Thread: Discussion on Full Automation and its Social Consequences

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  1. #21
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    Despite the name, this isn't actually about Roko's Basilisk.

    - - - Updated - - -

    Power, i.e. real, human power is given not by intelligence but by various social constitutions which necessitate the role of power. We have to crown our masters. It's only if we want intelligent robots to command us (and why would we?), the despotism of A.I. becomes a reality.
    You don't know that and can't know it. To borrow a phrase, I'm not afraid of a machine that passes the Turing test, I'm afraid of one that deliberately fails it.
  2. #22
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    [video=youtube;2zddP_7KG4A]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2zddP_7KG4A[video]

    Despite the name, this isn't actually about Roko's Basilisk.


    Power, i.e. real, human power is given not by intelligence but by various social constitutions which necessitate the role of power. We have to crown our masters. It's only if we want intelligent robots to command us (and why would we?), the despotism of A.I. becomes a reality.


    You don't know that and can't know it. To borrow a phrase, I'm not afraid of a machine that passes the Turing test, I'm afraid of one that deliberately fails it.

    I just took-up again with this topic at an older thread:

    http://www.revleft.com/vb/threads/19...56#post2877456



    I continue to maintain that the 'Turing test' is a *misnomer* -- certainly one would not be in such a passive, *abstract* relation to any given artificial device. I, for one, would want to know the entity's *social-historical background* -- any (false) claims would be investigatable, of course, as with any person / 'entity' today
  3. #23
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    Default Automatic milking machine, Collecting Eggs, Feeding, Cleaning-Intelligent Technology

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  4. #24

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    The total automation of exploiting living beings, what a beautiful sight. Isn't it amazing how capitalism has gone so far as to even turn animals into machines! To see all these childless mothers on that carousel is such good innovation! Then directly followed with their motherless calves drinking milk from a steel construction, what a blessing. We don't need to do this, it offers us no essential nutrients,it is destructive for the animals, the poor and the climate.

    Let us use the prospective of automation for complete human and animal liberation!

    @2:00
    "I am vegan because I have compassion for animals; I see them as beings possessed of value not unlike humans. I am an anarchist because I have that same compassion for humans, and because I refuse to settle for compromised perspectives, half-assed strategies and sold-out objectives. As a radical, my approach to animal and human liberation is without compromise: total freedom for all, or else."

    "It takes no more time to be a vegetarian than to eat animal flesh.... When non-vegetarians say ‘human problems come first’ I cannot help wondering what exactly it is that they are doing for humans that compels them to continue to support the wasteful ruthless, exploitation of farm animals."
  5. #25
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    The total automation of exploiting living beings, what a beautiful sight. Isn't it amazing how capitalism has gone so far as to even turn animals into machines! To see all these childless mothers on that carousel is such good innovation! Then directly followed with their motherless calves drinking milk from a steel construction, what a blessing. We don't need to do this, it offers us no essential nutrients,it is destructive for the animals, the poor and the climate.

    Let us use the prospective of automation for complete human and animal liberation!

    @2:00
    [video=youtube_share;U9ALYh-8t2w]https://youtu.be/U9ALYh-8t2w?t=129[video]

    While the automated farm doesn't look pretty, and livestock could undoubtedly be raised in less-stressful, more-natural environments if it wasn't for the overarching profit-driven economics, I think all of the machinery is actually a *good* thing, at least for the time being under capitalism.

    Perhaps think of it as the equivalent of animals not needing to go to the fridge themselves -- or needing people to 'open the fridge door for them' -- in order to get fed, and also they're obviously used to the machines and aren't freaked out or anything.

    The carousel was just for the process of automated milking, as far as I could tell, which has to be done anyway.

    More-to-the-point I'd say would be why something so essential as *food* (and good water, too, for that matter) still has to be a regular commodity when that should be the first thing taken off the market and at least distributed by the government while still under capitalism.
  6. #26

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    While the automated farm doesn't look pretty, and livestock could undoubtedly be raised in less-stressful, more-natural environments if it wasn't for the overarching profit-driven economics, I think all of the machinery is actually a *good* thing, at least for the time being under capitalism.

    Perhaps think of it as the equivalent of animals not needing to go to the fridge themselves -- or needing people to 'open the fridge door for them' -- in order to get fed, and also they're obviously used to the machines and aren't freaked out or anything.

    The carousel was just for the process of automated milking, as far as I could tell, which has to be done anyway.

    More-to-the-point I'd say would be why something so essential as *food* (and good water, too, for that matter) still has to be a regular commodity when that should be the first thing taken off the market and at least distributed by the government while still under capitalism.
    Livestock shouldn't be raised it is unnecessary and harmful to the planet, humans and animals. There is no need for this whatsoever.
    Animals don't need to go to the "fridge" if we would not lock them up without a reason.
    Milking only has to be done when cows, which are mammals, are forced to be pregnant by shoving an arm in their vagina so they start lactating.
    Milk protein is a promoting factor in prostate cancer. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4166373/

    There are enough alternatives if you want to drink a milk, you don't need cow milk. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20460239 You can for example use soy milk which is equal in calcium compared to milk but has way less saturated fat, and casein as shown in the first study to proliferate cancer cells.

    To you last point, im not sure what you mean? If you mean that food should be freely distributed, i totally agree, however it should not be harmful animal products.
    "I am vegan because I have compassion for animals; I see them as beings possessed of value not unlike humans. I am an anarchist because I have that same compassion for humans, and because I refuse to settle for compromised perspectives, half-assed strategies and sold-out objectives. As a radical, my approach to animal and human liberation is without compromise: total freedom for all, or else."

    "It takes no more time to be a vegetarian than to eat animal flesh.... When non-vegetarians say ‘human problems come first’ I cannot help wondering what exactly it is that they are doing for humans that compels them to continue to support the wasteful ruthless, exploitation of farm animals."
  7. #27
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    Livestock shouldn't be raised it is unnecessary and harmful to the planet, humans and animals. There is no need for this whatsoever.
    Animals don't need to go to the "fridge" if we would not lock them up without a reason.

    To you last point, im not sure what you mean? If you mean that food should be freely distributed, i totally agree, however it should not be harmful animal products.

    Undoubtedly animal liberation would accompany human liberation through socialism, and there are certainly already-available alternatives ready to go for non-monoculture farming, once society is rationally planned.

    That said, I have to put in a word for the impressive gains of the industrial revolution as applied to agriculture -- there would be no way to support the billions, albeit with billions in poverty, without machine-based production of food. And there's much left to be desired regarding the procurement of energy for the same, and other industrial methods.
  8. #28

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    Undoubtedly animal liberation would accompany human liberation through socialism, and there are certainly already-available alternatives ready to go for non-monoculture farming, once society is rationally planned.

    That said, I have to put in a word for the impressive gains of the industrial revolution as applied to agriculture -- there would be no way to support the billions, albeit with billions in poverty, without machine-based production of food. And there's much left to be desired regarding the procurement of energy for the same, and other industrial methods.
    Of course we agree that industrialization of agriculture is a great development. Not for a moment should one suggest that the old ways of agriculture were somehow superior. I just think that industrialization of the animal industry is unnecessary and unwanted.
    "I am vegan because I have compassion for animals; I see them as beings possessed of value not unlike humans. I am an anarchist because I have that same compassion for humans, and because I refuse to settle for compromised perspectives, half-assed strategies and sold-out objectives. As a radical, my approach to animal and human liberation is without compromise: total freedom for all, or else."

    "It takes no more time to be a vegetarian than to eat animal flesh.... When non-vegetarians say ‘human problems come first’ I cannot help wondering what exactly it is that they are doing for humans that compels them to continue to support the wasteful ruthless, exploitation of farm animals."
  9. #29
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    You don't know that and can't know it. To borrow a phrase, I'm not afraid of a machine that passes the Turing test, I'm afraid of one that deliberately fails it.
    Yes, I fucking can and do know that, as much as I do know that there is no God. Of course, there is no "evidence" - but the same goes for the possibility of Communism: This knowledge is reserved for those who are practically inclined to possess it, empirical facts will never be sufficient. Bourgeois ideologues will forever remain agnostics because true atheism necessitates faith. What you fail to understand is that we're not discussing an empirical controversy - the fascination for A.I., the pathological fear that robots will dominate humanity is an ideological perversion, and to add insult to injury, an anti-democratic, misanthropic notion. It should be obvious that it is not an accident that the pathological notion of A.I. is congruent with ecologist ideology, reducing man's social practice to animalistic traits and behaviors.
  10. #30
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    So, um, what's everyone doing for Cyber Monday -- ?


    x D
  11. #31
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    After 'Cyber Monday' and 'Giving Tuesday' I propose 'Woeful Wednesday'.


    x )
  12. #32
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    Default Kuri the robot could replace your little brother as the cutest member of your family

    http://www.theverge.com/circuitbreak...field-robotics


    CES 2017 NEWS

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    Kuri the robot could replace your little brother as the cutest member of your family
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    by Ashley [email protected] Jan 3, 2017, 9:00am EST
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    Mayfield Robotics
    Mayfield Robotics, a Bosch start-up, is trying to make the home robot more personality-driven and lovable with the introduction of its Kuri robot today, a project that’s been in the works for nearly two years.

    We’re all likely familiar with the home robots that hit the press circuit hard, like Pepper and Jibo. But we haven’t seen any of them break into mainstream use. At this point, the Amazon Echo and Google Home are our primary home robots. They play music on command, answer our bizarre questions, and turn our smart appliances on and off. Kuri differs from these prior robots because Mayfield stressed the importance of a personality during the design process, which comes through in Kuri’s expressive eyes and demeanor.

    The voice-controlled robot is designed to do all sorts of things around the house, and unlike the Echo or Google Home, it’s on wheels. So yes, you can have a robot buddy follow you around while blasting Ludacris or whatever other music you like. At launch, however, the robot isn’t going to be natively compatible with any music streaming services, like Spotify or Apple Music, so instead, it’s going to act more like a Bluetooth speaker on wheels. Mayfield says it’s working on partnerships.


    Kuri’s equipped with a laser array to help map a user’s house and has a 1080p camera behind its eyes for remote security check-ins, the feed of which can be accessed through its companion iOS / Android app. It controls smart home devices through IFTTT and knows to automatically return to its docking station when its battery is low.

    Kuri also responds to touch if users, especially kids, don’t want or know how to use voice controls. “Hey Kuri” is its wake phrase, by the way. Like a family member, Kuri can recognize people with its built-in facial recognition software. The idea, Chris Matthews, the VP of marketing, tells me, is that when kids get home from school, Kuri will automatically send a text to their parents letting them know.

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    Mayfield Robotics
    But Kuri’s most interesting feature is what the robot lacks: a screen.

    “No screen is quite intentional,” Matthews says. If eyes ever stop being eyes and instead default back to a control page, that breaks character, he says. So to “maintain the suspension of disbelief,” Matthews and the rest of the 40-person team focused on personality that comes through without a screen.

    “A home robot should feel like closer to a pet or companion than an iPad ever could,” he says.

    I demoed Kuri yesterday and found that indeed, it’s irresistibly cute. It responded to its wake phrase and looked up at me when I brushed over its head. I drove Kuri around using manual app controls and played music over Bluetooth. It remembered where the kitchen was in our suite and navigated there while avoiding obstacles. I watched from its point-of-view through its app.

    Although this is impressive for a robot, especially the navigational features, I left disappointed. The features that make Kuri special didn’t work. Mayfield sold me on its robot’s personality and the chance to interact with an electronic family member, but I couldn’t even issue voice commands and Kuri couldn’t respond with cute light-up reactions. Mayfield says everything will be functioning when it ships. I hope that ends up being the case.

    Kuri could be a promising first release from Mayfield. Approaching robotics from a personality perspective is a novel idea, and possibly one that could make Kuri a tempting purchase. I’d be interested to see more from Mayfield when it’s further along on its Kuri release timeline. Preorders start in the US today with a $100 deposit; the bot will ultimately cost $699 when it ships toward the end of this year.


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  13. #33
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    Default Project Loon Achieves Internet-Beaming Breakthrough

    http://www.pcmag.com/news/351817/pro...g-breakthrough


    Home/Reviews/Software/Internet/Project Loon Achieves Internet-Beaming Breakthrough

    Project Loon Achieves Internet-Beaming Breakthrough

    BY ANGELA MOSCARITOLO
    FEBRUARY 17, 2017 10:25AM EST3 COMMENTS

    Breakthrough paves the way for a reliable Internet service provided by balloons.

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    Google parent company Alphabet's ambitious Project Loon idea is one step closer to achieving its goal of delivering Internet to underserved areas via balloons.

    In a Thursday blog post, Astro Teller, head of Alphabet's X team in charge of the company's moonshot projects, said the folks working on Project Loon recently had a "magical, serendipitous" discovery that pushed the initiative forward in a big way.

    "They've now exceeded even their own expectations for how well their smart software algorithms can help their balloons navigate the globe, and in the process they've leapt much closer to a day when balloon-powered Internet could become a reality for people in rural and remote regions of the globe," he wrote.

    The machine-learning-powered algorithms can now "send small teams of balloons to form a cluster over a specific region where people need Internet access." That's a departure from the team's original plan to create "rings of balloons" around the globe that would drift with the wind. The original idea was that as one balloon drifted out of range of a specific region, another would float along to take its place.

    Now, the balloons can "dance on the winds in small loops to remain where needed," Teller explained.

    There's several benefits to this approach.

    "We'll be able to put together a Loon network over a particular region in weeks not months, and it would be a lot less work to launch and manage," Teller wrote. "We'll reduce the number of balloons we need and get greater value out of each one. All of this helps reduce the costs of operating a Loon-powered network."

    But he cautioned: while this is a positive sign, there's still a lot of work to be done. The navigation algorithms still need improvement, and the Loon team needs to test them more extensively.

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    Default Scientists unleash graphene’s innate superconductivity

    http://newatlas.com/graphene-pwave-s...default-widget


    MATERIALS

    Scientists unleash graphene’s innate superconductivity

    Colin Jeffrey Colin Jeffrey January 21, 2017


    Scientists have discovered a way to trigger the superconducting properties of graphene without actually altering its chemical structure (Credit: Colin Jeffrey/New Atlas)

    Already renowned for its potential to revolutionize everything from light bulbs and dental fillings through to semiconductors and motorcycle helmets, graphene can now add innate superconductivity to its repertoire. Scientists at the University of Cambridge claim to have discovered a method to trigger the superconducting properties of graphene without actually altering its chemical structure.

    Light, flexible, and super-strong, the single layer of carbon atoms that makes up graphene has only been rendered superconductive previously by doping it with impurities, or by affixing it to other superconducting materials, both of which may undermine some of its other unique properties.

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    However, in the the latest research conducted at the University of Cambridge, scientists claim to have found a way to activate superconduction in graphene by coupling it with a material known as praseodymium cerium copper oxide (Pr2−xCexCuO4) or PCCO. PCCO is from a wider class of superconducting materials known as cuprates (derived from the Latin word for copper), known for their use in high-temperature superconductivity.

    "It has long been postulated that, under the right conditions, graphene should undergo a superconducting transition, but can't," said Dr Jason Robinson, one of the leaders of the study from the University of Cambridge. "The idea of this experiment was, if we couple graphene to a superconductor, can we switch that intrinsic superconductivity on? The question then becomes how do you know that the superconductivity you are seeing is coming from within the graphene itself, and not the underlying superconductor?"

    Using PCCO, however, which has properties well known in its long-term use in superconduction research, and by using both scanning and tunnelling microscopes to observe the effects, the scientists were able to differentiate the superconductivity generated in the PCCO from the superconductivity seen in the graphene sample.

    Superconductivity generates superconductor electrons that form into pairs, and the spin alignment of the electron pairs is dependent upon the type of superconductivity (and therefore the material) involved. PCCO has pairs of electrons with a spin state that is antiparallel – known as a "d-wave state."

    The superconductivity measured in the graphene, however, was different to the d-state wave and so must have been a different type, thereby showing that the graphene was generating its own superconductivity.

    "What we saw in the graphene was, in other words, a very different type of superconductivity than in PCCO," said Robinson. "This was a really important step because it meant that we knew the superconductivity was not coming from outside it and that the PCCO was therefore only required to unleash the intrinsic superconductivity of graphene."

    Even more tantalizing than the fact that the researchers had managed to initiate the innate superconductivity of graphene, however, was the type of wave generated using this new method. What they seemed to have produced may be the elusive "p-wave" – where electrons exhibit a spin-triplet pairing excited to a higher energy state by the absorption of radiation. This is something that physicists have been trying to prove exists for more than 20 years.

    At the moment, however, it is unclear exactly what type of superconductivity occured in the graphene, but it is certain that it did generate its own form of the phenomenon. Whether it was the elusive p-wave form remains to be verified by further experimentation.

    "If p-wave superconductivity is indeed being created in graphene, graphene could be used as a scaffold for the creation and exploration of a whole new spectrum of superconducting devices for fundamental and applied research areas," said Robinson. "Such experiments would necessarily lead to new science through a better understanding of p-wave superconductivity, and how it behaves in different devices and settings."

    By being able to consistently trigger the innate superconducting properties of graphene at will, the researchers believe that it may be possible to produce transistor-like devices in superconducting circuits, molecular electronics, and possibly new types of superconducting components for high-speed quantum computing.

    The results of this research were recently published in the journal Nature Communications.


    Source: University of Cambridge

    TAGS #ELECTRONIC #GRAPHENE #PHYSICS #QUANTUM #SUPERCONDUCTOR #UNIVERSITY OF CAMBRIDGE
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  15. #35
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    Default This new solar-powered device can pull water straight from the desert air

    http://www.sciencemag.org/news/2017/...ght-desert-air



    Crystalline materials similar to these can now harvest water vapor from the air.

    Yaghi Laboratory at UC Berkeley

    This new solar-powered device can pull water straight from the desert air

    By Robert ServiceApr. 13, 2017 , 2:00 PM

    You can’t squeeze blood from a stone, but wringing water from the desert sky is now possible, thanks to a new spongelike device that uses sunlight to suck water vapor from air, even in low humidity. The device can produce nearly 3 liters of water per day for every kilogram of spongelike absorber it contains, and researchers say future versions will be even better. That means homes in the driest parts of the world could soon have a solar-powered appliance capable of delivering all the water they need, offering relief to billions of people.



    The new water harvester is made of metal organic framework crystals pressed into a thin sheet of copper metal and placed between a solar absorber (above) and a condenser plate (below).

    Wang Laboratory at MIT

    There are an estimated 13 trillion liters of water floating in the atmosphere at any one time, equivalent to 10% of all of the freshwater in our planet’s lakes and rivers. Over the years, researchers have developed ways to grab a few trickles, such as using fine nets to wick water from fog banks, or power-hungry dehumidifiers to condense it out of the air. But both approaches require either very humid air or far too much electricity to be broadly useful.

    To find an all-purpose solution, researchers led by Omar Yaghi, a chemist at the University of California, Berkeley, turned to a family of crystalline powders called metal organic frameworks, or MOFs. Yaghi developed the first MOFs—porous crystals that form continuous 3D networks—more than 20 years ago. The networks assemble in a Tinkertoy-like fashion from metal atoms that act as the hubs and sticklike organic compounds that link the hubs together. By choosing different metals and organics, chemists can dial in the properties of each MOF, controlling what gases bind to them, and how strongly they hold on.

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    Over the past 2 decades chemists have synthesized more than 20,000 MOFs, each with unique molecule-grabbing properties. For example, Yaghi and others recently designed MOFs that absorb—and later release—methane, making them a type of high-capacity gas tank for natural gas–powered vehicles.

    In 2014, Yaghi and his colleagues synthesized a MOF that excelled at absorbing water, even under low-humidity conditions. That led him to reach out to Evelyn Wang, a mechanical engineer at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in Cambridge, with whom he had previously worked on a project to use MOFs in automobile air conditioning. After synthesizing the new zirconium-based MOF, dubbed MOF-801, Yaghi met Wang at MIT and said, “Evelyn we have to come up with a water-harvesting device.” She agreed to give it a shot.

    Device pulls water from the air
    At night setup soaks up water vapor from air, and uses heat from the sun to release it as liquid water during the day.


    V. Altounian/Science

    The system Wang and her students designed consists of a kilogram of dust-sized MOF crystals pressed into a thin sheet of porous copper metal. That sheet is placed between a solar absorber and a condenser plate and positioned inside a chamber. At night the chamber is opened, allowing ambient air to diffuse through the porous MOF and water molecules to stick to its interior surfaces, gathering in groups of eight to form tiny cubic droplets. In the morning, the chamber is closed, and sunlight entering through a window on top of the device then heats up the MOF, which liberates the water droplets and drives them—as vapor—toward the cooler condenser. The temperature difference, as well as the high humidity inside the chamber, causes the vapor to condense as liquid water, which drips into a collector. The setup works so well that it pulls 2.8 liters of water out of the air per day for every kilogram of MOF it contained, the Berkeley and MIT team reports today in Science.

    “It has been a longstanding dream” to harvest water from desert air, says Mercouri Kanatzidis, a chemist at Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois, who wasn’t involved with the work. “This demonstration … is a significant proof of concept.” It’s also one that Yaghi says has plenty of room for improvement. For starters, zirconium costs $150 a kilogram, making water-harvesting devices too expensive to be broadly useful. However, Yaghi says his group has already had early success in designing water-grabbing MOFs that replace zirconium with aluminum, a metal that is 100 times cheaper. That could make future water harvesters cheap enough not only to slake the thirst of people in arid regions, but perhaps even supply water to farmers in the desert.

    *Update, 14 March, 12:28 p.m.: This item has been updated to reflect the fact that the device pulls nearly 3 liters of water out of the air for every kilogram of the water-absorbing material that is used.

    Posted in: Technology
    DOI: 10.1126/science.aal1051
    Robert Service

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    Default Graphene sieve could make seawater drinkable

    http://www.cnn.com/2017/04/04/health...able-seawater/


    Graphene sieve could make seawater drinkable

    Lauren Said-Moorhouse

    By Lauren Said-Moorhouse, CNN

    Updated 12:32 PM ET, Tue April 4, 2017
    Graphene membrane
    Source: CNN

    Discovering the world's strongest material 02:25

    (CNN)Researchers in the United Kingdom have developed a graphene-based sieve that can filter salt out of seawater, a development that could provide drinking water to millions of people around the globe.

    The applications could be a game-changer in countries where access to safe, clean, drinkable water is severely limited.

    How oceans can solve our freshwater crisis
    How oceans can solve our freshwater crisis

    Graphene -- an ultra-thin sheet of carbon atoms organized in a hexagonal lattice -- was first identified at the University of Manchester in 2002 and has since been hailed as a "wonder material," with scientists racing to develop inexpensive graphene-based barriers for desalination on an industrial scale.

    Now, the team at Manchester has used a compound of graphene, known as graphene oxide, to create a rigid sieve that could filter out salt using less energy.

    Overcoming hurdles

    In recent years, there had been some success in water filtration using graphene oxide to sift out other smaller nanoparticles and organic molecules.

    But researchers had struggled to move forward after finding that the membrane's pores would swell up when immersed in water, allowing particles to continue to pass through.

    Graphene: the nano-sized material with a massive future
    Graphene: the nano-sized material with a massive future

    Rahul Nair's team at Manchester now claims it has discovered how to control of the expansion and size of the pores.

    Writing Monday in the Nature Nanotechnology journal, the team revealed it was able to restrict pore-swelling by coating the material with epoxy resin composite that prevented the sieve from expanding. This means common salt crystals could continue to be filtered out, while leaving behind uncontaminated, clean, drinking water.

    The discovery is "a significant step forward and will open new possibilities for improving the efficiency of desalination technology," Nair said in a statement from the university.

    "This is the first clear-cut experiment in this regime. We also demonstrate that there are realistic possibilities to scale up the described approach and mass produce graphene-based membranes with required sieve sizes," he added.

    Global implications

    Boosting global access to water is critical. By 2025, 14% of the global population will suffer from water scarcity, the United Nations predicts. In addition, climate change is expected to wreak havoc on urban water supplies, with decreased rainfall and rising temperatures expected to fuel demand.

    Super substance may yield tech 'miracles'​

    Super substance may yield tech 'miracles'​ 01:41

    Cities have been investing heavily in diversifying their water supplies, including developing new desalination technologies to make seawater potable. But existing, industrial-scale desalination plants can be costly and normally involve one of two methods: distillation through thermal energy, or filtration of salt from water using polymer-based membranes.

    These techniques have drawn criticism from environmentalists, who argue they involve large amounts of energy, produce greenhouse gases and can be harm marine organisms.

    What's next?

    The graphene-oxide breakthrough has been welcomed by scientists in the field as a promising development, but some are cautious of the next steps.

    Wearable tech: This dress uses graphene to light up when you breathe
    Wearable tech: This dress uses graphene to light up when you breathe

    "The selective separation of water molecules from ions by physical restriction of interlayer spacing opens the door to the synthesis of inexpensive membranes for desalination," wrote Ram Devanathan of the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, in an accompanying news-and-views article in the journal.

    More work still needs to be done to test the durability of the barriers and to confirm the membrane is resistant to "fouling by organics, salt and biological material," he said.

    Water treatment with membranes that separate water molecules from ions, pathogens and pollutants has been proposed as an energy-efficient solution to the freshwater crisis, Devanathan added.

    "The ultimate goal is to create a filtration device that will produce potable water from seawater or waste water with minimal energy input."

    U.S. Edition
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    Default IBM Watson offers tech support that never sleeps

    https://www.engadget.com/2017/04/07/...und-the-clock/


    IBM Watson offers tech support that never sleeps
    The concierge-like service can solve your issues on the spot.

    Mariella Moon, @mariella_moon
    04.07.17 in Business


    Ociacia via Getty Images

    If your company uses IBM's helpdesk services, don't be surprised if you find yourself talking to Watson next time you contact the IT department. IBM has added a Watson-powered concierge-like service to its helpdesk, and it can quickly solve your IT issues around the clock, wherever you are in the world and whatever device you're using. Unlike automated bots, you can talk to Watson about your issues like you're talking to another person. It can then customize its responses -- for instance, it can use layman's terms if you're not that tech-savvy or use jargons if you are.

    It'll solve your problem on the spot if it's something simple like adding storage to an email account, resetting a password or ordering a new company phone or computer. If it's not trained to handle your problem, it'll hand you over to a human IT personnel. However, Watson learns with every interaction and with every feedback it receives and doesn't receive. (It notices if you've chosen not to answer the survey after each chat.) It draws from everything it learns, so after some time, transferring you to its human co-workers might become less and less frequent.

    Richard Esposito, IBM's general manager for GTS Mobility Services says:

    "Today, governments and enterprises need to provide an effective set of capabilities to their workforce, so that their employees can deliver a superior interaction and experience for their citizens and consumers. We need a system that can understand and communicate in a natural language conversation, one that solves problems and continues to learn while engaging with employees. Our Workplace Support Services with Watson delivers this value."

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    Default Waymo to offer public trials for its self-driving minivans

    https://www.cnet.com/roadshow/news/w...ving-minivans/


    Waymo to offer public trials for its self-driving minivans

    If you're in the Phoenix area, you can sign up to use Waymo's vans for whatever you need.

    Waymo

    Car Industry

    Andrew Krok mugshot
    by Andrew Krok
    April 25, 2017 6:34 AM PDT
    @andrewkrok

    AUTOPLAY: ONOFF
    1:11

    A number of companies are currently testing autonomous vehicles on public roads, but very few are offering the public a chance to experience these vehicles. That's where Waymo comes in.

    Waymo has opened up its early rider program to residents in the Phoenix area. The program will see "hundreds" of people given access to Waymo's fleet of self-driving Chrysler Pacifica minivans. Participants can call on them for whatever they need, whenever they need it -- no matter if it's a grocery run, taking the kids to soccer practice or just heading over to a friend's.

    While the program is public knowledge now, Waymo was operating a smaller pilot program unbeknownst to anyone. For the last two months, Waymo let a select few Phoenix residents make use of the autonomous Chrysler Pacificas. Since that seemed to be a success, it's expanding to include more members of the public.

    waymo-public-trials-2.jpg
    Enlarge Image

    This could be you!
    (Inside the van, that is. You won't actually be a self-driving Chrysler.)

    Waymo

    Waymo already has 100 modified Pacificas in its fleet, but with the introduction of the early rider program, it's going to need some more. That's why Chrysler will send another 500 Pacificas in Waymo's direction, which the tech company will then outfit with its self-driving tech.

    If you were really into dad jokes, you could say that there will be way mo' self-driving Pacificas on the road very soon.

    Formerly part of Google, Waymo has been on a tear since it split off and picked up the new name. The company has been operating its self-driving cars for years, and it shows in the results. In its 2016 disengagement report, wherein it outlines all the times a human had to take control of its self-driving cars in California, Waymo reported just 0.20 disengagements per 1,000 miles. The company drove over 635,000 autonomous miles, and its systems disengaged just 124 times. Since that's still not perfect, Waymo early riders will be hanging out with an engineer in the driver's seat.

    The only other company to really get the public involved with its autonomous development is Uber. The ride-sharing outfit offered Arizonans rides in its Volvo XC90 development cars, and it briefly did so in California, as well. However, a kerfuffle over permits led Uber's autonomous cars to leave The Golden State briefly, only to return under the condition that they won't pick up regular passengers.

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    Default A Caterpillar May Solve Our Plastic Pollution Problem

    http://www.pcmag.com/news/353280/a-c...lution-problem


    Home/News & Analysis/Special Reports/Science & Space/A Caterpillar May Solve Our Plastic Pollution Problem


    A Caterpillar May Solve Our Plastic Pollution Problem

    BY MATTHEW HUMPHRIES
    APRIL 25, 2017 07:00AM EST3 COMMENTS

    A common caterpillar viewed as a pest or fishing bait turns out to be the fastest degrader of plastic we've ever witnessed.
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    The most common form of plastic in use today is polyethylene. Whenever you use a plastic bag, plastic film, or drink from a plastic cup or bottles, it's probably made from polyethylene. And while it's very useful, it also takes a very long time to degrade, with estimates ranging from 100 to 400 years if left in landfill.

    Being able to degrade polyethylene quickly is a challenge, and one that so far scientists haven't been able to overcome. However, an accidental discovery may be about to change that.

    Federica Bertocchini is an amateur beekeeper and member of the Spanish National Research Council (CSIC). One of the beekeeper's enemies is the wax worm caterpillar, which is the larvae of the greater wax moth. They take up residence inside beehives and live on the beeswax (they also make for great fishing bait). Beekeepers need to go in and remove them from their hives.

    Bertocchini decided to temporarily store the wax worms she was removing from a hive in a plastic bag. But the bag did not stay secure for long as holes started appearing in it. Bertocchini reported her finding and began working with the University of Cambridge's Department of Biochemistry to experiment with the plastic eating caterpillars.

    What they discovered is wax worms are great at breaking down plastic. Where as bacteria can biodegrade plastic at a rate of about 0.13mg per day, 100 wax worms chomp through as much as 184mg per day. As to why they can do this, it's thought to be related to their beeswax diet.

    RELATED
    Finally! A Plastic Bag That's Safe to Eat
    Finally! A Plastic Bag That's Safe to Eat

    Wax is, according to Bertocchini, "a sort of natural plastic," so the caterpillars are already setup to breakdown similar structures to our man-made plastics. And they don't just eat it, they break the polymer chains in the plastic, allowing for true biodegradation.

    Rather than throwing millions of caterpillars at the plastic pollution problem, the next step is to identify how the wax worms achieve this feat. It could be something in their saliva or gut, but whatever it is, identifying it means scientists could extract and reproduce it at scale so as to start quickly biodegrading waste plastic.

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    Default What is "brain hacking"? Tech insiders on why you should care

    [LaborTech] What is "brain hacking"? Tech insiders on why you should care


    What is "brain hacking"? Tech insiders on why you should care

    http://www.cbsnews.com/news/brain-ha...rs-60-minutes/


    Silicon Valley is engineering your phone, apps and social media to get you hooked, says a former Google product manager. Anderson Cooper reports


    The following script is from “Brain Hacking,” which aired on April 9, 2017. Anderson Cooper is the correspondent. Guy Campanile, producer.

    Have you ever wondered if all those people you see staring intently at their smartphones -- nearly everywhere, and at all times -- are addicted to them? According to a former Google product manager you are about to hear from, Silicon Valley is engineering your phone, apps and social media to get you hooked. He is one of the few tech insiders to publicly acknowledge that the companies responsible for programming your phones are working hard to get you and your family to feel the need to check in constantly. Some programmers call it “brain hacking” and the tech world would probably prefer you didn’t hear about it. But Tristan Harris openly questions the long-term consequences of it all and we think it’s worth putting down your phone to listen.


    Tristan Harris, a former Google product manager CBS NEWS

    Tristan Harris: This thing is a slot machine.

    Anderson Cooper: How is that a slot machine?

    Tristan Harris: Well every time I check my phone, I’m playing the slot machine to see, “What did I get?” This is one way to hijack people’s minds and create a habit, to form a habit. What you do is you make it so when someone pulls a lever, sometimes they get a reward, an exciting reward. And it turns out that this design technique can be embedded inside of all these products.



    The rewards Harris is talking about are a big part of what makes smartphones so appealing. The chance of getting likes on Facebook and Instagram. Cute emojis in text messages. And new followers on Twitter.

    Tristan Harris: There’s a whole playbook of techniques that get used to get you using the product for as long as possible.

    Anderson Cooper: What kind of techniques are used?


    “...every time I check my phone, I’m playing the slot machine to see, ‘What did I get?’ This is one way to hijack people’s minds and create a habit, to form a habit.” Tristan Harris


    Tristan Harris: Tristan Harris: So Snapchat’s the most popular messaging service for teenagers. And they invented this feature called “streaks,” which shows the number of days in a row that you’ve sent a message back and forth with someone. So now you could say, “Well, what’s the big deal here?” Well, the problem is that kids feel like, “Well, now I don’t want to lose my streak.” But it turns out that kids actually when they go on vacation are so stressed about their streak that they actually give their password to, like, five other kids to keep their streaks going on their behalf. And so you could ask when these features are being designed, are they designed to most help people live their life? Or are they being designed because they’re best at hooking people into using the product?

    Anderson Cooper: Is Silicon Valley programming apps or are they programming people?



    Tristan Harris: Inadvertently, whether they want to or not, they are shaping the thoughts and feelings and actions of people. They are programming people. There’s always this narrative that technology’s neutral. And it’s up to us to choose how we use it. This is just not true.

    Anderson Cooper: Technology’s not neutral?

    Tristan Harris: It’s not neutral. They want you to use it in particular ways and for long periods of time. Because that’s how they make their money.

    It’s rare for a tech insider to be so blunt, but Tristan Harris believes someone needs to be. A few years ago he was living the Silicon Valley dream. He dropped out of a master’s program at Stanford University to start a software company. Four years later Google bought him out and hired him as a product manager. It was while working there he started to feel overwhelmed.



    Tristan Harris: Honestly, I was just bombarded in email and calendar invitations and just the overload of what it’s like to work at a place like Google. And I was asking, “When is all of this adding up to, like, an actual benefit to my life?” And I ended up making this presentation. It was kind of a manifesto. And it basically said, you know, “Look, never before in history have a handful of people at a handful of technology companies shaped how a billion people think and feel every day with the choices they make about these screens.”


    “Inadvertently, whether they want to or not, they are shaping the thoughts and feelings and actions of people. They are programming people.” Tristan Harris


    His 144-page presentation argued that the constant distractions of apps and emails are “weakening our relationships to each other,” and “destroying our kids ability to focus.” It was widely read inside Google, and caught the eye of one of the founders Larry Page. But Harris told us it didn’t lead to any changes and after three years he quit.

    Tristan Harris: And it’s not because anyone is evil or has bad intentions. It’s because the game is getting attention at all costs. And the problem is it becomes this race to the bottom of the brainstem, where if I go lower on the brainstem to get you, you know, using my product, I win. But it doesn’t end up in the world we want to live in. We don’t end up feeling good about how we’re using all this stuff.


    When smartphones become a teen's drug of choice 60 MINUTES OVERTIME
    When smartphones become a teen's drug of choice


    Anderson Cooper: You call this a “race to the bottom of the brain stem.” It’s a race to the most primitive emotions we have? Fear, anxiety, loneliness, all these things?

    Tristan Harris: Absolutely. And that’s again because in the race for attention I have to do whatever works.

    Tristan Harris: It absolutely wants one thing, which is your attention.

    Now he travels the country trying to convince programmers and anyone else who will listen that the business model of tech companies needs to change. He wants products designed to make the best use of our time not just grab our attention.


    Defining your day by "what pops up on the screen" 60 MINUTES OVERTIME
    Defining your day by "what pops up on the screen"


    Anderson Cooper: Do you think parents understand the complexities of what their kids are dealing with, when they’re dealing with their phone, dealing with apps and social media?

    Tristan Harris: No. And I think this is really important. Because there’s a narrative that, “Oh, I guess they’re just doing this like we used to gossip on the phone, but what this misses is that your telephone in the 1970s didn’t have a thousand engineers on the other side of the telephone who were redesigning it to work with other telephones and then updating the way your telephone worked every day to be more and more persuasive. That was not true in the 1970s.

    Anderson Cooper: How many Silicon Valley insiders are there speaking out like you are?

    Tristan Harris: Not that many.

    We reached out to the biggest tech firms but none would speak on the record and some didn’t even return our phone call. Most tech companies say their priority is improving user experience, something they call “engagement.” But they remain secretive about what they do to keep people glued to their screens. So we went to Venice, California, where the body builders on the beach are being muscled out by small companies that specialize in what Ramsay Brown calls “brain hacking.”


    Anderson Cooper speaks with Ramsay Brown, the cofounder of Dopamine Labs CBS NEWS

    Ramsay Brown: A computer programmer who now understands how the brain works knows how to write code that will get the brain to do certain things.

    Ramsay Brown studied neuroscience before co-founding Dopamine Labs, a start-up crammed into a garage. The company is named after the dopamine molecule in our brains that aids in the creation of desire and pleasure. Brown and his colleagues write computer code for apps used by fitness companies and financial firms. The programs are designed to provoke a neurological response.


    “A computer programmer who now understands how the brain works knows how to write code that will get the brain to do certain things.” Ramsay Brown


    Anderson Cooper: You’re trying to figure out how to get people coming back to use the screen?

    Ramsay Brown: When should I make you feel a little extra awesome to get you to come back into the app longer?


    Ramsay Brown CBS NEWS

    The computer code he creates finds the best moment to give you one of those rewards, which have no actual value, but Brown says trigger your brain to make you want more. For example, on Instagram, he told us sometimes those likes come in a sudden rush.

    Ramsay Brown: They’re holding some of them back for you to let you know later in a big burst. Like, hey, here’s the 30 likes we didn’t mention from a little while ago. Why that moment--

    Anderson Cooper: So all of a sudden you get a big burst of likes?

    Ramsay Brown: Yeah, but why that moment? There’s some algorithm somewhere that predicted, hey, for this user right now who is experimental subject 79B3 in experiment 231, we think we can see an improvement in his behavior if you give it to him in this burst instead of that burst.

    When Brown says “experiments,” he’s talking generally about the millions of computer calculations being used every moment by his company and others use to constantly tweak your online experience and make you come back for more.

    Ramsay Brown: You’re part of a controlled set of experiments that are happening in real time across you and millions of other people.

    Anderson Cooper: We’re guinea pigs?

    Ramsay Brown: You’re guinea pigs. You are guinea pigs in the box pushing the button and sometimes getting the likes. And they’re doing this to keep you in there.

    The longer we look at our screens, the more data companies collect about us, and the more ads we see. Ad spending on social media has doubled in just two years to more than $31 billion.

    Ramsay Brown: You don’t pay for Facebook. Advertisers pay for Facebook. You get to use it for free because your eyeballs are what’s being sold there.

    Anderson Cooper: That’s an interesting way to look at it, that you’re not the customer for Facebook.


    “You don’t pay for Facebook. Advertisers pay for Facebook. You get to use it for free because your eyeballs are what’s being sold there.” Ramsay Brown


    Ramsay Brown: You’re not the customer. You don’t sign a check to Facebook. But Coca-Cola does.

    Brown says there’s a reason texts and Facebook use a continuous scroll, because it’s a proven way to keep you searching longer.

    Ramsay Brown: You spend half your time on Facebook just scrolling to find one good piece worth looking at. It’s happening because they are engineered to become addictive.

    Anderson Cooper: You’re almost saying it like there’s an addiction code.

    Ramsay Brown: Yeah, that is the case. That since we’ve figured out, to some extent, how these pieces of the brain that handle addiction are working, people have figured out how to juice them further and how to bake that information into apps.

    Larry Rosen: Dinner table could be a technology-free zone.

    While Brown is tapping into the power of dopamine, psychologist Larry Rosen and his team at California State University Dominguez Hills are researching the effect technology has on our anxiety levels.

    Larry Rosen: We’re looking at the impact of technology through the brain.

    Rosen told us when you put your phone down – your brain signals your adrenal gland to produce a burst of a hormone called, cortisol, which has an evolutionary purpose. Cortisol triggers a fight-or-flight response to danger.

    Anderson Cooper: How does cortisol relate to a mobile device, a phone?

    Larry Rosen: What we find is the typical person checks their phone every 15 minutes or less and half of the time they check their phone there is no alert, no notification. It’s coming from inside their head telling them, “Gee, I haven’t check in Facebook in a while. I haven’t checked on this Twitter feed for a while. I wonder if somebody commented on my Instagram post.” That then generates cortisol and it starts to make you anxious. And eventually your goal is to get rid of that anxiety so you check in.

    So the same hormone that made primitive man anxious and hyperaware of his surroundings to keep him from being eaten by lions is today compelling Rosen’s students and all of us to continually peek at our phones to relieve our anxiety.

    Larry Rosen: When you put the phone down you don’t shut off your brain, you just put the phone down.

    Anderson Cooper: Can I be honest with you right now? I haven’t paid attention to what you’re saying because I just realized my phone is right down by my right foot and I haven’t checked it in, like 10 minutes.

    Larry Rosen: And it makes you anxious.

    Anderson Cooper: I’m a little anxious.


    A computer tracks minute changes in Anderson Cooper’s heart rate and perspiration CBS NEWS

    Larry Rosen: Yes.

    We found out just how anxious in this experiment conducted by Rosen’s research colleague Nancy Cheever.

    Nancy Cheever: So the first thing I’m going to do is apply these electrodes to your fingers.

    While I watched a video, a computer tracked minute changes in my heart rate and perspiration. What I didn’t know was that Cheever was sending text messages to my phone which was just out of reach. Every time my text notification went off, the blue line spiked – indicating anxiety caused in part by the release of cortisol.

    Nancy Cheever: Oh, that one is…that’s a huge spike right there. And if you can imagine what that’s doing to your body. Every time you get a text message you probably can’t even feel it right? Because it’s such a um, it’s a small amount of arousal.

    Anderson Cooper: That’s fascinating.

    Their research suggests our phones are keeping us in a continual state of anxiety in which the only antidote – is the phone.

    Anderson Cooper: Is it known what the impact of all this technology use is?

    Larry Rosen: Absolutely not.

    Anderson Cooper: It’s too soon.

    Larry Rosen: We’re all part of this big experiment.

    Anderson Cooper: What is this doing to a young mind or a teenager?

    Larry Rosen: Well there’s some projects going on where they’re actually scanning teenager’s brains over a 20-year period and looking to see what kind of changes they’re finding.


    Gabe Zichermann CBS NEWS

    Gabe Zichermann: Here’s the reality. Corporations and creators of content have, since the beginning of time, wanted to make their content as engaging as possible.

    Gabe Zichermann has worked with dozens of companies – including Apple and CBS – to make their online products more irresistible. He’s best known in Silicon Valley for his expertise in something called “gamification,” using techniques from video games to insert fun and competition into almost everything on your smartphone.

    Gabe Zichermann: So one of the interesting things about gamification and other engaging technologies, is at the same time as we can argue that the neuroscience is being used to create dependent behavior those same techniques are being used to get people to work out, you know, using their Fitbit. So all of these technologies, all the techniques for engagement can be used for good, or can be used for bad.


    “Asking technology companies, asking content creators to be less good at what they do feels like a ridiculous ask.” Gabe Zichermann


    Zichermann is now working on software called ‘Onward’ designed to break user’s bad habits. It will track a person’s activity and can recommend they do something else when they’re spending too much time online.

    Gabe Zichermann: I think creators have to be liberated to make their content as good as possible.

    Anderson Cooper: The idea that a tech company is not going to try to make their product as persuasive, as engaging as possible, you’re just saying that’s not gonna happen?

    Gabe Zichermann: Asking technology companies, asking content creators to be less good at what they do feels like a ridiculous ask. It feels impossible. And also it’s very anti-capitalistic, this isn’t the system that we live in.

    Ramsay Brown and his garage start-up Dopamine Labs made a habit-breaking app as well. It’s called “Space” and it creates a 12-second delay -- what Brown calls a “moment of Zen” before any social media app launches. In January, he tried to convince Apple to sell it in their App Store.

    Ramsay Brown: And they rejected it from the App Store because they told us any app that would encourage people to use other apps or their iPhone less was unacceptable for distribution in the App Store.

    Anderson Cooper: They actually said that to you?

    Ramsay Brown: They said that to us. They did not want us to give out this thing that was gonna make people less stuck on their phones.

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