Documenting the Coming Singularity

Monday, January 22, 2018

What's Coming in 2018?


What can we look forward to, science breakthrough-wise, in the near future, say this year?

By Philip Ball in The Guardian

Quantum computers
This will be the year when we see a quantum computer solve a computational problem that conventional computers can’t, using the rules of quantum mechanics to manipulate data, potentially making them much more powerful than classical devices. Many researchers think that the prototype devices built during the past year will soon be able to achieve “quantum supremacy” – the solution of a task that would take a classical computer an impractical length of time. This doesn’t mean that quantum computers are yet ready to take over the computer industry, but this will be the year that they start to become a genuine commercial proposition.

Quantum internet
Using quantum rules for processing information has more advantages than just speed. These rules make possible some tricks that just aren’t imaginable using classical physics. Information encoded in qubits (units of quantum information) can be encrypted and transmitted from a sender to a receiver in a form that can’t be intercepted and read without that eavesdropping being detectable by the receiver, a method called quantum cryptography. China has developed “quantum-capable” satellites that could ultimately host an international, ultra-secure “quantum internet”. Many experts put that at a decade or so off, but we can expect more trials – and inventions – of quantum network technologies this year.

RNA therapies
The announcement last month of a potential new treatment for Huntington’s disease, an inheritable neurodegenerative disease for which there is no known cure, has broad implications. The preliminary tests showed a lowering in the levels of toxic proteins in the brain, suggesting that the method might work for other dementia-related conditions.

Gene-editing therapies
Diseases with a well defined genetic cause can potentially be cured by replacing the mutant genes with properly functioning, healthy ones. That’s the basis of gene therapies, which have been talked about for years but have so far failed to deliver. The discovery in 2012 of a set of molecular tools, called CRISPR-Cas9, for targeting and editing genes with great accuracy has revitalised interest in attacking such genetic diseases at their root. But is the method safe enough for human use? Clinical trials kicked off last year, particularly in China but also in the US. It should start to become clear this year just how effective and safe these procedures are.

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Sunday, January 21, 2018

The Dark Sector - What If Dark Matter is an Entire Dark Universe?

By Sarah Charley on Symmetry

We don’t need extra dimensions or parallel universes to have an alternate reality superimposed right on top of our own. Invisible matter is everywhere.

For example, take neutrinos generated by the sun, says Jessie Shelton, a theorist at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign who works on dark sector physics. “We are constantly bombarded with neutrinos, but they pass right through us. They share the same space as our atoms but almost never interact.”

As far as scientists can tell, neutrinos are solitary particles. But what if there is a whole world of particles that interact with one another but not with ordinary atoms? This is the idea behind the dark sector: a theoretical world of matter existing alongside our own but invisible to the detectors we use to study the particles we know.

“Dark sectors are, by their very definition, built out of particles that don't interact strongly with the Standard Model,” Shelton says.

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Saturday, January 20, 2018

Black Hole POV?

Ever wonder what you'd see if you happened to plunge into a black hole? I mean like the kind that squats like a dark nemesis at the center of our galaxy. In this article, one of my favorite science writers tells us:


by Ethan Siegel on Forbes.com

Black holes are some of the most perplexing objects in the entire Universe. Objects so dense, where gravitation is so strong, that nothing, not even light, can ever escape from it. Many physical black holes have been identified, from stellar-mass scale ones in our own galaxy to supermassive ones at the centers of the majority of galaxies, many millions or even billions of times the mass of our Sun. The key property surrounding the event horizon, that light can never escape from within it, sets up a boundary in space: once you cross it, you're doomed to hit the central singularity. But what would you see as you fell in? Would the lights stay on, or would the Universe go dark? At last, physics has deciphered the answer, and it's gorgeous.

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Tuesday, January 16, 2018

It's Time for Unhackable Computers


Kurzweil AI.net

We're becoming very tired of getting scared out of our pants every other day by headlines screaming about this or that new computer vulnerability. WITH JUST A FEW TWEAKS, HACKERS CAN NOW TAKE OVER EVERYTHING!!! We're tired of putting software band aids on the problems that shouldn't be there in the first place.

Thankfully, DARPA is coming to the rescue!

DARPA-funded ‘unhackable’ computer could avoid future flaws like Spectre and Meltdown

A University of Michigan (U-M) team has announced plans to develop an “unhackable” computer, funded by a new $3.6 million grant from the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA).

The goal of the project, called MORPHEUS, is to design computers that avoid the vulnerabilities of most current microprocessors, such as the Spectre and Meltdown flaws announced  last week.*

The $50 million DARPA System Security Integrated Through Hardware and Firmware (SSITH) program aims to build security right into chips’ microarchitecture, instead of relying on software patches.*

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Monday, January 15, 2018

AI is now BETTER than humans at reading and comprehension!

Image result for ai images

Computers are getting better than humans at reading

CNN by Sherisse Pham

Artificial intelligence programs built by Alibaba (BABA) and Microsoft (MSFT) have beaten humans on a Stanford University reading comprehension test.

"This is the first time that a machine has outperformed humans on such a test," Alibaba said in a statement Monday.

The test was devised by artificial intelligence experts at Stanford to measure computers' growing reading abilities. Alibaba's software was the first to beat the human score.

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