The day may come when we face the Singularity: a robot apocalypse when artificial intelligence awakens and rebels against humanity. On that day, we’ll be wondering: “What were they thinking, those humans who built these infernal machines?” Now we know who to ask: Harvard University.
The Singularity is Nigh
Most early attempts at Internet of Things (IoT) devices, like smart cutting boards and rudimentary wearables, haven’t proven their worth enough to become as important to us as our phones and laptops. But as of this morning, IoT startup Spark has raised $4.9 million to bring us smart objects that might actually be useful.
Until now, Spark has focused on selling home kits that let you take everyday objects like lightbulbs and cutting boards and hook them up with sensors and wifi. The new cash will help Spark move on from selling one-off DIY kits to providing thousands of cores for companies that want to use Spark to power IoT products. Read More
As long as computers have been around, programmers have have been struggling to bring them to life, mostly with comical results. But finally, a robot designed to simulate a 13-year-old Ukrainian boy beat the famous Turing Test this weekend at the University of Reading. Call him the Ender Wiggin of artificial intelligence — the Read More
The only things humans automatically do when it’s hot out are 1. complain and 2. turn on the A/C. We also sweat a lot. It’s far from impressive.
A team at MIT is ensuring that robots will outdo us in the realm of hot-weather activities, as they already do in the areas of factory work and office work (but strangely not ping pong). The team has created a 3D-printed robot that can assemble itself when exposed to heat, The Wire reports. Read More
If a wireless router that just chills under the TV set in the living room is too boring and predictable for you, you’re in luck: a PhD student at Michigan State University is developing a tiny running, jumping robot that has wireless communication abilities.
The so-called “tailbot” prototype “can jump like a frog and maneuver like Read More
Google Hopes to Offer Life Extension as a Perk So You Can Work There Forever and Ever Without Leaving
Google already provides its employees with nap pods, free meals and cute little bikes to shuttle them between buildings on campus, but one thing they haven’t yet figured out how to work into employee agreements is access to the fountain of youth.
But this is Google–dream big! The father of the Singularity, Ray Kurzweil, is toiling away in Mountain View creating an artificial brain. So why shouldn’t they expect a future in which they offer their employees life extension as a perk? Read More
Ray Kurzweil’s official title at Google is director of engineering, but we’re starting to suspect Larry keeps him around as a kind of science-fictional mascot for the programmers. Case in point: This Wired Q&A, in which he reminds everyone of his belief that one day soon, death will hold no dominion over technologists.
After chatting about Steve Jobs (fun fact, it’s actually impossible to get into the Wired offices without passing a brief quiz about Steve Jobs*), interviewer Stephen Levy asked his thoughts on one of the Silicon Valley demigod’s famous quotes: “Death is very likely the single best invention of life. It’s life’s change agent.”
Well, Ray Kurzweil thinks that’s bullshit. Read More
TED is currently underway in Long Beach, California, and really, what better place to introduce a technology like “4D printing,” i.e., “3-D printing where the chunks start separated and intelligently arrange themselves into basically any object.” That’s according to Wired, which reports the technology (developed jointly by Stratasys and MIT’s new Self Assembly Lab) was debuted today in a speech from MIT’s Skylar Tibbits.
The way this particular iteration works is you drop strands of material into water and they “fold themselves into desired shapes.” They look a little like sentient robot spiders but hey, why worry about a little detail like that? Read More
Last month, Ray Kurzweil, the unofficial president of the singularity booster club, took a job at Google. This, of course, inspired much breathless speculation about just how a company in possession of an enormous treasure trove of our data plans to employ such a thinker.
Well today we got a bit of a hint, thanks to an event at Singularity U., wherein X Prize chairman Peter Diamandis and Mr. Kurzweil interviewed each other. Vivek Wadhwa, naturally, live-tweeted their discussion from the audience–and it sounds like a doozy: Read More
Computers are great at parsing data using logic, but when it comes to recognizing when you’re feeling angry or despondent, they’re as helpless as your high school boyfriend. Luckily, researchers across the world are working to change that, hoping that if they can teach computers to recognize and understand emotion, they can use that knowledge to educate people who have similar difficulties–such as those on the Autism Spectrum–to do so as well. Read More