ROBOTICS: China’s Troubling Robot Revolution
Martin Ford | The New York Times
“Automation has already had a substantial impact on Chinese factory employment: Between 1995 and 2002 about 16 million factory jobs disappeared, roughly 15 percent of total Chinese manufacturing employment. This trend is poised to accelerate.”

ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE: Man Vs. Machine: How Humans Are Driving The Next Age Of Machine Learning
Richard Boyd | TechCrunch
“The most valuable resource we have in the universe is intelligence, which is simply information and computation; however, in order to be effective, technological intelligence has to be communicated in a way that helps humans take advantage of the knowledge gained. The optimal way to solve this problem is a combination of human and machine intelligence working together to solve the problems that matter most.”

AUGMENTATION: The Pentagon’s gamble on brain implants, bionic limbs and combat exoskeletons
Sara Reardon | Nature
“The Biological Technologies Office (BTO), which opened in April 2014, aims to support extremely ambitious — some say fantastical — technologies ranging from powered exoskeletons for soldiers to brain implants that can control mental disorders. DARPA’s plan for tackling such projects is being carried out in the same frenetic style that has defined the agency’s research in other fields.”

LONGEVITY: The Math That Shows Humans Could Live Ten Times Longer
Brian Merchant | Motherboard
“When resources are scarce, a species as a whole has a better shot at surviving if its populations are organizing themselves to promote long term survival with shorter individual lifespans. They are evolving to combat overpopulation and overconsumption, basically…humans could be living a lot longer than they do now—we have, after all, inherited a lifespan from times when our forebears were eking out an existence as scrappy hunter gatherers”

TRANSPORTATION: A Futurist Looks at Where Cars Are Going
Quentin Hardy | The New York Times
“We don’t think people will give up their own cars. Americans like to do everything in the cars. They eat in cars, they drink in cars, they have entertainment in cars and they change clothes in cars — people who leave the office at lunch and sleep in their cars, or wait in their cars for an hour at a time for their children. Driving is really the distracting thing we do in cars.”

MEDICINE: Towards a body-on-a-chip
The Economist
“What makes organ chips potentially so effective in drug testing is that they create not just the biochemical environment necessary for the cells to thrive but also the physical one…This use of stem cells in organ chips raises the possibility of a device that represents an individual patient—a patient-on-a-chip, if you like. In this case all the tiny organs would be derived from a single person: tests could then be carried out on the device to find what combinations of drugs and dosages work best for that patient.”

NEUROSCIENCE: What Happens When We Upload Our Minds?
Maddie Stone | Motherboard
“In a sense, all four pillars of the mind-uploading roadmap—mapping the brain’s structure and function, creating the software and hardware to emulate it—are now areas of active research. If we take Koene’s optimistic view, within a decade, we may have the technological capacity to fully map and emulate a very simple brain—say, that of a Drosophila fruit fly, which contains roughly 100 thousand neurons. ”

SPACE: What are our rights and duties towards alien life?
Lizzie Wade | AEON
“The ethics of encountering non-sentient alien life in our solar systems boils down to a core dilemma, says Waller. ‘Is it about conservation and preservation? Or is it about our needs, wants, and desires?’ On Earth, natural-resource grabs have a history of bringing out the worst in us as a species…There’s plenty of reason to believe other planets will be chock-full of resources we’d like to exploit, even if the life forms are microbial – perhaps especially if they’re microbial.”

EDUCATION: Daphne Koller on the Future of Online Education
Alexandra Wolfe | The Wall Street Journal
“Dr. Koller doesn’t see the price tag as the main problem with higher education. ‘To me, what’s much more important than the reduction in cost is the improvement in the outcome,’ she says. ‘If you’re talking about the $1.2 trillion [in] student debt, a lot of that is from people who started degrees and never finished, and that’s because their learning outcomes were poor.’ She believes that a new model—in which information is given online and classrooms are used for interactive experiential learning rather than for lecturing—could help to solve that.”

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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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