A newly founded artificial intelligence lab, called Vicarious, wants to build the world’s first, unified artificial intelligence that can match human intelligence. This is not the first time we’ve heard companies or universities trumpet such ambitious goals, but considering who’s backing the project I can only entertain the possibility Vicarious might just do it. Entrepreneurs with great vision and a track record of backing successful companies have all hopped aboard, like Elon Musk (SpaceX, Tesla), Mark Zuckerberg (Facebook), Peter Thiel (Paypal, founder of venture capital and hedge funds worth billions), Jerry Yang (Yahoo! founder), Jeff Bezos (Amazon founder) and more.
With Virtual Reality headsets coming out right around the corner, how can the gap with experience become more immersive? A couple of technologies on the horizon and currently under development may be the key.
Quantum computing is one of the future’s transitional technologies destined to transform human society, along with advanced materials like graphene and metallic glass or advances in space propulsion. Imagine what the transition from vacuum tubes to transistors did for computing, scale that a couple of folds and you might somewhat be close to what quantum computers are capable of. Operations that today’s supercomputers require days even weeks to crunch, would be completed immediately by leveraging the quantum weirdness that happens below the nano scale. All of this is theoretically possible – but in practice building a working quantum computer that doesn’t disintegrate information has proven to be an immense challenge. We’re still far from there, but advances reported by Australian researchers hint that quantum computers aren’t a pipe dream.
Despite decades worth of research, unbelievable computing power and sophisticated algorithms, one of today’s best artificial intelligence can’t score better than a four year old on a standard IQ test.
While everyone from Google, to Tesla, to BMW is engineering driverless cars, gearing up for an impeding auto revolution, a Chinese company went directly for a niche market: driverless buses.
After the recent Volkswagen fiasco which revealed that their cars emit much more than they should (and claimed), a new study revealed that diesel cars made by Renault, Nissan, Hyundai, Citroen, Fiat, Volvo and many others also emit more.
In front of hundreds of guests, Tesla’s CEO, the ever resourceful Elon Musk, unveiled the company’s new model: the Model X crossover. It’s been a long heralded and waited vehicle, and it sure didn’t disappoint. This beauty, all dressed in white, looks more like a bird than a car with its upward-opening “falcon doors”. It also flies like one, reaching 0 to 60mph in 3.2 seconds making it the world’s quickest SUV. Wait ’till the kids see it.
Despite manufacturers have tirelessly designed new types of razor blades for a cleaner shave, the process has stayed virtually unchanged for thousands of years. The difference between a modern razor blade and an ancient roman shaving knife isn’t that large, on a fundamental level at least. This may set to change if the Skarp Laser Razor makes its way into the shaving kit market. The gadget is basically a high-tech razor – named so only by function – that uses a highly focused laser beam instead of a blade.
A 30KW high-power laser was demonstrated by Lockheed Martin after it was used to disable a vehicle more than a mile away. One of the great perks of laser weapons is their phenomenal accuracy. To showcase this, the weapon was directed specifically on the hood of the vehicle, where it fried the engine. The beam from the Advanced Test High Energy Asset, or ATHENA, is believed to be most powerful ever documented in a laser weapon.
I love disruptive technologies, and 3D printing is undoubtedly one of the leading such movements in the 21st century. This kind of tech will democratize manufacturing, moving it away from 3rd world sweatshops to your own garage. And no, you don’t have to be a geek to own one. Ten years from now, it should be as easy to use and as widespread in homes as a regular ink printer. But for now, 3D printing is limited, particularly as far as electronics are concerned. Usually, you have to print the plastic parts, then order electronic parts like circuits, chips or motors, before finally assembling it all together yourself. You can’t have a global manufacturing revolution if you need to be a lab wiz to print a new TV remote control to replace the one the dog just shred to pieces. But this is all changed. We’re just now seeing the first steps that might one day lead people to print their own smartphones.