ROBOTICS: We Should Not Ban ‘Killer Robots,’ and Here’s Why
Evan Ackerman | IEEE Spectrum
“The problem with this argument is that no letter, UN declaration, or even a formal ban ratified by multiple nations is going to prevent people from being able to build autonomous, weaponized robots. The barriers keeping people from developing this kind of system are just too low.”

ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE: Connecting artificial intelligence with the internet of things
Andy Meek | The Guardian
“‘I think if you could guarantee our privacy, most of us would love to have an environment like a smart home that adapts to what you want – lights that dim according to your emotional state, things like that could be a very nice environment,’ he says. ‘Right now, a lot of what we have by way of AI is hopelessly rubbish. If it’s nice to us, bring it on. If we can get the benefits of AI and connectedness and it’s absolutely benign, I think it will be fantastic.’”

COMPUTING: The Next Big Thing Is The Continuum
Stephen Brennan | EE Times
“The next logical step, already underway, is to eliminate that divide between the virtual and the physical through an emerging wave of complementary ‘virical’ technologies, where the sum will be greater than the parts and the market success of one technology will often be dependent on the advancement of others.”

FUTURE OF CITIES: Our Cities Will Be Beautiful In The Driverless Future—But First We Have To Get There
Charlie Sorrel | Fast Company
“A driverless future seems more and more likely. It’s not just the success of Google’s self-driving cars, or the promise of huge environmental benefits. Today, our cars all but drive themselves already. Cruise control and anti-lock brakes have been joined by lane-detection, and some cars will put a computerized foot brakes if the car in front suddenly slows.”

VIRTUAL REALITY: Choose Your Reality: Virtual, Augmented or Mixed
Eric Johnson | Re/code
“The key term for mixed reality, or MR, is flexibility. It tries to combine the best aspects of both VR and AR, wrapped up in a marketable term that sounds marginally less geeky than its cousins. In theory, mixed reality lets the user see the real world (like AR) while also seeing believable, virtual objects (like VR). And then it anchors those virtual objects to a point in real space, making it possible to treat them as ‘real,’ at least from the perspective of the person who can see the MR experience.”

FUTURE OF LEARNING: Want more innovation? Try connecting the dots between engineering and humanities
Sophia Krzys Acord, Kevin S Jones, Susan D Gillespie | The Conversation
“Thus our course, The Impact of Materials on Society (IMOS), was born. Taught by a team of nine faculty from engineering, humanities and social sciences, the course explores the close connection between the ‘stuff’ in our lives and our experiences as social beings. Students discuss how materials benefit global trade and communication but also risk resource exploitation and political conflict.”

SPACE: Is Space About To Experience A Design Renaissance?
John Brownlee | Fast Company
“‘The astonishing thing that is happening right now is that space is getting back to its roots…The industry is once again focusing on science, and exhibiting the lightness and nimbleness that were lost during the Space Shuttle years.'”

DISASTERS are the Global Grand Challenge for the Month of August

THREATS: One of climate change’s biggest dangers is one the world still isn’t talking about
Joan Rose & Felicia Wu | Quartz
“We now have evidence that climate is a major factor increasing risks for food and waterborne diseases. While the linkages are complex, both temperature and precipitation are directly and indirectly associated with illnesses.”

RELIEF: This LED lantern runs on nothing but salt water, can even charge your phone
Stephanie Topacio Long | Digital Trends
“With the Philippines having suffered major natural disasters over the years, including 2013’s devastating Typhoon Haiyan, SALt took emergency-preparedness into consideration. The design features a USB plug where smartphones can be charged if needed.”

Image Credit: Shutterstock

David started writing for Singularity Hub in 2011 and served as editor-in-chief of the site from 2014 to 2017 and SU vice president of faculty, content, and curriculum from 2017 to 2019. His interests cover digital education, publishing, and media, but he'll always be a chemist at heart.

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