Tag Archives | Google

Google X Looked Into Building a Space Elevator

PIC: Superborusk (CC)

PIC: Superborusk (CC)

Richard DeVaul, the head of Google X’s Rapid Evaluation Team told Fast Company that the secretive lab had made some serious inquiries into the feasibility of building a space elevator:

Via Fast Company:

“It would be a massive capital investment,” he said in this month’s issue of Fast Company. But once this hypothetical machine was built, “it could take you from ground to orbit with a net of basically zero energy. It drives down the space-access costs, operationally, to being incredibly low.”

Unfortunately, our current technological landscape has its limitations:

The team knew the cable would have to be exceptionally strong– “at least a hundred times stronger than the strongest steel that we have,” by ­[Google X researcher Dan Piponi]‘s calculations. He found one material that could do this: carbon nanotubes. But no one has manufactured a perfectly formed carbon nanotube strand longer than a meter. And so elevators “were put in a deep freeze,” as [Google X researcher Mitch Heinrich] says, and the team decided to keep tabs on any advances in the carbon nanotube field.

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Google’s CEO Larry Page on Improving the World, NSA, Security, and Tesla

via chycho

The following TED Talks interview with Google CEO Larry Page will either give you a warm fuzzy feeling all over, or turn your stomach making you feel nauseous to the point where you want to projectile vomit all over your screen.

Larry Page: Where’s Google going next?

I. Larry Page on Improving the World

Now don’t get me wrong, Google has done some good, but why are we expected to dismiss the bad? For example, when Larry Page so valiantly smiles and states that:

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OWS Founder Calls on Obama to Appoint Google’s Eric Schmidt ‘CEO of America’

Eric SchmidtOK, so who can sort this one out: the founder of Occupy Wall Street wants the President of the United States to resign and appoint her boss, Google’s Chairman Eric Schmidt, to a new post, CEO of America. The Guardian reports but let’s hear from you in the comments if any of it makes sense:

One of the co-founders of the Occupy Wall Street movement has called on Barack Obama to resign as president, and “appoint Eric Schmidt CEO of America”.

Justine Tunney, a self-styled “champagne tranarchist”, is now a software engineer at Google, but remains involved with Occupy Wall Street, through the occupywallst.org website, which she created.

In the petition, which currently has two signatures (a far cry from the 195,000 who follow the Occupy Wall Street twitter account Tunney started in 2011), she calls on Obama to arrange a national referendum to:

  1. Retire all government employees with full pensions.

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A Transhumanist Wants to Teach Kids That “Death Is Wrong”

Science Fiction League (March 1958) ... The Re...

Science Fiction League (March 1958) … The Real You (July 6, 2011 / 4 Tammuz 5771) … (Photo credit: marsmet541) (CC)

What do  you think disinfonaughts. Is death wrong, and should we teach the children that it is?

via Motherboard

Gennady Stolyarov is afraid to die, and not afraid to say so. He also strongly believes that human beings don’t have to die, or at least, will live much, much longer in the future. A writer and transhumanist activist, Stolyarov sees death as something that can be “solved” by technology and science, and one day it will possible to extend life indefinitely. To that end, he’s trying to buck the cultural perception that mortality is inevitable, and he’s starting with kids.

Stolyarov published the children’s book Death Is Wrong in November, and Zoltan Istvan, author of The Transhumanist Wager, unearthed the story in a post on Psychology Today. Now Stolyarov is promoting the book with an Indiegogo campaign, trying to crowdfund $5,000 to print and distribute 1,000 copies of the book and get the anti-death word out.

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Ray Kurzweil Wants to Make Google Sentient

Hal_console

Man’s best friend?

What is smarter than hoovering up the personal information and innermost thoughts of every person on the planet and then stuffing it into a single database?  Creating an artificial intelligence system capable of understanding it.  From The Guardian:

Google has bought almost every machine-learning and robotics company it can find, or at least, rates. It made headlines two months ago, when it bought Boston Dynamics, the firm that produces spectacular, terrifyingly life-like military robots, for an “undisclosed” but undoubtedly massive sum. It spent $3.2bn (£1.9bn) on smart thermostat maker Nest Labs. And this month, it bought the secretive and cutting-edge British artificial intelligence startup DeepMind for £242m.

And those are just the big deals. It also bought Bot & Dolly, Meka Robotics, Holomni, Redwood Robotics and Schaft, and another AI startup, DNNresearch. It hired Geoff Hinton, a British computer scientist who’s probably the world’s leading expert on neural networks.… Read the rest

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The Coming Backlash Against Silicon Valley

facebookVia the Economist, Adrian Wooldridge on seeing the giant tech corporations for what they really are:

Geeks have turned out to be some of the most ruthless capitalists around. A few years ago the new economy was a wide-open frontier. Today it is dominated by a handful of tightly held oligopolies. Google and Apple provide over 90% of the operating systems for smartphones. Facebook counts more than half of North Americans and Europeans as its customers.

The lords of cyberspace have done everything possible to reduce their earthly costs. They employ remarkably few people: with a market cap of $290 billion Google is about six times bigger than GM but employs only around a fifth as many workers.

At the same time the tech tycoons have displayed a banker-like enthusiasm for hoovering up public subsidies and then avoiding taxes. The American government laid the foundations of the tech revolution by investing heavily in the creation of everything from the internet to digital personal assistants.

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NYPD Is Beta-Testing Google Glass For Law Enforcement

google glassSoon police may instantly know the identity and personal background of everyone they see, VentureBeat reports:

Google Glass may soon become a favored tool for law enforcement agencies in the United States.

The New York City Police Department’s massive and controversial intelligence and analytics unit is evaluating whether Google Glass is a decent fit for investigating terrorists and helping cops lock up bad guys, VentureBeat has learned.

The department recently received several pairs of the modernist-looking specs to test out. “We’re trying them out, mostly for patrol purposes,” a ranking New York City law enforcement official told VentureBeat. Wireless facial recognition software is one potential use.

The glasses are currently only available through Google’s Glass Explorer program, in which people who interested in acquiring them first apply and then receive notification from Google on whether it accepts or denies their application. Respondents who get the green light must pay $1,500 for the privilege.

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Google Purchases Cutting Edge Artificial Intelligence Company

Screen Shot 2014-01-27 at 10.28.53 AMGoogle’s march toward Skynet continues…

Google said on Monday that it had agreed to buy British artificial intelligence start-up company DeepMind for an undisclosed amount.

“I can confirm that the acquisition has indeed gone ahead but unfortunately we are not commenting beyond that for now,” a Google spokeswoman told AFP.

Reports put the deal at between $400 million and $500 million (292-365 million euros).

On its one-page website, DeepMind describes itself as “a cutting edge artificial intelligence company” which combines “the best techniques from machine learning and systems neuroscience to build powerful general-purpose learning algorithms”.

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Google Buys Military Robotics Contractor

The company that creates terrifying machines such as BigDog, CHEETAH, and PETMAN for the Pentagon’s DARPA division is now a subsidiary of Google. It remains to be seen how Google plans to combine the deployment of robots such as BigDog (below) with its knowledge of your intimate personal information and location at all times. The New York Times reports:

Google confirmed on Friday that it had completed the acquisition of Boston Dynamics, an engineering company that has designed mobile research robots for the Pentagon. The company, based in Waltham, Mass., has gained an international reputation for extraordinarily agile machines that walk with an uncanny sense of balance and even — cheetahlike — run faster than the fastest humans.

Executives at the Internet giant are circumspect about what exactly they plan to do with their robot collection.

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Badge Classes And Segregation Inside The Googleplex

Filmmaker Andrew Norman Wilson‘s eerie short Workers Leaving the Googleplex reveals his brief time employed as a temp in video production at Google’s headquarters and how things went terribly wrong.

Google fancies itself as creating the future, and its system of separating workers into white, red, green, and yellow badge classes reads like a preview of how society will be organized in some dystopian future.

Wilson was fired and threatened with legal action after Google campus security caught him interacting with lowly yellow badge workers, who are not granted the privileges of red and white badge holders, such as riding Google bikes, eating free gourmet Google meals, setting foot anywhere else on Google’s campus, or even talking to employees with other badge colors, many of whom do not know that the yellow badge class exists:

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