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Tracking the future
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Potentials and questions of the centuries ahead
Potentials and questions of the centuries ahead

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Brain implants today are where laser eye surgery was several decades ago, fraught with risk, applicable only to a narrowly defined set of patients – but a sign of things to come.

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Physicists led by ion-trapper Christopher Monroe at the JQI have proposed a modular quantum computer architecture that promises scalability to much larger numbers of qubits. The components of this architecture have individually been tested and are available, making it a promising approach. In the paper, the authors present expected performance and scaling calculations, demonstrating that their architecture is not only viable, but in some ways, preferable when compared to related schemes.

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The promise that each generation will be better off than the last is a fundamental tenet of modern society. By and large, most advanced economies have fulfilled this promise, with living standards rising over recent generations, despite setbacks from wars and financial crises. In the developing world, too, the vast majority of people have started to experience sustained improvement in living standards and are rapidly developing similar growth expectations. But will future generations, particularly in advanced economies, realize such expectations? Though the likely answer is yes, the downside risks seem higher than they did a few decades ago.

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Craig Venter, the U.S. scientist who raced the U.S. government to map the human genome over a decade ago and created synthetic life in 2010, is now on a quest to treat age-related disease.
Venter has teamed up with stem cell pioneer Dr Robert Hariri and X Prize Foundation founder Dr Peter Diamandis to form Human Longevity Inc, a company that will use both genomics and stem cell therapies to find treatments that allow aging adults to stay healthy and functional for as long as possible.
"We're hoping to make numerous new discoveries in preventive medicine. We think this will have a huge impact on changing the cost of medicine," Venter said on a conference call announcing his latest venture.

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Better than Borg in an Age of Enhancement Science, Technology & the Future - By Design http://scifuture.org

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Rapid advances in artificial intelligence now threaten the jobs of educated white-collar workers

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From artificial mammal brains to prosthetics that feel like real limbs, the military’s blue-sky researchers are aiming to bring man and machine closer than ever before.

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Imagine a ribbon roughly one hundred million times as long as it is wide. If it were a meter long, it would be 10 nanometers wide, or just a few times thicker than a DNA double helix. Scaled up to the length of a football field, it would still be less than a micrometer across — smaller than a red blood cell. Would you trust your life to that thread? What about a tether 100,000 kilometers long, one stretching from the surface of the Earth to well past geostationary orbit (GEO, 22,236 miles up), but which was still somehow narrower than your own wingspan?
The idea of climbing such a ribbon with just your body weight sounds precarious enough, but the ribbon predicted by a new report from the International Academy of Astronautics (IAA) will be able to carry up to seven 20-ton payloads at once. It will serve as a tether stretching far beyond geostationary (aka geosynchronous) orbit and held taught by an anchor of roughly two million kilograms. Sending payloads up this backbone could fundamentally change the human relationship with space — every climber sent up the tether could match the space shuttle in capacity, allowing up to a “launch” every couple of days.

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During 2010-12, noted AI researcher and long-time Humanity+ Board member Ben Goertzel conducted a series of textual interviews with researchers in various areas of cutting-edge science — artificial general intelligence, nanotechnology, life extension, neurotechnology, collective intelligence, mind uploading, body modification, neuro-spiritual transformation, and more. These interviews were published online in H+ Magazine, and are here gathered together in a single volume. The resulting series of dialogues treats a variety of social, futurological and scientific topics in a way that is accessible to the educated non-scientist, yet also deep and honest to the subtleties of the topics being discussed.

Between Ape and Artilect is a must-read if you want the real views, opinions, ideas, muses and arguments of the people creating our future.

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A new study from the IEC (International Electrotechnical Commission) and the Fraunhofer Institute for Systems and Innovation Research ISI has found that nanotechnology will bring significant benefits to the energy sector, especially to energy storage and solar energy. Improved materials efficiency and reduced manufacturing costs are just two of the real economic benefits that nanotechnology already brings these fields and that’s only the beginning. Battery storage capacity could be extended, solar cells could be produced cheaper, and the lifetime of solar cells or batteries for electric cars could be increased, all thanks to continued development of nanotechnology.
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