Professor Yuval Noah Harari: Humans ‘Will Become God-Like Cyborgs Within 200 Years’

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 writes: Wealthy humans are likely become cyborgs within 200 years as they gradually merge with technology like computers and smart phones, a historian has claimed.

“I think it is likely in the next 200 years or so homo sapiens will upgrade themselves into some idea of a divine being, either through biological manipulation or genetic engineering of by the creation of cyborgs, part organic part non-organic.”

Yuval Noah Harari, a professor at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, said the amalgamation of man and machine will be the ‘biggest evolution in biology’ since the emergence of life four billion years ago.

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“It will be the greatest evolution in biology since the appearance of life. Nothing really has changed in four billion years biologically speaking. But we will be as different from today’s humans as chimps are now from us.”

Prof Harari, who has written a landmark book charting the history of humanity, said mankind would evolve to become like gods with the power over death, and be as different from humans of today as we are from chimpanzees.

Yuval Noah Harari holds a homo sapiens skull

Yuval Noah Harari holds a homo sapiens skull

“What enables humans to cooperate flexibly, and exist in large societies is our imagination. With religion it’s easy to understand. You can’t convince a chimpanzee to give you a banana with the promise it will get 20 more bananas in chimpanzee heaven. It won’t do it. But humans will.”

sapiens-bookHe argued that humans as a race were driven by dissatisfaction and that we would not be able to resist the temptation to ‘upgrade’ ourselves, whether by genetic engineering or technology.

[Order Professor Yuval Noah Harari’s book “Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind” from Amazon.com]

“We are programmed to be dissatisfied, “ said Prof Harari. “Even when humans gain pleasure and achievements it is not enough. They want more and more.”

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“Most legal systems are based on human rights but it is all in our imagination. Money is the most successful story ever. You have the master storytellers, the bankers, the finance ministers telling you that money is worth something. It isn’t. Try giving money to a chimp. It’s worthless.”

“I think it is likely in the next 200 years or so homo sapiens will upgrade themselves into some idea of a divine being, either through biological manipulation or genetic engineering of by the creation of cyborgs, part organic part non-organic.”

“God is extremely important because without religious myth you can’t create society. Religion is the most important invention of humans.”

— Yuval Noah Harari

“It will be the greatest evolution in biology since the appearance of life. Nothing really has changed in four billion years biologically speaking. But we will be as different from today’s humans as chimps are now from us.”

[Read the full text here, at the Telegraph]

However he warned that the ‘cyborg’ technology would be restricted to the wealthiest in society, widening the gap between rich and poor in society. In the future the rich may be able to live forever while the poor would die out. Read the rest of this entry »


[VIDEO] MIT: 7 Finger Robot

Researchers at MIT have developed a robot that enhances the grasping motion of the human hand. Learn more…


[VIDEO] London Dinner Party: Tim Minchin’s Must-See Animated Movie ‘Storm

In the confines of a London dinner party, comedian Tim Minchin argues with a hippy named Storm. While Storm herself may not be converted, audiences from London to LA have been won over by Tim’s wordplay and the timely message of the film in a society where science and reason are portrayed as the enemy of belief.

Written and performed by Tim Minchin @timminchin. Directed by DC Turner @dcturner. Produced by Tracy King @tkingdoll. http://www.stormmovie.net

 


[VIDEO] New POV Video from SpaceX Takes You for a Ride on Crew Dragon’s First Flight

“It was a great, great outcome,” Musk said after the test. “Had there been people on board, they would have been in great shape.”

The two-minute video shows the Dragon capsule blasting off from its Florida launchpad, separating from its trunk and reaching a maximum velocity of 345 mph, according to SpaceX. The Crew Dragon flew about 5,000 feet into the air before splashing down in the Atlantic Ocean under its parachutes….(read more)

Mashable.com


[VIDEO] Mad Science: How to Turn Ordinary Vacuum Light Bulbs into a Coffee Maker

“The post-apocalyptic coffee maker is heated by fire, which brings the water to a boil. After that happens, the coffee starts brewing through the confusing contraption until you’ve got a fresh- brewed cup of java waiting for you inside a bulb…”

Popular Mechanics

 


[VIDEO] Launch of US Air Force’s Mini Space Shuttle – X-37B on Atlas V Rocket

An American Atlas V rocket in the 501 configuration has successfully lifted off from Space Launch Complex 41 at Cape Canaveral carrying the US Air Force‘s X-37B spaceplane, a smaller version of the Space Shuttle. This will be the fourth mission of the X-37B which conducts top secret missions in orbit via payloads in it’s payload bay. Liftoff occurred at 11:05 Local time, 15:05 UTC time on May 20th 2015.

 


Martin Ford: Attention White-collar Workers: #Robots Are Coming for Your Jobs

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Interview: Martin Ford, Author Of ‘Rise Of The Robots’ 

From the self-checkout aisle of the grocery store to the sports section of the newspaper, robots and computer software are increasingly taking the place of humans in the workforce. Silicon Valley executive Martin Ford says that robots, once thought of as a threat to only manufacturing jobs, are poised to replace humans as teachers, journalists, lawyers and others in the service sector.

“As we look forward from this point, we need to keep in mind that this technology is going to continue to accelerate. So I think there’s every reason to believe it’s going to become the primary driver of inequality in the future, and things are likely to get even more extreme than they are now.”

“There’s already a hardware store [in California] that has a customer service robot that, for example, is capable of leading customers to the proper place on the shelves in order to find an item,” Ford tells Fresh Air’s Dave Davies.

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In his new book, Rise of the Robots, Ford considers the social and economic disruption that is likely to result when educated rise-of-robotsworkers can no longer find employment.

[Check out Martin Ford’s book “Rise of the Robots: Technology and the Threat of a Jobless Future” at Amazon.com]

“As we look forward from this point, we need to keep in mind that this technology is going to continue to accelerate,” Ford says. “So I think there’s every reason to believe it’s going to become the primary driver of inequality in the future, and things are likely to get even more extreme than they are now.”

Any jobs that are truly repetitive or rote — doing the same thing again and again — in advanced economies like the United States or Germany, those jobs are long gone. They’ve already been replaced by robots years and years ago.

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So what we’ve seen in manufacturing is that the jobs that are actually left for people to do tend to be the ones that require more flexibility or require visual perception and dexterity. Very often these jobs kind of fill in the gaps between machines.

[Read the full text here, at NPR]

For example, feeding parts into the next part of the production process or very often they’re at the end of the process — perhaps loading and unloading trucks and moving raw materials and finished products around, those types of things. Read the rest of this entry »


Does Artificial Intelligence Pose a Threat?

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A panel of experts discusses the prospect of machines capable of autonomous reasoning

Ted Greenwald writes: After decades as a sci-fi staple, artificial intelligence has leapt into the mainstream. Between Apple ’s Siri and Amazon ’s Alexa, IBM ’s Watson and Google Brain, machines that understand the world and respond productively suddenly seem imminent.

The combination of immense Internet-connected networks and machine-learning algorithms has yielded dramatic advances in machines’ ability to understand spoken and visual communications, capabilities that fall under the heading “narrow” artificial intelligence. Can machines capable of autonomous reasoning—so-called general AI—be far behind? And at that point, what’s to keep them from improving themselves until they have no need for humanity?

Meka's M1 robot is one of the systems that has been acquired by Google

The prospect has unleashed a wave of anxiety. “I think the development of full artificial intelligence could spell the end of the human race,” astrophysicist Stephen Hawking told the BBC. Tesla founder Elon Musk called AI “our biggest existential threat.” Former Microsoft Chief Executive Bill Gates has voiced his agreement.

How realistic are such concerns? And how urgent? We assembled a panel of experts from industry, research and policy-making to consider the dangers—if any—that lie ahead. Read the rest of this entry »


Tesla Hires Head Apple Recruiter After Losing Own Recruiter to Apple Car Team

Musk with the Tesla Model S in Fremont on Oct. 1, 2011.

 writes: Tesla has taken its recruiting of Apple employees to the next level: the electric car and energy company has hired away Apple’s Senior Director of Corporate Recruiting, Cindy Nicola, to become Tesla’s new Vice President of Global Recruiting. Nicola has already noted her new role and start month of May on her LinkedIn profile.

Notably, Apple actually hired away Tesla’s Lead Recruiter in 2014 for its own electric car project, as we noted in our extensive profile of Apple’s automotive related hires. Interestingly, that former Tesla recruiter Lauren Ciminera has already left Apple to work on a new “confidential” project, according to her own LinkedIn page and confirmation from a source… Read the rest of this entry »


What Is Positive Train Control?

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Positive Train Control (PTC) systems are integrated command, control, communications, and information systems for controlling train movements with safety, security, precision, and efficiency.  The Rail Safety Improvement Act of 2008 (RSIA) mandated that PTC be 0208implemented across a significant portion of the Nation’s rail industry by December 31, 2015.  The Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) published the final rule addressing PTC requirements on January 15, 2010, which consisted of Title 49 of the Code of Federal Regulations (49 CFR) part 236; subpart I. FRA published final rule amendments on September 27, 2010 and on May 14, 2012. Lines requiring PTC are essentially Class I railroad main lines—over which 5 million or more gross tons are transported annually—that handle any poisonous-inhalation-hazardous (PIH) materials and any railroad main lines over which regularly scheduled intercity passenger or commuter rail services are provided. PTC is expected to be implemented over a total of approximately 70,000 miles of track.

PTC refers to communication-based/processor-based train control technology designed to prevent train-to-train collisions, over speed derailments, incursions into established work zone limits, and the movement of a train through a main line switch in the improper position. PTC systems vary widely in complexity and sophistication based on the level of automation and functionality being implemented, the system architecture used including wayside systems (e.g., non-signaled, block signal, cab signal, etc.), and the degree of train control.

PTC System Development and Deployments 

To facilitate the development and deployment of PTC systems, Office of Research and Development with close collaboration with FRA’s Office of Safety, freight and passenger railroads, and academia have funded and continue to fund many research projects. Read the rest of this entry »


[VIDEO] Two Aerial Daredevils Buzz Dubai Skyscrapers In Jetpacks

“It’s total freedom.” That’s how Swiss pilot Yves Rossy has described the sensation of flying his jetpack at high speeds alongside bombers, over the Grand Canyon, and, now, over the skies of Dubai(read more)


[VIDEO] Meet the Fastest Car Ever Made

Part spaceship, part racing car, part jet fighter, we go behind-the-scenes to discover how to reach 1,000mph on land

Dubbed as the Concorde for this generation by its makers, the SSC in Bloodhound SSC stands for supersonic car. If all goes to plan, the hope is this vehicle will smash not only the current land speed record but also the air speed record by exceeding 1,000mph (1,600km/h).

So how do you create something that can reach these remarkable speeds? Mark Chapman, chief engineer of the Bloodhound project reveals what it takes to create such a machine. Find out why it needs three engines, and the key problem that took 18 months to solve.

BBC – Future


SpaceX Tests Launch Abort System

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SpaceX has put its Dragon astronaut capsule through a practice abort.

The demonstration simulated what would happen to the crewship in the event of a rocket failure on the launch pad.

Wednesday’s test was conducted at Cape Canaveral in Florida, and saw a test vehicle – carrying no humans, only a dummy – hurled skywards by a set of powerful in-built thrusters.

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The Dragon ship was propelled to a safe distance, lowering itself softly into the Atlantic via three parachutes.

SpaceX expects to start launching astronauts in 2017.

It is one of two companies that have been contracted by the US space agency (Nasa) to develop vehicles to ferry people to and from the International Space Station (ISS). The other firm is Boeing.

Both have to demonstrate effective launch escape technologies for their rockets and capsules to receive certification. Only with the necessary assurance will Nasa permit its astronauts to climb aboard.

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SpaceX has elected to use a so-called pusher system on the Dragon.

Eight SuperDraco thrusters have been integrated into the side of the ship, and these fired in tandem for just over five seconds at the start of the test to hurl the ship up and to the east of the Cape. Read the rest of this entry »


Samantha Cristoforetti: First Italian Woman in Orbit, Brewing the First Espresso in Space

First Espresso in Space

“To boldly brew….”

More…

New York Times


Study: Cosmic Rays Could Damage Astronauts’ Brains

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Cosmic rays could leave travelers to Mars confused, forgetful and slow to react

Robert Lee Hotz writes: As NASA develops plans for a manned mission to Mars, scientists said Friday that cosmic rays during an interplanetary voyage could cause subtle brain damage, leaving astronauts confused, forgetful and slow to react to the unexpected.

“These sorts of cognitive changes could manifest during the mission and could be a real problem.”

In a NASA-funded study of radiation-exposed mice published Friday in Science Advances, researchers at the University of California, Irvine and the University of Nevada warned that prolonged bombardment by charged particles in deep space could affect the brain cells involved in decision-making and memory, with implications for possible manned forays into deep space.

Oncologist-Charles-Limoli

Oncologist Charles Limoli

“I don’t think our findings preclude future space missions. But they suggest we need to come up with some engineering solutions.”

— UC Irvine radiation oncologist Charles Limoli

“These sorts of cognitive changes could manifest during the mission and could be a real problem,” said Cary Zeitlin at the Southwest Research Institute in San Antonio, who wasn’t involved in the study. In 2013, Dr. Zeitlin reported radiation levels between Earth and Mars detected by the Mars Science Laboratory craft during its cruise to the red planet, and found that the exposure was the equivalent of getting “a whole-body CT scan once every 5 or 6 days.”

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“Apollo crews, who ventured furthest from Earth’s protective shield on their journeys to the Moon, reported seeing flashes of light when they closed their eyes, caused by galactic cosmic rays speeding through their retinas.”

Deep-space radiation is a unique mix of gamma rays, high-energy protons and cosmic rays from newborn black holes, and radiation from exploding stars. Earth’s bulk, atmosphere and magnetic field blocks or deflects most deep-space cosmic rays. Shielding on spacecraft also helps. Read the rest of this entry »


Jeepers, the 21st Century is Here!

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SPACE: Progress Failure Puts Burden on Upcoming Resupply Missions

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jeff_foust_4c-90x90WASHINGTON — Jeff Foust writes: The failure of a Russian Progress spacecraft to deliver cargo to the International Space Station is unlikely to have a significant near-term effect on station operations, but will place a greater burden on upcoming resupply missions and could alter the cargo those missions carry.

A Soyuz-2.1a rocket carrying the Progress M-27M spacecraft lifted off on schedule from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan at 3:09 a.m. Eastern time April 28. The launch appeared to take place normally, putting the spacecraft on track to dock with the ISS about six hours later.

However, shortly after the Progress reached orbit, controllers reported that two antennas used as part of the spacecraft’s docking system failed to deploy properly. NASA initially announced that the docking would be delayed until early April 30 to give engineers time to resolve the antenna problem.

“Roscosmos announced that the Progress will not be docking and will reenter the Earth’s atmosphere here some days in the future.”

— NASA astronaut Scott Kelly, April 29, 2015

Within hours, though, it was clear the problem with the Soyuz was more serious than a faulty antenna. The spacecraft entered a roll, and Russian controllers reported problems maintaining communications with the spacecraft. NASA announced later April 28 that it had called off an attempted April 30 docking.

The U.S. Air Force’s Joint Space Operations Center, tracking the Progress, said in an April 28 statement that the spacecraft was rotating “at a rate of 360 degrees every five seconds,” or 12 RPM. The Air Force also reported tracking 44 pieces of debris in the vicinity of the Progress and its Soyuz upper stage, but could not determine from which object the debris originated.

NASA and the Russian space agency Roscosmos ruled out any attempt to dock the Progress with the ISS on April 29. “Roscosmos announced that the Progress will not be docking and will reenter the Earth’s atmosphere here some days in the future,” NASA astronaut Scott Kelly, currently on the station, said in an interview on NASA Television April 29.

The cause of the Progress failure, including whether it is a flaw with the spacecraft or its launch vehicle, is unclear. Roscosmos, in an April 29 statement, said telemetry from the Progress was interrupted 1.5 seconds before the Progress was scheduled to separate from the Soyuz upper stage. When contact was restored after separation, the spacecraft was in a spin.

With no ability to control the spacecraft, the Progress’s orbit will decay and the spacecraft will reenter some time in early May. Holger Krag, head of the European Space Agency’s Space Debris Office, said April 30 that he estimated the Progress would reenter on May 9, with a margin of error of two days.

Most of the spacecraft will burn up in the atmosphere. “However, we cannot exclude the chance that some portion of its structure, for example the heavy docking mechanism or tanks and thrusters, could survive reentry to reach the surface,” Krog said. Read the rest of this entry »


Taking Apart the $349 Apple Watch Sport Reveals About $83 Worth of Parts

apple-watch disassembled

Read more…WSJ


[VIDEO] Robotic Spacecraft MESSENGER Is Out of Fuel, Doomed to Crash Into Mercury This Afternoon at More Than 8,750 MPH

The robotic spacecraft MESSENGER has run out of fuel. With no way to make major adjustments to its orbit around the planet Mercury, the probe will smash into the surface at more than 8,750 miles per hour (3.91 kilometers per second). The impact will add a new crater to the planet’s scarred face that engineers estimate will be as wide as 52 feet (16 meters).


OH YES THEY DID: U.S. Military Develops Self-Guided ‘Smart Bullet’

Videos supplied by DARPA show the bullets making sharp turns in midair as they pursue their targets

(CNN) Don Melvin writes: You know the phrase “dodging a bullet”? Forget about it. Probably not going to happen anymore.

The U.S. military said this week it has made great progress in its effort to develop a self-steering bullet.

DARPA-smart-bullet

“True to DARPA’s mission, EXACTO has demonstrated what was once thought impossible: the continuous guidance of a small-caliber bullet to target.”

— Jerome Dunn, DARPA program manager

In February, the “smart bullets” — .50-caliber projectiles equipped with optical sensors — passed their most successful round of live-fire tests to date, according to the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, or DARPA.

In the tests, an experienced marksman “repeatedly hit moving and evading targets,” a DARPA statement said.

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“This live-fire demonstration from a standard rifle showed that EXACTO is able to hit moving and evading targets with extreme accuracy at sniper ranges unachievable with traditional rounds.”

“Additionally,” the statement said, “a novice shooter using the system for the first time hit a moving target.” In other words, now you don’t even have to be a good shot to hit the mark.

The system has been developed by DARPA’s Extreme Accuracy Tasked Ordnance program, known as EXACTO.

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“Fitting EXACTO’s guidance capabilities into a small .50-caliber size is a major breakthrough and opens the door to what could be possible in future guided projectiles across all calibers.”

“True to DARPA’s mission, EXACTO has demonstrated what was once thought impossible: the continuous guidance of a small-caliber bullet to target,” said Jerome Dunn, DARPA program manager. Read the rest of this entry »


[VIDEO] BECAUSE, SCIENCE: Pouring Molten Aluminum In a Watermelon

Move over AntHillArt, theres a new guy in town! So today I decided I was going to pour molten aluminum on something. I just finished a new propane powered furnace and I wanted to put it to the test!

 


Before the Apple Watch There Was The Hewlett Packard Calculator Watch, Before That, The Seiko Watchman TV Watch

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Before the Apple Watch, there was the Hewlett Packard calculator watch. And before that, there was the Seiko Watchman TV watch. A curator from our  Museum of American History talks about the evolution of wrist tech on Smithsonian Science News

via Smithsonian


Happy 25 Years to the Hubble Space Telescope

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Happy 25 years to the Hubble Space Telescope! The largest orbital telescope ever launched was deployed on April 25, 1990, during the mission of STS-31 DiscoveryLaunch occurred the day prior, on 24 April.

Although the telescope’s optics were flawed upon arrival into orbit, Servicing Mission 1 installed corrective lenses that allowed the telescope to return some of the most spectacular imagery ever returned from space.

The telescope is expected to be operational until at least the mid 2020′s.

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[PHOTO] Sam Cristoforetti: ‘Buona Notte Dallo Spazio’, ‘Good Night from Space’

Good Night from Space

 @AstroSamantha

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[VIDEO] First Self-Powered Camera Developed

Researchers at Columbia University have created a new type of smart camera that operates without any external power supply. Photo: Computer Vision Laboratory, Columbia Engineering


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