Tag Archives | Technology

Enthusiasts and Skeptics Debate Artificial Intelligence

Eddi van W. (CC BY-ND 2.0)

Eddi van W. (CC BY-ND 2.0)

via Vanity Fair:

Kurt Andersen wonders: If the Singularity is near, will it bring about global techno-Nirvana or civilizational ruin?

THE GREAT SCHISM

Artificial intelligence is suddenly everywhere. It’s still what the experts call “soft A.I.,” but it is proliferating like mad. We’re now accustomed to having conversations with computers: to refill a prescription, make a cable-TV-service appointment, cancel an airline reservation—or, when driving, to silently obey the instructions of the voice from the G.P.S.

But until the other morning I’d never initiated an elective conversation with a talking computer. I asked the artificial-intelligence app on my iPhone how old I am. First, Siri spelled my name right, something human beings generally fail to do. Then she said, “This might answer your question,” and displayed my correct age in years, months, and days. She knows more about me than I do. When I asked, “What is the Singularity?,” Siri inquired whether I wanted a Web search (“That’s what I figured,” she replied) and offered up this definition: “A technological singularity is a predicted point in the development of a civilization at which technological progress accelerates beyond the ability of present-day humans to fully comprehend or predict.”

Siri appeared on my phone three years ago, a few months after the IBM supercomputer Watson beat a pair of Jeopardy!

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DMT and the Bible: An Interview with Rick Strassman

51jfPl+PNwLvia Reality Sandwich:

This interview was conducted to mark the release of Dr. Rick Strassman’s new book, DMT and the Soul of Prophecy: A New Science of Spiritual Revelation in the Hebrew Biblepublished by Park Street Press.

Jeff: Rick, can you tell us a bit about why you wrote this book?  Your work, of course, is well known and celebrated through your first book, DMT: The Spirit Molecule.  But this book seems like a ‘return to roots,’ as it were. Can you speak in particular to that?

Rick: I was left with a handful of difficult questions at the end of my DMT research in 1995. And I felt I had only partially worked them through in the process of writing DMT: The Spirit Molecule in 2000. It seemed to me that all of these questions would resolve themselves if I could only find the proper model or models that could help me understand the DMT effect.

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Holographic Food, Brain-Kitchenware Interface, and Other Future of Home Concepts

via IEEE Spectrum:

The best kinds of concepts are things that are so futuristic that they don’t exist yet, but not so futuristic that you couldn’t convince yourself that just maybe, in five or 10 years, the concept might deliver on its promises. Every year, the Electrolux Design Competition tries to hit this sweet spot, and the theme for 2014 is “Creating Healthy Homes.” Perhaps not the most exciting theme at first glance, but the winner this year is a concept for a system that lets you hunt down holographic fish as they swim through your living room.

Electrolux, being a home appliance manufacturer, encouraged entries to the design competition to focus on culinary enjoyment, fabric care, and air purification. While there was no requirement for the concepts to have any sort of basis in reality, most of the finalists did have enough of a basis in existing tech to take their concepts from utterly impossible to merely extremely unlikely.

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Spooky alignment of quasar axes across billions of light-years with large-scale structure

Artist’s rendering of ULAS J1120+0641, a very distant quasar powered by a black hole with a mass two billion times that of the Sun (credit: ESO/M. Kornmesser)

Artist’s rendering of ULAS J1120+0641, a very distant quasar powered by a black hole with a mass two billion times that of the Sun (credit: ESO/M. Kornmesser)

via Kurzweil Accelerating Intelligence:

New observations with ESO’s Very Large Telescope (VLT) in Chile have revealed alignments over the largest structures ever discovered in the Universe. A European research team has found that the rotation axes of the central supermassive black holes in a sample of quasars are parallel to each other over distances of billions of light-years. The team has also found that the rotation axes of these quasars tend to be aligned with the vast structures in the cosmic web in which they reside.

Quasars are galaxies with very active supermassive black holes at their centers. These black holes are surrounded by spinning discs of extremely hot material that is often spewed out in long jets along their axes of rotation.

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Symantec discovers sophisticated malware likely made by a Western intelligence agency

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via Pando Daily:

Researchers at Symantec have discovered malware that has been used to spy on individuals, telecoms, and businesses since 2008. It’s thought to be the prime surveillance tool of a nation-state because of the sheer amount of time it would’ve taken to create such complex malware.

The malware is said to have been found in ten countries across the Middle East, North America, Russia, and Europe. The main targets are said to be Russia and Saudi Arabia, but the malware has also been discovered in Pakistan, Afghanistan, Ireland, and Mexico, among other countries.

Symantec reports that the malware, which is dubbed Regin, can spread through spoofed sites, insecure applications, and an unconfirmed exploit in Yahoo Messenger. The researchers report that whoever created Regin “put considerable effort into making it highly inconspicuous,” with the hope of allowing it to “potentially be used in espionage campaigns lasting several years.”

According to the Wall Street Journal, Symantec researchers believe Regin was developed by a “Western intelligence agency” because it closely resembles Stuxnet, the infamous malware used to sabotage Iran’s nuclear programs in 2010, which was made by the United States and Israel.

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Everything is Sound| Featuring Scientist, Mystic and Sound Expert Alexandre Tannous

Via Midwest Real

“The universe is a symphony of vibrating strings… We are nothing but melodies, we are nothing but cosmic music played out on vibrating strings and membranes.” -Michio Kaku

ITUNES  STITCHER DOWNLOAD

IMG_6177Alexandre Tannous is one of those guys whose insight just continually surprises you. It’s as if he’s studied everything and gone everywhere, yet, still manages to maintain a disposition that’s totally down to earth, openminded and in awe of everything. He’s some sort of humble scientist, mystic, musician, renaissance man hybrid.

To add some specificity, Alexandre holds multiple degrees in music and philosophy. More importantly, he has traveled to over 40 of countries where he has participated in dozens of shamanic, meditative and initiatory ceremonies. Alexandre also researches the esoteric and therapeutic properties of sound from scientific and shamanic perspectives. He has lectured at many major universities including Georgetown, Princeton and NYU.

For more info on Alexandre’s work, check out his website.… Read the rest

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5 Inventions That Herald an ”Outernet” Revolution

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via Activist Post:

If there is anything good to be said about mass surveillance, overcharging and monopolization by telecom/ISP companies, and government censorship including cell phone and Internet shutdowns as they see fit, it is that these heavy-handed measures only create a stronger desire for freedom.

For many in the modern world, open access to the World Wide Web is being viewed as an essential human right – it is a gateway to knowledge, peer-to-peer communication, innovation and economic opportunity. Basically: Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness. For the 5 billion people who still do not have access, it represents the universal dream of self-determination.

There are several devices in various stages of development that aim to rectify the gaps in knowledge and communication which keep large portions of humanity enslaved and threaten freedom for the rest of us if the restrictions mentioned above are permitted to flourish. It is clear that some, if not all, of what is mentioned below carry various hurdles and challenges that might be difficult to overcome if widespread adoption is a goal.

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How Ross Perot Saved the World’s First Electronic Computer

ENIAC panels on display at the Smithsonian.

ENIAC panels on display at the Smithsonian.

via Gizmodo:

Ross Perot is a collector. He once bought a copy of the Magna Carta in 1984. But more intriguingly, he also bought and resurrected ENIAC, the world’s first electronic computer.

ENIAC stands for the “Electronic Numerical Integrator And Computer” and was conceived of during World War II to help calculate the arched paths of artillery bullets. It is an absolutely massive machine weighing in at 27 tons and occupying 1,800 square feet when fully assembled.Construction began in 1943, but by the time it was finished in 1945, the war was over. The Army kept a tight lid on things at first. Even the maintenance manual (below) remained classified until 1946. So what did the United States Army do with this marvel of technology? They used it to design the first hydrogen bomb. Then, in 1955, they threw the thing away.

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Technology Killed The Government Czar – How The State Is Becoming Obsolete

NASAforsale

via Don’t Comply:

I believe we are heading into a technological age in which what we know as government will become obsolete. Even now, what we think of as great leaps forward by our government is simply the product of the minds of free market leaders. For example, when Americans decided to go to the moon, NASA was established. However, the people who actually made this happen were the best and the brightest of the private sector at that time. It was these people who, in just a little over 10 years, were able to put a man on the moon, and not the people in government. That generation of innovators and entrepreneurs has come and gone, and we are now left with a new generation of scientists who go straight from school to life-long government funded jobs. With no real world experience or competitive drive, NASA engineers have left us with a space program flying the same basic space shuttle design for over 30 years.

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The Transhumanist Wager: Can We and Should We Defeat Death?

"Pascal’s Wager advances a pragmatic argument for the existence of the Christian God."

“Pascal’s Wager advances a pragmatic argument for the existence of the Christian God.”

via h+ Magazine:

The Transhumanist Wager, brainchild of noted transhumanist Zoltan Istvan, can be understood as follows. If one loves and values their life, then they will want (the option) to live as long as possible. How do they achieve this?

Alternative #1 – do nothing and hope there is an afterlife. But since you don’t know there is an afterlife, doing nothing doesn’t help your odds.

Alternative #2 – use science and technology to gain immortality. By doing something you are increasing your odds of being immortal.

The choice is between bettering your odds or not, and good gamblers say the former is the better choice. At least that’s what the arguments supporters say.

There are two basic obstacles that prevent individuals from taking the wager seriously. First, most people don’t think immortality is technologically possible or, if they do, believe such technologies won’t be around for centuries or millenia.

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