David Kirkpatrick

September 13, 2010

Singularity University’s Graduate Studies Program student projects

Via KurzweilAI.net — I blogged about today’s webinar last week, and here’s a summary of the student projects from this year’s Singularity University.

From the first link:

Singularity University webinar today: sneak preview

September 13, 2010 by Edito

Former astronaut Dan Barry, M.D., PhD, faculty head of Singularity University, will join Singularity University co-founders Dr. Ray Kurzweil and Dr. Peter H. Diamandis on Monday, September 13, at 9:30am PT/12:30pm ET, in a live video webinar briefing to unveil this summer’s Graduate Studies Program student projects.

The projects aim to impact a billion people within ten years.

A Q&A session will follow the briefing. The briefing is free and is open to media and the public — visit http://briefing.singularityu.org/ to register.

Here are some of the team projects to be profiled in the webinar.

Achieving the benefits of space at a fraction of the cost

The space project teams have developed imaginative new solutions for space and spinoffs for Earth. The AISynBio project team is working with leading NASA scientists to design bioengineered organisms that can use available resources to mitigate harsh living environments (such as lack of air, water, food, energy, atmosphere, and gravity) – on an asteroid, for example, and also on Earth .

The SpaceBio Labs team plans to develop methods for doing low-cost biological research in space, such as 3D tissue engineering and protein crystallization.

The Made in Space team plans to bring 3D printing to space to make space exploration cheaper, more reliable, and fail-safe (“send the bits, not the atoms”).  For example, they hope to replace some of the $1 billion worth of spare parts and tools that are on the International Space Station.

The Cheap Access to Space team is working with NASA Ames and CalTech engineers and scientists on a radical space propulsion system using beamed microwave energy to dramatically reduce the cost of a space launch by a factor of ten.

Solving key problems for a billion people on Earth

Back on Earth, a number of teams are working on solving global problems of waste, energy, hunger, and water.

The three Upcycle teams have developed synergistic solutions to eliminate waste and reduce energy use.

The Fre3dom team is planning to bring 3D printing to the developing world to allow local communities to make their own much-needed spare parts using bioplastics.

The BioMine team is developing environmentally regenerative, safe, efficient and scalable biological methods for the extraction of metals from electronic waste. This is a multidisciplinary team with technical expertise ranging from synthetic biology and chemical engineering to computer science and biotech IP, and they are leveraging exponential advances in bioengineering, functional genomics, bioinformatics and computational modeling.

The i2cycle team focuses on developing global industrial ecosystems by upcycling one manufacturer’s waste (such as glass and ceramics) into raw material for another manufacturer (such as manufacturing tiles), conserving resources and energy in the process.

[+]

The AmundA team is developing a Web-based tool that offers data such as electricity demand and energy resources  to guide suppliers in finding optimum, lower-cost, energy generation solutions.  They hope to  help 1.5 billion potential customers in the developing world gain access to electricity.

The H2020 team is building an intelligent, web-based platform to provide information on water to people. For example, they will use smart phones to crowd-source data about water problems,  such as pollution or shortages, in communities at the “bottom of the pyramid,” and will use AI to match problems with solutions.

The Naishio (“no salt” in Japanese) team, inspired by lecturers such as Dean Kamen, plans to use nanofilters to achieve very low cost and compact, but high-volume desalination. They have a designed a filtration cube measuring just 6.5 inches per side that could produce 100,000 gallons of purified water per day.

The Food for Cities program is planning to grow all the vegetables you need in a box barely larger than your refrigerator, using “aeroponics,” which could feed a billion people healthy food at low cost.

And the Know (Knowledge, Opportunity, Network for Women) team seeks to empower young women across the world by providing them with mentors and resources.

Full disclosure: writer and KurzweilAI editor Amara D. Angelica is an advisor to Singularity University.

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September 9, 2010

The public is a bit wary of synthetic biology

I’m a boundary-pusher in scientific research — I love nanotechnology, stem cell research, genetic research, robotics applications, and of course, I love the promise of synthetic biology. This poll finds only one-third of of surveyed adults want to see the field banned until it’s better understood, but a majority do want to see more government oversight.

The release:

The Public Looks At Synthetic Biology — Cautiously

WASHINGTON, DC: Synthetic biology—defined as the design and construction of new biological parts, devices, and systems or re-design of existing natural biological systems for useful purposes—holds enormous potential to improve everything from energy production to medicine, with the global market projected to reach $4.5 billion by 2015. But what does the public know about this emerging field, and what are their hopes and concerns? A new poll of 1,000 U.S. adults conducted by Hart Research Associates and the Synthetic Biology Project at the Woodrow Wilson Center finds that two-thirds of Americans think that synthetic biology should move forward, but with more research to study its possible effects on humans and the environment, while one-third support a ban until we better understand its implications and risks. More than half of Americans believe the federal government should be involved in regulating synthetic biology.

“The survey clearly shows that much more attention needs to be paid to addressing biosafety and biosecurity risks,” said David Rejeski, Director of the Synthetic Biology Project. “In addition, government and industry need to engage the public about the science and its applications, benefits, and risks.”

The poll findings reveal that the proportion of adults who say they have heard a lot or some about synthetic biology has almost tripled in three years, (from 9 percent to 26 percent). By comparison, self-reported awareness of nanotechnology increased from 24 percent to 34 percent during the same three-year period.

Although the public supports continued research in the area of synthetic biology, it also harbors concerns, including 27 percent who have security concerns (concerns that the science will be used to make harmful things), 25 percent who have moral concerns, and a similar proportion who worry about negative health consequences for humans. A smaller portion, 13 percent, worries about possible damage to the environment.

“The survey shows that attitudes about synthetic biology are not clear-cut and that its application is an important factor in shaping public attitudes towards it,” said Geoff Garin, President of Hart Research. Six in 10 respondents support the use of synthetic biology to produce a flu vaccine. In contrast, three-fourths of those surveyed have concerns about its use to accelerate the growth of livestock to increase food production. Among those for whom moral issues are the top concern, the majority views both applications in a negative light.

The findings come from a nationwide telephone survey of 1,000 adults and has a margin of error of ± 3.1 percentage points. This is the fifth year that Hart Research Associates has conducted a survey to gauge public opinion about nanotechnology and/or synthetic biology for the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars.

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The report can be found at: www.synbioproject.org

The Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars of the Smithsonian Institution was established by Congress in 1968 and is headquartered in Washington, D.C. It is a nonpartisan institution, supported by public and private funds and engaged in the study of national and world affairs.

September 8, 2010

Singularity University to announce session breakthroughs September 13

Via KurzweilAI.net — I blogged about one of the breakthroughs yesterday, and the university leader’s are going to announce the entire group next Monday.

From the first link:

Singularity University to Unveil Breakthrough Solutions for ‘Global Grand Challenges’ at Sept. 13 Briefing

September 8, 2010 by Editor

This summer, 80 students from 35 nations were challenged to apply innovations in exponentially advancing technologies to solve some of the world’s “grand challenges” with a focus on food, water, energy, upcycle, and space industries.

On Monday, September 13, at 9:30am PT/12:30pm ET, in a webinar briefing, Singularity University co-founders Dr. Ray Kurzweil, Dr. Peter H. Diamandis, and faculty head Dr. Dan Barry will unveil for the first time multiple solutions in each problem space, each aiming to impact a billion people within ten years.

A Q&A session will follow the briefing. The Briefing is open to media and the public, but space is limited. You can visit http://briefing.singularityu.org/ to register for the webinar briefing.

Singularity University (SU) is an interdisciplinary university whose mission is to assemble, educate and inspire a cadre of leaders who strive to understand and facilitate the development of exponentially advancing technologies in order to address humanity’s grand challenges. With the support of a broad range of leaders in academia, business and government, SU hopes to stimulate groundbreaking, disruptive thinking and solutions aimed at solving some of the planet’s most pressing challenges. SU is based at the NASA Ames campus in Silicon Valley. For more information, go to www.singularityu.org and follow SU on Twitter and Facebook.

August 11, 2010

Advancing substrate-independent minds

Filed under: et.al., Science, Technology — Tags: , , , , — David Kirkpatrick @ 10:24 am

Via KurzweilAI.net — if you are into futurism at all this blog post at KurzweilAI is worth the time for a full read.

Here’s a taste from the link:

What might brains and minds look like in the future? It can be difficult to manage and organize ideas from many highly specialized fields of expertise that must necessarily converge to answer this intriguing question. Not only must one consider the areas of brain imaging, neuroscience, and cognitive psychology, but also artificial intelligence, nanotechnology, biotechnology, computational hardware architectures, and philosophy.

In the past, the transferal of minds into computer-based systems has been rather vaguely referred to as “uploading.” However, those hoping to advance this multidisciplinary field of research prefer to use the  term Advancing Substrate Independent Minds (ASIM), to emphasize a more scientific, and less science-fiction approach to creating emulations of human brains in non-biological substrates. The term ASIM captures the fact that there are several ways in which hardware and software may be used to run algorithms that mimic the human brain, and that there are many different approaches that can be used to realize this end goal.

August 10, 2010

Hawking looks to space for mankind’s future

Filed under: et.al., Science — Tags: , , , , — David Kirkpatrick @ 2:16 pm

Via KurzweilAI.net

Stephen Hawking’s Warning: Abandon Earth—Or Face Extinction

August 10, 2010 by Editor

“Our only chance of long term survival is not to remain inward looking on planet Earth, but to spread out into space,” Stephen Hawking said in an interview Friday with Big Think. “We have made remarkable progress in the last hundred years. But if we want to continue beyond the next hundred years, our future is in space.”

It will be difficult enough to avoid disaster on planet Earth in the next hundred years, let alone the next thousand, or million. The human race shouldn’t have all its eggs in one basket, or on one planet. Let’s hope we can avoid dropping the basket until we have spread the load.

“I see great dangers for the human race. There have been a number of times in the past when its survival has been a question of touch and go. The Cuban missile crisis in 1963 was one of these. The frequency of such occasions is likely to increase in the future. We shall need great care and judgment to negotiate them all successfully. But I’m an optimist. If we can avoid disaster for the next two centuries, our species should be safe, as we spread into space.

“If we are the only intelligent beings in the galaxy, we should make sure we survive and continue. But we are entering an increasingly dangerous period of our history. Our population and our use of the finite resources of planet Earth, are growing exponentially, along with our technical ability to change the environment for good or ill.  But our genetic code still carries the selfish and aggressive instincts that were of survival advantage in the past. It will be difficult enough to avoid disaster in the next hundred years, let alone the next thousand or million.  That is why I’m in favor of manned, or should I say ‘personed,’ space flight.”

August 6, 2010

The Singularity and rationality

Via KurzweilAI.net

Singularity and Rationality: Eliezer Yudkowsky speaks out

August 5, 2010 by Thomas McCabe

Eliezer Yudkowsky is a Research Fellow at the Singularity Institute for Artificial Intelligence and founder of the community blog Less Wrong. We discussed his coming talk at the Singularity Summit on August 15, his forthcoming book on human rationality, his theory of “friendly AI,” and the likelihood of the Singularity and how to achieve it.

What are you working on currently?

I’m working on a book on human rationality. I’ve got… let me see… 143,000 words written so far. There’s been a lot of progress lately in fields contributing to human rationality, and it hasn’t made its way down to the popular level yet, even though it seems like something that should be popularizable. The second part of the book is on how to actually change your mind, and all the various biases that have been discovered that prevent people from changing their minds. Also, with reference to the Singularity, we’ve discovered in practice that you can’t just sit down and explain Singularity-related things to people without giving them a lot of background material first, and this book hopes to provide some of that background material.

Singularity Irrationality

What’s the most irrational thing you’ve heard regarding the Singularity?

That’s sort of a fuzzy question, because as the word “Singularity” gets looser and looser, the stuff you hear about it gets more and more irrational and less and less relevant. For example, for the people who think that the invention of hallucinogens was a Singularity… I forget who exactly that was [Terence McKenna].

The Singularity Institute once received an email saying, “This entire site is the biggest load of navel gazing stupidity I have ever seen. You are so naive, and clueless as to the inherent evil that lurks forever. A machine is no match for Satan.” I don’t know if that counts as the *most* irrational thing people have said about the Singularity, but…

In terms of what the public accepts as the Singularity, I think that the sort of more naive, “Well, people are still walking around in their biological bodies even after there are superintelligences around, and they’re just sort of being cool and futuristic but it hasn’t completely shattered life as we know it” — that sort of conservatism — may be the silliest thing. I think that’s a failure to understand superintelligence as something that becomes real and will have a real effect on the world.

(more…)

Regrowing human limbs

I came across this news a few times in the last couple of days. Maybe not quite limb regeneration, or in humans at the moment, but it’s still  just amazing.

From the link:

To figure out why mammalian muscle cells can’t regenerate, Blau’s team looked for proteins known to block cell division, focusing specifically on those that are found in mammals and birds but not in amphibians capable of regeneration. They identified one candidate, called ARF. Blocking both this protein and a similar protein, Rb, identified in previous research, enabled cells isolated from mouse muscle to begin dividing. When transplanted back into mice, the engineered cells integrated with existing muscle fibers, but only if Rb was turned back on. The scientists haven’t yet shown that this muscle works properly.

Researchers ultimately hope to develop ways to regenerate tissue damaged via injury or disease. The ability to precisely re-grow cells in the pancreas or the heart, for example, could provide new therapies for diabetes or heart disease. The team now plans to examine whether the same approach will work in these types of cells.

July 24, 2010

“BodyShock The Future” contest

Via KurzweilAI.net — just the facts, ma’am.

‘BodyShock The Future’ contest seeks innovative ways to improve health

The Institute for the Future (IFTF) has launched a new contest called BodyShock The Future to develop innovative ways to improve individual and collective health over the next 3-10 years by transforming our bodies and lifestyles.

IFTF is looking for visual ideas — video or graphical entries illustrating new ideas, designs, products, technologies, and concepts. Entries will be accepted from people around the world until September 1, 2010. Up to five winners will be flown to Palo Alto, California on October 8 to present their ideas and be connected to other innovative thinkers to help bring these ideas to life. The grand prize winner will receive the IFTF Roy Amara Prize of $3,000.

“Entries may come from anyone anywhere and could include subjects such as Life extension, DIY Bio, Diabetic teenagers, Developing countries, Green health, Augmented reality, Self-tracking, and Pervasive games,” IFTF Research Affiliate Alexandra Carmichael, who is heading up the project, told KurzweilAI. “Examples might be engineering beneficial bacteria that can help boost human immunity, or a treadmill that shows a preview of your future self to motivate you to exercise. Basically some kind of technology design that can improve health in the future.

“We challenge participants to use IFTF’s Health Horizons forecasts for the next decade of health and health care as inspiration, and design a solution for a problem that will be widespread in 3-10 years, using technologies that will become mainstream.”

Judges include Joanne Andreadis, Lead of Innovation, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention; David Rosenman, Director, Innovation Curriculum, Center for Innovation at Mayo Clinic; Ted Eytan, MD, Kaiser Permanente, The Permanente Federation; and Jason Bobe, Director of Community, Personal Genome Project,  and Founder, DIYBio.org.

July 9, 2010

Humanity as a giant superorganism

Filed under: et.al., Media, Technology — Tags: , , , , — David Kirkpatrick @ 1:21 pm

Via KurzweilAI.net — Are we turning into the Borg? (just kidding, there.)

Technology is weaving humans into electronic webs that resemble big brains — corporations, online hobby groups, far-flung N.G.O.s, suggests author Robert Wright. “And I personally don’t think it’s outlandish to talk about us being, increasingly, neurons in a giant superorganism; certainly an observer from outer space, watching the emergence of the Internet, could be excused for looking at us that way…. If we don’t use technology to weave people together and turn our species into a fairly unified body, chaos will probably engulf the world — because technology offers so much destructive power that a sharply divided human species can’t flourish.”

July 3, 2010

KurzweilAI.net 2.0 launching July 5

Filed under: et.al., Media, Science, Technology — Tags: , , , , , , — David Kirkpatrick @ 1:06 am

Via KurzweilAI — Anyone who reads this blog even casually probably knows I use KurzweilAI as a source fairly often for futurism, and related, news items. This time it’s about KurzweilAI itself — a relaunched website next Monday.

KurzweilAI.net 2.0 launches July 5
KurzweilAI.net, July 1, 2010

KurzweilAI.net will launch a redesigned version of its Kurzweil Accelerating Intelligence (KurzweilAI) website on Monday, July 5 at http://kurzweilai.net.

KurzweilAI 2.0 adds a blog and new sections for books, videos, films, TV shows, podcast directory, humor, free e-books, and news on Ray Kurzweil projects and affiliates, along with links to RSS feeds and the @kurzweilainews Twitter feed. Articles, authors, events, and forums sections have also been redesigned for easy browsing by topics, dates, and other methods.

The new website is based on WordPress, allowing for easier access to information, commenting on posts, and fast updating for breaking news and blog items. A new site-wide faceted search feature allows users to instantly find content in any of the more than 13,000 posts since 2001, based on topics and content types, in addition to “Google advanced search” style word and phrase searching.

Also included in KurzweilAI 2.0 is a completely redesigned and more powerful Ramona 4.0 chatbot, featuring multiple voice accents, variable personality (whimsical vs. nerdy), smarter chat engine, and natural-language front end to Powerset, providing access to Wikipedia and other information.

Newsletter subscribers will automatically receive a redesigned HTML newsletter offering fast access to original sources.

June 16, 2010

“The Singularity is Near” wins honors at Breckenridge Film Festival

Via KurzweilAI.net — Just the facts, ma’am.

The Singularity is Near wins awards at Breckenridge Film Festival
KurzweilAI.net, June 16, 2010

The Singularity is Near: A True Story About the Future received the Best Special Effects award and Second Place Audience Award at the 30th Annual Breckenridge Film Festival in Breckenridge, Colorado on June 13, according to Adele Sommer, festival programming director.

The feature-length documentary film, by filmmakers Anthony Waller, Ray Kurzweil, Ehren Koepf and Toshi Hoo, with Executive Producer Martine Rothblatt (Terasem Motion InfoCulture), explores the provocative arguments from Kurzweil’s New York Times bestselling book, The Singularity is Near.

He predicts that with the ever-accelerating rate of technological change, humanity is fast approaching an era in which our intelligence will become trillions of times more powerful and increasingly merged with computers. This will be the dawning of a new civilization, enabling us to transcend our biological limitations. In Kurzweil’s post-biological world, boundaries blur between humanand machine, real and virtual. Human aging and illness are reversed, world hunger and poverty are solved, and we cure death. He maintains an optimistic view of thefuture while acknowledging profound new dangers.

The New York premiere screening of the film is scheduled for June 24, 2010 at the TimeLife building in New York City, presented by the World Technology Network (WTN) in association with TIME magazine.

June 12, 2010

The Singularity in the NYT

Filed under: et.al., Media, Science, Technology — Tags: , , , , — David Kirkpatrick @ 5:25 pm

Mainstreaming futurism. Well, sort of …

From the link:

Yet it also smacked of a future that the Singularity University founders hold dear and often discuss with a techno-utopian bravado: the arrival of the Singularity — a time, possibly just a couple decades from now, when a superior intelligence will dominate and life will take on an altered form that we can’t predict or comprehend in our current, limited state.

At that point, the Singularity holds, human beings and machines will so effortlessly and elegantly merge that poor health, the ravages of old age and even death itself will all be things of the past.

June 9, 2010

H+ Summit streamed live this weekend

Filed under: Business, et.al., Media, Politics, Science, Technology — Tags: , , , , , — David Kirkpatrick @ 2:32 pm

Via KurzweilAI.net — Very cool news. Not sure if I’m going to be able to participate, but having the option to do so is good to know.

H+ Summit @ Harvard this weekend to be streamed live, free
KurzweilAI.net, June 9, 2010

The H+ Summit at Harvard this coming weekend will be streamed live, starting June 12 at 9 AM, according to David Orban, Chairman of Humanity+.

“Anybody can connect free, and ask questions using the #hplussummit hashtag. Moderators will monitor the Twitter firehose and choose the best questions for speakers during Q&A sessions,” he said.

It will stream at 24 fps in H.264 MPEG-4 for iPhone and iPad compatibility (as well as browsers) — with unlimited capacity, Orban said. Tip: download the high-res presentation files in advance (some are already up).

If you miss some of it, all of the more than 50 speakers are being recorded at 1080p 60fps HD video, to be released online under a Creative Commons Attribution license, starting in the weeks following the conference.

The H+ Summit is a two day event that explores how humanity will be radically changed by technology in the near futureVisionary speakers will explore the potential of technology to modify your body, mindlife, and world.

April 6, 2010

“The Singularity is Near” to debut at Sonoma Film Festival

News from KurzweilAI.net:

‘The Singularity is Near’ film debuts at Sonoma Film Festival
KurzweilAI.net, Apr. 5, 2010

“The Singularity Is Near: a True Story About the Future” makes its festival debut at the 13th Annual Sonoma Film Festival (April 15-18, 2010) with a special screening on Friday, April 16, 2010.

The feature-length film, directed by Anthony Waller and produced by Ray Kurzweil, Ehren Koepf and Toshi Hoo, executive producer Martine Rothblatt (Terasem MotionInfoCulture), explores the controversial ideas of Ray Kurzweil, based on his New York Times best-selling book by the same title.

Kurzweil examines the social and philosophical implications of these profound changes and the potential threats they pose to human civilization in dialogues with leading experts, such as former White House counter-terrorism advisor, Richard Clark; technologists Bill JoyMitch KaporMarvin Minsky, Eric Drexler, and Robert A. Freitas, Jr.; Future Shock author Alvin Toffler; civil liberties lawyer Alan Dershowitz; and music luminary Quincy Jones.

Kurzweil illustrates possible scenarios of his imagined future with narrative scenes starring popular NCIS actress Pauley Perrette and personal development guru Tony Robbins.

For more informationSonoma Film Festival and The Singularity is Near – The Movie.

March 17, 2010

Ray Kurzweil on Singularity University

A note from Ray hot from today’s inbox:

I wanted to take a moment to provide you a quick update on the ongoing progress of Singularity University.

I started Singularity University with Peter Diamandis (X Prize) last year and I am happy to report that it is growing, well, exponentially. Last week we concluded our second 9-Day Executive Program at our NASA Ames campus in Silicon Valley. Forty-five entrepreneurs, CEOs, venture capitalists, and government leaders came from over 15 countries and the feedback we are receiving from participants has been remarkably positive. Over 90% of participants rated the program very highly with one third saying it was their “best program ever!”

Our next 9-day program is coming up on April 30 – May 9th. The program concentrates on six exponential growing technologies:

1. Artificial Intelligence and Robotics

2. Nanotechnology

3. Biotechnology and Bioinformatics

4. Medicine and Human-Machine Interfaces

5. Networks & Computing Systems

6. Energy & Environmental Systems
Attending the program provides an understanding of how these accelerating technologies will transform your business and your industry by showing you what is in the lab today and where the technologies will be in 5 and 10 years. If you have an interest in attending, learn more about the program and how to apply by visiting our website at http://singularityu.org/executive-programs/.
With my best wishes,
Ray

March 16, 2010

The Singularity in the ivory tower

Via KurzweilAI.net — Rutgers is offering an online course on the technological Singularity.

Rutgers plans online course on the Singularity
KurzweilAI.net, Mar. 16, 2010

This summer, Rutgers University plans to offer “Special Topics in Sociology: Singularity Studies, the first accredited college course on the Singularity and associated technologies.

The three-credit summer course will feature online lectures and discussions every Monday and Wednesday evening throughout the summer and is available to students internationally.

The textbook will be The Singularity is Near: When Humans Transcend Biology by Ray Kurzweil, supplemented by online articles appropriate to individual lectures.

The course will feature online interviews with leading futurists and technologists around the world exploring the social implications of these anticipated developments. Topics include future studies and forecasting, finance and entrepreneurship, networks and computing systems,biotechnology and informatics, nanotechnology,neuroscience and human enhancement, artificial intelligence and roboticsenergy and ecological systems, and space and physical sciences.

The course will be taught by a father-son team, Ben and Ted Goertzel. Ben is the Director of Applied Research for the Singularity Institute for Artificial Intelligence and an External Research Professor at Xiamen University in China. He also heads up two startup companies, Novamente LLC and Biomind LLC, has written several books on artificial intelligence and related topics, and is an advisor to the AIRobotics Track at Singularity University.

Ted, Ben’s father, is a sociology professor at Rutgers who regularly teaches a Cyberspace and Society course and is author or co-author of numerous books on sociology andscience.

Students and guest speakers will be recruited internationally. The sessions will be recorded and available for viewing during the semester via the Elluminate system.

More info: Singularity Studies: The Future of Humanity in the Age of Superhuman Artificial Intelligence

January 5, 2010

Ray Kurzweil interviewed by h+

Filed under: Media, Politics, Science, Technology — Tags: , , , , — David Kirkpatrick @ 11:22 pm

Via KurzweilAI.net — Hit the link below for Kurzweil’s interview with h+, the futurism/transhumanist magazine.

Ray Kurzweil: The h+ Interview
H+ Magazine, Dec. 30, 2009

Consciousnessquantum computingcomplexityartificial intelligence, and reverse engineering the brain are among the diverse topics covered in an interview with Ray Kurzweil, where he reveals he’s working on a book called How the Mind Works and How to Build One.


Read Original Article>>

December 14, 2009

Ray Kurzweil on the next ten years

Filed under: Business, Media, Science, Technology — Tags: , , , — David Kirkpatrick @ 7:02 pm

Via KurzweilAI.net — Anyone who’s read this blog for any amount of time knows I regularly cover the offerings at KurzweilAI in general and Ray’s thoughts on the future in particular. He’s certainly one of the most prominent futurists out there right now.

Top futurist, Ray Kurzweil, predicts how technology will change humanity by 2020
NY Daily News, Dec. 13, 2009

Solar power on steroids, longer lives, the chance to get rid of obesity once and for all, and portable computing devices that start becoming part of your body rather than being held in your hand are among Ray Kurzweil’s forecasts for the coming decade.
Read Original Article>>

December 12, 2009

Note to those who fear the coming transhuman future …

Filed under: et.al., Science, Technology — Tags: , , , , — David Kirkpatrick @ 1:57 pm

cyborgs already walk amongst us.

From the link:

Technically, you’re already a cyborg. If you keep your cell phone with you most of the time, especially if the earpiece is in place, I think we can call that arrangement an exobrain. Don’t protest that your cellphone isn’t part of your body just because you can leave it in your other pants. If a cyborg can remove its digital eye and leave it on a shelf as a surveillance device, and I think we all agree that it can, then your cellphone qualifies as part of your body. In fact, one of the benefits of being a cyborg is that you can remove and upgrade parts easily. So don’t give me that “It’s not attached to me” argument. You’re already a cyborg. Deal with it.

Your regular brain uses your exobrain to outsource part of its memory, and perform other functions, such as GPS navigation, or searching the Internet. If you’re anything like me, your exobrain is with you 24-hours a day. It’s my only telephone device, and I even sleep next to it because it’s my alarm clock.

(Hat tip: the Daily Dish)

October 5, 2009

2009 Singularity Summit media page

Filed under: Media, Science, Technology — Tags: , , , , , — David Kirkpatrick @ 1:35 pm

Via KurzweilAI.net —

Singularity Summit media page launched

KurzweilAI.net, Oct. 5, 2009

The Singularity Summit has launched a media page foruploading videos (including some SS09 sessions), photos, and tweets (#SS09).

October 4, 2009

2009 Singularity Summit in progress

If you’re looking for information on, or reporting from, the 2009 Singularity Summit, hit this link for some excellent blogging on the various presentations and goings on in New York this weekend.

From the link, today’s wrap:

I’ll do a full retrospective at the end of the conference, but will offer just a short wrap-up for the first day. Today’s talks were, for the most part, rather dry and technical. Technical is good and important, but the talks today were really too short to provide anything but a high-level overview, and far too many of the presenters went into more detail than audience members could plausibly absorb. (Perhaps the speakers mean to induce through frustration a subtle case for neural enhancement? Or maybe they just figured they were preaching to an audience already well acquainted with the basics.) As is pretty typical, alas, of almost any kind of conference, many of the speakers seemed to be modifying talks they had given elsewhere and just tacking on a bit to the beginning and end about how their remarks were relevant to the Singularity — when they actually weren’t as pertinent as many of the attendees were expecting. At the breaks, I saw a lot of the speakers milling around and found myself unable to think of anything interesting to ask most of them about their lectures.

Many thanks to blogger Ari N. Schulman for the posts.

And if you’re wondering what all this Singularity stuff is, here’s my Singularity related posts.

(Hat tip: Instapundit)

October 2, 2009

Nanotechnology + 35 years = immortality?

Filed under: Science, Technology — Tags: , , , , — David Kirkpatrick @ 1:40 pm

Maybe so according to futurist Ray Kurzweil. I’m a fan of the futurist and often blog on bits from the KurzweilAI.net daily newsletter. His take on these topics is almost always very interesting, and you know a large amount of thought and knowledge have been brought to bear on the subject.

From the link:

In 30 or 40 years, we’ll have microscopic machines traveling through our bodies, repairing damaged cells and organs, effectively wiping out diseases. The nanotechnology will also be used to back up our memories and personalities.

In an interview with Computerworld , author and futurist Ray Kurzweil said that anyone alive come 2040 or 2050 could be close to immortal. The quickening advance of nanotechnology means that the human condition will shift into more of acollaboration of man and machine , as nanobots flow through human blood streams and eventually even replace biological blood, he added.

That may sound like something out of a sci-fi movie, but Kurzweil, a member of the Inventor’s Hall of Fame and a recipient of the National Medal of Technology, says that research well underway today is leading to a time when a combination of nanotechnology and biotechnology will wipe out cancer, Alzheimer’s disease , obesity and diabetes .

It’ll also be a time when humans will augment their natural cognitive powers and add years to their lives, Kurzweil said.

“It’s radical life extension,” Kurzweil said . “The full realization of nanobots will basically eliminate biological disease and aging. I think we’ll see widespread use in 20 years of [nanotech] devices that perform certain functions for us. In 30 or 40 years, we will overcome disease and aging. The nanobots will scout out organs and cells that need repairs and simply fix them. It will lead to profound extensions of our health and longevity.”

July 7, 2009

Ray Kurzweil on beating aging

Filed under: Science, Technology — Tags: , , , , , , , — David Kirkpatrick @ 2:05 am

Guest blogging at Technology Review, futurist Ray Kurzweil writes about combating the aging process.

From the link:

Entropy is not the most fruitful perspective from which to view aging. There are varying error rates in biological information processes depending on the cell type and this is part of biology’s paradigm. We have means already of determining error-free DNA sequences even though specific cells will contain DNA errors, and we will be in a position to correct those errors that matter.

The most important perspective in my view is that health, medicine, and biology is now an information technology whereas it used to be hit or miss. We not only have the (outdated) software that biology runs on (our genome) but we have the means of changing that software (our genes) in a mature individual with such technologies as RNA interference and new forms of gene therapy that do not trigger the immune system (I am a collaborator with a company that performs gene therapy outside the body, replicates the modified cell a million fold and reintroduces the cells to the body, a process that has cured a fatal disease–Pulmonary Hypertension–and is undergoing human trials).

July 6, 2009

Self designed human evolution

Filed under: Science, Technology — Tags: , , , , — David Kirkpatrick @ 4:44 pm

Via KurzweilAI.net — Some insight on human evolution from Stephen Hawking.

Stephen Hawking: ‘Humans Have Entered a New Stage of Evolution’
The Daily Galaxy, July 3, 2009

The rate of biological evolution in humans is about a bit a year, compared to 50,000 new books published in the English language each year, containing on the order of a hundred billion bits of information, Stephen Hawking says.

This means we are now entering a new phase of evolution — “self designed evolution” — in which we will be able to change and improve our DNA, and during the next century, discover how to “modify both intelligence and instincts like aggression.”

 
Read Original Article>>

June 1, 2009

Third version of Futures Research Methodology released

Via KurzweilAI.netFutures Research Methodology Version 3.0 is out and in the wild.

Futures Research Methodology v.3 published
KurzweilAI.net, June 1, 2009

Futures Research Methodology Version 3.0 is the largest, most comprehensive collection of internationally peer-reviewed methods and tools to explore future possibilities ever assembled in one resource, according to the Millennium Project.

Written by leading futurists Jerome C. Glenn and Theodore J. Gordon, the 39 chapters include methods such as prediction markets, real-time delphi, robust decisionmaking, structural analysis, state of the future index, wild cards, and normative forecasting. Version 3.0 has added new chapters and updated and improved previous ones.

More info: The Millennium Project

March 31, 2009

Jim Canton on the future of technology

Filed under: Media, Science, Technology — Tags: , , , — David Kirkpatrick @ 1:08 pm

A cool article from CIO.com. I’m always a sucker for anything Singularity.

From the first link:

Dr. James Canton has made a living out of predicting the future: He’s the CEO of the Institute of Global Futures, a Fortune 1000 advisor, author of such books as The Extreme Future and Technofutures, and an advisor to the new Google– and Nasa-backed Singularity University.

Despite the bleak economy and uncertain future, technology is key to our future, says Canton. Because of that tech workers and IT leaders are in a unique position to create opportunities for themselves. He weighed in on which trends were most important to techies.

 

James Canton
“Singularity—when AI based computers and networks rival or surpass human intelligence—wins the top prize for outrageous ideas of the year.”
Institute of Global Futures CEO James Canton

March 20, 2009

Flying cars

Filed under: Business, Science, Technology — Tags: , , — David Kirkpatrick @ 12:44 pm

Starting somewhere around the mid-90s people would lament the present with, “Where are my flying cars?” I’ve been guilty of this one.

No need for lamentations any longer because, they are here.

From the link:

Terrafugia's Transition

Terrafugia's Transition

 

It was one short flight for a car, one significant step for a Boston-area start up developing what may be the ultimate hybrid.

Terrafugia’s Transition is part-car, part-airplane and as of this month, a flight-worthy creation. The vehicle successfully completed its first test flight earlier this month, the company announced on Wednesday.

The flight was short — just 37 seconds — and right over the runway, but as Anna Mracek Dietrich, a Terrafugia co-founder and its chief operating officer, pointed out, flying wasn’t the key goal.

(Hat tip: the Daily Dish)

March 19, 2009

Transcendent Man to premeire at Tribeca Film Festival

This documentary is on futurist (and creator of the synthesizer bearing his name) Ray Kurzweil. Should be a very interesting film.

Hot from the inbox:

Transcendent Man, a documentary on the life and ideas of Ray Kurzweil, will premiere on April 25 at the prestigious Tribeca Film Festival in New York City .

 

See details below for how to get tickets to one of the premiere screenings.

 

Director Barry Ptolemy traveled to five countries and followed Ray Kurzweil for two years, documenting Kurzweil’s journey to bring the ideas from his best-selling book The Singularity is Nearto a world audience.  Ptolemy expertly explores the social and philosophical implications of the transformative changes that Kurzweil predicts and their intertwined promise and peril, in dialogues with world leaders such as Colin Powell; technologists Hugo de Garis, Peter Diamandis, Kevin Warwick, and Dean Kamen; journalists Kevin Kelly and Tom Abate; and luminary Stevie Wonder. Award-winning American composer Philip Glass composed the original theme music, which mirrors the depth and intensity of the film.

 

The movie trailer can be seen at http://www.TranscendentMan.com.

 

Head below the fold for more info. (more…)

March 13, 2009

A look at the future of neuroscience

Filed under: Science, Technology — Tags: , , , — David Kirkpatrick @ 5:34 pm

Informative blog post at FutureTechie.com on the future of neuroscience.

From the link:

Before we come up with some kind of Evil Hollywood Science Fiction Artificial Intelligence that for some reason utilizes the horribly inefficient human body as a power source, we are stuck with brains.  We are already doing with brains what the machines do with humans in the classic film “The Matrix”.

Animal brains, that is.  Scientists at University of Reading have removed the neural cortex of a fetal rat, put it in a nutrient and neuron rich broth surrounding a circuit board, and waited.  Over 300,000 rat neurons eventually forged their own new and unique connections with the cortex and circuit board:

Also from the link:

Some say we will lose our unique individualism as we merge with machines, I predict the opposite.  Just as an uneducated, starved brain from the medieval dark ages or poverty-stricken Africa is limited in comparison to an educated healthy brain, in the future our minds will expand and become more varied in psychology, ideas, creativity, and perception as we voluntarily tinker with our intelligence, speed of thought, memory, and even how the basic components of our brains are organized.  Similar to how a prosthetic leg helps one walk again or a pacemaker allows one to live additional years brain-computer interfaces will be just another step.

December 18, 2008

Sci-fi authors on predicting technology

Filed under: Arts, Media, Science, Technology — Tags: , , , , , , — David Kirkpatrick @ 12:52 pm

CIO.com has a cool story on science fiction authors and predicting the future of technology.  A fun read if like science fiction, the latest and greatest in tech, or just enjoy speculating about the future.

From the link:

CIO invited noted science fiction authors Larry Niven, Robert Sawyer, Nancy Kress and Charles Stross to share their thoughts on technology-related predictions, including lessons learned in the “business” of imagining what the future might be like. Here’s what they had to say (via e-mail).

And here’s a bonus fun sidebar from the link:

Accurate Predictions
Even When They Weren’t Trying
Getting to the moon by shooting a manned capsule out of a way big cannon—Jules Verne, From The Earth To The Moon.
Getting to the moon courtesy of an anti-gravity metal—H.G. Wells, The First Men In The Mooncourtesy of Cavorite, an anti-gravity metal.
Automatically controlled sliding doors (and dozens of other things)—Hugo Gernsback. The telecommunications satellite— the late Arthur C. Clarke. Tele-operated robotic hands, and waterbeds—Robert Heinlein.
…and even more Predictions From Science Fiction.
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