofs — are priced at around US $235 per tile. Meanwhile, Dastoor’s printed solars can be sold at less than US$ 7.42 per tile, which is comparatively very cheap, “[W]e expect in a short period of time the energy we generate will be cheaper than that generated via coal-based fire stations,” Dastoor explained.
Of course, whether tiles are printed or created with traditional PVs, solar energy is currently a major leading renewable energy source. And, solar power is not only incredibly environmentally friendly — producing energy without harmful byproducts that contribute to climate change — it can also generate more energythan fossil fuels.
Image captionA UK-commissioned report suggests AI could add £630bn to the economy within two decades
If my email inbox is anything to go by, a technology revolution is under way that is going to transform all of our lives very soon and it is called artificial intelligence.
A Welsh company is using AI to detect North Korean bio-weapons.
I could pop over to California to hear about "AI wearable solutions for aging population".
And Lloyd's of London has unveiled an artificial intelligence partnership with a firm that promises "in a decade a significant part of the insurance industry will be powered by AI".
These represent just three of the innumerable AI press releases aimed at me and other technology journalists over recent days.
Last week also saw the London premiere of AlphaGo, an excellent and surprisingly touching documentary about one of the great recent triumphs of artificial intelligence, Google DeepMind's victory over the champion Go player Lee Sedol.
And then, over the weekend, as if to confirm this is a subject that should occupy politicians and policymakers as well as journalists, a major report on what the UK should be doing to nurture AI was published.
It was commissioned by the government and authored by two distinguished computer scientists, Prof Dame Wendy Hall and Dr Jerome Pesenti.
They say the UK is already well placed as a centre of artificial intelligence, and the government should act to cement its position.
Their recommendations include:
more investment in academic research
developing more skills throughout industry and the education sector
throwing open more datasets for AI scientists to work with
encouraging the uptake of AI techniques by all kinds of companies
All of these ideas seem eminently sensible and uncontroversial. But they are also predicated on a belief that this is urgent - that we are making very rapid progress, not just in developing artificial intelligence but in applying it in areas that will transform the economy.
It certainly appears to be the case that rapid advances in processing power, coupled with access to vast amounts of data and smart new algorithms are helping computers carry out all sorts of tasks once restricted to humans. But so far the impact on everything from jobs to the way industries such as healthcare and transport work appears minimal.
So, is there a danger that AI is being overhyped?
Let's dissect a few of the bold statements in that government AI report:
"We are at the threshold of an era when much of our productivity and prosperity will be derived from the systems and machines we create."
Well, it has always been the case that the machines we create - from the wheel, to the spinning jenny, to the dishwasher - drive increases in productivity and prosperity.
Are we clear that the AI revolution will deliver the kind of boost to living standards we saw in the 1950s and 1960s as mass production and the use of consumer goods took off?
"We are accustomed now to technology developing fast, but that pace will increase and AI will drive much of that acceleration."
First, you can question how fast technology has developed in recent years. Yes, we have computers that can differentiate between a cat and a dog and understand any language, but our physical infrastructure is not being rapidly transformed.
Indeed, when it comes to air travel or building new railways, you could argue that we are going backwards. Software is racing ahead, hardware not so much - just watch robots trying to play football if you are worried about them threatening to replace us.
So saying that the pace of change will increase, driven by AI, may be little more than a leap of faith.
"[Accenture] estimated that AI could add an additional $814bn (£630bn) to the UK economy by 2035, increasing the annual growth rate of GVA from 2.5 to 3.9%."
GVA - gross value added - is close to gross domestic product (GDP), the headline measure of a country's economic activity, including all the services and goods produced in a year.
Suggesting that its trend growth rate could rise to 3.9% - more than during boom decades the 1950s and 1960s - is, in the words of an economist of my acquaintance, "staggering". All the more so when you look at the UK's recent record, which has seen productivity growth flat-lining.
Now, big advances in technology can take time to show up in productivity growth - it took decades for factory owners to reorganise production around electric rather than steam power.
So, maybe we will see law firms become more efficient as AI lawyers assess contracts for risk, hospitals cut waiting lists as robot doctors examine scans, and cities cut congestion as autonomous cars and buses waft us from home to work.
All of these advances are already technically possible - but you have to be quite an optimist to believe that the changes in our infrastructure, regulation and social attitudes needed to make them a reality will happen quickly.
Last week a House of Lords select committee on artificial intelligence heard evidence from three leading scientists, including Prof Hall.
They spoke of the UK's potential as a centre of AI excellence, and the urgent need for government to start thinking about both the benefits and the risks of the technology.
Then, the committee heard from three journalists - including me. And their lordships seemed rather startled to find that, by contrast with the scientists, we were pretty sceptical about the speed of this revolution.
We were not convinced that driverless cars would be on our roads very soon, but that meant we were also more optimistic that the threat to jobs from the robots had been exaggerated.
One of the peers mentioned that quote about futurology - that we tend to overestimate the effect of a technology in the short run and underestimate it in the long run.
The scientists will no doubt be proved right about AI one day, but the cynical old journalist in me thinks we can afford to relax for a while yet.
Google's Latest Self-Learning AI Is Like an "Alien Civilisation Inventing Its Own Mathematics"
Google's Latest Self-Learning AI Is Like an "Alien Civilisation Inventing Its Own Mathematics"
Okay, that's pretty awesome.
An AI that vanquished humanity at perhaps the most complex traditional game on Earth was inconceivably smart. But not smart enough to survive its own replacement by an even more awesome, alien intelligence.
Google's DeepMind researchers have just announced the next evolution of their seemingly indomitable artificial intelligence – AlphaGo Zero – which has dispensed with what may have been the most inefficient resource in its ongoing quest for knowledge: humans.
Zero's predecessor, dubbed simply AlphaGo, was described as "Godlike" by one of the crestfallen human champions it bested at the ancient Chinese board game, Go, but the new evolution has refined its training arsenal by eradicating human teachings from its schooling entirely.
The AlphaGo versions that kicked our butts at Go in a series of contests this yearand last year first learned to play the game by analysing thousands of human amateur and professional games, but AlphaGo Zero is entirely self-taught, learning by 100 percent independent experimentation.
In a new study, the researchers report how that uncanny self-reliance sharpened Zero's intelligence to devastating effect: in 100 games against Zero, a previous AlphaGo incarnation – which cleaned the floor with us in 2016 – didn't pick up a single win. Not one.
Even more amazingly, that trumping came after just three days of self-play training by AlphaGo Zero, in which it distilled the equivalent of thousands of years of human knowledge of the game.
"It's like an alien civilisation inventing its own mathematics," computer scientist Nick Hynes MIT told Gizmodo.
"What we're seeing here is a model free from human bias and presuppositions. It can learn whatever it determines is optimal, which may indeed be more nuanced that our own conceptions of the same."
After 21 days of self-play, Zero had progressed to the standard of its most powerful predecessor, known as AlphaGo (Master), which is the version that beat world number one Ke Jie this year, and in subsequent weeks it eclipsed that level of performance.
Aside from the self-reliance, the team behind AlphaGo Zero ascribe its Go dominance to an improved, single neural network (former versions used two in concert), and more advanced training simulations.
But just because the AI is racing ahead at such an awesome – if disquieting – pace, it doesn't necessarily mean Zero is smarter or more capable than humans in other fields away from this complex but constrained board game.
"AI fails in tasks that are surprisingly easy for humans," computational neuroscientist Eleni Vasilaki from Sheffield University in the UK told The Guardian.
"Just look at the performance of a humanoid robot in everyday tasks such as walking, running, and kicking a ball."
That may be true, but allow us our moment of silenced awe as we witness the birth of this astonishingly powerful synthetic way of thinking.
It might not do what humans can do, but it can do so many things we can't, too.
According to DeepMind, those capabilities will one day soon help Zero - or its inevitable, evolving heirs - figure out things like how biological mechanisms operate, how energy consumption can be reduced, or how new kinds of materials fit together.
Welcome to a bright new future, which clearly isn't ours alone.
The Venus Project Plans to Bring Humanity to the Next Stage of Social Evolution. Here’s How.
The Venus Project Plans to Bring Humanity to the Next Stage of Social Evolution. Here’s How.
Roxanne Meadows/The Venus Project
The Venus Project is the culmination of Jacque Fresco’s life’s work to present a sustainable redesign of our culture.
The project lays out a sustainable world civilization where technology and science are applied to redesigning our social system with the prime concern being to maximize quality of life rather than profit.
Since 1975, Roxanne Meadows has worked with renowned futurist Jacque Fresco to develop and promote The Venus Project. The function of this project is to find alternative solutions to the many problems that confront the world today. She participated in the exterior and interior design and construction of the buildings of The Venus Project’s 21-acre research and planning center.
Daniel Araya: Roxanne, could you tell me about your background and your vision for The Venus Project? How was the idea originally conceived?
Roxanne Meadows: My background is in architectural and technical illustration, model making, and design. However, for the last 41 years, my most significant work has been with Jacque Fresco in developing models, books, blueprints, drawings, documentaries and lecturing worldwide. We are the co-founders of The Venus Project, based out of Venus, Florida where we have built a 21-acre experimental center. The Venus Project is the culmination of Jacque Fresco’s life’s work to present a sustainable redesign of our culture.
In our view, The Venus Project is unlike any political, economic or social system that’s gone before it. It lays out a sustainable world civilization where technology and the methods of science are applied to redesigning our social system with the prime concern being to maximize quality of life rather than profit. All aspects of society are scrutinized – from our values, education, and urban design to how we relate to nature and to one another.
The Venus Project concludes that our social and environmental problems will remain the same as long as the monetary system prevails and a few powerful nations and financial interests maintain control over and consume most of the world’s resources. In Jacque Fresco’s book The Best That Money Can’t Buy, he explains “If we really wish to put an end to our ongoing international and social problems, we must ultimately declare Earth and all of its resources as the common heritage of all of the world’s people. Anything less will result in the same catalogue of problems we have today.”
DA: One of the more interesting aspects of The Venus Project vision is itsfuturistic design. Have you been approached by companies or governments interested in using The Venus Project as a model? Doyou foresee experiments insmarturban design that mirrorJacque Fresco’sthinking?
RM: No company or government, as yet, has approached The Venus Project to initiate a model of our city design, but we feel the greatest need is in using our designs to usher in a holistic socio-economic alternative, not just our architectural approach itself. As Jacque very often mentions, “Technology is just so much junk, unless it’s used to elevate all people.”
We would like to build the first circular city devoted to developing up-to-date global resource management, and a holistic method for social operation toward global unification. The city would showcase this optimistic vision, allowing people to see firsthand what kind of future could be built if we were to mobilize science and technology for social betterment.
I have not seen what is called smart urban design mirror Jacque Fresco’s thinking. I see smart cities as mainly applying technology to existing and new but chaotically designed, energy- and resource-intensive cities without offering a comprehensive social direction or identifying the root causes of our current problems. Our technology is racing forward but our social designs are hundreds of years old. We can’t continue to design and maintain these resource- and energy-draining cities and ever consider being able to provide for the needs of all people to ensure that they have high-quality housing, food, medical care and education. Smart cities within a terribly dysfunctional social structure seem contradictory to me.
DA: My understanding is that technological automation forms the basis for The Venus Project. Given ongoing breakthroughs inartificial intelligenceand robotics, do you imagine that we are moving closer to this vision?
RM: Our technological capacity to initiate The Venus Project is available now, but how we use artificial intelligence today is very often for destructive purposes through weaponry, surveillance, and the competitive edge for industry, often resulting in technological unemployment. In the society we are proposing, nothing is to be gained from these behaviors because there is no vested interest. In our project, we advocate concentrating on solving problems that threaten all of us— climate change, pollution, disease, hunger, war, territorial disputes, and the like. What The Venus Project offers is a method of updating the design of our society so that everyone can benefit from all the amenities that a highly advanced technologically-developed society can provide.
DA: I know The Venus Project is envisioned as a post-capitalist and post-scarcity economy. Could you explain what you mean byresource-based economics?
RM: Money is an interference factor between what we want and what we are able to acquire. It limits our dreams and capabilities and our individual and societal possibilities. Today we don’t have enough money to house everyone on the planet, but we do still have enough resources to accomplish that and much more if we use our resources intelligently to conserve energy and reduce waste. This is why we advocate a Resource Based Economy. This socio-economic system provides an equitable distribution of resources in an efficient manner without the use of money, barter, credit or servitude of any kind. Goods and services are accessible to all, without charge. You could liken this to the public library where one might check out many books and then return them when they are finished. This can be done with anything that is not used on a daily basis. In a society where goods and services are made available to the entire population free of charge, ownership becomes a burden that is ultimately surpassed by a system of common property.
When we use our technology to produce abundance, goods become too cheap to monetize. There is only a price on things that are scarce. For instance, air is a necessity but we don’t monitor or charge for the amount of breaths we can take. Air is abundant. If apple trees grew everywhere and were abundant you couldn’t sell apples. If all the money disappeared, as long as we have the technical personnel, automated processes, topsoil, resources, factories and distribution we could still build and develop anything we need.
DA: I know that thescientific methodforms the basis for decision making and resource management within your project. Could you explain how this approach is applied to social behavior? For example, what is the role of politics in The Venus Project?
RM: Today, for the most part, politicians serve the interest of those in positions of wealth and power; they are not there to change things, but instead to keep things as they are. With regard to the management of human affairs, what do they really know? Our problems are mostly technical. When you examine the vocations of politicians and ask what backgrounds they have to solve the pressing problems of today, they fall far short. For instance, are they trained in finding solutions to eliminating war, preventing climate change, developing clean sources of energy, maintaining higher yields of nutritious, non-contaminating food per acre or anything pertaining to the wellbeing of people and the protection of the environment? This is not their area of expertise. Then what are they doing in those positions?
The role for politics within the scientific and technologically organized society that The Venus Project proposes would be surpassed by engineered systems. It is not ethical people in government that we need but equal access to the necessities of life and those working toward the elimination of scarcity. We would use scientific scales of performance for measurement and allocation of resources so that human biases are left out of the equation. Within The Venus Project’s safe, energy-efficient cities, there would be interdisciplinary teams of knowledgeable people in different fields accompanied by cybernated systems that use “sensors” to monitor all aspects of society in order to provide real-time information supporting decision-making for the wellbeing of all people and the protection of the environment.
DA: In your view, is abundance simply a function of technological innovation? I mean, assuming we get the technology right, do you believe that we could eventually eliminate poverty and crime altogether?
RM: Yes, if we apply our scientists and technical personnel to work towards those ends. We have never mobilized many scientific disciplines giving them the problem of creating a society to end war, produce safe, clean transportation, eliminate booms and busts, poverty, homelessness, hunger, crime and aberrant behavior. For instance, one does not need to make laws to try and eliminate stealing, when all goods and services are available without a price tag. But scientists have not been asked to design a total systems approach to city design, let alone to planetary planning. Scientist have not been given the problem to develop and apply a total holistic effort using the methods of science, technology and resource management to serve all people equitably in the development of a safe and sustainable global society. Unfortunately, only in times of war, do we see resources allocated and scientists mobilized in this way.
DA: I assume schooling and education are important to Jacque’s vision. How might schools and universities differ from the way they are designed today?
RM: The education and values we are given seem to always support the established system we are raised in. We are not born with bigotry, envy, or hatred – we do pick them up from our schools and culture. In fact, even our facial expressions, the words we use, notions of good and bad, right and wrong, are all culture bound. A healthy brain can, in fact, simply become a Nazi faster in a Nazi society. It has no way of knowing what is significant or not, that is all learned by experience and background. The manipulation is so subtle that we feel our values come from within. Most often we don’t know whom our values are really serving.
Yes, education will differ considerably from that of today. As Fresco explains in his book The Best That Money Can’t Buy “The subjects studied will be related to the direction and needs of this new evolving culture. Students will be made aware of the symbiotic relationship between people, technology, and the environment.”
DA: I can only assume that critics routinely dismiss The Venus Project as a kind of hopeful utopia. How do you respond to that criticism?
RM: Critics very often reject or dismiss new ideas. What is utopian thinking is to believe that the system we are living under today will enable us to achieve sustainability, equality or a high standard of living for all when it is our system which generates these very problems in the first place. If we continue as we are, it seems to me that we are destined for calamity. The Venus Project is not offering a fixed notion as to how society should be. There are no final frontiers. It does offer a way out of our dilemmas to help initiate a next step in our social evolution.
Many are working at going to other planets to escape the problems on this one, but we would be taking our detrimental value systems with us. We are saying that we have to tackle the problems we face here on the most habitable planet we know of. We will have to apply methodologies to enable us to live together in accordance with the carrying capacity of Earth’s resources, eliminate artificial boundaries, share resources and learn to relate to one another and the environment.
What we have to ask is, what kind of world do we want to live in?
DA: My last question is about the challenges ahead. Rather than taking the necessary steps to reverseclimate change, we seem to be accelerating our pollution of the Earth. Socially, we are witnessing a renewed focus on nativism and fear. How might thevaluesof The Venus Project manage against these negative tendencies in human beings?
RM: The notion of negative tendencies in human beings or that we possess a certain “human nature” is a scapegoat to keep things as they are. It’s implying that we are born with a fixed set of views regarding our action patterns. Human behavior is always changing, but there is no “human nature,” per se. Determining the conditions that generate certain behaviors is what needs to be understood.
As Jacque elaborates, “We are just as lawful as anything else in nature. What appears to be overlooked is the influence of culture upon our values, behavior, and our outlook. It is like studying plants apart from the fact that they consume radiant energy, nutrients, require water, carbon dioxide, gravity, nitrogen, etc. Plants do not grow of their own accord, neither do humans values and behavior.”
All social improvement, from the airplane to clean sources of energy undergoes change, but our social systems remain mostly static. The history of civilization is experimentation and modification. The Free Enterprise System was an important experiment and tremendous step along the way that generated innovation throughout our society. What we now advocate is to continue the process of social experimentation, as this system has long outlived its usefulness and simply cannot address the monumental problems it is facing today. We desperately need to update our social designs to correspond with our technological ability to create abundance for all. This could be the most exciting and fulfilling experiment we as a species could ever take on; working together cooperatively to deal with our most pressing problems which confront us all and finding solutions to them unencumbered with the artificial limitations we impose upon ourselves.
Daniel Araya is a researcher and advisor to government with a special interest in education, technological innovation and public policy. His newest books include: Augmented Intelligence (2016), Smart Cities as Democratic Ecologies (2015), and Rethinking US Education Policy (2014). He has a doctorate from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and is an alumnus of Singularity University’s graduate program in Silicon Valley. He can be found here:www.danielaraya.com and here: @danielarayaXY.
Today, people’s bodies are more perfectly melded with technology than we could have imagined mere decades ago. Superhuman strength, dexterity, and senses are no longer science-fiction — they’re already here.
Though cutting-edge technology offers us a glimpse into the capabilities of enhanced humans in the future, it’s most useful these days as support for people who have been affected by a disability. Cyborg technology can replace missing limbs, organs, and bodily senses. Sometimes, it can even enhance the body’s typical function.
Here are six of the most striking examples of this cyborg present. They show us how far we have already come, and how far we could go in the future.
1. Hearing Colors With An Antenna
Activist and artist Neil Harbisson was born without the ability to see color. In 2004, he decided to change that. He mounted an electronic antenna to the lower back of his skull that turns frequencies of light into vibrations his brain interprets as sound, allowing him to “hear color.” These frequencies are even able to go beyond the visual spectrum, allowing him to “hear” invisible frequencies such as infrared and ultraviolet.
“There is no difference between the software and my brain, or my antenna and any other body part. Being united to cybernetics makes me feel that I am technology,” he said in a National Geographic interview.
His body modification was not always well-accepted: the British government took issue when the antenna showed up in Harbisson’s passport photo. Harbisson fought the government to keep it in. He won, becoming the first “legally recognized” cyborg.
2. The LUKE Arm
The LUKE Arm (named after Luke Sywalker) is a highly advanced prosthetic that lends the wearer a sense of touch. A specialized motor can provide feedback to mimic the resistance offered by various physical objects — users can feel that a pillow offers less resistance than a brick. With the help of funding from the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), the finished design received U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approval in 2014.
In his 20s, Jens Naumann was involved in two separate accidents that shot metal shards into his eyes, causing him to lose his vision. In 2002, at the age of 37, Naumann participated in a clinical trial performed at the Lisbon-based Dobelle Institute in which a television camera was connected straight to his brain, bypassing his faulty eyes. Dots of light combined to form shapes and outlines of the world around him, giving him “this kind of dot matrix-type vision.” The system enabled him to see Christmas lights outlining his home in Canada that year.
Unfortunately, the system failed only after a couple of weeks. And when William Dobelle, the original inventor of the technology, passed away in 2004, he left behind almost no documentation, leaving technicians no instructions for how to repair Naumann’s system. In 2010, Naumann had the system surgically removed, rendering him completely blind once again.
4. Mind-Controlled Bionic Leg
The mindcontrolled bionic leg was first used in 2012 by Zac Vawter, a software engineer from Seattle whose leg was amputated above the knee in 2009. The technology that translates brain signals into physical movement, called Targeted Muscle Reinnvervation (TMR), was first created in 2003 for upper-limb prosthetics. But Vawter’s prosthetic was revolutionary because it was the first leg prosthetic use it.
In 2012, Zac Vawter climbed the 2,100 steps of the Willis Tower in Chicago, with the help of his prosthetic leg. It took him 53 minutes and nine seconds.
5. The bebionic Hand
Prosthetics company bebionic has created some of the most sophisticated prosthetic hands to date. Individual motors move every joint along every digit independently. To help with everyday use, the bebionic has 14 pre-determined grip patterns. Highly sensitive motors vary the speed and force of the grip in real-time — it’s delicate enough for the user to hold an egg between his or her index finger and thumb, and robust enough to hold up to 45 kilograms (99 pounds).
The bebionic hand has been available commercially since 2010. Models released in the years since have improved its battery life, flexibility, and software.
If tech experts are to be believed, artificial intelligence (AI) has the potential to transform the world. But those same experts don’t agree on what kind of effect that transformation will have on the average person. Some believe that humans will be much better off in the hands of advanced AI systems, while others think it will lead to our inevitable downfall.
How could a single technology evoke such vastly different responses from people within the tech community?
There’s little question that AI has the potential to be revolutionary. Automation could transform the way we work by replacing humans with machines and software. Further developments in the area of self-driving cars are poised to make driving a thing of the past. Artificially intelligent shopping assistants could even change the way we shop. Humans have always controlled these aspects of our lives, so it makes sense to be a bit wary of letting an artificial system take over.
The Lay Of The Land
AI is fast becoming a major economic force. According to a paper from the McKinsey Global Institute Study reported by Forbes, in 2016 alone, between $8 billion and $12 billion was invested in the development of AI worldwide. A report from analysts with Goldstein Research predicts that, by 2023, AI will be a $14 billion industry.
KR Sanjiv, chief technology officer at Wipro, believes that companies in fields as disparate as healthcare and finance are investing so much in AI so quickly because they fear being left behind. “So as with all things strange and new, the prevailing wisdom is that the risk of being left behind is far greater, and far grimmer, than the benefits of playing it safe,” he wrote in an op-ed published in Tech Crunch last year.
On the surface, these victories may sound incremental and minor — AI that can play Go can’t navigate a self-driving car, after all. But on a deeper level, these developments are indicative of the more sophisticated AI systems of the future. Through these games, AI become capable of complex decision-making that could one day translate into real-world tasks. Software that can play infinitely complex games like Starcraft, could, with a lot more research and development, autonomously perform surgeriesor process multi-step voice commands.
When this happens, AI will become incredibly sophisticated. And this is where the worrying starts.
Wariness surrounding powerful technological advances is not novel. Various science fiction stories, from The Matrix to I, Robot, have exploited viewers’ anxiety around AI. Many such plots center around a concept called “the Singularity,” the moment in which AIs become more intelligent than their human creators. The scenarios differ, but they often end with the total eradication of the human race, or with machine overlords subjugating people.
Several world-renowned sciences and tech experts have been vocal about their fears of AI. Theoretical physicist Stephen Hawking famously worries that advanced AI will take over the world and end the human race. If robots become smarter than humans, his logic goes, the machines would be able to create unimaginable weapons and manipulate human leaders with ease. “It would take off on its own, and redesign itself at an ever-increasing rate,” he told the BBC in 2014. “Humans, who are limited by slow biological evolution, couldn’t compete, and would be superseded.”
Neither Musk nor Hawking believe that developers should avoid the development of AI, but they agree that government regulation should ensure the tech does not go rogue. “Normally, the way regulations are set up is a whole bunch of bad things happen, there’s a public outcry, and after many years, a regulatory agency is set up to regulate that industry,” Musk said during the same NGA talk. “it takes forever. That, in the past, has been bad, but not something which represented a fundamental risk to the existence of civilization.”
Hawking believes that a global governing body needs to regulate the development of AI to prevent a particular nation from becoming superior. Russian President Vladimir Putin recently stoked this fear at a meeting with Russian students in early September, when he said, “The one who becomes the leader in this sphere will be the ruler of the world.” These comments further emboldened Musk’s position — he tweeted that the race for AI superiority is the “most likely cause of WW3.”
Musk has taken steps to combat this perceived threat. He, along with startup guru Sam Altman, co-foundedthe non-profit OpenAI in order to guide AI development towards innovations that benefit all of humanity. According to the company’s mission statement: “By being at the forefront of the field, we can influence the conditions under which AGI is created.”Musk also founded a company called Neuralink intended to create a brain-computer interface. Linking the brain to a computer would, in theory, augment the brain’s processing power to keep pace with AI systems.
Other predictions are less optimistic. Seth Shostak, the senior astronomer at SETI believes that AI will succeed humans as the most intelligent entities on the planet. “The first generation [of AI] is just going to do what you tell them; however, by the third generation, then they will have their own agenda,” Shostak said in an interview with Futurism.
However, Shostak doesn’t believe sophisticated AI will end up enslaving the human race — instead, he predicts, humans will simply become immaterial to these hyper-intelligent machines. Shostak thinks that these machines will exist on an intellectual plane so far above humans that, at worst, we will be nothing more than a tolerable nuisance.
Not everyone believes the rise of AI will be detrimental to humans; some are convinced that the technology has the potential to make our lives better. “The so-called control problem that Elon is worried about isn’t something that people should feel is imminent. We shouldn’t panic about it,” Microsoft founder and philanthropist Bill Gates recently told the Wall Street Journal. Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg went even further during a Facebook Live broadcast back in July, sayingthat Musk’s comments were “pretty irresponsible.” Zuckerberg is optimistic about what AI will enable us to accomplish and thinks that these unsubstantiated doomsday scenarios are nothing more than fear-mongering.
Some experts predict that AI could enhance our humanity. In 2010, Swiss neuroscientist Pascal Kaufmann founded Starmind, a company that plans to use self-learning algorithms to create a “superorganism” made of thousands of experts’ brains. “A lot of AI alarmists do not actually work in AI. [Their] fear goes back to that incorrect correlation between how computers work and how the brain functions,” Kaufmann told Futurism.
Kaufmann believes that this basic lack of understanding leads to predictions that may make good movies, but do not say anything about our future reality. “When we start comparing how the brain works to how computers work, we immediately go off track in tackling the principles of the brain,” he said. “We must first understand the concepts of how the brain works and then we can apply that knowledge to AI development.” Better understanding of our own brains would not only lead to AI sophisticated enough to rival human intelligence, but also to better brain-computer interfaces to enable a dialogue between the two.
To Kaufmann, AI, like many technological advances that came before, isn’t without risk. “There are dangers which come with the creation of such powerful and omniscient technology, just as there are dangers with anything that is powerful. This does not mean we should assume the worst and make potentially detrimental decisions now based on that fear,” he said.
Experts expressed similar concerns about quantum computers, and about lasers and nuclear weapons—applications for that technology can be both harmful and helpful.
Predicting the future is a delicate game. We can only rely on our predictions of what we already have, and yet it’s impossible to rule anything out.
We don’t yet know whether AI will usher in a golden age of human existence, or if it will all end in the destruction of everything humans cherish. What is clear, though, is that thanks to AI, the world of the future could bear little resemblance to the one we inhabit today.
When we get home after an exhausting day at the office, most of the time we don’t feel like cooking a proper meal. Instead of cooking something healthy, most of us just fall down on the couch and order a pizza. Or maybe we opt for the quicker and easier option of ready-made meals that are usually unhealthy and lacking in nutrition.
But that may change soon. Your dream of getting home-cooked food at the end of a long working day could become a reality.
Credit goes to Moley Robotics, a company headquartered in London. Moley will soon be launching the world’s first fully automated and integrated intelligent cooking robot. With this robot chef, making dinner will become as easy as sitting back and watching a pair of robotic arms do all the work.
Moley claims that this cooking robot will have access to the recipes and knowledge of renowned chefs. Furthermore, this wonder robot will not only be cooking for you, but it will clean up the mess afterward.
This robotic chef’s work space will be much like a standard kitchen. It will have an oven, a fridge, a dishwasher and a host of small appliances, but will offer one incredible new feature: It will also have two remarkably dexterous robotic arms installed atop a cooking area.
The robot chef is programmed to cook a variety of recipes exactly the way they were demonstrated by a human chef. The best part is that the kitchen can be operated by a touch screen or a remotely via a smartphone.
Nidhi is a gold medalist Post Graduate in Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences. You can also find Nidhi on Google+.
A new house has been erected in a town outside Moscow, but this home was not built in the traditional sense — it was constructed with 3D printing.
The first 3D-printed residential home, engineered by the tech startup Apis Cor, took less than a day to construct and cost under $11,000 to complete. A mobile 3D printer created the building's concrete walls and partitions as a fully connected structure, rather than printing the building in panels at an off-site facility as is usually done, the company said. The portable machine was then removed from the building, and a group of contractors completed the home — adding the roof and windows, and finishing the interior.
"We want to help people around the world to improve their living conditions," Nikita Chen-yun-tai, Apis Cor's founder and inventor of the mobile printer, said on the company's website. "That's why the construction process needs to become fast, efficient and high-quality as well. For this to happen, we need to delegate all the hard work to smart machines."
The first example of this work is a cozy, 400-square-foot (37 square meters) home with an unusual, curved shape. The curved design of the home was chosen to demonstrate the 3D printer's ability to print the construction material in any shape, according to Apis Cor.
Inside, the 3D-printed home has all of the standard features of a traditionally built house. The studio-style dwelling has a hall, bathroom, living room and compact kitchen. Apis Cor partnered with Samsung on the demonstration house; the electronics giant provided the home's appliances, including a TV with the same curvature as the living-room wall.
Apis Cor estimated that the total cost of the demonstration house's construction was about $25 per square foot, or $275 per square meter. Of the total $10,134 it cost to build the home, the windows and doors were the most expensive components, the company said.
While the total construction savings of the demonstation house compared to a tranditional home are difficult to estimate, Apis Cor representatives said in a statement that savings from 3D printing the building walls are guaranteed.
The Ocumetics Bionic Lens essentially replaces a person's natural eye lens, given them the ability to see three times better than 20/20 vision. Though not yet available to the public, human trials are expected to begin on the lenses in July 2017.
A CLEAR PROBLEM
Most of us take our vision for granted. As a result, we take the ability to read, write, drive, and complete a multitude of other tasks for granted. However, unfortunately, sight is not so easy for everyone.
Cataracts account for about a third of these. The National Eye Institute reports that more than half of all Americans will have cataracts or will have had cataract surgery by the time they are 80, and in low- and middle-income countries, they’re the leading cause of blindness.
But now, people with vision problems may have new hope.
A WELCOME SIGHT
Soon, cataracts may be the thing of the past, and even better, it may be possible to see a staggering three times better than 20/20 vision. Oh, and you could do it all without wearing glasses or contacts.
So what exactly does having three times better vision mean? If you can currently read a text that is 10 feet away, you would be able to read the same text from 30 feet away. What’s more, people who currently can’t see properly might be able to see a lot better than the average person.
This development comes thanks to the Ocumetics Bionic Lens. This dynamic lens essentially replaces a person’s natural eye lens. It’s placed into the eye via a saline-filled syringe, after which it unravels itself in under 10 seconds.
It may sound painful, but Dr. Garth Webb, the optometrist who invented the Ocumetics Bionic Lens, says that the procedure is identical to cataract surgery and would take just about eight minutes. He adds that people who have the specialized lenses surgically inserted would never get cataracts and that the lenses feel natural and won’t cause headaches or eyestrain.
The Bionic Lens may sound like a fairy tale (or sci-fi dream), but it’s not. It is actually the end result of years and years of research and more than a little funding — so far, the lens has taken nearly a decade to develop and has cost US$3 million.
“The promise of quasi-infinite and free energy is here,” Lepercq declares, in an interview with Bloomberg. His arguments aren’t based on any environmental concern. Rather, he takes the perspective of price.
“Solar, battery storage, electrical and hydrogen vehicles, and connected devices are in a ‘J’ curve,” Lepercq said. “Hydrogen is the missing link in a 100 percent renewable-energy system, but technological bricks already exist.” Lepercq believes that the price of solar power will probably fall below $10 per megawatt-hour (roughly 1¢/kWh) in the world’s sunniest places.
As a consequence of the rise of renewables, oil prices are expected to plummet. “Even if oil demand continues to climb until 2025, its price could drop to $10 if markets anticipate a significant fall in demand,” he said.
“As carmakers offer more electrical vehicles with a range exceeding 500 kilometers, charging stations being progressively deployed and more cities banning gasoline and diesel cars, a shift will progressively take place,” Lepercq added.
Indeed, gone are the days when people viewed renewable energy sources as too expensive. Instead, we are moving away from conventional coal-based sources, which could even be more expensive in the future.
SOLAR POWER SHINES
Lepercq isn’t alone in seeing the price potential of renewables, particularly solar energy. The World Economic Forum (WEF) recently published a report showing how solar power now costs cheaper than fossil fuels.
[R]enewable energy technology, especially solar and wind, has made exponential gains in efficiency in recent years, enough to achieve economic competitiveness and, in an increasing number of cases, grid parity. For instance, the unsubsidized, levellized cost of electricity (LCOE) for utility scale solar photovoltaic, which was highly uncompetitive only five years ago, has declined at a 20% compounded annual rate, making it not only viable but also more attractive than coal in a wide range of countries.
As a fan of Back to the Future and Doc Brown’s DeLorean time machine as well as someone who still stops and stares longingly when a brushed stainless steel DeLorean DMC-12 drives by, this is the kind of news that makes one want to yell “Great Scott!”. The nephew of the famous car guru John DeLorean announced that the DeLorean Aerospcae DR-7 – a real flying car using the same kind of futuristic technology that went into the DMC-12 – is just months away from traveling the skies … and perhaps time? Where does the line start?
Paul DeLorean is the CEO and chief designer of DeLorean Aerospace, a company in Laguna Beach, California, with a mission John DeLorean and Doc Brown would both be proud of:
To bring the freedom and exhilaration of personal air transportation to the masses. With superior design and engineering, our advanced architecture provides a practical, elegant, and extremely safe alternative to conventional aircraft, with the convenience of airport-free access.
Credit: DeLorean Aerospace
DeLorean’s biggest asset is his DNA. His uncle John started at the Packard Motor Company but became famous at General Motors, where he designed the Pontiac GTO muscle car, the Pontiac Firebird, Pontiac Grand Prix and (proving he was human) the Chevrolet Vega subcompact. Then he became infamous by starting his own car company to make the gull-winged DMC-12. John’s father and Paul’s grandfather, Zachary DeLorean, emigrated to the United States from Romania and eventually worked at the Ford Motor Company factory in Highland Park, Michigan, where he was also a union organizer. Needless to say, transmission fluid is in Paul DeLorean’s blood.
DeLorean Aerospace was founded in 2012 to build a flying car or, in somewhat Doc Brown-ish technical terms, a two-seat vertical takeoff and landing (VTOL) personal air transport vehicle. Accrdoing to the website, the DR-7 combines a “zero-emission modern electric power system with a lightweight yet highly stable platform” and will contain a wide variety of futuristic innovations. Not to mention good looks, or as Doc Brown might say, “The way I see it, if you’re gonna build a ‘flying’ machine into a car, why not do it with some style?”
The DR-7 has been designed with a number of unique technologies for improved safety and overall functionality. With an industry-first centerline twin vectoring propulsion system, stall-resistant canard wing, and multiple patent-pending features, our aircraft is intrinsically safer. With an incredibly low drag coefficient, the DR-7 maximizes range under fully electric power.
The DR-7 will be 20 feet (6 meters) long and 18.5 feet (5.5 meters) wide with wings that fold in so it can be parked in a large garage. A one-third scale model has already been built and DeLorean is now working on a full-sized, fully-functional prototype that he claims will have a range of 120 miles per charge and be ready within a year.
At DeLorean Aerospace, we are actualizing the dream of practical and accessible air mobility with our DR-7 aircraft.
As Marty McFly would say … “Whoa!” All that’s left to answer is when and how much. The prototype is expected to be flying sometime in 2018. And the price? For now, you’ll need Doc Brown’s DeLorean to find that out.
Computers Made of Genetic Material Will Revolutionize Our World
Computers Made of Genetic Material Will Revolutionize Our World
Helmholtz Association of German Research Centres
Researchers have been able to create tiny structures for conducting electricity by using DNA and gold plating.
This new nanostructure could be the foundation of future electronics as soon as improvements are made on this breakthrough development.
GOLD AND DNA
Nanostructures made using DNA origami are fascinating. The ability to use DNA as a construction material, capable of holding scaffolds of molecules and atoms was one huge step in developing modern nanostrutures. Most recent of these developments are gold-plated nanowires constructed by scientists from the Helmholtz-Zentrum Dresden-Rossendorf (HZDR) and from Paderborn University, which independently assembled themselves from single DNA strands, as published in the journal Langmuir.
These nanowires, due to their gold-plating, were able to conduct electricity. “Our measurements have shown that an electrical current is conducted through these tiny wires,” explains Artur Erbe of the Institute of Ion Beam Physics and Materials Research. The nano-sized structures were connected by two electrical contacts.
Even more fascinating is how these were made using modified DNA strands — stable double strands combined through their base pairs, from long single strands of genetic material and DNA segments. These allowed for the structures to independently take on their desired forms, complex structures developed by molecules through a self-assembling processes.
FROM THE BOTTOM-UP
“With the help of this approach, which resembles the Japanese paper folding technique origami and is therefore referred to as DNA-origami, we can create tiny patterns. Extremely small circuits made of molecules and atoms are also conceivable here,” says Erbe.
Usually, developing nano circuits use what is known as the “top-down” method, where the base material is chiseled until the desired structure is formed. This will become increasingly difficult as electronics continue miniaturization. The new “bottom-up” method changes how these electronic components are usually made.
There is one problem, though. “Genetic matter doesn’t conduct a current particularly well,” Erbe points out, which explains why the nanowires were gold-plated. But even with this, there was still difficulty with conducting current at room temperatures. Better melding of conductive materials need to be further developed, plus the option of using cheaper, more standard wire coating than gold.
Still, the research is promising. This nanowire that’s made partially out of genetic material could be the future of electronics. Smaller wires allow for more compact designs, which together with smaller transistors, can be used to make more powerful computers.
Een printer waar levende wezens uitrollen: het begin is er...
Een printer waar levende wezens uitrollen: het begin is er...
Een Amerikaanse onderzoeker heeft een apparaat ontwikkeld dat DNA, RNA, eiwitten en viruspartikels kan printen.
Het apparaat heeft de naam Digital-to-Biological Converter (kortweg DBC) gekregen en is ontwikkeld door de onderzoeksgroep van Craig Venter. Misschien gaat er bij het horen van die naam niet direct een belletje rinkelen. Maar binnen de synthetische biologie wordt de man gezien als een pionier. Hij verbaasde in 2000 vriend en vijand door met weinig mankracht in korte tijd het complete menselijke genoom in kaart te brengen. En in 2010 wist hij alle kranten te halen door – naar eigen zeggen – voor het eerst kunstmatig leven te creëren (zie kader). Een paar jaar later – in 2016 – presenteerde hij een uitgeklede versie van diezelfde synthetische levensvorm die enkel de genen herbergde die deze nodig had om te overleven (en dat waren er – verbazingwekkend genoeg – 437, veel meer dan vooraf werd gedacht).
In 2010 creëerde Venter een volledig synthetisch genoom en plaatste dat vervolgens in een levende cel. Velen – waaronder Venter zelf – bestempelden het resulterende organisme als ’s werelds eerste synthetische levensvorm. Daar valt echter wel iets op af te dingen. Want dit organisme was niet vanuit het niets gecreëerd: Venter maakte immers alsnog gebruik van een bestaande, levende cel.
DBC En nu laat Venter dus weer van zich horen. En wel met de DBC. “Allerlei methoden die in het moleculair biologisch lab gebruikt worden, worden in dit apparaat geautomatiseerd,” vertelt professor Oscar Kuipers, als moleculair microbioloog verbonden aan de Universiteit van Groningen.
Van bits naar eiwitten Maar hoe werkt het apparaat dan precies? “Het begint allemaal met digitale informatie, dus bits: nullen en enen,” stelt Kuipers. Die bits beschrijven een DNA-sequentie, oftewel de volgorde van nucleotiden, waarvan adenine (A), Cytosine (C), Guanine (G) en Thymine (T) de meest voorkomende zijn. “Met twee bits kun je elke letter schrijven. A kan bijvoorbeeld 00 zijn. C kan 10 zijn, G kan 01 zijn en T kan 11 zijn.” Zo’n digitale DNA-sequentie kan het apparaat van Venter vervolgens omzetten in een echt DNA-molecuul, dat bestaat uit twee ketens van duizenden aan elkaar gekoppelde nucleotiden. “Deze DNA-syntheses (de kunstmatig gecreëerde DNA-moleculen, red.) bestaan bijvoorbeeld uit een paar duizend letters. Die kortere stukken DNA kunnen echter aan elkaar gekoppeld worden, zodat grotere stukken DNA ontstaan. En uiteindelijk kun je zo een compleet chromosoom maken.” Zo heeft Venter al aangetoond dat hij het chromosoom van een faag – een klein virus dat alleen een specifieke bacterie infecteert en uit een paar duizend basenparen bestaat – kan produceren. “Maar je kunt zeker ook grotere DNA-sequenties maken.” Het apparaat gaat echter vervolgens nog een stapje verder. “Als je zo’n stuk DNA hebt, kan het apparaat daar nog enzymen aan toevoegen die het DNA omzetten in RNA-moleculen en die coderen dan voor de eiwitten.” Door vervolgens nog wat andere stoffen – waaronder energiedragers, enzymen en ribosomen – toe te voegen, maakt het apparaat een eiwit. “En dat gebeurt dus allemaal in vitro, dus zonder tussenkomst van levende cellen.”
De Digital-to-Biological Converter. Afbeelding: Nature Biotechnology / doi:10.1038/nbt.3859.
Transformatie-unit Op dit moment kan het apparaat dus DNA-moleculen, RNA-moleculen en eiwitten maken. Daarnaast zit in het apparaat ook een transformatie-unit. Deze transformatie-unit kan het synthetische DNA in een levende cel plaatsen. Het betekent dat het apparaat in staat is om de ‘kunstmatige levensvorm’ die Venter in 2010 presenteerde, te ‘printen’.
Vaccins en medicijnen Het klinkt heel indrukwekkend. Maar wat kunnen we nu eigenlijk met dit apparaat? Venter ziet grote mogelijkheden. Hij ziet het apparaat al vaccins, medicijnen, voedsel en zelfs complexere levensvormen op misschien wel andere planeten printen. “Het apparaat kan onder meer RNA-moleculen maken en die worden weer gebruikt om vaccins van te maken,” vertelt Kuipers. Er liggen plannen om de DBC kleiner en mogelijk zelfs draagbaar te maken. Het zou kunnen betekenen dat vaccins straks op elke plek gemaakt kunnen worden. Hetzelfde geldt voor sommige medicijnen. “Stel je voor dat je in het regenwoud zit en je loopt een infectie op. Het apparaat kan dan de ziekteverwekker sequencen en daarmee identificeren. Dan kan een arts op afstand het apparaat opdracht geven om een geschikt antibioticum te printen.” Het klinkt misschien te mooi om waar te zijn. “Maar het is zeker niet onmogelijk, want een antibioticum kan een eiwitje of een complexe organische verbinding zijn en zolang je de juiste moleculaire bouwstenen en enzymen hebt, kun je die synthetiseren.”
WIE IS VENTER?
Sommige mensen noemen hem een genie. Anderen zien hem meer als een geslepen zakenman die erin slaagt om – onder meer bij bedrijven – honderden miljoenen dollars los te peuteren voor zijn onderzoek. Kuipers ontmoette Venter een aantal jaren geleden toen Venter de Leeuwenhoek Medaille in ontvangst mocht nemen. “Het is een charismatische man, een visionair, maar tegelijkertijd is hij ook heel zakelijk.” Of hij net als eerdere ontvangers van de Leeuwenhoek Medaille ooit de Nobelprijs in handen gedrukt gaat krijgen? Het zou Kuipers niet verbazen. “Hij heeft misschien geen concrete grote ontdekking gedaan, maar hij heeft wel enorm veel kennis verzameld en die kennis snel gebruikt om onderzoek en synthese te automatiseren. De moleculaire biologie is door hem absoluut in een versnelling geraakt.”
Biologische teleportatie naar Mars Maar Venter droomt groter. Hij ziet het ook wel voor zich dat dit apparaat in de toekomst naar Mars wordt gestuurd om daar micro-organismen te printen die de rode planeet terravormen. Of misschien kunnen we de planeet zelfs wel van een afstandje koloniseren door het genoom van complexere levensvormen – misschien zelfs mensen – naar zo’n apparaat op Mars te sturen. Venter noemt dat ‘biologische teleportatie’. “Het is een beetje Jules Verne-denken,” vindt Kuipers. Want er zitten vanzelfsprekend nogal wat haken en ogen aan dit wilde plan. “Eerst moet je het apparaat daar zien te krijgen en het moet ook daar – bij lage temperaturen en extreme omstandigheden – functioneren. Bovendien heeft Venter nog niet laten zien dat hij zonder tussenkomst van levende cellen een organisme kan printen. Dus dat betekent dat je cellen, al dan niet voorgeprepareerd, mee moet sturen om leven te kunnen ‘printen’.” Kuipers ziet zelf meer in die andere toepassing: snel medicijnen en vaccins printen op de plekken waar dat nu heel lastig is.
Echt nieuw leven printen Biologische teleportatie mag dan ver weg zijn: het maakt Kuipers niet minder enthousiast over de DBC. “Het is heel mooi dat er nu een machine is die van elke sequentie in principe een eiwit kan maken. Natuurlijk zijn er nog wel wat problemen.” Zo is niet elk eiwit dat Venter maakt, functioneel, omdat niet elk eiwit zich direct goed vouwt. “Daarvoor heb je hulp-eiwitten of andere stofjes nodig, maar die kunnen in de toekomst natuurlijk in het apparaat worden toegevoegd. In theorie is dan ook niets onmogelijk. De logische vervolgstap? Met dit apparaat een compleet genoom synthetiseren en in een bacterie plaatsen, zodat een heel nieuwe bacterie ontstaat.” Die nieuwe bacterie kan – in de toekomst wellicht samen met synthetische hogere organismen – ingezet worden om stoffen te produceren die wij mensen nodig hebben. “Denk aan medicijnen of voedsel.” En dat toekomstbeeld is de opmaat naar de heilige graal binnen de synthetische biologie: leven maken from scratch. “Dat is de uitdaging. Van levenloos materiaal – nucleotiden, aminozuren, suikers, vetten, metalen en vitamines – leven maken,” bevestigt Kuipers. “Maar dat is nog ver weg. Dat kan nog wel 20 jaar duren. Maar als het lukt, kunnen we ook dat proces waarbij uit moleculen cellen worden gemaakt, automatiseren.”
Venter mag dan zo langzamerhand uitgegroeid zijn tot het gezicht van de synthetische biologie: hij is bij lange na niet de enige die in dit onderzoeksveld actief is. Talloze onderzoeksgroepen wereldwijd proberen nieuwe moleculen en stofwisselingsprocessen in bacteriën te brengen of zelfs vanuit niets een micro-organisme te scheppen. En het lijkt een kwestie van tijd voor zij met semi-synthetische levensvormen op de proppen komen die de wereld gaan veranderen. “Ik denk dat de impact van dit onderzoeksveld enorm kan zijn. Het is een beetje vergelijkbaar met de impact die de smartphone en de personal computer op de wereld hebben gehad, denk ik.” Alleen zal de synthetische biologie toch het speelveld blijven van de specialisten. “Ik denk niet dat elke burger straks zijn eigen medicijnen print, maar de apotheek op de hoek wel.” Voor het zover is, zullen de ethische bezwaren die er altijd zijn als het gaat om het ‘knutselen met DNA’, nog regelmatig de kop opsteken. Maar ze zullen de opmars van Venter en collega’s hooguit vertragen en zeker niet stoppen. “Elke technologie kan natuurlijk ten goede of ten kwade gebruikt worden,” benadrukt Kuipers. “Maar ik kan veel gevaarlijkere technologieën bedenken dan deze.”
Interview met Oscar Kuipers De afbeelding van Craig Venter is afkomstig uit het blad PLoS ONE.
This new material is remarkably soft, and it could revolutionize robotics and prosthetics.
Researchers from the Monash University have discovered a new sponge-like material called graphene elastomer. This revolutionary material is expected to be used for robots designed to help take care of elderly people.
The graphene-based elastomer is exteremely sensitive to pressure and vibrations. Also called G-elastomer, the material has the ability to bounce back despite the pressure given to it. It is described to be very soft and elastic compared to other substances such as rubber or foam.
THE POTENTIAL OF G-ELASTOMER
Professor Dan Li and Dr. Ling Qiu from the Monash Center for Atomically Thin Materials (MCATN) were excited the discovery and potential of this material.
“This graphene elastomer is a flexible, ultra-light material which can detect pressures and vibrations across a broad bandwidth of frequencies. It far exceeds the response range of our skin, and it also has a very fast response time, much faster than conventional polymer elastomer.,” explained Dr. Qiu in the press release.
“Although we often take it for granted, the pressure sensors in our skin allow us to do things like hold a cup without dropping it, crushing it, or spilling the contents. The sensitivity and response time of G-elastomer could allow a prosthetic hand or a robot to be even more dexterous than a human, while the flexibility could allow us to create next generation flexible electronic devices,” he added.
Professor Li, the director at MCATN, admitted that they are still in the early stages of studying the full potential of the G-elastomer.
However, he is positive that “this research is an excellent breakthrough. What we do know is that graphene could have a huge impact on Australia’s economy, both from a resources and innovation perspective, and we’re aiming to be at the forefront of that research and development.”
The research can be found in the latest edition of the journal “Advanced Materials”. It is protected by a suite of patents.
Paralyzed Monkeys Able to Walk Again With Brain Implant. Human Trials Are Next
Paralyzed Monkeys Able to Walk Again With Brain Implant. Human Trials Are Next
Using a system of electrodes, transmitters, receivers, scientists were able to restore leg function in a primate, completely bypassing damaged nerves.
While this remarkable feat may be decades away from human use, it is a promising development for the hundreds of thousands of people in the U.S. with spinal cord injuries
Electrodes implanted in the brain and spine have helped paralyzed monkeys walk. The neurologists behind the study reported that the implants restored function in the primates’ legs almost instantaneously. The findings are detailed in Nature.
The spinal cord of the subject monkey was partially cut, so the legs had no way of communicating with the brain. To mend the brain-spine interface, electrodes were placed on key parts of the monkey’s body. Implants were placed inside the monkey’s brain at the part that controls leg movement, together with a wireless transmitter sitting outside the skull. Electrodes were also placed along the spinal cord, below the injury.
A computer program decoded brain signals indicative of leg movement and transmitted the signals to the electrodes in the spine. Within just a few seconds, the monkey was moving its leg. In a few days, it was walking on a treadmill.
“The primate was able to walk immediately once the brain-spine interface was activated. No physiotherapy or training was necessary,” said Erwan Bezard, one of the authors of the study.
This study is a massive breakthrough—it’s the first time implants have helped a primate walk. There has been much research to develop tech for paralyzed patients, but most lab trials were done on rodents. “It seems the principles learned in rats are now translating into primates,” said Jen Collinger, a University of Pittsburgh bioengineer.
The results were astoundingly positive, but the researchers say that it will take at least a decade to fine-tune the technology for use in humans. Still, our bodies are greatly similar to that of monkeys, and the researchers believe transition could be quick.
Exciting news about the study is that the components that the researchers used are legal for human use in Switzerland. The Swiss group of the study have started clinical trial with eight people with partial leg paralysis.
To survive the 90-year-long journey between Earth and the far-off planet Homestead II, humans on the ship in the 2016 sci-fi bomb Passengers were cryogenically frozen, suspending them in the throes of youth. The assumption is that thawing will bring their bodies and minds back to their normal, living states, and then life will resume where it left off. It’s wishful thinking: While scientists have figured out how to thaw and unthaw individual cells, whether it’s possible to reanimate life has remained a mystery.
But a new discovery puts them well on their way to finding out.
In a recent article in the journal ACS Nano, researchers reported that they’d successfully frozen zebrafish embryos, thawed them, and brought them back to life. Reanimation efforts on the tiny tropical fish, prized among scientists because their translucent embryos are easy to study, have been ongoing for 60 years, but none have been successful because of issues during the thawing process. This time around, the American team tweaked their defrosting strategy in order to speed it up.
When scientists preserve an embryo using cryogenic freezing, they drain some of its regular fluids, replacing them with an antifreeze-like substance to prevent the formation of damaging ice crystals, which can puncture a cell from the inside out. For the most part, scientists have figured out this process of “vitrification” — making fluids ice-free and thus glass-like — using a cryoprotectant solution of various sugar and alcohol molecules, like glycerol and propylene glycol (the major ingredient in car antifreeze). Previous studies have shown that dropping cryoprotected zebrafish embryos into a liquid nitrogen tank that cools them at 90,000 degrees Celsius per minute to a final temperature of −196 degrees Celsius results in perfectly frozen embryos. The problem is what happens as they are thawing.
“[The] large size of the yolk still impedes rapid cooling and warming, thereby yielding lethal ice crystal formation during cryopreservation,” the researchers write. When the defrosting process is too gradual, sometimes an event called devitrification occurs, in which the liquid “[reverts] from glass to ice.” For these scientists, thawing frozen embryos involved shining a 1064-nm laser pulse on them, which raised their temperature to 1.4 × 107 degrees Celsius per minute, but even this was too slow to create the perfect thaw.
But they finally managed to achieve it by adding a substance to the cryoprotectant solution that would heat up quickly and move the thawing process along faster — namely, tiny bits of metal. Adding gold nanorods, which conducted the laser’s heat efficiently, sped up the warming process so that there was no chance for damaging devitrification to take place.
In this way, zebrafish embryos that had been flash-frozen for a few minutes were rapidly unfrozen, and about 10 percent of those embryos stayed alive and developed for the next 24 hours.
These aren’t survival odds that any freezer-happy human would bank on, but they’re a start — and proof that a developing embryo’s mechanisms can continue after being briefly frozen, at least in a zebrafish. Future research will probably focus on figuring out how to extend the amount of time those embryos can stay frozen before they’re thawed, as well as pinpointing what causes them to die so soon after they’re unfrozen.
It’s too early to say how this research could be applied to long-term human hibernation, but the scientists behind the study are hoping it will lead to a way to freeze the embryos of endangered water-bound species so they can repopulate future lifeless seas. In a way, their objectives aren’t too different from those laid out in Passengers, in which the spacefaring ship was laden with libraries of frozen human embryos waiting for a new habitat to populate.
As cryogenics science hurtles forward, it’s likely that the film’s promise that bodies can be viably frozen and thawed will increasingly seem less like a fantasy and more of a possibility. Whether those defrosted bodies will constitute conscious life, however, will be up to future humans to decide.
This 3D-Printed Human Heart Can Do Everything a Real One Can
This 3D-Printed Human Heart Can Do Everything a Real One Can
The artificial heart imitates a human heart as closely as possible
Photo: ETH Zurich
Soft robotics and 3D printing have allowed a team of researchers from Switzerland to develop an artificial heart that works like the real thing. This proof of concept design was successfully tested in the lab, but it may take a while before it will be ready.
Scientists have been developing artificial hearts for quite some time now. However, many of the current designs are unfortunately clunky, which presents difficulties in successfully integrating them into human tissue. To approach this issue, a team of researchers from ETH Zürich decided to take a cue from the biological human heart.
Instead of using separate parts, the Swiss team, led by Nicholas Cohrs, 3D-printed an artificial heart using a soft, flexible material. The material was molded into a single part (or a “monoblock”) which allowed the team to design a complex inner structure complete with pumping mechanisms able to be triggered by silicon ventricles. This method imitates a realistic human heartbeat.
“[O]ur goal is to develop an artificial heart that is roughly the same size as the patient’s own one and which imitates the human heart as closely as possible in form and function,” Cohrs said in a press release. The team successfully tested this artificial heart, pumping blood-like fluid at human body-like pressures. The team published their research in the journal Artificial Organs.
However, this design is still a proof of concept, which means it’s yet to be ready for actual implantation. The materials used are, as of right now, unable to last more than half an hour or some few thousand heartbeats, though that could vary a bit depending on a person’s heart rate. It’s a limitation the team will continue to work on, as new materials and design improvements advance. Once perfected, this design could potentially improve the lives and health of around 26 million people worldwide who suffer from various heart conditions.
A study published today in the journal Nature confirms earlier reports of the first-ever successful gene-editing of embryos in the U.S. Though controversial, the treatment could one day be used to address any of the 10,000 disorders linked to just a single genetic error.
CORRECTING MUTANT GENES
Last week, reports circulated that doctors had successfully edited a gene in a human embryo — the first time such a thing had been done in the United States. The remarkable achievement confirmed the powerful potential of CRISPR, the world’s most efficient and effective gene-editing tool. Now, details of the research have been published in Nature.
The procedure involved “correcting” the DNA of one-cell embryos using CRISPR to remove the MYBPC3 gene. That gene is known to cause hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM), a heart disease that affects 1 out of 500 people. HCM has no known cure or treatment as its symptoms don’t manifest until the disease causes sudden death through cardiac arrest.
The researchers started with human embryos created from 12 healthy female donors and sperm from a male volunteer who carried the MYBOC3 gene. The defective gene was cut out using CRISPR around the time the sperm was injected into the eggs.
As a result, as the embryos divided and grew, many repaired themselves using the non-edited genes from the genetic materials of the female donors, and in total, 72 percent of the cells that formed appeared to be corrected. The researchers didn’t notice any “off-target” effects on the DNA, either.
Basic or not, the development is remarkable.“By using this technique, it’s possible to reduce the burden of this heritable disease on the family and eventually the human population,” Mitalipov said in an OHSU press release.
However, gene editing is a controversial area of study, and the researchers’ work included changes to the germ line, meaning the changes could be passed down to future generations. To be clear, though, the embryos were allowed to grow for only a few days and none were implanted into a womb (nor was that ever the researchers’ intention).
University of Wisconsin-Madison bioethicist Alta Charo thinks that the benefits of this potential treatment outweigh all concerns. “What this represents is a fascinating, important, and rather impressive incremental step toward learning how to edit embryos safely and precisely,” she told The Washington Post. “[N]o matter what anybody says, this is not the dawn of the era of the designer baby.”
Before the technique could be truly beneficial, regulations must be developed that provide clearer guidelines, according to Mitalipov. If not, “this technology will be shifted to unregulated areas, which shouldn’t be happening,” he explained.
More than 10,000 disorders have been linked to just a single genetic error, and as the researchers continue with their work, their next target is BRCA, a gene associated with breast cancer growth.
Mitalipov hopes that their technique could one day be used to treat a wide-range of genetic diseases and save the lives of millions of people. After all, treating a single gene at the embryonic stage is far more efficient that changing a host of them in adults.
Diamond Batteries Made of Nuclear Waste Can Generate Power For Thousands of Years
Diamond Batteries Made of Nuclear Waste Can Generate Power For Thousands of Years
Scientist have developed an ingenious means of converting nuclear power plant waste (76,430 metric tons in the US alone) into sustainable diamond batteries.
These long-lasting batteries could be a clean and safe way to power spacecraft, satellites, and even medical devices.
Scientists from the University of Bristol Cabot Institute are hitting two birds with one stone, thanks to their lab-made diamond that can generate electricity and is made from upcycled radioactive waste.
In nuclear power plants, radioactive uranium is split in a process called nuclear fission. When the atoms are split, heat is generated, and that heat then vaporizes water into steam that turns electricity-generating turbines.
A severe downside of this process is the creation of dangerous radioactive waste, which ultimately deposits in the graphite core that it is housed in. Today, this nuclear contamination is safely stored away until it stops being radioactive…and with a half-life of 5,730 years, that takes quite a while.
The scientists found a way to heat the radioactive graphite to release most of the radioactivity in a gaseous form. The gas is subjected to high temperature and low pressures that turn it into a man-made diamond.
When these diamonds are placed near a radioactive field, they generate a small electrical current. The developers enclosed the diamond battery in another non-radioactive diamond to absorb the harmful emissions, which in turn allowed for the generation of even more electricity, making the battery nearly 100 percent efficient.
POWERING THE FUTURE
The nuclear diamond battery has an incredible lifetime, and will only be half used up by the year 7746. This makes it an ideal power solution for “situations where it is not feasible to charge or replace conventional batteries,” said Tom Scott, a materials science professor at Cabot Institute.
Flight times of planes, satellites, or spacecraft could increase with such a lasting battery. Medical devices like pacemakers and the artificial pancreas could become more reliable, empowering users to live their lives more fully.
The development also presents an incredibly efficient way to treat radioactive waste. Within the past 40 years, the US has amassed 76,430 metric tons (84,250 tons) of this waste.
Supplying the Earth with electricity is a daunting task even without a focus on sustainability. Now, it looks like experts are on the right track with this nuclear-powered diamond battery. It’s almost like the holy grail of electricity generation, or as Scott puts it, “no emissions generated and no maintenance required, just direct electricity generation.”
The time for machines to take over most of humanity's work is rapidly approaching. The world is woefully unprepared to deal with the implications that automation will have over the coming decades. Universal basic income is just beginning to be discussed, and automation has the potential to displace much of the world's workforce. Many decisions have to be made, and quickly, if we hope to keep pace with innovation.
On December 2nd, 1942, a team of scientists led by Enrico Fermi came back from lunch and watched as humanity created the first self-sustaining nuclear reaction inside a pile of bricks and wood underneath a football field at the University of Chicago. Known to history as Chicago Pile-1, it was celebrated in silence with a single bottle of Chianti, for those who were there understood exactly what it meant for humankind, without any need for words.
Now, something new has occurred that, again, quietly changed the world forever. Like a whispered word in a foreign language, it was quiet in that you may have heard it, but its full meaning may not have been comprehended. However, it’s vital we understand this new language, and what it’s increasingly telling us, for the ramifications are set to alter everything we take for granted about the way our globalized economy functions, and the ways in which we as humans exist within it.
What actually ended up happening when they faced off? Lee went on to lose all but one of their match’s five games. An AI named AlphaGo is now a better Go player than any human and has been granted the “divine” rank of 9 dan. In other words, its level of play borders on godlike. Go has officially fallen to machines, just as Jeopardy did before it to Watson, and chess before that to Deep Blue.
“AlphaGo’s historic victory is a clear signal that we’ve gone from linear to parabolic.”
So, what is Go? Very simply, think of Go as Super Ultra Mega Chess. This may still sound like a small accomplishment, another feather in the cap of machines as they continue to prove themselves superior in the fun games we play, but it is no small accomplishment, and what’s happening is no game.
AlphaGo’s historic victory is a clear signal that we’ve gone from linear to parabolic. Advances in technology are now so visibly exponential in nature that we can expect to see a lot more milestones being crossed long before we would otherwise expect. These exponential advances, most notably in forms of artificial intelligence limited to specific tasks, we are entirely unprepared for as long as we continue to insist upon employment as our primary source of income.
This may all sound like exaggeration, so let’s take a few decade steps back, and look at what computer technology has been actively doing to human employment so far:
Let the above chart sink in. Do not be fooled into thinking this conversation about the automation of labor is set in the future. It’s already here. Computer technology is already eating jobs and has been since 1990.
All work can be divided into four types: routine and nonroutine, cognitive and manual. Routine work is the same stuff day in and day out, while nonroutine work varies. Within these two varieties, is the work that requires mostly our brains (cognitive) and the work that requires mostly our bodies (manual). Where once all four types saw growth, the stuff that is routine stagnated back in 1990. This happened because routine labor is easiest for technology to shoulder. Rules can be written for work that doesn’t change, and that work can be better handled by machines.
Distressingly, it’s exactly routine work that once formed the basis of the American middle class. It’s routine manual work that Henry Ford transformed by paying people middle class wages to perform, and it’s routine cognitive work that once filled US office spaces. Such jobs are now increasingly unavailable, leaving only two kinds of jobs with rosy outlooks: jobs that require so little thought, we pay people little to do them, and jobs that require so much thought, we pay people well to do them.
If we can now imagine our economy as a plane with four engines, where it can still fly on only two of them as long as they both keep roaring, we can avoid concerning ourselves with crashing. But what happens when our two remaining engines also fail? That’s what the advancing fields of robotics and AI represent to those final two engines, because for the first time, we are successfully teaching machines to learn.
I’m a writer at heart, but my educational background happens to be in psychology and physics. I’m fascinated by both of them so my undergraduate focus ended up being in the physics of the human brain, otherwise known as cognitive neuroscience. I think once you start to look into how the human brain works, how our mass of interconnected neurons somehow results in what we describe as the mind, everything changes. At least it did for me.
As a quick primer in the way our brains function, they’re a giant network of interconnected cells. Some of these connections are short, and some are long. Some cells are only connected to one other, and some are connected to many. Electrical signals then pass through these connections, at various rates, and subsequent neural firings happen in turn. It’s all kind of like falling dominoes, but far faster, larger, and more complex. The result amazingly is us, and what we’ve been learning about how we work, we’ve now begun applying to the way machines work.
One of these applications is the creation of deep neural networks – kind of like pared-down virtual brains. They provide an avenue to machine learning that’s made incredible leaps that were previously thought to be much further down the road, if even possible at all. How? It’s not just the obvious growing capability of our computers and our expanding knowledge in the neurosciences, but the vastly growing expanse of our collective data, aka big data.
Imagine programming a computer to recognize a chair. You’d need to enter a ton of instructions, and the result would still be a program detecting chairs that aren’t, and not detecting chairs that are. So how did we learn to detect chairs? Our parents pointed at a chair and said, “chair.” Then we thought we had that whole chair thing all figured out, so we pointed at a table and said “chair”, which is when our parents told us that was “table.” This is called reinforcement learning. The label “chair” gets connected to every chair we see, such that certain neural pathways are weighted and others aren’t. For “chair” to fire in our brains, what we perceive has to be close enough to our previous chair encounters. Essentially, our lives are big data filtered through our brains.
The power of deep learning is that it’s a way of using massive amounts of data to get machines to operate more like we do without giving them explicit instructions. Instead of describing “chairness” to a computer, we instead just plug it into the Internet and feed it millions of pictures of chairs. It can then have a general idea of “chairness.” Next we test it with even more images. Where it’s wrong, we correct it, which further improves its “chairness” detection. Repetition of this process results in a computer that knows what a chair is when it sees it, for the most part as well as we can. The important difference though is that unlike us, it can then sort through millions of images within a matter of seconds.
Go is famously a more complex game than chess, with its larger board, longer games, and many more pieces. Google’s DeepMind artificial intelligence team likes to say that there are more possible Go boards than atoms in the known universe, but that vastly understates the computational problem. There are about 10¹⁷⁰ board positions in Go, and only 10⁸⁰ atoms in the universe. That means that if there were as many parallel universes as there are atoms in our universe (!), then the total number of atoms in all those universes combined would be close to the possibilities on a single Go board.
Such confounding complexity makes impossible any brute-force approach to scan every possible move to determine the next best move. But deep neural networks get around that barrier in the same way our own minds do, by learning to estimate what feels like the best move. We do this through observation and practice, and so did AlphaGo, by analyzing millions of professional games and playing itself millions of times. So the answer to when the game of Go would fall to machines wasn’t even close to ten years. The correct answer ended up being, “Any time now.”
Any time now. That’s the new go-to response in the 21st century for any question involving something new machines can do better than humans, and we need to try to wrap our heads around it.
We need to recognize what it means for exponential technological change to be entering the labor market space for nonroutine jobs for the first time ever. Machines that can learn mean nothing humans do as a job is uniquely safe anymore. From hamburgers to healthcare, machines can be created to successfully perform such tasks with no need or less need for humans, and at lower costs than humans.
Amelia is just one AI out there currently being beta-tested in companies right now. Created by IPsoft over the past 16 years, she’s learned how to perform the work of call center employees. She can learn in seconds what takes us months, and she can do it in 20 languages. Because she’s able to learn, she’s able to do more over time. In one company putting her through the paces, she successfully handled one of every ten calls in the first week, and by the end of the second month, she could resolve six of ten calls. Because of this, it’s been estimated that she can put 250 million people out of a job, worldwide.
Viv is an AI coming soon from the creators of Siri who’ll be our own personal assistant. She’ll perform tasks online for us, and even function as a Facebook News Feed on steroids by suggesting we consume the media she’ll know we’ll like best. In doing all of this for us, we’ll see far fewer ads, and that means the entire advertising industry — that industry the entire Internet is built upon — stands to be hugely disrupted.
And now even the White House, in a stunning report to Congress, has put the probability at 83 percent that a worker making less than $20 an hour in 2010 will eventually lose their job to a machine. Even workers making as much as $40 an hour face odds of 31 percent. To ignore odds like these is tantamount to our now laughable “duck and cover” strategies for avoiding nuclear blasts during the Cold War.
All of this is why it’s those most knowledgeable in the AI field who are now actively sounding the alarm for basic income. During a panel discussion at the end of 2015 at Singularity University, prominent data scientist Jeremy Howard asked “Do you want half of people to starve because they literally can’t add economic value, or not?” before going on to suggest, ”If the answer is not, then the smartest way to distribute the wealth is by implementing a universal basic income.”
AI pioneer Chris Eliasmith, director of the Centre for Theoretical Neuroscience, warned about the immediate impacts of AI on society in an interview with Futurism, “AI is already having a big impact on our economies… My suspicion is that more countries will have to follow Finland’s lead in exploring basic income guarantees for people.”
Moshe Vardi expressed the same sentiment after speaking at the 2016 annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science about the emergence of intelligent machines, “we need to rethink the very basic structure of our economic system… we may have to consider instituting a basic income guarantee.”
Even Baidu’s chief scientist and founder of Google’s “Google Brain” deep learning project, Andrew Ng, during an onstage interview at this year’s Deep Learning Summit, expressed the shared notion that basic income must be “seriously considered” by governments, citing “a high chance that AI will create massive labor displacement.”
When those building the tools begin warning about the implications of their use, shouldn’t those wishing to use those tools listen with the utmost attention, especially when it’s the very livelihoods of millions of people at stake? If not then, what about when Nobel prize winning economists begin agreeing with them in increasing numbers?
No nation is yet ready for the changes ahead. High labor force non-participation leads to social instability, and a lack of consumers within consumer economies leads to economic instability. So let’s ask ourselves, what’s the purpose of the technologies we’re creating? What’s the purpose of a car that can drive for us, or artificial intelligence that can shoulder 60% of our workload? Is it to allow us to work more hours for even less pay? Or is it to enable us to choose how we work, and to decline any pay/hours we deem insufficient because we’re already earning the incomes that machines aren’t?
What’s the big lesson to learn, in a century when machines can learn?
I offer it’s that jobs are for machines, and life is for people.
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Ik ben Pieter, en gebruik soms ook wel de schuilnaam Peter2011.
Ik ben een man en woon in Linter (België) en mijn beroep is Ik ben op rust..
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