In a world awash in information, the curator is king

 

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A sci-fi novelist on what he learned writing a trilogy of speculative novels that extrapolate how feeds shape our lives, politics, and future

Feeds shape our world. Google uses hundreds of variables to determine the search results you see. A complex statistical engine produces your personalized Netflix queue. Facebook uses everything it knows about you and your friends to build your timeline. Your credit score is compiled from third-party data brokers. Taylor Swift uses facial recognition software to identify stalkers at concerts. Even these Herculean efforts are dwarfed in scale by the Chinese social credit system that will integrate data from many disparate public and private sources.

Feeds are inevitable to the extent that they are useful. Every minute of every day, 156 million emails are sent, 400 hours of video are uploaded to Youtube, and there are 600 new page edits to Wikipedia. There is so much more information than we can possibly digest, and feeds are the imperfect filters that we use to try to distill what we want from all that’s out there. But their imperfections generate horrendous side effects, like unjust parole decisions made on the basis of racially biased data. And even more fundamentally, the sheer scale of feeds, and their incomprehensibility to most users, give their masters enormous hidden power.

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Kurzweil: By 2030, Nanobots Will Flow Throughout Our Bodies

Ray Kurzweil, Google’s director of engineering, is a well-known futurist who seems to have a penchant for accurate predictions. Most recently, he has again reiterated his prediction that the so-called technological singularity will happen by 2045. For Kurzweil, this doesn’t translate to an end-of-the-world-as-we-know-it scenario courtesy of artificially intelligent (AI) machines. Rather, it means human beings will become powered by machines.

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7 companies working to make ‘flying cars’ a reality

Tesla and SpaceX CEO Elon Musk may think flying cars are a bad idea, but several companies are working to make them a reality as early as next year.The vehicles these companies are working on aren’t the same from flying cars from “Back to the Future.” Rather, they are pursuing electric, vertical take-off and landing (VTOL) aircraft for shorter urban commutes.

Like the name suggests, these are vehicles that can take off without needing a runway.

Competition is mounting when it comes to the flying-car moonshot — here are 7 companies working on their own VTOL aircrafts:

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A New Brain-Interface Device Lets You Control Animals With Your Thoughts

TURTLES AND YOUR THOUGHTS

A team of researchers from the Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (KAIST) have developed technology that allows them to control the movement of turtles using human thought.

Think of it as a real life — but significantly scaled down — application of the 2009 blockbuster Avatar concept where humans control the body of an alien by remotely transferring human consciousness into another biological body. The team uses a brain-computer interface (BCI) that helps translate brain waves into commands that guide or control the movement of the turtle.

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Get ready for robots made with human flesh

Two University of Oxford biomedical researchers are calling for robots to be built with real human tissue, and they say the technology is there if we only choose to develop it. Writing in Science Robotics, Pierre-Alexis Mouthuy and Andrew Carr argue that humanoid robots could be the exact tool we need to create muscle and tendon grafts that actually work.

Right now, tissue engineering relies on bioreactors to grow sheets of cells. These machines often look like large fish tanks, filled with a rich soup of nutrients and chemicals that cells need to grow on a specialized trellis. The problem, explain Mouthuy and Carr, is that bioreactors currently “fail to mimic the real mechanical environment for cells.” In other words, human cells in muscles and tendons grow while being stretched and moved around on our skeletons. Without experiencing these natural stresses, the tissue grafts produced by researchers often have a broad range of structural problems and low cell counts.

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Complementary AI-human hybrid intelligence

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As AI becomes smarter, many are calling for caution, in case science fiction was right about robots destroying their masters. Bill Gates, Elon Musk, and Stephen Hawking have all called for caution in the development of intelligent systems. When computers can make critical decisions for themselves there is reason to be worried, especially if the outcome is not in your favor

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What technologies will be required for the robots of the future?

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It might sound like science fiction, but someday, thanks to creative scientists and engineers, our world may contain autonomous or semi-autonomous robots working with people, helping us do tasks that are better suited for machines.   Continue reading… “What technologies will be required for the robots of the future?”

What we can learn about the future through reading science fiction books

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What I Learned About the Future by Reading 100 Science Fiction Books

By Tiago Forte:

Over the past two years I’ve read 100 sci-fi novels, averaging about one per week. See the full list here, with my favorites. I started reading sci-fi to pass the time. I had good memories of readingJurassic Park as a kid. I continued because I noticed that it gave me something: a stronger imagination, a disrespect for the merely possible. Continue reading… “What we can learn about the future through reading science fiction books”