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Posts Tagged "artificial intelligence"

Anthropology in Practice

How will today’s technology change our concept of “work”?

View of New York City at night from the 30th Floor of the Millennium UN Plaza. Photo by Luigi Crespo. Click on image for license and information.

Change is hard. We meet it with some trepidation and skepticism. This is certainly true when it comes to technology. Each wave of technological advancement has changed the economy; and in each age where it has done so, the there has been a ripple effect. For example, did you know that one of the reasons [...]

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Artificial brains are imminent…not!

Scientists are on the verge of building an artificial brain! How do I know? Terry Sejnowski of the Salk Institute said so right here on He wrote that the goal of reverse-engineering the brain—which the National Academy of Engineering recently posed as one of its "grand challenges"—is "becoming increasingly plausible." Scientists are learning more [...]

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Food Matters

Artificial intelligence reduces perturbation and disturbance related to table d’hôte

The Falling Walls Festive Dinner of 2013 debuted the "artificial intelligence" menu planner from the IBM Thomas J. Watson Research Center in New York City.

Note: In the spirit of creativity, I’ve written this blog post in the style of an academic article. It is clearly not a true academic article. However, all of the information is factual and based on interviews with attendees of the 2013 Falling Walls conference and the creator of the artificial intelligence menu planning system [...]

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Guest Blog

How Alan Turing Invented the Computer Age

alan turing, computers, artificial intelligence

In 1936, whilst studying for his Ph.D. at Princeton University, the English mathematician Alan Turing published a paper, “On Computable Numbers, with an application to the Entscheidungsproblem,” which became the foundation of computer science. In it Turing presented a theoretical machine that could solve any problem that could be described by simple instructions encoded on [...]

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Life, Unbounded

This Is What We Don’t Know About The Universe

dont panic.001

In recent days I’ve had some interesting conversations. There’s a giddiness going around, related to an outpouring of science love – the kind you get from President Obama introducing TV science shows, the kind that has wonderful visuals, but is, well, a wee bit simplistic (a sin that none of us could ever, ever be [...]

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MIND Guest Blog

Expert Cancer Care May Soon Be Everywhere, Thanks to Watson

Watson. Courtesy of IBM.

Editor’s note: This blog is the first in a series of guest posts on technology and the brain to celebrate Scientific American Mind’s 10-year anniversary. The magazine’s special November/December issue similarly highlights the interface between code and thought in profiling a future, more digital YOU. “You know my methods, Watson.” – Sherlock Holmes Even those [...]

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Leggy Robot (Almost) Moves Like Jagger

In popular fiction, humanoid robots have no rhythm—look no further than the “robot dance” for evidence of this. Yet rhythm—or the neurophysiological processes that enable humans to produce patterns of recurring movement—is the key to creating bots that move more like people. So says a team of University of Arizona engineers who claim to have [...]

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Will Computers Ever Know Everything?

The Alan Turing Statue on display at Bletchley Park

What was Alan Turing’s greatest contribution? Here was a man who invented the idea of the modern computer, a man upon whose insights the information technology revolution firmly rests. He was the first to understand that instructions are themselves data, making algorithms capable of the recursive thinking that makes humans unique. (I think that I [...]

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70,000 Students Flock to Free Online Course in Artificial Intelligence

Stanford University has opened up to the public an introductory artificial intelligence class, taught by two luminaries in the field. Anyone with high-speed Internet, anywhere in the world, can enroll in the online course. Just don’t expect a lot of face time with the professors. As of Tuesday afternoon, more than 70,000 people had signed [...]

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Artificial Intelligence: If at First You Don’t Succeed…

CAMBRIDGE, Mass.—The last symposium in M.I.T.’s 150-day celebration of its 150th anniversary (who ever said that geeks don’t like ritual?) is devoted to the question: "Whatever happened to AI?" Of course, that is a particularly appropriate self-introspection for M.I.T. because a lot of artificial intelligence action occurred there during the past 50 years. The symposium [...]

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Brain-computer interface guru featured on the Daily Show (and in Scientific American )

  Miguel Nicolelis, a world leader in research that may one day allow paraplegics to control computers with their own thoughts, made a de rigueur stop for any new top-line author, visiting Jon Stewart last night on The Daily Show. Stewart expressed the requisite amazement at Nicolelis’s apparatus, which so far allows a monkey to [...]

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Streams of Consciousness

On TV, Ray Kurzweil Tells Me How to Build a Brain

Ray Kurzweil

I recently interviewed author and inventor Ray Kurzweil about his new book, “How to Create A Mind: The Secret of Human Thought Revealed.” The 58-minute segment aired on December 1, 2 and 3 on the C-SPAN2 program “After Words.” The book’s thesis is that it is essentially possible to reverse-engineer the human brain to create [...]

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