February 24, 2011 Technology Roundup: 3D Printing & Copyright, A Solar ‘Katrina’ Storm?, Kurzweil: Solar’s our Saviour, IBM’s Watson = Just a Faster Computer, Mobile Trends & More!

Cory Doctorow: 3D printing’s first copyright complaint goes away, but things are just getting started (Boing Boing, Feb 22, 2011)
The 3D Printing copyright battle begins… “More news on the first-ever DMCA threat for violating a copyright in a 3D object — Ulrich Schwanitz has rescinded his complaint and will release his shape into the public domain today.”

The Real Avatar: Swiss Researchers Use Virtual Reality and Brain Imaging to Hunt for the Science of the Self (Science Direct, Feb. 2011)
Experiments on selfhood using Virtual Reality: “That feeling of being in, and owning, your own body is a fundamental human experience. But where does it originate and how does it come to be? Now, Professor Olaf Blanke, a neurologist with the Brain Mind Institute announces an important step in decoding the phenomenon. By combining techniques from cognitive science with those of  VR and brain imaging, he and his team are narrowing in on the first experimental, data-driven approach to understanding self-consciousness.”

Modern Society Threatened by Solar Storms (Discovery, Feb. 19, 2011)
Are we headed for a digital Katrina? It seems it’s not a question of IF, but WHEN.  “The Earth just dodged a solar bullet, but what about next time? Sensitive technology could be mankind’s Achilles heel.”

Futurist Ray Kurzweil isn’t worried about climate change (PBS, Feb. 16, 2011)
Ever the optimist, Kurzweil predicts that Solar Energy (which, according to him is doubling every two years) will be our Saviour.  I knew we’d come back around to Sun Worship one of these years.

A Warning to LCDs – Watch Your Back, AMOLEDs are Coming (Singularity Hub, Feb. 14, 2011)
In case you’ve never heard of Active Matrix Organic Light-Emitting Diode (AMOLED): “Samsung recently unveiled a slew of new AMOLED products at CES 2011, and they did not disappoint. By layering thin sheets of an electroluminescent organic material, Samsung has managed to conceive of an entire line of products that take LED displays to an entirely new level.”

Toward Computers That Fit on a Pen Tip: New Technologies Usher in the Millimeter-Scale Computing Era (Science Daily, Feb. 22, 2011)
“Millimeter-scale computing, believed to be the next electronics frontier. … Nearly invisible millimeter-scale systems could enable ubiquitous computing, and the researchers say that’s the future of the industry. They point to Bell’s Law, a corollary to Moore’s Law. (Moore’s says that the number of transistors on an integrated circuit doubles every two years, roughly doubling processing power.) Bell’s Law says there’s a new class of smaller, cheaper computers about every decade.”

Stanley Fish: What Did Watson the Computer Do? (New York Times Opinionator Blog, Feb. 21, 2011)
A great little article aimed at bursting the IBM Watson hype bubble that reminds us that even the most advanced AI today doesn’t come close to the knowledge generated by human mental processes, and that being an expert at following precise and narrowly formatted rules, is not cornerstone of our humanity.

Jonathan Lethem psychoanalyzes They Live’s Ghouls (i09 Horror, Feb. 2011)
A few excerpts from Jonathan Lethem’s book which psychoanalyzes John Carpenters’ underrated film They Live.

GOP Lawmaker Mike Beard Claims God Will Provide Unlimited Natural Resources (Huffington Post, Feb. 16, 2011)
I don’t really have anything to say about this and think it speaks for itself: “Mike Beard, a Republican state representative from Minnesota, recently argued that coal mining should resume, in part because he believes God has created an earth that will provide unlimited natural resources.”

The Future of Education? Droids Teach Toddlers (Live Science, Feb. 22, 2011)
“Robots could one day help teach kids in classrooms, suggests research involving droids and toddlers in California.” Can you imagine dropping your kid off at preschool knowing he/she’s being taught by an overweight fireplace with pipecleaners sticking out of its head? I love that the scientist’s optimism about how terrified and scared the children were. Also, on a safety note, do you think those plastic hands are strong enough to strangle a toddler?

Even in a Crowd, Individuals Remain Unique, Rodent Vocalization Study Finds (Science Daily, Feb. 22, 2011)
“Biologists Kimberly Pollard and Daniel Blumstein examined the evolution of individuality — personal uniqueness — by recording alarm-call vocalizations in eight species of rodents that live in social groups of various sizes. They found that the size of the groups strongly predicted the individual uniqueness in the animals’ voices: The bigger the group, the more unique each animal’s voice typically was and the easier it was to tell individuals apart.”

Stanley Fish: What Did Watson the Computer Do? (New York Times Opinionator Blog, Feb. 21, 2011)
A great little article bent on bursting the IBM Watson hype bubble that reminds us that even the most advanced AI today doesn’t come close to the knowledge generated by human mental processes, and that being an expert at following precise and narrowly formatted rules, is not cornerstone of our humanity.

Watson, Can You Hear Me? The Significance of the “Jeopardy” AI win (New Atlantis Futurisms Blog, Feb. 17, 2011)
Did Watson represent an innovation in AI, or was it simply a better computer?

Top 10 Mobile Internet Trends (Kleiner Perkins, Feb. 2011)
In case, like me, you’re interested in what the ‘experts’ think about the future for telecommunications. I’m a real sucker for these ‘top 10 trend’ lists.

Printing out new ears and skin on Inkjet Printers (BBC, Feb. 21, 2011)
The early stages of printed skin on a regular inkjet printer and portable battlefield skin bioprinters… “[A]t the annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science in Washington DC, the buzzword is bioprinting: using the same technique to artfully knock out new body parts.” Looks like this is less than 20 years away.

Leaker Reveals ‘Mystery’ Nintendo 3DS Augmented Reality Games (Wired, Feb. 22, 2011)
“Fishing and billiards are among six new augmented reality games that will come preloaded on Nintendo 3DS, according to an anonymous source who provided details of five as-yet-unannounced titles to Wired.com. The glasses-free 3-D portable gaming system launches Saturday in Japan, and AR games are among its most highly anticipated features. While Nintendo has demo’d one of the games, the company has remained mum about the other five.”

Phoenix Goddess Temple’s “Sacred Sexuality” Is More Like New Age Prostitution (Phoenix New Times, Feb. 17, 2011)
Cybject’s not just interested in new technology, but in critiquing (i.e. deflating) New Age-y philosophies. A great glimpse inside the Phoenix Goddess Temple, a New Age Resort that seems like it sprung out of the head of Michel Houellebecq.

Q&A: Artificial intelligence pioneer aims to make computers learn like brains (Globe and Mail, Feb. 21, 2011)
Brief interview with Geoffrey Hinton, a pioneer in artificial intelligence, who was awarded the country’s top science prize last week, the prestigious Gerhard Herzberg Canada Gold Medal.

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~ by dccohen on February 24, 2011.

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