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Archive for the ‘Technology’ Category

 

Brain to Brain interface in real time. It has happened. Now what?

via BBC News – One rat brain ‘talks’ to another using electronic link.

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Sleep Snob Technology is self-hacking at its best. 

“Sleep tracking is in vogue. You can buy gadgets shaped like headsets, bracelets, and thumb drives even under-mattress sensor pads that will track a whole constellation of sleep indicators—body temperature, movement, electrical activity in your brain—as you slumber.

The Lullaby, a prototype tracker built at the University of Washington goes one step further. It doesn’t just show when you weren’t resting well, it helps you understand why your Zs were thrown off. It tracks your sleeping environment, picking up things like room temperature, ambient light intensity, background noise—and matches those up with biological sleep signs mapped by the wrist-worn Fitbit. An IR camera takes a photograph of the sleeping subjects every 15 seconds, adding a staggered video log to sleep data being collected. Over a morning cup of coffee, on a tablet app, a user can flick through data gathered the previous night.”

via A Know-it-all Sleep Tracker | MIT Technology Review.

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A Harvard professor has hatched a plan to bring back the Neanderthals—but he needs an “adventurous” female volunteer to deliver a knuckle-dragging bundle of joy.

A longer interview with George Church, the man proposing the experiment, can be read here.

 

via Wanted: ‘Adventurous’ Woman to Birth Neanderthal – Bringing Neanderthals back could save humanity, geneticist says.

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“Now, it should be noted that the researchers aren’t trying to emulate a complete honey bee brain, but rather two specific and complex functions within it, namely vision and sense of smell.”

“By isolating and modeling these particular functions, the researchers hope to provide their flying robot with the cognitive power required to perform basic tasks — and without a set of pre-programmed instructions. It is hoped, for example, that the robotic bee will be able to detect particular odors or gasses in the same way that real bee can identify certain flowers.”

via New project aims to upload a honey bee’s brain into a flying insectobot by 2015.

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When will you get your robot butler? When will we first set foot on Mars? These and countless other questions about the future are answered in this amazing chart of where technology is headed in the next 30 years.

via An Interactive Infographic Maps The Future Of Emerging Technology | Co.Exist: World changing ideas and innovation.

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Get ready. Here comes authentic, and somewhat simple, mind control. Really.

For the first time, scientists have been able to affect the behavior of a primate using optogenetics—a technique by which genetically modified neurons are made to fire with light.

via Scientists Control Monkeys’ Brains with Light – Technology Review.

via Scientists Control Monkeys’ Brains with Light – Technology Review.

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In this article, two philosophers provide good agruements that artificial moral enhancement is now essential if humanity is to avoid catastrophe.


Their book is available in the UK this month. It is entitled, “Unfit for the Future: The Urgent Need for Moral Enhancement”.

via Moral Enhancement | Philosophy Now.

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Scanner in the mornin’, 
Scanner in the evenin’, 
Scanner at suppertime…

via Ariel Garten: Know thyself, with a brain scanner – YouTube.

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The media-adopted name for the Higgs Boson, believed to be discovered this week, couldn’t be more misleading. Lawrence M. Krauss explains how the particle could finally dispense with the idea of a supernatural creator. Plus, cosmologist Sean Carroll on�how the discovery will revolutionize physics.

via How the Higgs Boson Posits a New Story of our Creation – Newsweek and The Daily Beast.

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Soldiers scanning the battlefield for threats may soon get a new tool: a brain-scanning set of binoculars that can pick up on a soldier’s unconscious recognition of a potential threat and bring it to his conscious attention.

via Brain-Scanning Binoculars Harness Soldiers’ Unconscious Minds to Locate Threats | Popular Science.

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Deep Brain stimulation will now be possible with magnets rather than direct current. This is, apparently, not only more effective, but also safer.

Magnetic fields generated by microscopic devices implanted into the brain may be able to modulate brain-cell activity and reduce symptoms of several neurological disorders.

via Tiny magnetic coils modulate neural activity, may be safer for deep-brain implants – Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston, MA.

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A small quantity of matings with Neanderthals was enough to cause some of their genes to become commonplace among modern man, hinting that their genes gave us something of significant value. And if this did happen it’s possible that these few matings weren’t enough for them to give us everything of genetic worth that they possessed. Of course, even if their genes did confer a survival advantage it might have been for entirely non-cognitive reasons such as providing us with greater resistance to cold weather. Indeed, it’s even possible that the Neanderthal genes yielded a large non-cognitive advantage while simultaneously reducing their new hosts’ general intelligence.

via An Economic Rationale for Resurrecting Neanderthals.

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We’ve been throwing the smartest people on the planet at the problem of artificial intelligence since the 1960s, and all we have to show for it is the Roomba vacuum cleaner.

 

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Overcoming Bias : Frozen Or Plastic Brain?.

This article, although somewhat poorly written, provides the basis for debate between plastination and cryo-preservation of one’s brain for the purpose of being revived at some future time. Links are provided, in the first paragraph, to connect the reader to several comment sections where fascinating conversations regarding the merits and flaws of both plastination and cryo-preservation methods for brains are being discussed.

Besides the flaws mentioned here, the issue of what will be necessary for full revivication remains unknown. The best case scenario is still a full brain upload, prior to the death of the individual.�

I’ve often envisioned charitable organizations of the future, who have been specially formed solely for protecting those brains and bodies which lay waiting for the momentous breakthrough the individuals had hoped for at the time of preservation.�

Assuming humans survive several more centuries, or even far into future millennia, it is likely that many of the cultural memes of today will have faded out and new, more rational memes will have replaced them. The mere fact that humans have survived that long would likely indicate this occurrence. In this scenario, ethical considerations will take precedence over financial ones. Selection of who is revived, and for what reasons, will be clearly defined.�

Whether choosing plastination or cryo-preservation, I can hope that humans of the future are wiser and more ethical than we, and will screen out revivication candidates based on other ethical considerations. If someone with known psychopathy, like Dick Cheney, for example, is preserved, then revivifaction shouldn’t occur under any circumstances, unless a cure for psychopathy has come about, or perhaps special accommodations are made available for those with issues of this sort.

Another scenario is that humans of the future will most likely have reached a point of deliberate population limitations, which will, necessarily, severely impact revivication prospects for most of those who are preserved. If we assume the humans of the future have gained wisdom, insight and ethical understandings that we are still, today, struggling towards, then they may not wish to revive those from our era, unless they are those most apt to adapt and contribute to the current (future) cultural norms. �If this assumption is correct, then revivication order, or rights, will be based on those who can contribute most greatly, rather than those who can afford to purchase their place at the front of the line. For example, why should someone with large caches of money and political clout be revivified instead of someone with specific altruistic understandings and capabilities?�

 

via Overcoming Bias : Frozen Or Plastic Brain?.

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T

he most exciting thing is that the optic cup developed its structure without guidance from Sasai and his team.

The human eye is a complex structure — but the cues to build it come from inside the growing cells.

DOUGAL WATERS/GETTY

“The morphology is the truly extraordinary thing,” says Austin Smith, director of the Centre for Stem Cell Research at the University of Cambridge, UK. �

Until recently, stem-cell biologists had been able to grow embryonic stem-cells only into two-dimensional sheets. But over the past four years, Sasai has used mouse embryonic stem cells to grow well-organized, three-dimensional cerebral-cortex1, pituitary-gland2 and optic-cup3 tissue. His latest result marks the first time that anyone has managed a similar feat using human

via Biologists grow human-eye precursor from stem cells : Nature News & Comment.

via Biologists grow human-eye precursor from stem cells : Nature News & Comment.

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