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Monthly Archives: January 2018

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Enzyme Designed Entirely From Scratch Opens a World of Biological Possibility

Ann Donnelly was utterly confused the first time she examined her protein. On all counts, it behaved like an enzyme—a protein catalyst that speeds up biological reactions in cells. One could argue that enzymes,...

Smart Homes Won’t Just Automate Your Life—They’ll Track Your Health Too

It’s been more than a half-century since we first glimpsed the future of the smart home in a quaint cartoon series called “The Jetsons.” The Roomba is no Rosie the Robot Maid, but today’s...
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Why Nothing Cuts Through Complexity Like Visual Thinking

Dan Roam is a management consultant who uses visual thinking to make complicated ideas simple. His books Back of the Napkin and Draw to Win explain how anyone can use visual thinking to improve...

These Are the Most Exciting Industries and Jobs of the Future

We’ve all read the headlines: the robots are coming, and they will take our jobs. In fact, up to 45 percent of tasks workers perform can be automated using current technology, let alone future forecasts. However,...

The Love Oracle: Can AI Help You Succeed at Dating?

Interacting with modern-day Alexa, Siri, and other chatterbots can be fun, but as personal assistants, these chatterbots can seem a little impersonal. What if, instead of asking them to turn the lights off, you...

This Week’s Awesome Stories From Around the Web (Through January 27)

COMPUTING China Wants to Make the Chips That Will Add AI to Any Gadget Yiting Sun | MIT Technology Review “The chip is just one example of an important trend sweeping China’s tech sector. The country’s semiconductor...

The Next Generation of Cameras Might See Behind Walls

You might be really pleased with the camera technology in your latest smartphone, which can recognize your face and take slow-mo video in ultra-high definition. But these technological feats are just the start of...

How Graphene Research Is Taking Aim at 5 of the World’s Biggest Problems

In September 2015, world leaders gathered at a historic UN summit to adopt the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). These are 17 ambitious targets and indicators that help guide and coordinate governments and international organizations...

Here’s the Tech That Could One Day Track, Boost, or Erase Human Memory

Human memories are notoriously fallible. We forget things, misremember things, and often don’t even know what we no longer know. What if there was a way to flip through the catalog of our precious memories...

Technology Can and Should Be Designed for Emotional Wellness

In an interview at Singularity University’s Exponential Medicine in San Diego, Nichol Bradford, co-founder and executive director of Sofia University’s Transformative Technology Lab, explored how new technologies are being designed to enhance emotional wellness and awareness. Sofia University’s...

Chinese Scientists Just Cloned a Monkey—Here Are the Details

In 1996, Dolly the sheep became the first mammal to be cloned from a somatic cell. Twenty years later, scientists have succeeded in using the same technique on primates—as detailed in a study published...

New Research Brings Us Closer to Cheap, Transparent, Organic Solar Cells

The age of fossil fuels is coming to an end, and the age of renewable energy has dawned—or, it will be dawning soon. In 2014 the World Bank estimated that over 80 percent of...

This Awesome Robot Is the Size of a Penny and Precise Enough to Aid Eye Surgery

They say size isn’t everything, but when it comes to delta robots it seems like it’s pretty important. The speed and precision of these machines sees them employed in delicate pick-and-place tasks in all kinds...

Machines Teaching Each Other Could Be the Biggest Exponential Trend in AI

“The easier it is to communicate, the faster change happens.” – James Burke, Science Historian During an October 2015 press conference announcing the autopilot feature of the Tesla Model S, which allowed the car to...

This Week’s Awesome Stories From Around the Web (Through January 20)

AUGMENTED REALITY AR Has Inherited All the Promise and Hype of VR Nick Statt | The Verge “The full spectrum of AR was present on the floor of the show’s many gadget expos and booth halls, making...

Want Faster Data and a Cleaner Planet? Start Mining Asteroids

Mining asteroids might seem like the stuff of science fiction, but there are companies and a few governments already working hard to make it real. This should not be surprising: compared with the breathtaking...

A Blueprint for Building a Collaborative Startup Culture

Culture is driven from the top down. Yet most founders have a difficult time articulating their culture beyond the amenities their startup offers: Catered meals. Pet-friendly workspaces. Unlimited paid time off. Etc. But a company’s...

How Fast Is AI Progressing? Stanford’s New Report Card for Artificial Intelligence

When? This is probably the question that futurists, AI experts, and even people with a keen interest in technology dread the most. It has proved famously difficult to predict when new developments in AI...

Why Gene Silencing Could Launch a New Class of Blockbuster Drugs

Long before CRISPR, there was gene silencing. Ever since the Human Genome Project transcribed our genetic bible in 1997, scientists have dreamt of curing inherited diseases at the source. The first audacious idea? Shoot the...

How the Science of Decision-Making Will Help Us Make Better Strategic Choices

Neuroscientist Brie Linkenhoker believes that leaders must be better prepared for future strategic challenges by continually broadening their worldviews. As the director of Worldview Stanford, Brie and her team produce multimedia content and immersive learning...

If We Could Engineer Animals to Be as Smart as Humans—Should We?

Advances in neural implants and genetic engineering suggest that in the not-too-distant future we may be able to boost human intelligence. If that’s true, could we—and should we—bring our animal cousins along for the...

Are Solar Roads the Highway of the Future, or a Road to Nowhere?

By some back-of-the-envelope estimates, around 0.2–0.5 percent of the world’s land surface is covered in roads. This proportion is projected to increase by 60 percent by 2050. It’s a staggering fraction of territory for...

This Neural Network Built by Japanese Researchers Can ‘Read Minds’

It already seems a little like computers can read our minds; features like Google’s auto-complete, Facebook’s friend suggestions, and the targeted ads that appear while you’re browsing the web sometimes make you wonder, “How...

This Week’s Awesome Stories From Around the Web (Through January 13)

TRANSPORTATION CES 2018: Phantom Auto Demonstrates First Remote-Controlled Car on Public Roads Mark Harris | IEEE Spectrum “But Shukman is not sitting next to me in the driver’s seat of Phantom’s Lincoln MKZ, and he hasn’t felt...

There Are Over 1,000 Alternatives to Bitcoin You’ve Never Heard Of

Bitcoin gets all the attention, especially since it recently rocketed towards $20,000. But many other cryptocurrencies exist, and more are being created at an accelerating rate. A quick look at coinmarketcap.com shows over 1,400...

Low-Cost Soft Robot Muscles Can Lift 200 Times Their Weight and Self-Heal

Jerky mechanical robots are staples of science fiction, but to seamlessly integrate into everyday life they’ll need the precise yet powerful motor control of humans. Now scientists have created a new class of artificial...
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The Future of Cancer Treatment Is Personalized and Collaborative

In an interview at Singularity University's Exponential Medicine in San Diego, Richard Wender, chief cancer control officer at the American Cancer Society, discussed how technology has changed cancer care and treatment in recent years. Just a...

Darker Still: Black Mirror’s New Season Envisions Neurotech Gone Wrong

The key difference between science fiction and fantasy is that science fiction is entirely possible because of its grounding in scientific facts, while fantasy is not. This is where Black Mirror is both an...

Gene Therapy Had a Breakthrough 2017—2018 May Be Even Better

Gene therapy had a hell of a 2017. After decades of promises but failed deliveries, last year saw the field hitting a series of astonishing home runs. The concept of gene therapy is elegant: like...

Business Design Is a Powerful Tool for Breaking Down Bureaucracy

Designing the right business model and value proposition is fundamental to the success of any endeavor—yet rarely have governments used these practices. We caught up with Michael Eales, a business designer and partner at Business...

New Research Suggests Immunity to CRISPR Gene Editing Poses a Challenge

CRISPR-Cas9 is the talk of the town in biotechnology. There is a huge amount of public interest in the possibilities provided by this new genome editing technology, and many are hoping CRISPR could eventually...

The World Needs More Scientists: How We Can Train Millions in Virtual Labs

California wild fires, melting arctic ice caps, and record setting temperatures suggest our climate is dramatically changing with potentially catastrophic outcomes for our species. Add to that an increase in the threat of infectious...

If Work Dominated Your Every Moment Would Life Be Worth Living?

Imagine that work had taken over the world. It would be the centre around which the rest of life turned. Then all else would come to be subservient to work. Then slowly, almost imperceptibly,...

This Week’s Awesome Stories From Around the Web (Through January 6)

ROBOTS The Year Robots Backflipped Their Way Into Our Hearts Will Knight | MIT Technology Review “Legged robots remain very expensive and difficult to commercialize. So it came as little surprise when Google sold Boston Dynamics to...

Why the World Is Still Getting Better—and That’s Likely to Continue

If you read or watch the news, you’ll likely think the world is falling to pieces. Trends like terrorism, climate change, and a growing population straining the planet’s finite resources can easily lead you...

This Unbelievable Research on Human Hibernation Could Get Us to Mars

Journeying to Mars is seldom out of the news these days. From Elon Musk releasing plans for his new rocket to allow SpaceX to colonize Mars, to NASA announcing another rover as part of...

AI Uses Titan Supercomputer to Create Deep Neural Nets in Less Than a Day

You don’t have to dig too deeply into the archive of dystopian science fiction to uncover the horror that intelligent machines might unleash. The Matrix and The Terminator are probably the most well-known examples of self-replicating,...

World Poverty Has Plummeted—But Will It Ever Disappear?

Few will deny 2017 was a rough year. But believe it or not, we’re still living in the best time ever to be alive, and the world as a whole is better off than...

When Will We Finally Achieve True Artificial Intelligence?

The field of artificial intelligence goes back a long way, but many consider it was officially born when a group of scientists at Dartmouth College got together for a summer, back in 1956. Computers...

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