Let’s Hope Machines Take Our Jobs: We Want Wealth, Not Jobs

By Peter St. Onge

let's-hope-machines-take-our-jobs

The job-threatening rise of the machines is an economically illiterate meme that refuses to die. We’re actually probably in the early stages of it, a bull-market in neo-luddism, if you will. Bastiat’s “Candlemakers Petititon” answered this one long ago, but today I’ll run a little thought experiment that owes it all to good old Bastiat.

Let’s say Weird Al Yankovic invents a machine capable of making everything with a single push of a button. The first thing he does is print up a bunch of machines and sell them for a ton. Weird Al is now a billionaire, and there are thousands of make-everything machines.

This diffusion of Weird Al’s new technology replicates the market process, where new tech spreads in proportion to its usefulness. If you doubt this, because of patents, for example, check out Brazil’s experience with AIDS drugs, where they tore up the patents on humanitarian grounds.

Weird Al’s machines will, at a minimum, be mass produced in Brazil. Or China. Or Mozambique.

So, one way or another, we get a bunch of make-everything machines.

Continue reading… “Let’s Hope Machines Take Our Jobs: We Want Wealth, Not Jobs”

CHINA CLAIMS BREAKTHROUGH IN QUANTUM COMPUTING RACE


By Preetipadma

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The trade war rivalry between USA and China is well known. However, since the past few years, both the nations are caught up in a heated tech race towards supremacy. This is also reflected with China putting its best to lead in terms of quantum computing power too.

Last year, Google grabbed headlines, when it announced Sycamore quantum computerhad achieved quantum advantage—formerly known as quantum supremacy. Sycamore could perform computation in 200 seconds that would take the fastest supercomputers about 10,000 years. Recently, China developed a quantum computing system which is reported to be 10 billion times faster than Google’s Sycamore. Researchers from the University of Science and Technology of China explained that this quantum computer prototype named Jiuzhang delivered results in minutes calculated to take more than 2 billion years of effort by the world’s third-most-powerful supercomputer.

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Where the future of the grocery store is headed

Dennis Lee

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A customer scans goods at the first Pyaterochka #naletu [on-the-go] cashierless supermarket on the opening day in Moscow

The pandemic has made trips to the grocery store a slog. Prices feel high, lines feel long, and we’re all getting tired. The new model of shopping aims to change all of it.

This article by TechCrunch shows what Amazon is doing in its physical stores to improve the grocery shopping process, and it definitely feels futuristic. Currently if you visit an Amazon grocery store, you swipe yourself in with the Amazon app on your phone, and you go shopping as usual. As you go through the store and place items in your cart, cameras and shelf sensors figure out what you’re putting in your grocery cart, and Amazon compiles a virtual checkout cart for you as you go along. (I can’t tell how this makes me feel.) When you’re done shopping, Amazon charges you for what it’s logged in your cart.

Now Amazon has announced that it will license this system, called Just Walk Out, to other grocers. Instead of using an Amazon account, all shoppers will need to do is swipe a credit card at the entrance. While this sounds like a pretty big adjustment, Amazon claims that current grocery stores only need a few weeks to be retrofitted with the technology.

Continue reading… “Where the future of the grocery store is headed”

TO BOOST BIRTH RATE, JAPAN’S GOVERNMENT CONSIDERS AI TO MATCH SPOUSES

Bonnie Burton

japan-government-AI-Match-spouses
In Japan, not only can you have artificial intelligence pick your mate, but you can also have two giant Pikachu mascots standing by as you say I do.

Japan’s Cabinet Office is asking for budget approval for a new dating service driven by artificial intelligence.

Finding the perfect mate can feel impossible, especially when in-person interactions have come to a screeching halt due to COVID-19 lockdowns. But if you live in Japan, the government there wants to help you find eternal love — or at least your future spouse — using artificial intelligence

In an effort to boost Japan’s declining birth rate, the government has been trying to help single heterosexual men and women find true love so they get married and start families. The number of annual marriages in Japan has fallen from 800,000 in 2000 to 600,000 in 2019.

According to Sora News 24, roughly 25 of Japan’s 47 prefectures currently have some sort of government-run matchmaking service for singles where the users plug in their preferences for a potential mate — including age, income and educational level. The dating services then provide a list of other users who meet their criteria. 

Continue reading… “TO BOOST BIRTH RATE, JAPAN’S GOVERNMENT CONSIDERS AI TO MATCH SPOUSES”

DARPA says it’s getting closer to snatching drones out of midair

Kris Holt

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The agency is still working on its Gremlins reusable drone project.

The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) is still developing its Gremlins project, which is apparently getting closer to grabbing drones out of the sky. The agency said it was “inches from success” during its latest round of test flights.

Each of the three X-61A Gremlins Air Vehicles (GAV) flew for more than two hours in the third series of test flights. DARPAmade nine attempts to capture the GAVs using a docking bullet extended from a C-130, but none were successful. The agency said that “relative movement was more dynamic than expected.” The GAVs parachuted safely to the ground.

“All of our systems looked good during the ground tests, but the flight test is where you truly find how things work,” Scott Wierzbanowski, Gremlins program manager at DARPA’s Tactical Technology Office, said in a statement. “We came within inches of connection on each attempt but, ultimately, it just wasn’t close enough to engage the recovery system.”

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Electric, self-driving tractor may just be the future of farming as we know it

By Luke Dormehl

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Monarch Tractor

The world of farming is changing rapidly. Whether it’s CRISPR editing for improving crop yieldssmart scarecrows, or robot weeding machines, this sector continues to transform at a breakneck speed.

But rather than simply being capable of driving from point A to point B, the Monarch Tractor promises to carry out any function a farmer might use a tractor for, interfacing with other tractor attachments, along with carrying out assessments on crop health and more. Depending on the mode, they can work autonomously, controlled in a fleet by farmers on the ground, or tailing other drivers in a shadow mode. It’s an impressive piece of tech.

“The Monarch Tractor is fully autonomous, but it also works with existing tractor drivers, as well as interfacing with existing implements,” Praveen Penmesta, founder and CEO of Monarch, told Digital Trends. “We didn’t want to change the appearance [too much from the traditional vehicle so] that the farming community didn’t recognize it as a tractor. However, we wanted to make the Monarch Tractor adaptive so that it can grow with the farmer. We wanted to ensure our compact tractor could implement any attachment and have it work fully electrically like the tractor, and maintain balance and productivity.”

Continue reading… “Electric, self-driving tractor may just be the future of farming as we know it”

Hyundai is buying a majority in Boston Dynamics, maker of those acrobatic robots that freak everyone out

HYUNDAI SEES HUMANOID BOTS EVENTUALLY BEING USED IN THE HEALTHCARE SECTOR “FOR SOPHISTICATED SERVICES SUCH AS CAREGIVING FOR PATIENTS AT HOSPITALS.”

Hyundai Motor Group has announced it is buying a majority stake in Boston Dynamics, the maker of the advanced robots seen in all those viral videos that seem to freak everyone out. The Korean-based Hyundai announced the deal today, saying it was acquiring 80% of Massachusetts-based Boston Dynamics from Japan’s SoftBank Group for $1.1 billion.

Hyundai says the deal fits within the company’s vision of its desire to transform “human life by combining world-leading robotics technologies with its mobility expertise.” The firm says its decision to acquire Boston Dynamics was based on the key technologies their robots already possess, including “perception, navigation, and intelligence.”

Currently, Boston Dynamics has one commercial robot, Spot, which is the dog-shaped quadruped robot that the company positions as an intelligent surveillance tool to deploy in potentially dangerous locals such as construction sites and oil and gas fields. Boston Dynamics also positions Spot as the bot you want if you need to inspect potentially hazardous packages from afar.

But Boston Dynamics also makes bipedal robots (check out the video below) that Hyundai now says it hopes can be deployed in the service sector. Hyundai sees these humanoid bots eventually being used in the healthcare sector as helpers for the disabled or caretakers of the elderly, specifically noting that its aim is to develop “humanoid robots for sophisticated services such as caregiving for patients at hospitals.”

Continue reading… “Hyundai is buying a majority in Boston Dynamics, maker of those acrobatic robots that freak everyone out”

First electric air taxis set to fly in Singapore by 2023

Posted by Mallika Soni 

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VOLOCOPTER COMPLETED

Singapore is set to host the world’s first electric-powered air taxi service by the end of 2023, according to Volocopter GmbH, which is developing the vertical-takeoff craft.

The German manufacturer is committed to starting operations within three years once it completes flight trials, evaluation and certification in collaboration with the city-state, it said in a statement Wednesday. Tickets for a 15-minute trip costing 300 euros ($364) are already on sale.

Volocopter completed a demonstration flight over Singapore’s Marina Bay area in October last year, and the first commercial route is likely to fly tourists over the same district, offering spectacular views of the skyline, the company said. Later services could including cross-border journeys.

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Long-term study of gene therapy technique in monkeys finds no adverse health effects


by Oregon Health & Science University

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A decade after the birth of the first primates born with the aid of a gene therapy technique designed to prevent inherited mitochondrial disease, a careful study of the monkeys and their offspring reveals no adverse health effects.

Led by scientists at Oregon Health & Science University, the study published Dec. 8 in the journal Human Reproduction.

The new study generally bolsters the scientific basis for mitochondrial replacement therapy in human clinical trials, with an important caveat: Researchers found varying levels of carryover maternal mitochondrial DNA that had preferentially replicated and accumulated within some internal organs, although not enough to cause health effects.

Continue reading… “Long-term study of gene therapy technique in monkeys finds no adverse health effects”

NASA Air Taxi Partnership Takes Autonomous Flight Sky-high


David Mantey
 Dec 09, 2020 

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Nasa AirTaxi

There’s nothing more exciting than the thought of being ferried around in an autonomous flying taxi, unless you’re a risk averse person… in which case, there is probably nothing LESS exciting than the thought of a self-flying air taxi.

But regardless of your personal inclinations, there are some exciting developments being made as it relates to autonomous passenger flight, and it involves the biggest name is aerospace: NASA.

NASA has announced that it has established a partnership with Wisk, the urban air mobility company behind the world’s first first autonomous, all-electric air taxi featuring vertical takeoff and landing. 

Wisk’s craft, called Cora, has undertaken more than a thousand test flights since taking to the air in 2017 and the company hopes that by teaming up with NASA, the two organizations can help build a framework for autonomous passenger flight on a national scale.

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Brain implants enable man to simultaneously control two prosthetic limbs with thoughts


by Johns Hopkins University

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Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory engineer Francesco Tenore (standing) watches as Buz Chmielewski (seated), a patient with minimal movement in his arms and hands, uses brain implants to control two robotic prosthetic arms. Credit: Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory

In what is believed to be a medical first, researchers from Johns Hopkins Medicine (JHM) and the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory (APL) have enabled a quadriplegic man to control a pair of prosthetic arms with his mind.

In January 2019, surgeons implanted six electrodes into the brain of Robert “Buz” Chmielewski during a 10-hour operation. The goal was to improve the sensation in his hands and enable him to mentally operate his prostheses. For more than three decades after a surfing accident while in his teens, Chmielewski has been paralyzed with only minimal movement in his arms and hands.

Now, almost two years into the joint JHM/APL research study following the surgery, has reached an important milestone—he can now use both of his robotic appendages to perform simple tasks such as feeding himself.

Continue reading… “Brain implants enable man to simultaneously control two prosthetic limbs with thoughts”

Space Force opens SpaceWERX technology accelerator in Los Angeles

by Sandra Erwin 

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Will Roper, assistant secretary of the Air Force for acquisition, technology and logistics (left) and Lt. Gen. John Thompson, commander of the Space and Missile Systems Center, announced Dec. 7 the opening of a SpaceWERX technology accelerator office that will work with commercial companies in the space industry. 

Lt. Gen. Thompson: SpaceWERX will “help us ensure the Space Force can tap into cutting edge space technologies.”

WASHINGTON — Will Roper, assistant secretary of the Air Force for acquisition, technology and logistics, announced Dec. 7 the opening of a technology accelerator office that will work with commercial companies in the space industry.

Known as SpaceWERX, the new organization will be the “space arm of AFWERX,” Roper said during a virtual event in a joint appearance with Lt. Gen. John Thompson, commander of the Space and Missile Systems Center. 

Thompson said SpaceWERX will be located at the SMC campus in Los Angeles and will be led by Lt. Col. Rock McMillan. 

Continue reading… “Space Force opens SpaceWERX technology accelerator in Los Angeles”