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michael barth
Lives in Ashland, Oregon 97520, United States
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michael barth

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For years, the most important food technologies were all about scale. How could we feed a fast-growing population at less expense? By doing everything bigger: food grown on bigger farms was sold by ever-merging global food giants to grocery chains of superstore proportions.

Many of today’s food technologies seem to be moving in the opposite direction, toward methods and products that are economical for small farms as well as large corporate ones. This does not mean an end to big food: with the planet’s population projected to reach 9.6 billion by 2050, agriculture and food production will still have to achieve a massive scale, with help from technology and innovative research. Still, evolving technologies, including inexpensive sensors, mobile devices, and data analysis, have helped an increasing variety of food companies, retailers, and producers lower their costs and compete in many specialty markets.
We may be heading toward a new food economy that’s more competitive and innovative.
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Richer countries will probably have more access to food diversity
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"Thought Vectors" May Help Software 'Understand'

The underlying idea is that by ascribing every word a set of numbers (or vector), a computer can be trained to understand the actual meaning of these words.

...when I ask Google the question, “Who was the first president of the United States?”, it spits back a short bit of text containing the correct answer. Doesn’t it understand what I am saying? The answer is no. The current state of the art has taught computers to understand human language much the way a trained dog understands it when squatting down in response to the command “sit.” The dog doesn’t understand the actual meaning of the words, and has only been conditioned to give a response to a certain stimulus. If you were to ask the dog, “sit is to chair as blank is to bed,” it would have no idea what you’re getting at.

Thought vectors provide a means to change that: actually teaching the computer to understand language much the way we do. The difference between thought vectors and the previous methods used in AI is in some ways merely one of degree. While a dog maps the word sit to a single behavior, using thought vectors, that word could be mapped to thousands of sentences containing “sit” in them.  The result would be the computer arriving at a meaning for the word more closely resembling our own.


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It is less striking than Deep Blue’s victory over chess champ Garry Kasparov, but Richard van der Linde says that his robotic hand’s mastery at picking up cabbage is something of a milestone for machines. With the aid of five cameras, plus sensors in its wrist to monitor the resistance it encounters, the three-fingered gripper can carefully pick up a cabbage, reorient it, and place it into a machine that removes the core. “In industry, only humans can do that at the moment,” says van der Linde.

His company Lacquey, based in Delft, the Netherlands, is working with FTNON, a manufacturer of food-processing equipment, to get the technology ready to go to work inside the giant chillers where today humans process cabbage, lettuce, and other produce for packaging. ­Lacquey is also testing versions for other sorts of jobs, such as packaging tomatoes, peppers, and mangoes.
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They have destroyed the liberal institutions and mechanisms that made piecemeal and incremental reform possible. And that is when you reach a very dangerous moment; in essence, the system seizes up. Liberal institutions are designed to ameliorate and address the suffering of the underclass. That is what happened when capitalism broke down in the 1920s and 1930s, and we got the New Deal. [U.S. president Franklin D.] Roosevelt said his greatest achievement was that he saved capitalism. But we’ve lost those mechanisms in the name of anti-communism and the implantation of a neo-liberal, free-market ideology that has eviscerated the safety valves by which liberal capitalist democracies could address the problems of the dispossessed.
Looking down the road, the Pulitzer Prize-winning author, most recently of Wages of Rebellion, sees nothing but trouble
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+greg flowers writes: "I'd like the government to help people and make the rich pay more".

Make them pay more... It sounds like you favour making them an offer they cannot refuse. Like the maffia. You known, if you don't pay, we will harass you until you do. And if that doesn't work, we will just take your money. And if cannot find your money, we lock you up in a small room with a guy named Bubba.

That is your idea of government? 
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In the United States and Britain, psychedelics are considered Schedule 1 drugs, the most restrictive category, making them legally more prohibited than cocaine, opium and methamphetamine, among others. Substances in this grouping are considered to have “no currently accepted medical use and a high potential for abuse,” according to the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency. “Schedule 1 drugs are the most dangerous drugs of all the drug schedules with potentially severe psychological or physical dependence,” the agency notes.  

But a wealth of research, new and old, as well as common sense, shows that when it comes to many psychedelics, this statement is incorrect. Psychedelics like LSD and psilocybin, the active ingredient in “magic” mushrooms, do have potential in the treatment of a variety of ailments, are not harmful when used in controlled settings and pose little to no risk of dependence, says James Rucker, a researcher at King’s College in London.
Stigma and funding challenges make potentially useful drugs like LSD and psilocybin nearly impossible to research.
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Are they not the Witch Dr's themselves? 
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Excellent piece on technological unemployment addressing some of the main arguments. I love how he takes apart the argument that there are all kinds of new jobs that didn't exist in the past.
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Imagine an oak tree in a field of wheat, silhouetted against a cloudless blue sky on a dreamy sunny afternoon. The chances are that most people reading this sentence can easily picture a bucolic scene in their mind’s eye. This ability to read a description of a scene and then imagine it has always been uniquely human. But this precious skill may no longer be ours alone.

Anyone thinking that these kinds of imaginings are far beyond the ability of today’s computing machines will be surprised by the work of Hiroharu Kato and Tatsuya Harada at the University of Tokyo in Japan.

Today, these guys unveil a machine that can translate a description of an object into an image. In other words, their computer can conjure an image of an external object not otherwise present. That’s a pretty good definition of imagination—in this case of the computational variety.
The ability to read a description of a scene and then picture it has always been uniquely human. Not anymore.
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You already know that we can run machines with our brainwaves. That’s been old news for almost a decade, ever since the first monkey fed himself using a robot arm and the power of positive thinking. Nowadays, even reports of human neuroprostheses barely raise an eyebrow. Brain-computer interfaces have become commonplace in everything from prosthetic vision to video games (a lot of video games; Emotiv and NeuroSky are perhaps the best-known purveyors of Mind Control to the gaming crowd) to novelty cat ears that perk up on your head when you get horny.

But we’ve moved beyond merely thinking orders at machinery. Now we’re using that machinery to wire living brains together. Last year, a team of European neuroscientists headed by Carles Grau of the University of Barcelona reported a kind of – let’s call it mail-order telepathy – in which the recorded brainwaves of someone thinking a salutation in India were emailed, decoded and implanted into the brains of recipients in Spain and France (where they were perceived as flashes of light).
New research places us on the cusp of brain-to-brain communication. Could the next step spell the end of individual minds?
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Matthew J Price originally shared to Prediction Polls:
 
By the year 2035 there will be a subculture of people who choose to live neurologically linked together, sometimes called a Hivemind. They will know or share their thoughts, feelings and/or experiences in part or in full as they wish.

How confident are you in this prediction? 
105 votes  -  votes visible to Public
Very confident
7%
Confident
26%
Not confident
29%
Not at all confident
33%
NA / Can't answer / Don't know
6%
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