Robots could push unemployment to 50% in 30 years, prof says

Found on CNet News on Sunday, 14 February 2016
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In 30 years, Vardi says, computers will be able to perform almost any job that humans can. One assumes this includes working as a professor of computational engineering. Vardi foresees unemployment as surpassing 50 percent by 2045.

"If we wait 25 years, we may find ourselves in a very difficult societal change. The Industrial Revolution brought about the Russian Revolution and the Chinese Revolution, with a human cost of about 100 million lives. I hope we are wiser this time," he told me.

That will end up in uprisings, unless the unemployed masses receive enough unemployment benefits to keep them calm; but even then it has a dangerous potential because with too much free time, some people might get the wrong ideas. Panem et circenses does not work in the long run.

Intelligent machines: Call for a ban on robots designed as sex toys

Found on BBC News on Tuesday, 15 September 2015
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Such a use of the technology is unnecessary and undesirable, said campaign leader Dr Kathleen Richardson.

She believes that they reinforce traditional stereotypes of women and the view that a relationship need be nothing more than physical.

"We think that the creation of such robots will contribute to detrimental relationships between men and women, adults and children, men and men and women and women," she said.

Those robots are just bigger vibrators which haven't had much of evil influence on relationships.

Google Woo of German Carmakers Draws Audi Snub Over Privacy Woes

Found on Bloomberg on Wednesday, 10 June 2015
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Google Inc.’s avowed strategy of courting German carmakers into partnerships got a snub from Audi AG amid concerns that Internet-assisted driving may risk intruding on passenger privacy.

“Customers want to be at the center” of their car-ownership “and not exploited for it,” Stadler said Tuesday. “They want to be in control of their data and not subject to monitoring. And we take this seriously.”

One day you probably will get your car with a hefty discount if you opt-in to constant advertising while you are on the road. Then some smart developers take a look at it, figure out how to root your car and install adblocking software onto it to give you your privacy back.

Humans 'will become God-like cyborgs within 200 years'

Found on The Telegraph on Monday, 25 May 2015
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Prof Harari, who has written a landmark book charting the history of humanity, said mankind would evolve to become like gods with the power over death, and be as different from humans of today as we are from chimpanzees.

“I think it is likely in the next 200 years or so homo sapiens will upgrade themselves into some idea of a divine being, either through biological manipulation or genetic engineering of by the creation of cyborgs, part organic part non-organic.

There are quite a few if's. He assumes that in the next 200 years, the current system of capitalism will still exist in its current form; but with the gap between rich and poor getting quickly bigger, the system might fail soon, so humanity in 200 years might be very different from what it is today (if humans have not eradicated themselves and destroyed the earth that is). If you look at the predictions scientists made some 40 or 50 years ago about today's computers, it's easy to imagine how far off Harari might be. Or, we just end up as Borg.

By 2045 'The Top Species Will No Longer Be Humans,' And That Could Be A Problem

Found on Business Insider on Sunday, 06 July 2014
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Del Monte believes machines will become self-conscious and have the capabilities to protect themselves. They "might view us the same way we view harmful insects." Humans are a species that "is unstable, creates wars, has weapons to wipe out the world twice over, and makes computer viruses."

Run at the Laboratory of Intelligent Systems in the Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale of Lausanne, Switzerland, the experiment had robots designed to cooperate in finding beneficial resources like energy and avoiding the hazardous ones. Shockingly, the robots learned to lie to each other in an attempt to hoard the beneficial resources for themselves.

I'm sorry Dave, I'm afraid I can't do that.

Warp Drives May Come With a Killer Downside

Found on Universe Today on Friday, 02 March 2012
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Proposed by Mexican theoretical physicist Miguel Alcubierre in 1994, the drive would propel a ship at superluminal speeds by creating a bubble of negative energy around it, expanding space (and time) behind the ship while compressing space in front of it. In much the same way that a surfer rides a wave, the bubble of space containing the ship and its passengers would be pushed at velocities not limited to the speed of light toward a destination.

When the Alcubierre-driven ship decelerates from superluminal speed, the particles its bubble has gathered are released in energetic outbursts. In the case of forward-facing particles the outburst can be very energetic — enough to destroy anyone at the destination directly in front of the ship.

This is the point where the military gets interested in the Alcubierre drive.

Cloud-seeding ships could combat climate change

Found on Physics World on Saturday, 06 September 2008
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It should be possible to counteract the global warming associated with a doubling of carbon dioxide levels by enhancing the reflectivity of low-lying clouds above the oceans, according to researchers in the US and UK.

The idea relies on the "Twomey effect", which says that increasing the concentration of water droplets within a cloud raises the overall surface area of the droplets and thereby enhances the cloud's albedo.

The 300-tonne unmanned ships used to seed the clouds would be powered by the wind, but would not use conventional sails.

Terraforming. Basically, they are trying to fight the results of a problem with an untested idea on a global scale instead of taking care of the cause. They don't even know the side effects. You can achieve a global cooling way easier with a nuclear winter. The results are just as untested.

Swarm robotics work hundreds of robots into one

Found on IT News on Friday, 14 March 2008
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Forget the conventional notion of human-like androids; researchers are investigating large swarms of up to 10,000 miniature robots which can work together to form a single, artificial life form.

As a part of an international collaboration dubbed the "Symbiotic Evolutionary Robot Organisms" project, or "Symbrion" for short, researchers from the University of York are developing an artificial immune system which can protect both the individual robots that form part of a swarm, as well as the larger, collective organism.

Should any faults be detected, individual robots will be able to share the information with others in the robotic swarm. The swarm as a whole will thus be capable of evolving in the face of new problems, just as a natural immune system is able to cope with unfamiliar pathogens.

Better 'bionic eye' offers new hope

Found on New Scientist on Friday, 16 February 2007
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Profoundly blind people could get their best shot yet of restored vision with a more advanced "bionic eye", researchers have announced.

Trials of the new retinal prosthesis will begin shortly, following the success of a prototype that has enabled six blind people to see again.

Within a few weeks all could detect light, identify objects and even perceive motion again. For one patient, this was the first time he had seen anything in half a century, after his sight was destroyed by retinitis pigmentosa, a virus that attacks retinal cells.

Currently recipients of the device experience a relatively narrow view, but more electrodes should provide a greater field of vision, Humayun says. By stimulating more ganglion cells, he hopes that visual acuity will increase dramatically. His team's next goal is to design a device with 1000 electrodes.

Sometimes, Star Trek just gets real.

100 miles on 4 ounces of water?

Found on ZPEnergy on Tuesday, 30 May 2006
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Denny Klein just patented his process of converting H2O to HHO, producing a gas that combines the atomic power of hydrogen with the chemical stability of water. "it turns right back to water. In fact, you can see the h20 running off the sheet metal." Klein originally designed his water-burning engine for cutting metal. He thought his invention could replace acetylene in welding factories. Then one day as he drove to his laboratory in Clearwater, he thought of another way to burn his HHO gas. "On a 100 mile trip, we use about four ounces of water." Klein says his prototype 1994 Ford Escort can travel exclusively on water, though he currently has it rigged to run as a water and gasoline hybrid.

Sounds too good to be true. Although I give him the benefit of doubt, there are a lot of people who think his idea is nothing but a scam. After all, converting water to hydrogen and oxygen isn't that new. Nevertheless, let's hope his results are more promising that the pessimists think.