Tag Archives | Technology

Skype Demos Real Time Conversation Translation

Multiskype tools iconThe new guy running Microsoft just might make the software giant cool again. Ripped straight from the pages of science fiction, imagine having a Skype conversation with real time translation into the language of your foreign interlocutor. Or how about Microsoft launches a Google Glass-like product with this translation tool built in for face to face conversations? Yet again, Star Trek technology is becoming a reality (think of the Universal Translator). The Verge discusses CEO Satya Nadella’s announcement:

Microsoft’s Skype will eventually be able to translate voice calls between people. In an on-stage demo at the Code conference today, Microsoft’s CEO Satya Nadella showed off Skype Translator, an upcoming version of the service that is capable of translating voice conversation in “near real-time” using technology developed by the company’s Skype and Translator teams. With it, you can talk in your native language to another user who speaks a different language, and Microsoft will translate it to the other person.

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In the Face of Automation, Why Do Humans Exist??

PIC: PD

PIC: PD

George Deane aptly writes for The Institute of Ethics and Human Technology:

“We must do away with the absolutely specious notion that everybody has to earn a living. It is a fact today that one in ten thousand of us can make a technological breakthrough capable of supporting all the rest. The youth of today are absolutely right in recognizing this nonsense of earning a living. We keep inventing jobs because of this false idea that everybody has to be employed at some kind of drudgery because, according to Malthusian-Darwinian theory, he must justify his right to exist. So we have inspectors of inspectors and people making instruments for inspectors to inspect inspectors. The true business of people should be to go back to school and think about whatever it was they were thinking about before somebody came along and told them they had to earn a living.” Buckminster Fuller

In an age of ever-accelerating technological advancements, a fear that goes back to the early 19th century – that machines will take our jobs – seems more pertinent than ever.

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Activists’ Must-Have: Identity Replacement Tech

MaskTumblr

URME Surveillance

There have been attempts at foiling facial recognition surveillance technology before, but the new and most sophisticated tools yet are arriving in the form of “identity replacement tech.” CNET describes the Personal Surveillance Identity Prosthetic, which “gives you a whole new face”:

If the world starts looking like a scene from “Matrix 3″ where everyone has Agent Smith’s face, you can thank Leo Selvaggio.

His rubber mask aimed at foiling surveillance cameras features his visage, and if he has his way, plenty of people will be sporting the Personal Surveillance Identity Prosthetic in public. It’s one of three products made by the Chicago-based artist’s URME Surveillance, a venture dedicated to “protecting the public from surveillance and creating a safe space to explore our digital identities.”

“Our world is becoming increasingly surveilled. For example, Chicago has over 25,000 cameras networked to a single facial recognition hub,” reads the URME (pronounced U R Me) site.

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The Bitcoin “Crisis” Explained and 5 Reasons it Can’t be Killed

BitcoinNear the end of last year, Bitcoin was being gobbled up at an unbelievable $1100 per coin. With a cursory glance, at today’s price ($500), you’d think that the Coca-Cola of cryptos is careening toward disaster. In order to understand why that’s not the case, you might need a quick recap on how we got to this juncture.

Via- Midwest Real

For Bitcoin, early 2014 was a PR nightmare. The crypto was constantly being linked to drugs and money laundering, most infamously in the case of The Silk Road. But, the most damning sequence of events was due to a known security vulnerability and good-old-fashioned ineptness. Enter Hurricane Gox. By February, major (but known to be sketchy) Bitcoin exchange Mt. Gox had been having problems for quite awhile. Because of that aforementioned security issue, Mt. Gox halted some of their user’s ability to withdraw Bitcoin while they fixed the hiccup.… Read the rest

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Self-Healing Plastics Developed

Screen Shot 2014-04-12 at 8.44.21 AMVia the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology:

The KIT group headed by Christopher Barner-Kowollik uses the possibility of crosslinking functionalized fibers or small molecules by a reversible chemical reaction for the production of self-healing materials. These so-called switchable networks can be decomposed into their initial constituents and reassembled again after the damage. The advantage is that the self-healing mechanism can be initiated any time by heat, light or by the addition of a chemical substance. “Our method does not need any catalyst, no additive is required,” Professor Barner-Kowollik says. The holder of the Chair for Preparative Macromolecular Chemistry at KIT studies syntheses of macromolecular chemical compounds.

It took about four years of research for the working group of Barner-Kowollik, together with the Project House Composites of Creavis, the strategic innovation unit of Evonik, to develop a novel polymer network. At comparably low temperatures from 50°C to 120°C, the network exhibits excellent healing properties within a few minutes.

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I Experienced Complete and Utter Harmonization of the Third Eyeball With Author and Disinfonaut, Gabriel D. Roberts.

Author, fellow Disinfonaut and great beard-haver, Gabriel D. Roberts.

Author, fellow Disinfonaut and great beard-haver, Gabriel D. Roberts.

An exerpt from my interview with Author, fellow Disinfonaut and amazing beard-haver, Gabriel D. Roberts:

“… Let’s be honest, there’s a lot to hate, especially from fundamentalist perspectives… It’s hard to break out of it and once you do, you violently oppose it because you recognize that you were under a spell… I didn’t know what to do and I didn’t know where to go and directly from there, I went into a drug binge in which I was trying to bury my feelings… But, what I’ve found is whatever you want to call ‘God’ it’s much bigger than the things that are in these little books…”

You know those beautiful and rare occasions where you speak to someone for the first time and find that your personal philosophies seem to line up almost completely?  For me, Author and fellow Disinformation contributor Gabriel D.Read the rest

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‘Crabster’ Crab Robot Scuttles Out of Korean Lab

Grab a mallet, tongs, and as much butter as you can carry, because the Crabster is on its way. The 1,400 pound ocean-going robot is the brainchild of the Korea Institute of Ocean Science and Technology, and wasn’t at all designed to dismember you limb from limb before disappearing into the briny depths of an indifferent sea.

Via Popular Science:

What’s that clacking sound? Better read the rest of the article before the Crabster arrives.

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University of Michigan Scientist: Night Vision Contact Lenses Coming Soon

PIC: LColson (PD)

PIC: LColson (PD)

They’re not here yet, but Dr. Zhong says that advances in nanotechnology and night vision tech using the material graphene may open the door to ultra-thin night vision contacts. Oh, and if you want to know more about graphene, you might enjoy reading this.

Via HuffPo:

“We can make the entire design super-thin,” Dr. Zhaohui Zhong, assistant professor of electrical and computer engineering at the university, said in a written statement. “It can be stacked on a contact lens or integrated with a cell phone.”

The key to the new technology is a lightweight and super-strong form of carbon known as graphene. Ordinarily, graphene absorbs only about 2.3 percent of light that hits it — not enough to generate a usable infrared signal. But by combining two layers of graphene with an insulator, the researchers were able to boost the signal dramatically. Sensors made of sandwiched graphene can detect the full infrared spectrum, in addition to visible and ultraviolet light.

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Ray Kurzweil Wants to Make Google Sentient

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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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UT Austin Engineers Build First Nonreciprocal Acoustic Circulator: A One-Way Sound Device

The Conversation

The Conversation (Photo credit: Wikipedia) (FU)

It appears that snoops may soon have access to a powerful tool that may likely be used to abuse privacy.

via utexas

A team of researchers at The University of Texas at Austin’s Cockrell School of Engineering has built the first-ever circulator for sound. The team’s experiments successfully prove that the fundamental symmetry with which acoustic waves travel through air between two points in space (“if you can hear, you can also be heard”) can be broken by a compact and simple device.

“Using the proposed concept, we were able to create one-way communication for sound traveling through air,” said Andrea Alù, who led the project and is an associate professor and David & Doris Lybarger Endowed Faculty Fellow in the Cockrell School’s Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering. “Imagine being able to listen without having to worry about being heard in return.”

This successful experiment is described in “Sound Isolation and Giant Linear Nonreciprocity in a Compact Acoustic Circulator,” which will be featured on the cover of Science in the Jan.

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