Enjoy this week’s stories!


ROBOTICS: Sawyer: Rethink Robotics Unveils New Robot
Evan Ackerman & Erico Guizzo | IEEE Spectrum
“According to Rethink, labor costs in Chinese factories are rising 15 to 20 percent every year, and it’s routine for them to see turnover rates of 25 percent per month or worse. There are hundreds of thousands of these jobs that people don’t want to be doing, but that have been resistant to automation because they require fast ROI, ease of use, and flexibility. Those are capabilities that Baxter has brought to manufacturing, and what Sawyer is prepared to bring to electronics assembly and testing.”

ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE: Artificial Intelligence Is Almost Ready for Business
Brad Power | Harvard Business Review
“In business, the explosive growth of complex and time-sensitive data enables decisions that can give you a competitive advantage, but these decisions depend on analyzing at a speed, volume, and complexity that is too great for humans. AI is filling this gap as it becomes ingrained in the analytics technology infrastructure in industries like health care, financial services, and travel.”

3D PRINTING: This Chemistry 3D Printer Can Synthesize Molecules From Scratch
William Herkewitz | Popular Mechanics
“‘The general assumption has long been that you need a custom strategy to build each molecule, especially if you’re trying to automate the process. But we’ve demonstrated you can use the same system to create radically different molecules. You just need to modulate a step-by-step process.'”

MEDICINE: DARPA thinks it has a solution to Ebola (and all other infectious diseases)
Alexis Madrigal | Fusion
“‘We’re going to take the genetic code and put it into a format where you go to your drug store or doctor and get a shot in the arm…There’s a low-cost of goods, no cold chain, and we would produce the correct antibody in [any] individual directly.'”

VIRTUAL REALITY: Virtual Reality Advertisements Get in Your Face
Rachel Metz | Technology Review
“Beyond the obvious difficulty of working with emerging technologies, Hart and others must figure out what kinds of ads users will respond to, and which they might find too overwhelming or obnoxious.”

FUTURE OF LAW: The ‘Oculus Rift’ and the Courtroom
Laura Bliss | CityLab
“‘When people can step into a life-like reconstruction of a crime scene, the details are more precise…They don’t have to imagine what happened. It’s easier to understand the details of the case—and maybe even to empathize.'”

DESIGN: How to design the future
Jon Turney | Aeon
“The stories we tell ourselves about technology – typically, optimistic ones from would-be innovators, pessimistic ones from their critics – are usually too simple. Making them more complex can support a richer discussion about where a technology might be going, and the kind of futures it could open up.”

CULTURE: The Next Generation Of Home Robots Will Be So Much More Than Vacuums
Christine Magee | TechCrunch
“‘There’s a gap on the consumer side of robotics because you have this expectation that comes from science fiction movies that these things can do absolutely everything, but in reality the most popular consumer robot is the Roomba.'”

FUTURE OF WORK: A Universal Basic Income Is The Bipartisan Solution To Poverty We’ve Been Waiting For
Ben Schiller | Fast Company
“The exact details of basic income still need to be worked out, but it might work something like this: Instead of welfare payments, subsidies for health care, and tax credits for the working poor, we would take that money and use it to cover a single payment that would give someone the chance to live reasonably.”

EDUCATION: Teaching programming to preschoolers
Larry Hardesty | MIT News
“‘The idea is to describe your code in little scenarios, and the engine in the back connects them…You could think of it as rules, with triggers and actions.'”

SOCIAL CHANGE: 6 Ways Technology Is Breaking Barriers To Social Change
Abe Grindle | Fast Company
“The good news is that a number of cutting-edge leaders and organizations are shifting their focus to ask: ‘How can we help to have impact at a scale that actually solves the problem?’ And they are finding that technology, particularly information tech, offers answers.”

[image credit: SAN_DRINO/Flickr ]

I've been writing for Singularity Hub since 2011 and have been Editor-in-Chief since 2014. My interests cover digital education, publishing, and media, but I'll always be a chemist at heart.

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