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Yearly Archives: 2018

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This Drug Combo Extends Lifespan and Healthspan in Mice by Killing ‘Zombie’ Cells

Aging may seem like the most natural—and inevitable—thing in life. Yet according to a new study in Nature Medicine, rejuvenating an aging body may be as easy as kitchen renovations. Simply swap drill and...

Is the Rise of AI on Wall Street for Better or Worse?

May 6, 2010, is a date that should live in infamy. On that day, the US stock market suffered a trillion-dollar collapse. Do you remember it? In just 15 minutes from 2:45 pm, the Dow...

Why Most of Us Fail to Grasp Coming Exponential Gains in AI

By now, most of us are familiar with Moore’s Law, the famous maxim that the development of computing power follows an exponential curve, doubling in price-performance (that is, speed per unit cost) every 18...

This Week’s Awesome Stories From Around the Web (Through July 14)

COMPUTING The US May Have Just Pulled Even With China in the Race to Build Supercomputing's Next Big Thing Martin Giles | MIT Technology Review "While there’s plenty of national pride wrapped up in the race to...

The Earth’s Carrying Capacity for Human Life Is Not Fixed

In a recent Nature Sustainability paper, a team of scientists concluded that the Earth can sustain, at most, only 7 billion people at subsistence levels of consumption (and this June saw us at 7.6...

Traditional Advertising Is Soon to Be History. Here’s What Will Replace It

This year (2018), the global advertising industry is projected to surpass $550 billion. Advertising revenues have driven Google’s valuation to >$700 billion, and Facebook to >$500 billion. All of that is about to change. What...

Flexible ‘Dragon’ Drone Autonomously Shapeshifts to Fly Through Tight Spaces

A group of roboticists at the University of Tokyo have created a flexible, flying "drone-robot" that could see a multitude of uses. The Dual-rotor embedded multilink Robot with the Ability of multi-deGree-of-freedom aerial transformatiON, is...

New DNA Synthesis Method Could Soon Build a Genome in a Day

Synthetic biologists are the computer programmers of biology. Their code? DNA. The whole enterprise sounds fantastical: you insert new snippets of DNA code—in the form of a chain of A, T, C, G letters—into an...

Big Tech Should Take the Lead on Climate Change—Here’s Why

At Collision, which calls itself “North America’s fastest-growing tech conference,” former United Nations climate chief Christiana Figueres threw down a challenge to tech titans: move the world from incremental to exponential action on climate...

Inside a $1 Billion Real Estate Company Operating Entirely in VR

Born during the aftermath of the financial meltdown a decade ago, a publicly-traded real estate brokerage called eXp Realty is establishing itself as one of the brightest rising companies in its industry—and one of...

Bot vs. Bot: Will the Internet Soon Be a Place Without Humans?

The internet, as it stands, is a global system of interconnected computer networks that allows humans to interact with each other, do business, gain knowledge, and be entertained. Google allowed us to find everything...

Three Huge Ways Tech Is Overhauling Healthcare

We are on the brink of a revolution in healthcare. AI is making the drug discovery process >100X faster and cheaper, and 90 percent more likely to succeed in clinical trials. Mobile health is...

How Do You Win An Argument? IBM’s New AI Has a Formula

Anyone who’s spent even a little time on the internet lately may feel like there’s a little too much “debate”—much of which descends into ad hominem insults. At the same time, there’s increasing concern around...

Laws of Flight: As Drones Take Off, Regulation Lags

In 2014, a drone got tangled in the power lines outside a South Carolina prison carrying a small payload of marijuana and a cellphone. Police arrested a man in a nearby campsite who’d been...

Have We Reached the Limit of Human Longevity? New Study Says No

In 1997, when Jeannne Loise Calment died at the age of 122, she was the longest-living human on record. But she won’t always be. According to a new study published last week in Science, humans are...

The New Energy Storage Tech Gates, Bezos, Ma, and Branson Are Investing In

A group of billionaires including Bill Gates, Jeff Bezos, Jack Ma, and Richard Branson have invested in Form Energy. The company, out of MIT, is designing a new type of battery, thought to be...

New Evidence That the World Really Is Getting Better

If you allow your perception of humanity to be shaped by the news, it is easy to lose sight of the narrative of human progress. Struggling democracies, suicide epidemics, climate change, and acts of...

Plasma, the Mysterious (And Powerful) Fourth Phase of Matter

When I was in elementary school, my teacher told me that matter exists in three possible states: solid, liquid, and gas. She neglected to mention plasma, a special kind of electrified gas that’s a...
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VR Fireside Chat: Inside a Virtual World Full of Surprises

Two weeks ago, I gave my first virtual reality presentation—a virtual fireside chat with my friend Philip Rosedale, the CEO of High Fidelity and creator of Second Life. At the time, in conjunction with the...

Are Electric Planes the Future of Aviation?

Last week saw a rather unusual flight plan. Norway’s Transport Minister and the CEO of its major airport operator, Avinor, flew a quick lap around Oslo’s airport in a tiny two-person plane. Unremarkable—except that...

The Smart Road Tech That’s Making Driving Faster, Safer, And Just Better

From autonomous cars to flying taxis to electric-powered aircraft, technological innovations in transportation vehicles seem to be moving faster than Elon Musk’s express loop underneath Chicago. But when it comes to regular roads and...

Transdifferentiation Can Create An Endless Supply of Brain Cells—And Fast

Cellular reprogramming is like the fairytale of spinning straw into gold: you take an abundant, mundane cell type, dose it with a cocktail of chemicals, and voilà—now you have an unlimited supply of therapeutic...

What if Autonomous Vehicles Actually Make Us More Dependent on Cars?

Cities across Europe are taking steps to become increasingly car-free. London Mayor Sadiq Khan is aiming for 80 percent of all trips to be made on foot, by cycle or using public transport by...

Neurons Made From Blood Cells—A New Tool for Understanding Brain Diseases

Our team at Stanford University has just figured out the recipe for converting blood cells from adults directly into nerve cells, or neurons. You may be wondering why anyone would want to convert blood into...

What Makes People Distrust Science? Surprisingly, Not Politics

Today, there is a crisis of trust in science. Many people—including politicians and, yes, even presidents—publicly express doubts about the validity of scientific findings. Meanwhile, scientific institutions and journals express their concerns about the...

This Week’s Awesome Stories From Around the Web (Through June 23)

ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE What It's Like to Watch an IBM AI Successfully Debate Humans Dieter Bohn | The Verge "It looks like a huge leap beyond that other splashy demonstration we all remember from IBM when Watson mopped the...

How Artificial Intelligence Could Help Us Live Longer

What if we could generate novel molecules to target any disease, overnight, ready for clinical trials? Imagine leveraging machine learning to accomplish with 50 people what the pharmaceutical industry can barely do with an army...

Leading With Purpose: How to Turn Your Mission Into a Movement

Jennifer Dulski is an entrepreneur, social impact change agent, and business leader. Dulski is currently the head of Facebook Groups, which helps more than a billion people participate in communities that matter to them,...

Why We Need to Fine-Tune Our Definition of Artificial Intelligence

Sophia's uncanny-valley face, made of Hanson Robotics’ patented Frubber, is rapidly becoming an iconic image in the field of artificial intelligence. She has been interviewed on shows like 60 Minutes, made a Saudi citizen,...

How DeepMind’s Latest AI Hints at Machines That Think More Like Us

I once asked a deep learning researcher what he’d like for Christmas. His answer? “More labeled datasets.” Nerd jokes aside, the lack of so-called “labeled” training data in deep learning is a real problem. Deep learning...

Pulling Water, Fuel, and Power From Thin Air Is Getting Practical

Pulling things from thin air is generally considered a magic trick. But several recent research papers suggest we could soon be extracting valuable resources like water, fuel, and power from the atmosphere. Startup Carbon Engineering...

Elon Musk’s Boring Company to Build 150 mph Chicago Loop to O’Hare

What’s the best way to get to and from the airport? The subway is cheap, but it means hauling your luggage around and sitting there through all the stops that aren’t yours. Cabs and...

This Week’s Awesome Stories From Around the Web (Through June 16)

ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE This Wild, AI-Generated Film Is the Next Step in 'Whole-Movie Puppetry' Sam Machkovech | Ars Technica "Their plan required Benjamin to do the following: cobble together footage from public domain films, face-swap the duo's database...

The More People With Purpose, the Better the World Will Be

It almost sounds too cliché to say that in order to live a fulfilling life, each of us must find our purpose. From a very young age, we encourage our youth to identify their...

Video Gamers May Soon Be Paid More Than Top Pro Athletes

Your interest in sports may have started out as a hobby when you were just a kid. You were better at it than others, and some even said you were gifted. Maybe you had...

Pioneering Stem Cell Trial Seeks to Cure Babies Before Birth

Even before she was born, Elianna Constantino had already cheated death. Elianna has a rare inherited blood disorder called alpha thalassemia major, which prevents her red blood cells from forming properly. The disease, which has...

Can Hawaii Go Carbon Neutral by 2045?

If you’ve done any research into climate change, you’re almost certainly familiar with the Keeling Curve. This sawtoothed upward curve tracks the inexorable increase in carbon dioxide in Earth’s atmosphere, and the rate of...

This New Chip Design Could Make Neural Nets More Efficient and a Lot Faster

Neural networks running on GPUs have achieved some amazing advances in artificial intelligence, but the two are accidental bedfellows. IBM researchers hope a new chip design tailored specifically to run neural nets could provide...

Microsoft’s Wild New Project Puts Servers at the Bottom of the Ocean

Last week, a few miles off the northern coast of Scotland, a cylinder the size of a shipping container was carefully lowered to the bottom of the ocean floor. Sounds like a clever (if...

This Week’s Awesome Stories From Around the Web (Through June 9)

ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE The World's Most Powerful Supercomputer Is Tailor Made for the AI Era Martin Giles | MIT Technology Review "The team at Oak Ridge says Summit is the first supercomputer designed from the ground up to...

We Discovered That Life May Be Billions of Times More Common in the Multiverse

Why is there life in our universe? The existence of galaxies, stars, planets, and ultimately life seem to depend on a small number of finely tuned fundamental physical constants. Had the laws of physics...

5 Reasons Car Companies Are Betting Big on Energy Storage

An increasing number of major car manufacturers are developing solutions in a space that at first glance may seem like a strange choice: energy storage. BMW recently signed a contract that adds 500 of its...

The Biggest New Laws to Regulate Tech Giants—and Why They Matter

The world’s first stop sign appeared in Michigan around 1915, decades after the first privately owned passenger car came into being. Ever since, laws and regulations have piled up concerning everything from insurance requirements...

An Innovator’s City Guide to Amsterdam, the Netherlands

Amsterdam is a perfect innovation hub, as well as a great launchpad into the Dutch and European markets. Although small in size, Amsterdam has it all: a creative and stable business environment, a diverse...

Robots Will Be Able to Feel Touch With This Artificial Nerve

When the disembodied cockroach leg twitched, Yeongin Kim knew he had finally made it. A graduate student at Stanford, Kim had been working with an international team of neuroengineers on a crazy project: an artificial...

How Cyanobacteria Could Help Save the Planet

It’s very easy to forget that complex life on Earth almost missed the boat entirely. As the Sun’s luminosity gradually increases, the oceans will boil away, and the planet will no longer be in...

5 Sci-Fi Books Biotech Geeks Should Read Right Now

From space colonization to resurrection of dinosaurs to machine intelligence, the most awe-inspiring visions of humanity’s future are typically born from science fiction. But among an abundance of time travel, superheroes, space adventures, and so...

This Week’s Awesome Stories From Around the Web (Through June 2)

BIOTECH Gene Therapy Is Saving Children’s Lives—but Screening to Discover Who Needs It Is Lagging Behind Emily Mullin | MIT Technology Review “The company behind the drug, AveXis, is seeing the most dramatic results in children who...

How We Discovered 840 Minor Planets Beyond Neptune—and What They Can Tell Us

Our solar system is a tiny but wonderfully familiar corner of the vast, dark universe—we have even been able to land spacecraft on our celestial neighbors. Yet its outer reaches are still remarkably unmapped....

MIT’s Leading the Pack With This Cool New Autonomous Drone Tech

Any Star Wars fan knows that the chances of successfully navigating an asteroid field are approximately 3,720 to 1. The odds are probably significantly higher against today’s autonomous drones, which fly quite a bit...

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