Tag Archives: Technology

Neal Stephenson critical on metaverse – The Cryptonomist

By Alessia Pannone – 28 Feb 2023

from article…

Neal Stephenson, apparently the first to coin the term “metaverse,” has expressed his opinion about the future adoption of virtual worlds.

The science fiction writer and co-founder of Lamina1, a blockchain metaverse company, believes that building experiences that millions of people consider worthy in virtual worlds is quite difficult, hindering the process of technology adoption.


The socially savvy AIs that seem to possess theory of mind | New Scientist

With the recent news that the ChatGPT AI can pass a theory of mind test, how far away are we from an artificial intelligence that fully understands the goals and beliefs of others?

By Edd Gent, 14 February 2023 , updated 22 February 2023

Hollie Fuller

SUPERHUMAN artificial intelligence is already among us. Well, sort of.

When it comes to playing games like chess and Go, or solving difficult scientific challenges like predicting protein structures, computers are well ahead of us.

But we have one superpower they aren’t even close to mastering: mind reading.

Humans have an uncanny ability to deduce the goals, desires and beliefs of others, a crucial skill that means we can anticipate other people’s actions and the consequences of our own. Reading minds comes so easily to us, though, that we often don’t think to spell out what we want.

If AIs are to become truly useful in everyday life – to collaborate effectively with us or, in the case of self-driving cars, to understand that a child might run into the road after a bouncing ball – they need to establish similar intuitive abilities.

Source: The socially savvy AIs that seem to possess theory of mind | New Scientist

NASA Spinoffs Bolster Climate Resilience, Improve Medical Care, More | Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Cal Tech

JPL-developed technologies, including VITAL, FINDER, 3D-printing methods, and Voyager spacecraft communications, are featured in the agency’s technology publication.

Published Jan. 31, 2023

To make sure ventilators could be quickly manufactured and administered to those in need during the COVID-19 pandemic, a team of engineers at JPL created the Ventilator Intervention Technology Accessible Locally (VITAL) device, made of off-the-shelf parts.
Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

When it comes to NASA, most people look to the skies as rockets, rovers, and astronauts push the boundaries of space exploration. But the benefits of going above and beyond can be found here on Earth through products and services born from NASA innovation.

Editor’s Note: Read more, see link below for original item...

Source: NASA Spinoffs Bolster Climate Resilience, Improve Medical Care, More

Google’s Project Starline is the real deal | The Verge

Project Starline is the real deal. It makes a virtual call feel like a one-on-one conversation. But it’s unclear if it’s something most people will ever get to experience.

By Jay Peters / @jaypeters, Oct 13, 2022, 5:30 AM PDT

Here’s what a Starline booth looks like from a distance.
Image: Google

It looked like I could grab the apple. Jason Lawrence, a Google researcher, was sitting across from me, holding the fruit in his hand. I could see it, it was red and shiny, and my brain was telling me it was right there. But Lawrence and the apple were actually in another room — they were just being projected in front of me through Google’s Project Starline.

Project Starline is Google’s next-generation 3D video chat booth that it first introduced at Google I/O 2021. Slide into a booth, and your image is supposed to be projected to another booth in real time, as if you’re actually sitting with somebody else across a table.

In a heartwarming video, Google showed family and friends joyfully connecting with each other using Starline, and the virtual recreations looked remarkably lifelike. “That was mindblowing,” one person says in the video. “I’ve seen a lot, but I’ve never seen this,” said another.

Source: https://www.theverge.com/2022/10/13/23400870/google-project-starline-3d-chat-booth-impressions

AI-generated images could make it almost impossible to detect fake papers | News | Chemistry World

By Katrina Krämer, 24 May 2022

Source: © 2022 Liansheng Wang et al
These esophageal cancer images are deepfakes that were created by a generative adversarial network

In mid-March, a one minute video of Ukraine’s president Volodymyr Zelenskiy appeared first on social media and later on a Ukrainian news website. In it, Zelenskiy told Ukrainian soldiers to lay down their arms and surrender to Russian troops.

But the video turned out to be a deepfake, a piece of synthetic media created by machine learning. Some scientists are now concerned that similar technology could be used to commit research fraud by creating fake images of spectra or biological specimen.

‘I’ve been worried very much about these types of technologies,’ says microbiologist and science integrity expert Elisabeth Bik. ‘I think this is already happening – creating deepfake images and publishing [them].’

She suspects that the images in the over 600 completely fabricated studies that she helped uncover, which likely came from the same paper mill, may have been AI-generated.

Source: AI-generated images could make it almost impossible to detect fake papers | News | Chemistry World

The West is historically dry. Desalination could help. | Popular Science

A historic drought calls for new ideas.

By Thor Benson, Published Apr 3, 2022 5:00 PM

As climate change continues to plague the planet, droughts are likely to become worse in the future. Unsplash

California and the rest of the American West are facing the worst drought in over 1,200 years.

This drought is devastating the agricultural industry and creating conditions that lead to massive wildfires. According to the IPCC, climate change makes it likely that droughts will only continue to get worse.

To maintain an adequate supply of fresh water, the region needs to develop technological solutions to dwindling water levels.

Fortunately, a decent chunk of California is on the coast, meaning one solution to the drought is utilizing desalination technologies to turn seawater into fresh water. However, large desalination plants take years to become operational and are expensive to operate (nearly $3,000 per acre-foot of seawater).

Additionally, many places experiencing drought in the West, such as Arizona and New Mexico, are not on the coast. But desalination isn’t just an option for freshening up seawater, says Brent Haddad, a professor of environmental studies at the University of California, Santa Cruz.

“[Desalination] can improve not just brackish groundwater but also agricultural groundwater that’s been harmed by chemicals and even some industrial wastes,” Haddad says.

Source: The West is historically dry. Desalination could help. | Popular Science