Tag Archives | Technology

MIT Study Says Robot Overlords Could Make for Happier Human Workers

Most of the human bosses I’ve had lead me to find this claim not just possible but probable.

Mat Smith writes at Engadget:

New research from MIT reckons that robots controlling human tasks in manufacturing is not only more efficient than flesh-and-blood middle-management, but preferred by people that do the work too. Automation in the manufacturing process has been around for decades, but the new study aimed to seek out the sweet spot where human workers were “both satisfied and productive.”

“We discovered that the answer is to actually give machines more autonomy, if it helps people to work together more fluently with robot teammates,” said project lead Matthew Gombolay. The study was composed of groups of two humans and one robot, working in three test conditions. One had all tasks allocated by a human, another where all tasks were allocated by the robot and the final scenario had one human allocating tasks to themselves, while the robot allocated tasks to the other meatsack.

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Are we heading for technological unemployment? An Argument

Altar of technology by zeitfaenger.at via Flickr.

Altar of technology by zeitfaenger.at via Flickr.

This piece was first published on Philosophical Disquisitions We’re all familiar with the headlines by now: “Robots are going to steal our jobs”, “Automation will lead to joblessness”, and “AI will replace human labour”. It seems like more and more people are concerned about the possible impact of advanced technology on employment patterns. Last month, Lawrence Summers worried about it in the Wall Street Journal but thought maybe the government could solve the problem. Soon after, Vivek Wadhwa worried about it in the Washington Post, arguing that there was nothing the government could do. Over on the New York TimesPaul Krugman has been worrying about it for years.

But is this really something we should worry about? To answer that, we need to distinguish two related questions:

The Factual Question: Will advances in technology actually lead to technological unemployment?

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Simulation Theory and the Nature of Reality with NASA Physicist and Author, Tom Campbell

Via Midwest Real

IMG_5913“When the original founding fathers of quantum mechanics were doing these experiments they were really excited… making statements like- ‘if quantum mechanics doesn’t blow your mind, that’s because you don’t understand quantum mechanics.’ They realized this was a really big deal philosophically, (and) scientifically… Then they tried to come up with a good explanation. They couldn’t find one… Now they just blow it off as ‘nobody will ever know… it’s just weird science.’ This My Big Toe theory though, explains it.”  -Tom Campbell

If that chopped up quote sounds vague, pseudo science-y, or confusing (especially if you’re not familiar with some of the basic ideas behind quantum mechanics) I get that. But, when you’re grappling with huge issues like the very nature of our reality and you’re trying to take a broad stroke across the top, things tend to get foggy, so bear with me.

(You should know about the infamous, hotly-debated double-slit experiment covered above for this talk.)

Actually, don’t bear with me, or take anything from me, because our guest, Tom Campbell has an impressive career in applied physics.… Read the rest

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Robo Brain learns concepts through Internet and human interaction

The team behind the Robo Brain project (Aditya Jami, Kevin Lee, Prof. Ashutosh Saxena, Ashesh Jain, Ozan Sener and Chenxia Wu)

The team behind the Robo Brain project (Aditya Jami, Kevin Lee, Prof. Ashutosh Saxena, Ashesh Jain, Ozan Sener and Chenxia Wu) via Gizmag.

via Gizmag:

One of the steps towards to making robots into the all powerful overlords envisioned in books and movies is to teach them all human knowledge. A project named Robo Brain can do this without any help from humans, trawling the web in search of information and then sharing it with robots.

The project is being carried out by academics at Cornell University’s Department of Computer Sciences. A team comprised of many of the same researchers who were responsible for producing the Tell Me Dave robot that’s able to understand and follow natural language instructions.

Robo Brain is also able to understand natural language, and uses this capability to make sense of the information it finds on the internet. It allows robots to understand how the world works using the data it finds, as opposed to simply storing the data without having any insight into it.

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Computers can find similarities between paintings – but art history is about so much more

Frédéric Bazille’s Studio 9 Rue de la Condamine, 1870. Used in "Toward Automated Discovery of Artistic Influence"

Frédéric Bazille’s Studio 9 Rue de la Condamine, 1870. Used in “Toward Automated Discovery of Artistic Influence.”

This article was originally published on The Conversation.
Read the original article.

By Griselda Pollock, University of Leeds

Some computer scientists at Rutgers University in New Jersey have written a computer programme that finds connections between paintings and can even discover influences between artists, they claim. This certainly raises some fascinating questions, but not about art history.

In the paper, Babak Saleh and his colleagues describe how they created a programme to compare paintings so as to establish recurrences of certain features.

They classified more than 1,700 paintings according to various visual features they contained, from simple object descriptions to style and colour. And many striking comparisons and links were indeed thrown back by the programme.

But I’m afraid this is by no means going to help art history.… Read the rest

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China’s Supersonic Supercavitation Submarine

Do you know what supercavitation technology is? Nor me, but it’s what the Chinese plan on using to create a submarine (or torpedo) that could travel from Shanghai to San Francisco in 100 minutes, reports the South China Morning Post:

China has moved a step closer to creating a supersonic submarine that could travel from Shanghai to San Francisco in less than two hours.

New technology developed by a team of scientists at Harbin Institute of Technology’s Complex Flow and Heat Transfer Lab has made it easier for a submarine, or torpedo, to travel at extremely high speeds underwater.

Superkavitation schema.svg

“Superkavitation schema” by Booyabazooka. CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons.

 

Li Fengchen, professor of fluid machinery and engineering, said the team’s innovative approach meant they could now create the complicated air “bubble” required for rapid underwater travel. “We are very excited by its potential,” he said.

Water produces more friction, or drag, on an object than air, which means conventional submarines cannot travel as fast as an aircraft.

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Russ Gries and His Open Source Reinventions

I met Russ recently at  Tesla Tech Conference 2014. He is recreating technologies that have been suppressed or others are currently working on to prefect. Everything he does is open source. You can help by contributing resources, whether that’s PayPal donations, materials, or just coming over to the forums and giving your thoughts on the projects. Check out his open projects on his website.  

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Are We In the Golden Age of Neuroscience?

Gray739

The recent achievements in neuroscience are unprecedented.

via The Wall Street Journal:

More than a billion people were amazed this summer when a 29-year-old paraplegic man from Brazil raised his right leg and kicked a soccer ball to ceremonially begin the World Cup. The sight of a paralyzed person whose brain directly controlled a robotic exoskeleton (designed at Duke University) was thrilling.

We are now entering the golden age of neuroscience. We have learned more about the thinking brain in the last 10-15 years than in all of previous human history. A blizzard of the new technologies using advanced physics—resulting in scans and tests we know as fMRI, EEG, PET, DBS, CAT, TCM and TES—have allowed scientists to observe thoughts as they ricochet like a pong ball inside the living brain, and then begin the process of deciphering these thoughts using powerful computers.

The Pentagon, witnessing the human tragedy of the wounded warriors from Iraq and Afghanistan, has invested more than $150 million in the military’s Revolutionary Prosthetics program, so that injured veterans can bypass damaged limbs and spinal cords and mentally control state-of-the-art mechanical arms and legs.

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Synchromusicology Pt. I : Synchromusicology, Chromotherapy, Synesthesia, and the Aural Current of Electric Audiomancy

First of a five part series by SoundlessdawnEzra Sandzer-Bell

Synchromusicology, Chromotherapy, Synesthesia, and the Aural Current of Electric Audiomancy

Via Youtube:

The rank of Magus is reserved for an elite class of philosophers and metaphysicians who hold the keys to divine knowledge. Mundane, consumer-oriented culture of postmodern Earth has cast down these noble spiritual teachers in the name of hyper-rational materialism. Ancient wisdom is lost amidst the rise of flashy exoteric performance, forcing the magus outward into the exoteric categories of stage (MAG)icians and stage (MUS)icians.

Clues as to the tangible content of a lost musical knowledge are scattered throughout encyclopedias and books on tonal harmony.

Synchromusicologists are a new branch of independent researchers who gather data on the Hidden Origins of Western Music and the power of sympathetic geometry to generate love and to heal wounds. This video offers you the first tastes of what is to come from this school of thought.… Read the rest

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