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Monthly Archives: December 2016

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7 of Our Most Viral Hits on Tech and the Future in 2016

Everyone wants to know what’s coming. At Singularity University, faculty are constantly bombarded with questions about what’s next. At Singularity Hub, we’re trying to keep our wits about us as our staff, editors, contributors, faculty,...

The Ethical Conundrums Technology Confronted Us With This Year

New advances in technology constantly push humanity into uncharted territory. Sometimes this territory brings us questions we might not have imagined needing answers so soon, like, "Is editing the DNA of human embryos moral?" Other questions are more familiar, only with...

Emerging Markets Lead the Way to Cheapest-Ever Solar Energy

Energy experts have long predicted we'd eventually shift from fossil fuels to clean energy. They were right, but there have been a few surprises along the way. The shift is happening faster than anyone...

This Playful Lab-in-a-Box Will Teach You How to Reprogram Life

We’re in the midst of a life sciences revolution. The natural world, including our own bodies, is becoming malleable in a completely unprecedented way. Today, we have the ability to turn any human cell...

Post-Truth: Technology Is a Big Part of the Problem, But It’s Also a Solution

"Post-truth" was chosen as the 2016 word of the year by Oxford Dictionaries, a catch-all term describing a perception of growing distrust of “the facts” and increasing reliance on emotion in public discourse. It is frequently used...

Why the Latest AI Wave Will Gain Momentum in the Coming Year

It can read lips and create new food recipes. It can win at chess, Jeopardy and the game Go. Every major technology company appears to be integrating it into how they organize and operate...

Your Smartphone’s Next Big Trick? To Make You Healthier Than Ever

On a seemingly normal summer day nine years ago, planet Earth was struck by a gadget-sized blow that would reinvent nearly every facet of our lives. That day heralded the entry of the iPhone, which...

This Week’s Awesome Stories From Around the Web (Through December 24th)

ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE  Big Tech's AI Predictions for 2017 Lolita Taub | The Huffington Post "For the final Cognitive Business post of the year, I asked artificial intelligence centric Fortune 500 leaders for their 2017 enterprise AI predictions. Microsoft,...
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Think Tech Is Blurring Fact and Fantasy? Just Wait

Are you questioning the validity of news sources and headlines lately? You’re not alone. As the end of 2016 is upon us, media's role in society has never been shakier. From social media bubbles to...

5 Reasons This Was an Awesome Year for Space Exploration

On 14 February, 1990, as the spacecraft Voyager 1 was leaving our planetary neighborhood, legendary astronomer and cosmologist, Carl Sagan, suggested that NASA engineers turn it around for one last look at Earth from...

How to Train AI to Do Everything in the Digital Universe

To assist a child we must provide him with an environment which will enable him to develop freely. –Maria Montessori There’s a kindergarten I walk past on the way to work, and I can’t help but...

Exponential Growth Will Transform Humanity in the Next 30 Years

As we close out 2016, if you’ll allow me, I’d like to take a risk and venture into a topic I’m personally compelled to think about… a topic that will seem far out to...

This Bitcoin-Eating Plant Robot Hires Artists to Make Its Babies

This is a thing that exists in the world: a bitcoin-eating plant robot (called a plantoid), made of self-executing computer code which owns itself and hires artists to make its babies. If that sounds...

What Happens When Tech Takes Control of Evolution?

Over the span of a few billion years, diversity of life has flourished on Earth through the process of natural selection. Then, not long ago (relatively), human intelligence evolved. For the first time one species,...

Canada’s Building a Plant That Will Make Fuel Out of Poop

Each time you flush a toilet, it’s the beginning of a long journey. Your waste makes its way through a maze of pipes and sewers, eventually reaching its first destination: a sewage treatment plant. There,...
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This Week’s Awesome Stories From Around the Web (Through December 17th)

ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE The Great A.I. Awakening Gideon Lewis-Kraus | The New York Times Magazine "Google’s decision to reorganize itself around A.I. was the first major manifestation of what has become an industrywide machine-learning delirium. Over the past four...
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The Fourth Industrial Revolution Is Here: What Now? [Video]

What if the world we knew was subtly being replaced with a new one? Would we notice immediately, or would it only be evident in hindsight? According to the World Economic Forum, the “Fourth Industrial...

How Digital Nomads Are Leading the Seismic Shift in Where We Work

Have laptop, will travel. That’s become the slogan of an increasing number of the global white-collar workforce. People are unleashing themselves from corporations and companies to plug wirelessly into the wider world. The tribe of...

The Octobot Is Just the Beginning for Soft Robotics

Roboticists have long turned to nature for inspiration, but their creations have generally been conspicuously un-lifelike. Now, breakthroughs in the design and manipulation of soft materials have allowed them to start replicating the remarkable...

If Robots and AI Steal Our Jobs, a Universal Basic Income Could Help

Some fear that robots and AI will steal our jobs. They probably will (in the near-term, at least half of them). If that happens, what will we do for a living? How will we earn money? In...

Break Out of Your Echo Chamber: Technology Arranges Lunch With Someone New

On average, Americans spend 50 minutes a day on Facebook. That’s a lot of online socializing. It’s also about the same amount of time workers take for their lunch break. Yet there’s not nearly...

Killer Robots Won’t Go to War If Global Movement Has Its Way

Much ink has been spilled in recent years about the rise of killer robots. A movement to ensure no blood is shed by autonomous weapons—machines that kill or maim without a human behind the...
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This Week’s Awesome Stories From Around the Web (Through December 10th)

ROBOTICS: MIT's Modular Robotic Chain Is Whatever You Want It to Be Evan Ackerman | IEEEE Spectrum "If you can get all of the communication and coordination figured out, though, a modular system offers tons of advantages: robots that...

Algorithm Predicts What Happens Next in a Photo and Makes It Into a Video

Imagine if your favorite picture could automatically be converted into a short video and labeled. Sound like a fantasy? Maybe not for much longer. Using a deep learning algorithm, MIT’s Carl Vondrick, Hamed Pirsiavash, and Antonio...

Welcome to the New Singularity Hub

Around these parts we know the future comes at you fast. Welcome to the new Singularity Hub. Whether you’re looking at us on a desktop or mobile device, you’ve probably already noticed things look different....

Can Virtual Reality Sidestep the Paradox of Time Travel?

Most physicists agree that time travel into the past is impossible, but what if virtual reality (VR) could provide a workaround? Doron Friedman is the director of the Advanced Virtuality Lab (AVL) at the Interdisciplinary...

This One Equation May Be the Root of Intelligence

How does intelligence work? According to Dr. Joe Tsien, a leading neuroscientist at Augusta University in Georgia, the key lies in one simple, unassuming equation: N = 2i–1. At its core, Tsien’s theory of connectivity describes how...

What If a Social Score Determined Your Success? China’s About to Find Out

In an episode of the Netflix dystopian drama Black Mirror, characters live in a future where they have a ‘social score’ that dictates the terms of pretty much every aspect of their lives: who...

The Brain Tech to Merge Humans and AI Is Already Being Developed

Are you scared of artificial intelligence (AI)? Do you believe the warnings from folks like Prof. Stephen Hawking, Elon Musk and others? Is AI the greatest tool humanity will ever create, or are we “summoning the...

Evolution’s Brutally Simple Rules Can Make Machines More Creative

Despite nature’s bewildering complexity, the driving force behind it is incredibly simple. ‘Survival of the fittest’ is an uncomplicated but brutally effective optimization strategy that has allowed life to solve complex problems, like vision...
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This Week’s Awesome Stories From Around the Web (Through December 3rd)

A biomedical engineer is building a brain implant to serve as a memory prosthesis. The UK's new Investigatory Powers Act may cause problems at Apple. And Google's AI songsmith is writing catchy tunes. Meanwhile, others question whether robots...

New AI Mental Health Tools Beat Human Doctors at Assessing Patients

About 20 percent of youth in the United States live with a mental health condition, according to the National Institute of Mental Health. That’s the bad news. The good news is that mental health professionals have...

Is Radical Life Extension Good for Society?

It’s no longer a radical question. The aging literature is replete with treatments that could prolong lifespan by 20-40%, at least in lab animals. Interventions such as caloric restriction, rapamycin and metformin have been studied...

This Solar Fabric Could Let You Charge Your Phone With Your Shirt

Solar energy is becoming ever more widespread, with panels going up not only on houses and office buildings, but on cars, buses, and road signs. The latest advancement in solar technology will put solar...

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