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Technological singularity – Wikipedia

The technological singularity (also, simply, the singularity)[1] is the hypothesis that the invention of artificial superintelligence will abruptly trigger runaway technological growth, resulting in unfathomable changes to human civilization.[2] According to this hypothesis, an upgradable intelligent agent (such as a computer running software-based artificial general intelligence) would enter a “runaway reaction” of self-improvement cycles, with each new and more intelligent generation appearing more and more rapidly, causing an intelligence explosion and resulting in a powerful superintelligence that would, qualitatively, far surpass all human intelligence. John von Neumann first uses the term “singularity” (c. 1950s[3]), in the context of technological progress causing accelerating change: “The accelerating progress of technology and changes in the mode of human life, give the appearance of approaching some essential singularity in the history of the race beyond which human affairs, as we know them, could not continue”.[4] Subsequent authors have echoed this viewpoint.[2][5]I. J. Good’s “intelligence explosion” model predicts that a future superintelligence will trigger a singularity.[6] Emeritus professor of computer science at San Diego State University and Science fiction author Vernor Vinge said in his 1993 essay The Coming Technological Singularity that this would signal the end of the human era, as the new superintelligence would continue to upgrade itself and would advance technologically at an incomprehensible rate.[6]

At the 2012 Singularity Summit, Stuart Armstrong did a study of artificial general intelligence (AGI) predictions by experts and found a wide range of predicted dates, with a median value of 2040.[7]

I. J. Good speculated in 1965 that artificial general intelligence might bring about an intelligence explosion. Good’s scenario runs as follows: as computers increase in power, it becomes possible for people to build a machine that is more intelligent than humanity; this superhuman intelligence possesses greater problem-solving and inventive skills than current humans are capable of. This superintelligent machine then designs an even more capable machine, or re-writes its own software to become even more intelligent; this (ever more capable) machine then goes on to design a machine of yet greater capability, and so on. These iterations of recursive self-improvement accelerate, allowing enormous qualitative change before any upper limits imposed by the laws of physics or theoretical computation set in.[8]

John von Neumann, Vernor Vinge and Ray Kurzweil define the concept in terms of the technological creation of superintelligence. They argue that it is difficult or impossible for present-day humans to predict what human beings’ lives would be like in a post-singularity world.[6][9]

Some writers use “the singularity” in a broader way to refer to any radical changes in our society brought about by new technologies such as molecular nanotechnology,[10][11][12] although Vinge and other writers specifically state that without superintelligence, such changes would not qualify as a true singularity.[6] Many writers also tie the singularity to observations of exponential growth in various technologies (with Moore’s Law being the most prominent example), using such observations as a basis for predicting that the singularity is likely to happen sometime within the 21st century.[11][13]

Many prominent technologists and academics dispute the plausibility of a technological singularity, including Paul Allen, Jeff Hawkins, John Holland, Jaron Lanier, and Gordon Moore, whose Moore’s Law is often cited in support of the concept.[14][15][16]

The exponential growth in computing technology suggested by Moore’s Law is commonly cited as a reason to expect a singularity in the relatively near future, and a number of authors have proposed generalizations of Moore’s Law. Computer scientist and futurist Hans Moravec proposed in a 1998 book[17] that the exponential growth curve could be extended back through earlier computing technologies prior to the integrated circuit.

Ray Kurzweil postulates a law of accelerating returns in which the speed of technological change (and more generally, all evolutionary processes[18]) increases exponentially, generalizing Moore’s Law in the same manner as Moravec’s proposal, and also including material technology (especially as applied to nanotechnology), medical technology and others.[19] Between 1986 and 2007, machines’ application-specific capacity to compute information per capita roughly doubled every 14 months; the per capita capacity of the world’s general-purpose computers has doubled every 18 months; the global telecommunication capacity per capita doubled every 34 months; and the world’s storage capacity per capita doubled every 40 months.[20]

Mr. Kurzweil reserves the term “singularity” for a rapid increase in artificial intelligence (as opposed to other technologies), writing for example that “The Singularity will allow us to transcend these limitations of our biological bodies and brains … There will be no distinction, post-Singularity, between human and machine”.[21] He also defines his predicted date of the singularity (2045) in terms of when he expects computer-based intelligences to significantly exceed the sum total of human brainpower, writing that advances in computing before that date “will not represent the Singularity” because they do “not yet correspond to a profound expansion of our intelligence.”[22]

Some singularity proponents argue its inevitability through extrapolation of past trends, especially those pertaining to shortening gaps between improvements to technology. In one of the first uses of the term “singularity” in the context of technological progress, Ulam tells of a conversation with John von Neumann about accelerating change:

One conversation centered on the ever accelerating progress of technology and changes in the mode of human life, which gives the appearance of approaching some essential singularity in the history of the race beyond which human affairs, as we know them, could not continue.[4]

Kurzweil claims that technological progress follows a pattern of exponential growth, following what he calls the “Law of Accelerating Returns”. Whenever technology approaches a barrier, Kurzweil writes, new technologies will surmount it. He predicts paradigm shifts will become increasingly common, leading to “technological change so rapid and profound it represents a rupture in the fabric of human history”.[23] Kurzweil believes that the singularity will occur by approximately 2045.[24] His predictions differ from Vinge’s in that he predicts a gradual ascent to the singularity, rather than Vinge’s rapidly self-improving superhuman intelligence.

Oft-cited dangers include those commonly associated with molecular nanotechnology and genetic engineering. These threats are major issues for both singularity advocates and critics, and were the subject of Bill Joy’s Wired magazine article “Why the future doesn’t need us”.[5][25]

Some critics assert that no computer or machine will ever achieve human intelligence, while others hold that the definition of intelligence is irrelevant if the net result is the same.[26]

Steven Pinker stated in 2008:

(…) There is not the slightest reason to believe in a coming singularity. The fact that you can visualize a future in your imagination is not evidence that it is likely or even possible. Look at domed cities, jet-pack commuting, underwater cities, mile-high buildings, and nuclear-powered automobilesall staples of futuristic fantasies when I was a child that have never arrived. Sheer processing power is not a pixie dust that magically solves all your problems. (…)[14]

University of California, Berkeley, philosophy professor John Searle writes:

[Computers] have, literally [], no intelligence, no motivation, no autonomy, and no agency. We design them to behave as if they had certain sorts of psychology, but there is no psychological reality to the corresponding processes or behavior. [] [T]he machinery has no beliefs, desires, [or] motivations.[27]

Martin Ford in The Lights in the Tunnel: Automation, Accelerating Technology and the Economy of the Future[28] postulates a “technology paradox” in that before the singularity could occur most routine jobs in the economy would be automated, since this would require a level of technology inferior to that of the singularity. This would cause massive unemployment and plummeting consumer demand, which in turn would destroy the incentive to invest in the technologies that would be required to bring about the Singularity. Job displacement is increasingly no longer limited to work traditionally considered to be “routine”.[29]

Jared Diamond, in Collapse: How Societies Choose to Fail or Succeed, argues that cultures self-limit when they exceed the sustainable carrying capacity of their environment, and the consumption of strategic resources (frequently timber, soils or water) creates a deleterious positive feedback loop that leads eventually to social collapse and technological retrogression.[improper synthesis?]

Theodore Modis[30][31] and Jonathan Huebner[32] argue that the rate of technological innovation has not only ceased to rise, but is actually now declining. Evidence for this decline is that the rise in computer clock rates is slowing, even while Moore’s prediction of exponentially increasing circuit density continues to hold. This is due to excessive heat build-up from the chip, which cannot be dissipated quickly enough to prevent the chip from melting when operating at higher speeds. Advancements in speed may be possible in the future by virtue of more power-efficient CPU designs and multi-cell processors.[33] While Kurzweil used Modis’ resources, and Modis’ work was around accelerating change, Modis distanced himself from Kurzweil’s thesis of a “technological singularity”, claiming that it lacks scientific rigor.[31]

Others[who?] propose that other “singularities” can be found through analysis of trends in world population, world gross domestic product, and other indices. Andrey Korotayev and others argue that historical hyperbolic growth curves can be attributed to feedback loops that ceased to affect global trends in the 1970s, and thus hyperbolic growth should not be expected in the future.[34][improper synthesis?]

In a detailed empirical accounting, The Progress of Computing, William Nordhaus argued that, prior to 1940, computers followed the much slower growth of a traditional industrial economy, thus rejecting extrapolations of Moore’s law to 19th-century computers.[35]

In a 2007 paper, Schmidhuber stated that the frequency of subjectively “notable events” appears to be approaching a 21st-century singularity, but cautioned readers to take such plots of subjective events with a grain of salt: perhaps differences in memory of recent and distant events could create an illusion of accelerating change where none exists.[36]

Paul Allen argues the opposite of accelerating returns, the complexity brake;[16] the more progress science makes towards understanding intelligence, the more difficult it becomes to make additional progress. A study of the number of patents shows that human creativity does not show accelerating returns, but in fact, as suggested by Joseph Tainter in his The Collapse of Complex Societies,[37] a law of diminishing returns. The number of patents per thousand peaked in the period from 1850 to 1900, and has been declining since.[32] The growth of complexity eventually becomes self-limiting, and leads to a widespread “general systems collapse”.

Jaron Lanier refutes the idea that the Singularity is inevitable. He states: “I do not think the technology is creating itself. It’s not an autonomous process.”[38] He goes on to assert: “The reason to believe in human agency over technological determinism is that you can then have an economy where people earn their own way and invent their own lives. If you structure a society on not emphasizing individual human agency, it’s the same thing operationally as denying people clout, dignity, and self-determination … to embrace [the idea of the Singularity] would be a celebration of bad data and bad politics.”[38]

Economist Robert J. Gordon, in The Rise and Fall of American Growth: The U.S. Standard of Living Since the Civil War (2016), points out that measured economic growth has slowed around 1970 and slowed even further since the financial crisis of 2008, and argues that the economic data show no trace of a coming Singularity as imagined by mathematician I.J. Good.[39]

In addition to general criticisms of the singularity concept, several critics have raised issues with Kurzweil’s iconic chart. One line of criticism is that a log-log chart of this nature is inherently biased toward a straight-line result. Others identify selection bias in the points that Kurzweil chooses to use. For example, biologist PZ Myers points out that many of the early evolutionary “events” were picked arbitrarily.[40] Kurzweil has rebutted this by charting evolutionary events from 15 neutral sources, and showing that they fit a straight line on a log-log chart. The Economist mocked the concept with a graph extrapolating that the number of blades on a razor, which has increased over the years from one to as many as five, will increase ever-faster to infinity.[41]

The term “technological singularity” reflects the idea that such change may happen suddenly, and that it is difficult to predict how the resulting new world would operate.[42][43] It is unclear whether an intelligence explosion of this kind would be beneficial or harmful, or even an existential threat,[44][45] as the issue has not been dealt with by most artificial general intelligence researchers, although the topic of friendly artificial intelligence is investigated by the Future of Humanity Institute and the Machine Intelligence Research Institute.[42]

While the technological singularity is usually seen as a sudden event, some scholars argue the current speed of change already fits this description. In addition, some argue that we are already in the midst of a major evolutionary transition that merges technology, biology, and society. Digital technology has infiltrated the fabric of human society to a degree of indisputable and often life-sustaining dependence. A 2016 article in Trends in Ecology & Evolution argues that “humans already embrace fusions of biology and technology. We spend most of our waking time communicating through digitally mediated channels… we trust artificial intelligence with our lives through antilock braking in cars and autopilots in planes… With one in three marriages in America beginning online, digital algorithms are also taking a role in human pair bonding and reproduction”. The article argues that from the perspective of the evolution, several previous Major Transitions in Evolution have transformed life through innovations in information storage and replication (RNA, DNA, multicellularity, and culture and language). In the current stage of life’s evolution, the carbon-based biosphere has generated a cognitive system (humans) capable of creating technology that will result in a comparable evolutionary transition. The digital information created by humans has reached a similar magnitude to biological information in the biosphere. Since the 1980s, “the quantity of digital information stored has doubled about every 2.5 years, reaching about 5 zettabytes in 2014 (5×10^21 bytes). In biological terms, there are 7.2 billion humans on the planet, each having a genome of 6.2 billion nucleotides. Since one byte can encode four nucleotide pairs, the individual genomes of every human on the planet could be encoded by approximately 1×10^19 bytes. The digital realm stored 500 times more information than this in 2014 (…see Figure)… The total amount of DNA contained in all of the cells on Earth is estimated to be about 5.3×10^37 base pairs, equivalent to 1.325×10^37 bytes of information. If growth in digital storage continues at its current rate of 3038% compound annual growth per year,[20] it will rival the total information content contained in all of the DNA in all of the cells on Earth in about 110 years. This would represent a doubling of the amount of information stored in the biosphere across a total time period of just 150 years”.[46]

In February 2009, under the auspices of the Association for the Advancement of Artificial Intelligence (AAAI), Eric Horvitz chaired a meeting of leading computer scientists, artificial intelligence researchers and roboticists at Asilomar in Pacific Grove, California. The goal was to discuss the potential impact of the hypothetical possibility that robots could become self-sufficient and able to make their own decisions. They discussed the extent to which computers and robots might be able to acquire autonomy, and to what degree they could use such abilities to pose threats or hazards.[47]

Some machines are programmed with various forms of semi-autonomy, including the ability to locate their own power sources and choose targets to attack with weapons. Also, some computer viruses can evade elimination and, according to scientists in attendance, could therefore be said to have reached a “cockroach” stage of machine intelligence. The conference attendees noted that self-awareness as depicted in science-fiction is probably unlikely, but that other potential hazards and pitfalls exist.[47]

Some experts and academics have questioned the use of robots for military combat, especially when such robots are given some degree of autonomous functions.[48][improper synthesis?]

In his 2005 book, The Singularity is Near, Kurzweil suggests that medical advances would allow people to protect their bodies from the effects of aging, making the life expectancy limitless. Kurzweil argues that the technological advances in medicine would allow us to continuously repair and replace defective components in our bodies, prolonging life to an undetermined age.[49] Kurzweil further buttresses his argument by discussing current bio-engineering advances. Kurzweil suggests somatic gene therapy; after synthetic viruses with specific genetic information, the next step would be to apply this technology to gene therapy, replacing human DNA with synthesized genes.[50]

Beyond merely extending the operational life of the physical body, Jaron Lanier argues for a form of immortality called “Digital Ascension” that involves “people dying in the flesh and being uploaded into a computer and remaining conscious”.[51]Singularitarianism has also been likened to a religion by John Horgan.[52]

In his obituary for John von Neumann, Ulam recalled a conversation with von Neumann about the “ever accelerating progress of technology and changes in the mode of human life, which gives the appearance of approaching some essential singularity in the history of the race beyond which human affairs, as we know them, could not continue.”[4]

In 1965, Good wrote his essay postulating an “intelligence explosion” of recursive self-improvement of a machine intelligence. In 1985, in “The Time Scale of Artificial Intelligence”, artificial intelligence researcher Ray Solomonoff articulated mathematically the related notion of what he called an “infinity point”: if a research community of human-level self-improving AIs take four years to double their own speed, then two years, then one year and so on, their capabilities increase infinitely in finite time.[5][53]

In 1983, Vinge greatly popularized Good’s intelligence explosion in a number of writings, first addressing the topic in print in the January 1983 issue of Omni magazine. In this op-ed piece, Vinge seems to have been the first to use the term “singularity” in a way that was specifically tied to the creation of intelligent machines:[54][55] writing

We will soon create intelligences greater than our own. When this happens, human history will have reached a kind of singularity, an intellectual transition as impenetrable as the knotted space-time at the center of a black hole, and the world will pass far beyond our understanding. This singularity, I believe, already haunts a number of science-fiction writers. It makes realistic extrapolation to an interstellar future impossible. To write a story set more than a century hence, one needs a nuclear war in between … so that the world remains intelligible.

Vinge’s 1993 article “The Coming Technological Singularity: How to Survive in the Post-Human Era”,[6] spread widely on the internet and helped to popularize the idea.[56] This article contains the statement, “Within thirty years, we will have the technological means to create superhuman intelligence. Shortly after, the human era will be ended.” Vinge argues that science-fiction authors cannot write realistic post-singularity characters who surpass the human intellect, as the thoughts of such an intellect would be beyond the ability of humans to express.[6]

In 2000, Bill Joy, a prominent technologist and a co-founder of Sun Microsystems, voiced concern over the potential dangers of the singularity.[25]

In 2005, Kurzweil published The Singularity is Near. Kurzweil’s publicity campaign included an appearance on The Daily Show with Jon Stewart.[57]

In 2007, Eliezer Yudkowsky suggested that many of the varied definitions that have been assigned to “singularity” are mutually incompatible rather than mutually supporting.[11][58] For example, Kurzweil extrapolates current technological trajectories past the arrival of self-improving AI or superhuman intelligence, which Yudkowsky argues represents a tension with both I. J. Good’s proposed discontinuous upswing in intelligence and Vinge’s thesis on unpredictability.[11]

In 2009, Kurzweil and X-Prize founder Peter Diamandis announced the establishment of Singularity University, a nonaccredited private institute whose stated mission is “to educate, inspire and empower leaders to apply exponential technologies to address humanity’s grand challenges.”[59] Funded by Google, Autodesk, ePlanet Ventures, and a group of technology industry leaders, Singularity University is based at NASA’s Ames Research Center in Mountain View, California. The not-for-profit organization runs an annual ten-week graduate program during the northern-hemisphere summer that covers ten different technology and allied tracks, and a series of executive programs throughout the year.

In 2007, the joint Economic Committee of the United States Congress released a report about the future of nanotechnology. It predicts significant technological and political changes in the mid-term future, including possible technological singularity.[60][61][62]

Former President of the United States Barack Obama spoke about singularity in his interview to Wired in 2016:[63]

One thing that we havent talked about too much, and I just want to go back to, is we really have to think through the economic implications. Because most people arent spending a lot of time right now worrying about singularitythey are worrying about Well, is my job going to be replaced by a machine?

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Technological singularity – Wikipedia

Singularity University – Official Site

Singularity University, Singularity Hub, Singularity Summit, SU Labs, Singularity Labs, Exponential Medicine, Exponential Finance and all associated logos and design elements are trademarks and/or service marks of Singularity Education Group.

2017 Singularity Education Group. All Rights Reserved.

Singularity University is not a degree granting institution.

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Which of These Emerging Technologies Will Be the Next Big Thing? – Singularity Hub

We tend to think of tech visionaries as inventors with a brilliant idea that no one understands. Because the world isnt quite ready, they have to pitch their invention to anyone wholl listen.

Their ideas are either crazy or geniusno ones sure because theyre so novel.

Theres another kind of tech visionary. This person has to sort the genius from the crazy, and then quite literally put their money where their mouth is. These people are investors. And no great invention or idea gets to the next level without the support to go bigger.

At Singularity Universitys Global Summit this week, Sequoia Capitals Roelof Botha sat down with Peter Diamandis for a conversation about the venture capital view of technology. Botha is a partner at Sequoia and was previously CFO of PayPal. Over the decades, Sequoia has helped launch the likes of Apple, Google, Oracle, PayPal, YouTube, Instagram, and WhatsApp.

Botha said theyve been in early on and followed the biggest trends in tech over the decades. In the 1980s, it was semiconductors. In the 1990s, the internet hit its stride with companies like Google and Yahoo. Since then, of course, mobile has been a big theme. So, whats next?

Id say right now were at a very interesting time because its not obvious what the next platform is, Botha said. The phrase weve come up with is interregnum.

Interregnum is the time a throne is vacant in between reigns, he explained. The formidable five of Microsoft, Amazon, Apple, Google, and Facebook are dominant and hoovering up resources. So, Sequoia is looking for pockets of opportunity that unfairly favor the startup.

Space is an interesting one[and] there are some interesting things around genomics, epigenetics, CRISPR and gene editing, cryptocurrencies, augmented reality, and virtual reality, Botha said. There are a bunch of emerging areas, and were exploring all of those. Even quantum computing these days looks like it might finally be something to our life.

Interest and even investment in a particular area or technology is no guarantee theyll succeed. He said typically only three or four companies drive the returns of a fund with 35 or 40 companies in it. Making sure you find those three or four companies is both art and science.

Well, the key question we always ask is why now? If a company cant answer that question, theres usually a reason not to invest. But sometimes something hasnt worked for 20 years for a reason, and now truly is the time where it does make sense.

Forecasting the cycles of hope and hype in technology is still incredibly difficult, and no one gets it just right. Some exciting technologies seem to be just around the corner, only to die out or hit unexpected roadblocks and get kicked ever further down the road.

Still, we live in a pretty amazing time in history, and over the decades, some emerging technologies will rise up and affect our lives profoundly. What is Botha most excited about in the next few years? What strikes his heart as Diamandis put it?

Id love to see us innovate in augmented reality, Botha said.

Im sure most of the audience has seen the movie Her. This idea of having an invisible user interface, which is voice-based, and having a different way of interacting with technology. If you look at people at lunch breaks, its kind of strange that weve evolved where were all sitting there hunched over these very small screens, all developing neck strains. Its hard for me to imagine thats the end state.

Image Credit:Stock Media provided by Pumidol Leelerdsakulvong / Pond5

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Civilization Is Breaking DownHere’s What We Need to Do About It – Singularity Hub

I think civilization is fundamentally breaking down today. These were the opening words of Salim Ismails talk at Singularity Universitys Global Summit in San Francisco this week.

Not the most uplifting intro. But the good news is, Ismail had some pretty unique insight to share about the nature of the problems society is facing, and plenty of thoughts on how to fix them too.

Ismail is the best-selling author of Exponential Organizationsand a sought-after strategist and tech entrepreneur who built and sold his company to Google. He was founding executive director at Singularity University and has been the companys global ambassador for the last seven years.

While technology has helped civilization, according to Ismail, its also partly to blame for widespread discontent thats manifesting in the form of armed conflicts, terrorism, extremism, and nationalism.

Never before have we had a dozen technologies all accelerating in their own right, he said. Each one is doubling at a rate of anywhere between 18 to 30 months. But where they intersect, that adds a whole other multiplier to the equation.

A lot of the technological changes going on may seem like theyre confined to specific places, people, or groups. But the truth is theyre affecting us all.

Anyone with an internet connection has an unprecedented amount of information at their fingertips. Computers are not just learning to do tasks only humans used to do, theyre doing those tasks much better than us. Huge sums of wealth are concentrated in the hands of a few (thankfully, often philanthropic) entrepreneurs. Physical goods that used to cost hundreds or thousands of dollarshave demonetized to the point that theyre practically free.

And its not just physical goods whose cost is dropping. Renewable energy, DNA sequencing, and services like rides and accommodations have seen plummeting cost curves too.

In technology after technology, the cost is crashing to near zero, which means anybody has access to these technologies, Ismail said. And this is causinghuge opportunity but also massive stress, and our existing leadership has a really tough time dealing with this.

The shifting power dynamics brought about by demonetization have left governments bewildered and apprehensive, and often at a loss for how to adjust their policies to the changing times.

We invented representative democracies when information was scarce, Ismail pointed out. But today, we have an abundance of information, and every major democracy in the world is broken.

The same goes for capitalism. Theres a massive deflationary dynamic because the money leaves the system as you move from scarcity to abundance, Ismail said.

The distribution of all that wealth, though, is far from equal. Though abundance is growing, scarcity is still very realand people are reacting.

If you look at the rise of fundamentalism around the world, this is civilization saying Im freaking out, I cant take this pace of change, lets go back to an older time, Ismail said.

Even the institutions that were set up to deal with these kinds of conflicts have become somewhat irrelevant. The UN Security Council, for example, was set up to navigate conflicts between countriesbut many modern armed conflicts are civil wars. Updating institutions that have been around for decades if not centuries is a project of dizzying scale and complexity.

There is no update mechanism in many of these structures, so we have to totally re-architect them, Ismail said. Were pepper-spraying our civics and our politics, literally shredding our own future here, and the stress around the world is quite profound.

Ismail then took the conversation in an unexpected direction, saying the best way hes found to frame why this is happening is that we have two fundamental polarities in our archetypes as a civilizationmale and female.

The male archetype is competitive, risk-taking, wants to take command and control. By the way, Im really carefully saying archetype, not gender, he clarified. The female archetype is participatory, nurturing, cooperative, and network-linked. And weve ratcheted between these two polarities throughout civilization to upgrade ourselves.

Both men and women can have traits belonging to the male or female archetypes, of course. The archetypes are an overarching symbolic understanding ingrained in our psychology.

The world, he explained, used to be run on feudal systems, which had a top-down command and control structure. Then we moved to democratic systems so that power would be distributed more evenly.

Despite the fact that many societies today are based on this democratic ideology, large swaths of those societies run on a set of top-down male archetypal structures. Ismail noted traditional corporations as a prime example: theyre pyramidic structures usually with a man at the top. Judeo-Christian religions are built around male archetypal qualities, as is the military-industrial complex.

Whats happening now, though, is the rise of the female archetype. Examples Ismail gave that embody the female archetype are open-sourcing, the maker movement, and hugely popular festivals like Burning Man.

The stress were seeing in the world is that transition from the male-centric archetype to the female-centric archetype, he said.

This looks different not only because of the fundamental qualities each archetype embodies, but their particular stress-response and control mechanisms as well.

When the male archetype is under stress, it enters the fight or flight response, while the female archetype responds by tending and befriending.

The male archetype is really good at managing scarcity, command and control, search and destroy, go, grab, bring it back, designed for that world that weve been in for thousands and thousands of years around scarcity, Ismail said.

The female archetype, though, is better at dealing with abundance; when the male archetype deals with abundance, it relates to it as power and tries to hoard it. The female archetype meets abundance and shares it around.

As we move towards abundance, Ismail believes we need to move towards a social structure that embodies the female rather than the male archetype.

While somewhat abstract and, frankly, surprising, in theory this all sounds reasonable enough. But how do you actually move a civilization from one archetype to another?

For starters, Ismail said, We need to architect our organizations and institutions for flexibility and adaptability. Existing incentive models in business focus heavily on short-term indicators like quarterly earnings and are not set up for long-term changes. But the most successful companies have turned these models on their heads, with leaders like Jeff Bezos, Mark Zuckerberg, and Larry Page refusing to steer their companies in the status-quo direction.

Similarly, Ismail said, All of our leadership globally is set up to manage an incremental, predictable, status quo, linear worldand were entering Black Swan centraland we need to architect completely new institutions.

The Fastrack Institute, which Ismail co-founded, is a non-profit organization thats helping cities do just that. The Institute takes on a specific problem facing a city, like education or corruption, and analyzes it using a four-layer system.

Were currently at the very edge of an abundant future, and the pace of change isnt going to slow down. As Ismail put it, [civilization] is heading into a trough. I think its about a 20- or 30-year period. We need to get to abundance on the other side by creating new leaders, new projects, and new institutions.

Stock Media provided byAlexander Slutskiy / Pond5

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Civilization Is Breaking DownHere’s What We Need to Do About It – Singularity Hub

Technological Disruptors and not Tech Singularity will force companies to accelerate or die – Next Big Future

Technological disruptors like Elon Musk, Google and Amazon will force industries and companies to accelerate or die. Companies will have to accelerate innovation and move to bolder innovation and attempt to shift to technological leapfrogging and shoot for far more aggressive productivity gains.

Toyota is reacting to the Tesla Electric cars with a plan to leapfrog batteries to solid state batteries in 2022 with triple the energy density of current batteries and lower costs and faster charging times.

Compute power increased by a trillion times over the last fifty years but the adoption of IT was generally manageable for most companies and industries. Bill Gates was more aggressive than his competitors in driving the PC age. Steve Jobs combined technologies and design to produce the smartphone and tablet.

It is the combination of technological capabilities (artificial intelligence, cloud computing, sensors, robotics etc) and aggressive and well capitalized bold business innovators that will force a shift to moonshot innovation as a mainstream part of business.

Amazon will use Whole Foods to go after market share and worry about profit later. They will use a low price halo on key products. Whole Foods will also be par to of Amazons distribution chain and the reward program will be Amazon Prime.

Walmart is teaming up with Google and Google Express to compete.

Amazon has announced plans to have a huge impact on global logistics (shipping, trucking).

Amazon will force competition and adaptation in more areas of retail and logistics.

Elon Musk has the lowest priced space launch services with Spacex. Soon with the Falcon Heavy Spacex will have the largest cargo capacity into space. Mastering reusability and higher launch rate will crush most of the space launch competition. Competitors will need massive national government support in order to get back into the game. This will be similar to the support that received in order to become a competitor to Boeing in the commercial jet business.

The rocket technologies that Elon Musk is leveraging have mostly existed since the 1970s. There is some additional computer capabilities and improved materials as well, but much of the reusability of rockets was already envisioned for the Space Shuttle. The cheap reusability that was envisioned for the Space Shuttle was killed with compromises to bureaucracy and politics.

Elon and Googles plan for a large high speed internet satellite network will bring competition to mobile and cable internet providers around the world. Mobile companies will try to respond with 5G for higher speed but the rate of innovation has been one generation every ten years and cable has made very little improvement over the last 20 years.

For electric cars and batteries and solar, Elon Musk has talked about making factories ten times better every ten years by reinventing the factory every two years.

Chinas competitive capabilities rest more with the innovation in Shenzhens smartphone technology hub and with new economy leaders like Alibaba and Tencent than with overall industry and market size. China has a section of its economy with aggressive technological leadership and innovation.

Singapore is using rapid legislative change (weeks instead of years) and targeted policy like the Smart Nation initiative to be the first to achieve smart driving cars and buses at city scale.

Chinas government supports transforming city scale and larger regions into massive factory zones.

Big bold bets on disruptive innovation at scale will transform industries to a new era of hypercompetition.

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Technological Disruptors and not Tech Singularity will force companies to accelerate or die – Next Big Future

Technological singularity – Wikipedia

The technological singularity (also, simply, the singularity)[1] is the hypothesis that the invention of artificial superintelligence will abruptly trigger runaway technological growth, resulting in unfathomable changes to human civilization.[2] According to this hypothesis, an upgradable intelligent agent (such as a computer running software-based artificial general intelligence) would enter a “runaway reaction” of self-improvement cycles, with each new and more intelligent generation appearing more and more rapidly, causing an intelligence explosion and resulting in a powerful superintelligence that would, qualitatively, far surpass all human intelligence. John von Neumann first uses the term “singularity” (c. 1950s[3]), in the context of technological progress causing accelerating change: “The accelerating progress of technology and changes in the mode of human life, give the appearance of approaching some essential singularity in the history of the race beyond which human affairs, as we know them, could not continue”.[4] Subsequent authors have echoed this viewpoint.[2][5]I. J. Good’s “intelligence explosion” model predicts that a future superintelligence will trigger a singularity.[6] Emeritus professor of computer science at San Diego State University and Science fiction author Vernor Vinge said in his 1993 essay The Coming Technological Singularity that this would signal the end of the human era, as the new superintelligence would continue to upgrade itself and would advance technologically at an incomprehensible rate.[6]

At the 2012 Singularity Summit, Stuart Armstrong did a study of artificial general intelligence (AGI) predictions by experts and found a wide range of predicted dates, with a median value of 2040.[7]

I. J. Good speculated in 1965 that artificial general intelligence might bring about an intelligence explosion. Good’s scenario runs as follows: as computers increase in power, it becomes possible for people to build a machine that is more intelligent than humanity; this superhuman intelligence possesses greater problem-solving and inventive skills than current humans are capable of. This superintelligent machine then designs an even more capable machine, or re-writes its own software to become even more intelligent; this (ever more capable) machine then goes on to design a machine of yet greater capability, and so on. These iterations of recursive self-improvement accelerate, allowing enormous qualitative change before any upper limits imposed by the laws of physics or theoretical computation set in.[8]

John von Neumann, Vernor Vinge and Ray Kurzweil define the concept in terms of the technological creation of superintelligence. They argue that it is difficult or impossible for present-day humans to predict what human beings’ lives would be like in a post-singularity world.[6][9]

Some writers use “the singularity” in a broader way to refer to any radical changes in our society brought about by new technologies such as molecular nanotechnology,[10][11][12] although Vinge and other writers specifically state that without superintelligence, such changes would not qualify as a true singularity.[6] Many writers also tie the singularity to observations of exponential growth in various technologies (with Moore’s Law being the most prominent example), using such observations as a basis for predicting that the singularity is likely to happen sometime within the 21st century.[11][13]

Many prominent technologists and academics dispute the plausibility of a technological singularity, including Paul Allen, Jeff Hawkins, John Holland, Jaron Lanier, and Gordon Moore, whose Moore’s Law is often cited in support of the concept.[14][15][16]

The exponential growth in computing technology suggested by Moore’s Law is commonly cited as a reason to expect a singularity in the relatively near future, and a number of authors have proposed generalizations of Moore’s Law. Computer scientist and futurist Hans Moravec proposed in a 1998 book[17] that the exponential growth curve could be extended back through earlier computing technologies prior to the integrated circuit.

Ray Kurzweil postulates a law of accelerating returns in which the speed of technological change (and more generally, all evolutionary processes[18]) increases exponentially, generalizing Moore’s Law in the same manner as Moravec’s proposal, and also including material technology (especially as applied to nanotechnology), medical technology and others.[19] Between 1986 and 2007, machines’ application-specific capacity to compute information per capita roughly doubled every 14 months; the per capita capacity of the world’s general-purpose computers has doubled every 18 months; the global telecommunication capacity per capita doubled every 34 months; and the world’s storage capacity per capita doubled every 40 months.[20]

Mr. Kurzweil reserves the term “singularity” for a rapid increase in artificial intelligence (as opposed to other technologies), writing for example that “The Singularity will allow us to transcend these limitations of our biological bodies and brains … There will be no distinction, post-Singularity, between human and machine”.[21] He also defines his predicted date of the singularity (2045) in terms of when he expects computer-based intelligences to significantly exceed the sum total of human brainpower, writing that advances in computing before that date “will not represent the Singularity” because they do “not yet correspond to a profound expansion of our intelligence.”[22]

Some singularity proponents argue its inevitability through extrapolation of past trends, especially those pertaining to shortening gaps between improvements to technology. In one of the first uses of the term “singularity” in the context of technological progress, Ulam tells of a conversation with John von Neumann about accelerating change:

One conversation centered on the ever accelerating progress of technology and changes in the mode of human life, which gives the appearance of approaching some essential singularity in the history of the race beyond which human affairs, as we know them, could not continue.[4]

Kurzweil claims that technological progress follows a pattern of exponential growth, following what he calls the “Law of Accelerating Returns”. Whenever technology approaches a barrier, Kurzweil writes, new technologies will surmount it. He predicts paradigm shifts will become increasingly common, leading to “technological change so rapid and profound it represents a rupture in the fabric of human history”.[23] Kurzweil believes that the singularity will occur by approximately 2045.[24] His predictions differ from Vinge’s in that he predicts a gradual ascent to the singularity, rather than Vinge’s rapidly self-improving superhuman intelligence.

Oft-cited dangers include those commonly associated with molecular nanotechnology and genetic engineering. These threats are major issues for both singularity advocates and critics, and were the subject of Bill Joy’s Wired magazine article “Why the future doesn’t need us”.[5][25]

Some critics assert that no computer or machine will ever achieve human intelligence, while others hold that the definition of intelligence is irrelevant if the net result is the same.[26]

Steven Pinker stated in 2008:

(…) There is not the slightest reason to believe in a coming singularity. The fact that you can visualize a future in your imagination is not evidence that it is likely or even possible. Look at domed cities, jet-pack commuting, underwater cities, mile-high buildings, and nuclear-powered automobilesall staples of futuristic fantasies when I was a child that have never arrived. Sheer processing power is not a pixie dust that magically solves all your problems. (…)[14]

University of California, Berkeley, philosophy professor John Searle writes:

[Computers] have, literally [], no intelligence, no motivation, no autonomy, and no agency. We design them to behave as if they had certain sorts of psychology, but there is no psychological reality to the corresponding processes or behavior. [] [T]he machinery has no beliefs, desires, [or] motivations.[27]

Martin Ford in The Lights in the Tunnel: Automation, Accelerating Technology and the Economy of the Future[28] postulates a “technology paradox” in that before the singularity could occur most routine jobs in the economy would be automated, since this would require a level of technology inferior to that of the singularity. This would cause massive unemployment and plummeting consumer demand, which in turn would destroy the incentive to invest in the technologies that would be required to bring about the Singularity. Job displacement is increasingly no longer limited to work traditionally considered to be “routine”.[29]

Jared Diamond, in Collapse: How Societies Choose to Fail or Succeed, argues that cultures self-limit when they exceed the sustainable carrying capacity of their environment, and the consumption of strategic resources (frequently timber, soils or water) creates a deleterious positive feedback loop that leads eventually to social collapse and technological retrogression.[improper synthesis?]

Theodore Modis[30][31] and Jonathan Huebner[32] argue that the rate of technological innovation has not only ceased to rise, but is actually now declining. Evidence for this decline is that the rise in computer clock rates is slowing, even while Moore’s prediction of exponentially increasing circuit density continues to hold. This is due to excessive heat build-up from the chip, which cannot be dissipated quickly enough to prevent the chip from melting when operating at higher speeds. Advancements in speed may be possible in the future by virtue of more power-efficient CPU designs and multi-cell processors.[33] While Kurzweil used Modis’ resources, and Modis’ work was around accelerating change, Modis distanced himself from Kurzweil’s thesis of a “technological singularity”, claiming that it lacks scientific rigor.[31]

Others[who?] propose that other “singularities” can be found through analysis of trends in world population, world gross domestic product, and other indices. Andrey Korotayev and others argue that historical hyperbolic growth curves can be attributed to feedback loops that ceased to affect global trends in the 1970s, and thus hyperbolic growth should not be expected in the future.[34][improper synthesis?]

In a detailed empirical accounting, The Progress of Computing, William Nordhaus argued that, prior to 1940, computers followed the much slower growth of a traditional industrial economy, thus rejecting extrapolations of Moore’s law to 19th-century computers.[35]

In a 2007 paper, Schmidhuber stated that the frequency of subjectively “notable events” appears to be approaching a 21st-century singularity, but cautioned readers to take such plots of subjective events with a grain of salt: perhaps differences in memory of recent and distant events could create an illusion of accelerating change where none exists.[36]

Paul Allen argues the opposite of accelerating returns, the complexity brake;[16] the more progress science makes towards understanding intelligence, the more difficult it becomes to make additional progress. A study of the number of patents shows that human creativity does not show accelerating returns, but in fact, as suggested by Joseph Tainter in his The Collapse of Complex Societies,[37] a law of diminishing returns. The number of patents per thousand peaked in the period from 1850 to 1900, and has been declining since.[32] The growth of complexity eventually becomes self-limiting, and leads to a widespread “general systems collapse”.

Jaron Lanier refutes the idea that the Singularity is inevitable. He states: “I do not think the technology is creating itself. It’s not an autonomous process.”[38] He goes on to assert: “The reason to believe in human agency over technological determinism is that you can then have an economy where people earn their own way and invent their own lives. If you structure a society on not emphasizing individual human agency, it’s the same thing operationally as denying people clout, dignity, and self-determination … to embrace [the idea of the Singularity] would be a celebration of bad data and bad politics.”[38]

Economist Robert J. Gordon, in The Rise and Fall of American Growth: The U.S. Standard of Living Since the Civil War (2016), points out that measured economic growth has slowed around 1970 and slowed even further since the financial crisis of 2008, and argues that the economic data show no trace of a coming Singularity as imagined by mathematician I.J. Good.[39]

In addition to general criticisms of the singularity concept, several critics have raised issues with Kurzweil’s iconic chart. One line of criticism is that a log-log chart of this nature is inherently biased toward a straight-line result. Others identify selection bias in the points that Kurzweil chooses to use. For example, biologist PZ Myers points out that many of the early evolutionary “events” were picked arbitrarily.[40] Kurzweil has rebutted this by charting evolutionary events from 15 neutral sources, and showing that they fit a straight line on a log-log chart. The Economist mocked the concept with a graph extrapolating that the number of blades on a razor, which has increased over the years from one to as many as five, will increase ever-faster to infinity.[41]

The term “technological singularity” reflects the idea that such change may happen suddenly, and that it is difficult to predict how the resulting new world would operate.[42][43] It is unclear whether an intelligence explosion of this kind would be beneficial or harmful, or even an existential threat,[44][45] as the issue has not been dealt with by most artificial general intelligence researchers, although the topic of friendly artificial intelligence is investigated by the Future of Humanity Institute and the Machine Intelligence Research Institute.[42]

While the technological singularity is usually seen as a sudden event, some scholars argue the current speed of change already fits this description. In addition, some argue that we are already in the midst of a major evolutionary transition that merges technology, biology, and society. Digital technology has infiltrated the fabric of human society to a degree of indisputable and often life-sustaining dependence. A 2016 article in Trends in Ecology & Evolution argues that “humans already embrace fusions of biology and technology. We spend most of our waking time communicating through digitally mediated channels… we trust artificial intelligence with our lives through antilock braking in cars and autopilots in planes… With one in three marriages in America beginning online, digital algorithms are also taking a role in human pair bonding and reproduction”. The article argues that from the perspective of the evolution, several previous Major Transitions in Evolution have transformed life through innovations in information storage and replication (RNA, DNA, multicellularity, and culture and language). In the current stage of life’s evolution, the carbon-based biosphere has generated a cognitive system (humans) capable of creating technology that will result in a comparable evolutionary transition. The digital information created by humans has reached a similar magnitude to biological information in the biosphere. Since the 1980s, “the quantity of digital information stored has doubled about every 2.5 years, reaching about 5 zettabytes in 2014 (5×10^21 bytes). In biological terms, there are 7.2 billion humans on the planet, each having a genome of 6.2 billion nucleotides. Since one byte can encode four nucleotide pairs, the individual genomes of every human on the planet could be encoded by approximately 1×10^19 bytes. The digital realm stored 500 times more information than this in 2014 (…see Figure)… The total amount of DNA contained in all of the cells on Earth is estimated to be about 5.3×10^37 base pairs, equivalent to 1.325×10^37 bytes of information. If growth in digital storage continues at its current rate of 3038% compound annual growth per year,[20] it will rival the total information content contained in all of the DNA in all of the cells on Earth in about 110 years. This would represent a doubling of the amount of information stored in the biosphere across a total time period of just 150 years”.[46]

In February 2009, under the auspices of the Association for the Advancement of Artificial Intelligence (AAAI), Eric Horvitz chaired a meeting of leading computer scientists, artificial intelligence researchers and roboticists at Asilomar in Pacific Grove, California. The goal was to discuss the potential impact of the hypothetical possibility that robots could become self-sufficient and able to make their own decisions. They discussed the extent to which computers and robots might be able to acquire autonomy, and to what degree they could use such abilities to pose threats or hazards.[47]

Some machines are programmed with various forms of semi-autonomy, including the ability to locate their own power sources and choose targets to attack with weapons. Also, some computer viruses can evade elimination and, according to scientists in attendance, could therefore be said to have reached a “cockroach” stage of machine intelligence. The conference attendees noted that self-awareness as depicted in science-fiction is probably unlikely, but that other potential hazards and pitfalls exist.[47]

Some experts and academics have questioned the use of robots for military combat, especially when such robots are given some degree of autonomous functions.[48][improper synthesis?]

In his 2005 book, The Singularity is Near, Kurzweil suggests that medical advances would allow people to protect their bodies from the effects of aging, making the life expectancy limitless. Kurzweil argues that the technological advances in medicine would allow us to continuously repair and replace defective components in our bodies, prolonging life to an undetermined age.[49] Kurzweil further buttresses his argument by discussing current bio-engineering advances. Kurzweil suggests somatic gene therapy; after synthetic viruses with specific genetic information, the next step would be to apply this technology to gene therapy, replacing human DNA with synthesized genes.[50]

Beyond merely extending the operational life of the physical body, Jaron Lanier argues for a form of immortality called “Digital Ascension” that involves “people dying in the flesh and being uploaded into a computer and remaining conscious”.[51]Singularitarianism has also been likened to a religion by John Horgan.[52]

In his obituary for John von Neumann, Ulam recalled a conversation with von Neumann about the “ever accelerating progress of technology and changes in the mode of human life, which gives the appearance of approaching some essential singularity in the history of the race beyond which human affairs, as we know them, could not continue.”[4]

In 1965, Good wrote his essay postulating an “intelligence explosion” of recursive self-improvement of a machine intelligence. In 1985, in “The Time Scale of Artificial Intelligence”, artificial intelligence researcher Ray Solomonoff articulated mathematically the related notion of what he called an “infinity point”: if a research community of human-level self-improving AIs take four years to double their own speed, then two years, then one year and so on, their capabilities increase infinitely in finite time.[5][53]

In 1983, Vinge greatly popularized Good’s intelligence explosion in a number of writings, first addressing the topic in print in the January 1983 issue of Omni magazine. In this op-ed piece, Vinge seems to have been the first to use the term “singularity” in a way that was specifically tied to the creation of intelligent machines:[54][55] writing

We will soon create intelligences greater than our own. When this happens, human history will have reached a kind of singularity, an intellectual transition as impenetrable as the knotted space-time at the center of a black hole, and the world will pass far beyond our understanding. This singularity, I believe, already haunts a number of science-fiction writers. It makes realistic extrapolation to an interstellar future impossible. To write a story set more than a century hence, one needs a nuclear war in between … so that the world remains intelligible.

Vinge’s 1993 article “The Coming Technological Singularity: How to Survive in the Post-Human Era”,[6] spread widely on the internet and helped to popularize the idea.[56] This article contains the statement, “Within thirty years, we will have the technological means to create superhuman intelligence. Shortly after, the human era will be ended.” Vinge argues that science-fiction authors cannot write realistic post-singularity characters who surpass the human intellect, as the thoughts of such an intellect would be beyond the ability of humans to express.[6]

In 2000, Bill Joy, a prominent technologist and a co-founder of Sun Microsystems, voiced concern over the potential dangers of the singularity.[25]

In 2005, Kurzweil published The Singularity is Near. Kurzweil’s publicity campaign included an appearance on The Daily Show with Jon Stewart.[57]

In 2007, Eliezer Yudkowsky suggested that many of the varied definitions that have been assigned to “singularity” are mutually incompatible rather than mutually supporting.[11][58] For example, Kurzweil extrapolates current technological trajectories past the arrival of self-improving AI or superhuman intelligence, which Yudkowsky argues represents a tension with both I. J. Good’s proposed discontinuous upswing in intelligence and Vinge’s thesis on unpredictability.[11]

In 2009, Kurzweil and X-Prize founder Peter Diamandis announced the establishment of Singularity University, a nonaccredited private institute whose stated mission is “to educate, inspire and empower leaders to apply exponential technologies to address humanity’s grand challenges.”[59] Funded by Google, Autodesk, ePlanet Ventures, and a group of technology industry leaders, Singularity University is based at NASA’s Ames Research Center in Mountain View, California. The not-for-profit organization runs an annual ten-week graduate program during the northern-hemisphere summer that covers ten different technology and allied tracks, and a series of executive programs throughout the year.

In 2007, the joint Economic Committee of the United States Congress released a report about the future of nanotechnology. It predicts significant technological and political changes in the mid-term future, including possible technological singularity.[60][61][62]

Former President of the United States Barack Obama spoke about singularity in his interview to Wired in 2016:[63]

One thing that we havent talked about too much, and I just want to go back to, is we really have to think through the economic implications. Because most people arent spending a lot of time right now worrying about singularitythey are worrying about Well, is my job going to be replaced by a machine?

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Singularity – definition of singularity by The Free Dictionary

Nor was she entitled to complain of any remarkable singularity in her fate; for, in the town of her nativity, we might point to several little shops of a similar description, some of them in houses as ancient as that of the Seven Gables; and one or two, it may be, where a decayed gentlewoman stands behind the counter, as grim an image of family pride as Miss Hepzibah Pyncheon herself. The singularity lay in the hostile feelings with which the child regarded all these offsprings of her own heart and mind. I know not how significant it is, or how far it is an evidence of singularity, that an individual should thus consent in his pettiest walk with the general movement of the race; but I know that something akin to the migratory instinct in birds and quadrupeds–which, in some instances, is known to have affected the squirrel tribe, impelling them to a general and mysterious movement, in which they were seen, say some, crossing the broadest rivers, each on its particular chip, with its tail raised for a sail, and bridging narrower streams with their dead–that something like the furor which affects the domestic cattle in the spring, and which is referred to a worm in their tails,–affects both nations and individuals, either perennially or from time to time. But the last singularity explains the first, as I intimated once before: you, with your gravity, considerateness, and caution were made to be the recipient of secrets. My attention was so attracted by the singularity of his fixed look at me, that the words died away on my tongue. Some were wrapped in the countess’s shawls, others wore the trappings of horses and muddy saddlecloths, or masses of rags from which the hoar-frost hung; some had a boot on one leg and a shoe on the other; in fact, there were none whose costume did not present some laughable singularity. We could not complain, and, indeed, the singularity of our fate reserved such wonderful compensation for us that we had no right to accuse it as yet. Even had it been under commonplace circumstances, it would have made me a trifle thoughtful; but in the first place was the singularity of an educated man living on this unknown little island, and coupled with that the extraordinary nature of his luggage. Do you know, my dear Villefort,” cried the Comte de Salvieux, “that is exactly what I myself said the other day at the Tuileries, when questioned by his majesty’s principal chamberlain touching the singularity of an alliance between the son of a Girondin and the daughter of an officer of the Duc de Conde; and I assure you he seemed fully to comprehend that this mode of reconciling political differences was based upon sound and excellent principles. The bride and most of her company had been too much occupied with the bustle of entrance to hear the first boding stroke of the bell, or at least to reflect on the singularity of such a welcome to the altar. What the disguise of her lover would be, Julia could not imagine–probably, that of a wandering harper: but then she remembered that there were no harpers in America, and the very singularity might betray his secret. The singularity of his conduct, however, only roused my desire to discover who this remarkable personage might be, who now engrossed the attention of every one.

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Civilization Is Breaking DownHere’s What We Need to Do About It – Singularity Hub

I think civilization is fundamentally breaking down today. These were the opening words of Salim Ismails talk at Singularity Universitys Global Summit in San Francisco this week.

Not the most uplifting intro. But the good news is, Ismail had some pretty unique insight to share about the nature of the problems society is facing, and plenty of thoughts on how to fix them too.

Ismail is the best-selling author of Exponential Organizationsand a sought-after strategist and tech entrepreneur who built and sold his company to Google. He was founding executive director at Singularity University and has been the companys global ambassador for the last seven years.

While technology has helped civilization, according to Ismail, its also partly to blame for widespread discontent thats manifesting in the form of armed conflicts, terrorism, extremism, and nationalism.

Never before have we had a dozen technologies all accelerating in their own right, he said. Each one is doubling at a rate of anywhere between 18 to 30 months. But where they intersect, that adds a whole other multiplier to the equation.

A lot of the technological changes going on may seem like theyre confined to specific places, people, or groups. But the truth is theyre affecting us all.

Anyone with an internet connection has an unprecedented amount of information at their fingertips. Computers are not just learning to do tasks only humans used to do, theyre doing those tasks much better than us. Huge sums of wealth are concentrated in the hands of a few (thankfully, often philanthropic) entrepreneurs. Physical goods that used to cost hundreds or thousands of dollarshave demonetized to the point that theyre practically free.

And its not just physical goods whose cost is dropping. Renewable energy, DNA sequencing, and services like rides and accommodations have seen plummeting cost curves too.

In technology after technology, the cost is crashing to near zero, which means anybody has access to these technologies, Ismail said. And this is causinghuge opportunity but also massive stress, and our existing leadership has a really tough time dealing with this.

The shifting power dynamics brought about by demonetization have left governments bewildered and apprehensive, and often at a loss for how to adjust their policies to the changing times.

We invented representative democracies when information was scarce, Ismail pointed out. But today, we have an abundance of information, and every major democracy in the world is broken.

The same goes for capitalism. Theres a massive deflationary dynamic because the money leaves the system as you move from scarcity to abundance, Ismail said.

The distribution of all that wealth, though, is far from equal. Though abundance is growing, scarcity is still very realand people are reacting.

If you look at the rise of fundamentalism around the world, this is civilization saying Im freaking out, I cant take this pace of change, lets go back to an older time, Ismail said.

Even the institutions that were set up to deal with these kinds of conflicts have become somewhat irrelevant. The UN Security Council, for example, was set up to navigate conflicts between countriesbut many modern armed conflicts are civil wars. Updating institutions that have been around for decades if not centuries is a project of dizzying scale and complexity.

There is no update mechanism in many of these structures, so we have to totally re-architect them, Ismail said. Were pepper-spraying our civics and our politics, literally shredding our own future here, and the stress around the world is quite profound.

Ismail then took the conversation in an unexpected direction, saying the best way hes found to frame why this is happening is that we have two fundamental polarities in our archetypes as a civilizationmale and female.

The male archetype is competitive, risk-taking, wants to take command and control. By the way, Im really carefully saying archetype, not gender, he clarified. The female archetype is participatory, nurturing, cooperative, and network-linked. And weve ratcheted between these two polarities throughout civilization to upgrade ourselves.

Both men and women can have traits belonging to the male or female archetypes, of course. The archetypes are an overarching symbolic understanding ingrained in our psychology.

The world, he explained, used to be run on feudal systems, which had a top-down command and control structure. Then we moved to democratic systems so that power would be distributed more evenly.

Despite the fact that many societies today are based on this democratic ideology, large swaths of those societies run on a set of top-down male archetypal structures. Ismail noted traditional corporations as a prime example: theyre pyramidic structures usually with a man at the top. Judeo-Christian religions are built around male archetypal qualities, as is the military-industrial complex.

Whats happening now, though, is the rise of the female archetype. Examples Ismail gave that embody the female archetype are open-sourcing, the maker movement, and hugely popular festivals like Burning Man.

The stress were seeing in the world is that transition from the male-centric archetype to the female-centric archetype, he said.

This looks different not only because of the fundamental qualities each archetype embodies, but their particular stress-response and control mechanisms as well.

When the male archetype is under stress, it enters the fight or flight response, while the female archetype responds by tending and befriending.

The male archetype is really good at managing scarcity, command and control, search and destroy, go, grab, bring it back, designed for that world that weve been in for thousands and thousands of years around scarcity, Ismail said.

The female archetype, though, is better at dealing with abundance; when the male archetype deals with abundance, it relates to it as power and tries to hoard it. The female archetype meets abundance and shares it around.

As we move towards abundance, Ismail believes we need to move towards a social structure that embodies the female rather than the male archetype.

While somewhat abstract and, frankly, surprising, in theory this all sounds reasonable enough. But how do you actually move a civilization from one archetype to another?

For starters, Ismail said, We need to architect our organizations and institutions for flexibility and adaptability. Existing incentive models in business focus heavily on short-term indicators like quarterly earnings and are not set up for long-term changes. But the most successful companies have turned these models on their heads, with leaders like Jeff Bezos, Mark Zuckerberg, and Larry Page refusing to steer their companies in the status-quo direction.

Similarly, Ismail said, All of our leadership globally is set up to manage an incremental, predictable, status quo, linear worldand were entering Black Swan centraland we need to architect completely new institutions.

The Fastrack Institute, which Ismail co-founded, is a non-profit organization thats helping cities do just that. The Institute takes on a specific problem facing a city, like education or corruption, and analyzes it using a four-layer system.

Were currently at the very edge of an abundant future, and the pace of change isnt going to slow down. As Ismail put it, [civilization] is heading into a trough. I think its about a 20- or 30-year period. We need to get to abundance on the other side by creating new leaders, new projects, and new institutions.

Image Credit: Stock Media provided byAlexander Slutskiy / Pond5

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Civilization Is Breaking DownHere’s What We Need to Do About It – Singularity Hub

Which of These Emerging Technologies Will Be the Next Big Thing? – Singularity Hub

We tend to think of tech visionaries as inventors with a brilliant idea that no one understands. Because the world isnt quite ready, they have to pitch their invention to anyone wholl listen.

Their ideas are either crazy or geniusno ones sure because theyre so novel.

Theres another kind of tech visionary. This person has to sort the genius from the crazy, and then quite literally put their money where their mouth is. These people are investors. And no great invention or idea gets to the next level without the support to go bigger.

At Singularity Universitys Global Summit this week, Sequoia Capitals Roelof Botha sat down with Peter Diamandis for a conversation about the venture capital view of technology. Botha is a partner at Sequoia and was previously CFO of PayPal. Over the decades, Sequoia has helped launch the likes of Apple, Google, Oracle, PayPal, YouTube, Instagram, and WhatsApp.

Botha said theyve been in early on and followed the biggest trends in tech over the decades. In the 1980s, it was semiconductors. In the 1990s, the internet hit its stride with companies like Google and Yahoo. Since then, of course, mobile has been a big theme. So, whats next?

Id say right now were at a very interesting time because its not obvious what the next platform is, Botha said. The phrase weve come up with is interregnum.

Interregnum is the time a throne is vacant in between reigns, he explained. The formidable five of Microsoft, Amazon, Apple, Google, and Facebook are dominant and hoovering up resources. So, Sequoia is looking for pockets of opportunity that unfairly favor the startup.

Space is an interesting one[and] there are some interesting things around genomics, epigenetics, CRISPR and gene editing, cryptocurrencies, augmented reality, and virtual reality, Botha said. There are a bunch of emerging areas, and were exploring all of those. Even quantum computing these days looks like it might finally be something to our life.

Interest and even investment in a particular area or technology is no guarantee theyll succeed. He said typically only three or four companies drive the returns of a fund with 35 or 40 companies in it. Making sure you find those three or four companies is both art and science.

Well, the key question we always ask is why now? If a company cant answer that question, theres usually a reason not to invest. But sometimes something hasnt worked for 20 years for a reason, and now truly is the time where it does make sense.

Forecasting the cycles of hope and hype in technology is still incredibly difficult, and no one gets it just right. Some exciting technologies seem to be just around the corner, only to die out or hit unexpected roadblocks and get kicked ever further down the road.

Still, we live in a pretty amazing time in history, and over the decades, some emerging technologies will rise up and affect our lives profoundly. What is Botha most excited about in the next few years? What strikes his heart as Diamandis put it?

Id love to see us innovate in augmented reality, Botha said.

Im sure most of the audience has seen the movie Her. This idea of having an invisible user interface, which is voice-based, and having a different way of interacting with technology. If you look at people at lunch breaks, its kind of strange that weve evolved where were all sitting there hunched over these very small screens, all developing neck strains. Its hard for me to imagine thats the end state.

Image Credit:Stock Media provided by Pumidol Leelerdsakulvong / Pond5

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Why Empowering Women Is the Best Way to Solve Climate Change – Singularity Hub

In April of this year, the Mauna Loa Observatory in Hawaii recorded its first-ever carbon dioxide reading over 410 parts per million (ppm). This is a brand-new state of affairs, as humans have never existed on Earth with CO2 levels over 300 ppm. If carbon emissions continue their current trend, our atmosphere could get to a point it hasnt been at in 50 million yearswhen temperatures were 18F (10C) higher and there was almost no ice on the planet (meaning there was a lot more water and a lot less land).

Theres long been a consensus between multiple countries to try to limit the temperature change from global warming to two degrees Celsius. This is critical for many reasons, not least the effect hotter temperatures will have (and have already had) on food production.

But author and activist Paul Hawken says two degrees isnt enoughnot nearly enough, in fact. In a moving presentation at Singularity Universitys Global Summit last week in San Francisco, Hawken shared details from his recently-released book Drawdown: The Most Comprehensive Plan Ever Proposed to Reverse Global Warming.

The term drawdown refers to the point in time when the concentration of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere begins to decline on a year-to-year basis. To figure out how to reach that point, Project Drawdown brought together researchers in various fields from around the world to identify, measure, and model the 100 most substantive solutions to global warming. The book describes each solutions history, its carbon impact, its relative cost and savings, the path to adoption, and how it works.

We found that the mantra for global warming is all about energy, energy, energy, Hawken said. Those are critical solutions, dont get me wrong, but somehow we have this idea that if we get energy right then we get a hall pass to the 22nd centuryand nothing could be further from the truth.

Below are the top solutions from Drawdowns model. Its likely at least one will surprise you.

Hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) largely replaced ozone-damaging chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) in refrigeration systems after the 1987 Montreal Protocol. While HFCs are better for the ozone, though, theyre a lot worse for the atmosphere, with 1,000 to 9,000 times the capacity to warm the atmosphere than carbon dioxide.

Countries are now aiming to phase out HFCs, too, starting with high-income countries in 2019. Natural refrigerant substitutes like propane and ammonium are already on the market.

Drawdown found that over thirty years, containing 87 percent of refrigerants likely to be released could avoid emissions equal to 89.7 gigatons of CO2with a projected net price tag of $903 billion by 2050

Wind turbines currently supply around 4 percent of global energy, and could account for up to 30 percent by 2040. In some areas, wind energy is already cheaper than energy from coal, and costs will continue to drop as the technology improves.

Drawdown research found that increasing onshore wind to 21.6 percent of global energy supply by 2050 could reduce emissions by 84.6 gigatons of CO2. The estimated cost is a hefty $1.23 trillion, but it would pay for itself several times over, as wind turbines could produce net savings of $7.4 trillion over three decades of operation.

Since winds not always blowing in most parts of the world, growing wind infrastructure needs to be accompanied by investment in storage and transmission infrastructure too.

One third of all the food thats grown or prepared gets thrown away. In a world where hunger is still a very real problem for millions of people, this is nothing short of absurd. And not only does the food itself get wasted, so do all the components that went into producing it, like water, energy, and human labor. Food production also generates greenhouse gases, and organic trash produces methane. Add up all these components, and food waste accounts for about eight percent of global emissions.

In poorer countries food waste tends to happen earlier in the supply chain, as when produce rots on farms or spoils during storage or distribution. This can be remedied by improving infrastructure for storage, processing, and transportation.

In wealthier nations, retailers and consumers reject food based on cosmetic imperfections, or throw it out when its expiration date passes. National policies against food waste like those enacted in France last year are needed to encourage change, as is a loosening of cosmetic standards for produce by both end consumers and retail chains.

After taking into account the adoption of plant-rich diets, Drawdown found that if 50 percent of food waste is reduced by 2050, avoided emissions could be equal to 26.2 gigatons of CO2. Reducing waste also avoids the deforestation for additional farmland, preventing 44.4 gigatons of additional emissions.

If cattle were their own nation, they would be the worlds third-largest emitter of greenhouse gases. As of 2014, the UNs Food and Agriculture Organization found that 14.5 percent of all emissions stemming from human activity come from livestock.

Thats just one good reason to eat more plants. A plant-based diet is also healthier and in many cases more affordable than meat (especially if you consider the impact of government subsidies, such as those benefiting the US livestock industry).

Altering our diet is easier said than done, as peoples food choices are highly personal as well as culturalbut making plant-based options widely available and educating populations about plants health benefits are a good starting point.

Drawdown found that if 50 percent of the worlds population restricted their diet to a healthy 2,500 calories per day and reduced meat consumption overall, at least 26.7 gigatons of emissions could be avoided, plus another 39.3 gigatons from avoided deforestation from land use change.

Tropical forests once covered 12 percent of the worlds land, but now cover just five percent. Much of the clearing has been to make way for agriculture (either crops or livestock). These forests continue to be cleared in some parts of the world, but in others, theyre being restored.

As a forest ecosystem recovers, trees, soil, leaf litter, and other vegetation absorb and hold carbon, Drawdowns tropical forests page says. As flora and fauna return and interactions between organisms and species revive, the forest regains its multidimensional roles: supporting the water cycle, conserving soil, protecting habitat and pollinators, providing food, medicine, and fiber, and giving people places to live, adventure, and worship.

Forests can be restored by releasing land from non-forest use and letting nature do its thing. People can also cultivate and plant native seedlings and remove invasive species to accelerate the process.

Drawdowns model assumes restoration could occur on 435 million acres of degraded tropical land. Through natural regrowth, committed land could sequester 1.4 tons of CO2 per acre annually, for a total of 61.2 gigatons of carbon dioxide by 2050.

Women with more education have fewer children, and the children they do have are healthier. Maternal and infant mortality rates are lower for educated women. Girls who stay in school longer are less likely to marry as children or against their will, they have lower rates of HIV/AIDS and malaria, and their agricultural plots are more productive and their families better nourished.

Drawdown found that economic, cultural, and safety-related barriers prevent 62 million girls around the world from realizing their right to education, and lists these strategies as being key to change:

The UN Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization estimates universal education in low- and lower-middle-income countries could be achieved by closing an annual financing gap of $39 billion. This could result in an emissions reduction of 59.6 gigatons by 2050.

Drawdowns family planning page states 225 million women in lower-income countries say they want the ability to choose whether and when to become pregnant but lack the necessary access to contraception. The need persists in some high-income countries as well, including the United States, where 45 percent of pregnancies are unintended.

The UNs medium variant global population projectionof 9.7 billion people by 2050 assumes a decline in fertility levels in countries where large families are still common. To achieve this figure (as opposed to the high variant), improving womens access to reproductive health services and family planning is essential, above all in less-developed countries.

Drawdown modeled the impact of family planning based on the difference in how much energy, building space, food, waste, and transportation would be used in a world with little to no investment in family planning compared to one in which the 9.7 billion projection is realized. The resulting emissions reductions could be 119.2 gigatons of CO2. Half this total was allocated to educating girls.

Family planning and educating girls are closely linked in that the former is highly affected by the latterand theyre both key to managing global population growth. Drawdown realized the exact dynamic between these two solutions is impossible to determine, and thus allocated 50 percent of the total potential impact59.6 gigatonsto each. Their models assume these impacts result from thirteen years of schooling, including primary through secondary education.

The total atmospheric CO2 reduction of 119.2 gigatons that could result from empowering and educating women and girls makes this the number one solution to reversing global warming.

A girl who is allowed to be in school and come to be a woman on her termsmakes very different reproductive choices, Hawken said. And when we modeled this we modeled family planning clinics everywhere. Not just in Africa, but in Arkansas. Women everywhere should be supported in their reproductive health and well-being for their families.

Hawken concluded his talk with a perspective on climate change I had never heard before, and most of the audience likely hadnt either.

Global warming isnt happening to us. Its happening for us. Its a gift. Every system without feedback dies. This is feedback. Its an offering to re-imagine who we are and what we can create with our minds, our hearts, and our brilliance.

His presentation received a standing ovation.

Image Credit:Stock Media provided by nito/ Pond5

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This Chip Uses Electricity to Reprogram Cells for Healing – Singularity Hub

It sounds like science fiction: with a light zap of electricity, a tiny stamp-like device transforms your skin cells into reservoirs of blood vessels or brain cells, ready to heal you from within.

Recently, a team of medical mavericks at the Ohio State University introduced a device that does just that. The technology, dubbed tissue nanotransfection (TNT), is set to blow up the field of organ regeneration.

When zapped with a light electrical jolt, the device shoots extra bits of DNA code from its nanotube arrays directly into tiny pores in the skin. There, the DNA triggers the cells to shed their identity and reprograms them into other cell types that can be harvested to repair damaged organs.

Remarkably, the effect spreads with time. The rebooted cells release tiny membrane bubbles onto their neighboring skin cells, coaxing them to undergo transformation. Like zombies, but for good.

So far, the device has already been used to generate neurons to protect the brains of mice with experimental stroke. The team also successfully healed the legs of injured mice by turning the skin cells on their hind limbs into a forest of blood vessels.

While still a ways from human use, scientists believe future iterations of the technology could perform a myriad of medical wonders: repairing damaged organs, relieving brain degeneration, or even restoring aged tissue back to a youthful state.

By using our novel nanochip technology, injured or compromised organs can be replaced. We have shown that skin is a fertile land where we can grow the elements of any organ that is declining, says lead author Dr. Chandan Sen, who published the result in Nature Nanotechnology.

In my lab, we have ongoing research trying to understand the mechanism and do even better, adds Dr. L. James Lee, who co-led the study with Sen. So, this is the beginning, more to come.

The Ohio teams research builds on an age-old idea in regenerative medicine: that even aged bodies have the ability to produce and integrate healthy, youthful cellsgiven the right set of cues.

While some controversy remains on whether replacement cells survive in an injured body, scientistsand some rather dubious clinicsare readily exploring the potential of cell-based therapies.

All cells harbor the same set of DNA; whether they turn into heart cells, neurons, or back into stem cells depend on which genes are activated. The gatekeeper of gene expression is a set of specialized proteins. Scientists can stick the DNA code for these proteins into cells, where they hijack its DNA machinery with orders to produce the protein switchesand the cell transforms into another cell type.

The actual process works like this: scientists harvest mature cells from patients, reprogram them into stem cells inside a Petri dish, inject those cells back into the patients and wait for them to develop into the needed cell types.

Its a cumbersome process packed with landmines. Researchers often use viruses to deliver the genetic payload into cells. In some animal studies, this has led to unwanted mutations and cancer. Its also unclear whether the reprogrammed stem cells survive inside the patients. Whether they actually turn into healthy tissue is even more up for debate.

The Ohio teams device tackles many of these problems head on.

Eschewing the need for viruses, the team manufactured a stamp-sized device out of silicon that serves as a reservoir and injector for DNA. Microetched onto each device are arrays of nanochannels that connect to microscopic dents. Scientists can load DNA material into these tiny holding spots, where they sit stably until a ten-millisecond zap shoots them into the recipients tissue.

We based TNT on a bulk transfection, which is often used in the lab to deliver genes into cells, the authors explain. Like its bulk counterpart, the electrical zap opens up tiny, transient pores on the cell membrane, which allows the DNA instructions to get it.

The problem with bulk transfection is that not all genes get into each cell. Some cells may get more than they bargained for and take up more than one copy, which increases the chance of random mutations.

We found that TNT is extremely focused, with each cell receiving ample DNA, the authors say.

The device also skips an intermediary step in cell conversion: rather than turning cells back into stem cells, the team pushed mouse skin cells directly into other mature cell types using different sets of previously-discovered protein factors.

In one early experiment, the team successfully generated neurons from skin cells that seem indistinguishable from their natural counterparts: they shot off electrical pulses and had similar gene expression profiles.

Surprisingly, the team found that even non-zapped cells in the skins deeper layers transformed. Further testing found that the newly reprogrammed neurons released tiny fatty bubbles that contained the molecular instructions for transformation.

When the team harvested these bubbles and injected them into mice subjected to experimental stroke, the bubbles triggered the brain to generate new neurons and repair itself.

We dont know if the bubbles are somehow transforming other brain cell types into neurons, but they do seem to be loaded with molecules that protect the brain, the researchers say.

In an ultimate test of the devices healing potential, the researchers placed it onto the injured hind leg of a handful of mice. Three days prior, their leg arteries had been experimentally severed, whichwhen left untreatedleads to tissue decay.

The team loaded the device with factors that convert skin cells into blood vessel cells. Within a week of conversion, the team watched as new blood vessels sprouted and grew beyond the local treatment area. In the end, TNT-zapped mice had fewer signs of tissue injury and higher leg muscle metabolism compared to non-treated controls.

This is difficult to imagine, but it is achievable, successfully working about 98 percent of the time, says Sen.

A major draw of the device is that its one-touch-and-go.

There are no expensive cell isolation procedures and no finicky lab manipulations. The conversion happens right on the skin, essentially transforming patients bodies into their own prolific bioreactors.

This process only takes less than a second and is non-invasive, and then youre off. The chip does not stay with you, and the reprogramming of the cell starts,says Sen.

Because the converted cells come directly from the patient, theyre in an immune-privileged position, which reduces the chance of rejection.

This means that in the future, if the technology is used to manufacture organs immune suppression is not necessary, says Sen.

While the team plans to test the device in humans as early as next year, Sen acknowledges that theyll likely run into problems.

For one, because the device needs to be in direct contact with tissue, the skin is the only easily-accessible body part to do these conversions. Repairing deeper tissue would require surgery to insert the device into wounded areas. And to many, growing other organ cell types is a pretty creepy thought, especially because the transformation isnt completely localnon-targeted cells are also reprogrammed.

That could be because the body is trying to heal itself, the authors hypothesize. Using the chip on healthy legs didnt sprout new blood vessels, suggesting that the widespread conversion is because of injury, though (for now) there isnt much evidence supporting the idea.

For another, scientists are still working out the specialized factors required to directly convert between cell types. So far, theyve only had limited success.

But Sen and his team are optimistic.

When these things come out for the first time, its basically crossing the chasm from impossible to possible, he says. We have established feasibility.

Image Credit: Researchers demonstrate tissue nanotransfection,courtesy of The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center.

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This Chip Uses Electricity to Reprogram Cells for Healing – Singularity Hub

12 Companies That Are Making the World a Better Place – Singularity Hub

The Singularity University Global Summit in San Francisco this week brought brilliant minds together from all over the world to share a passion for using science and technology to solve the worlds most pressing challenges.

Solving these challenges means ensuring basic needs are met for all people. It means improving quality of life and mitigating future risks both to people and the planet.

To recognize organizations doing outstanding work in these fields, SU holds the Global Grand Challenge Awards. Three participating organizations are selected in each of 12 different tracks and featured at the summits EXPO. The ones found to have the most potential to positively impact one billion people are selected as the track winners.

Heres a list of the companies recognized this year, along with some details about the great work theyre doing.

LuminAID makes portable lanterns that can provide 24 hours of light on 10 hours of solar charging. The lanterns came from a project to assist post-earthquake relief efforts in Haiti, when the products creators considered the dangerous conditions at night in the tent cities and realized light was a critical need. The lights have been used in more than 100 countries and after disasters, including Hurricane Sandy, Typhoon Haiyan, and the earthquakes in Nepal.

BreezoMeter uses big data and machine learning to deliver accurate air quality information in real time. Users can see pollution details as localized as a single city block, and data is impacted by real-time traffic. Forecasting is also available, with air pollution information available up to four days ahead of time, or several years in the past.

Aspire Food Group believes insects are the protein of the future, and that technology has the power to bring the tradition of eating insects that exists in many countries and cultures to the rest of the world. The company uses technologies like robotics and automated data collection to farm insects that have the protein quality of meat and the environmental footprint of plants.

Rafiki Power acts as a rural utility company, building decentralized energy solutions in regions that lack basic services like running water and electricity. The companys renewable hybrid systems are packed and standardized in recycled 20-foot shipping containers, and theyre currently powering over 700 household and business clients in rural Tanzania.

MakeSense is an international community that brings together people in 128 cities across the world to help social entrepreneurs solve challenges in areas like education, health, food, and environment. Social entrepreneurs post their projects and submit challenges to the community, then participants organize workshops to mobilize and generate innovative solutions to help the projects grow.

Unima developed a fast and low-cost diagnostic and disease surveillance tool for infectious diseases. The tool allows health professionals to diagnose diseases at the point of care, in less than 15 minutes, without the use of any lab equipment. A drop of the patients blood is put on a diagnostic paper, where the antibody generates a visual reaction when in contact with the biomarkers in the sample. The result is evaluated by taking a photo with an app in a smartphone, which uses image processing, artificial intelligence and machine learning.

Egalite helps people with disabilities enter the labor market, and helps companies develop best practices for inclusion of the disabled. Egalites founders are passionate about the potential of people with disabilities and the return companies get when they invest in that potential.

Iris.AI is an artificial intelligence system that reads scientific paper abstracts and extracts key concepts for users, presenting concepts visually and allowing users to navigate a topic across disciplines. Since its launch, Iris.AI has read 30 million research paper abstracts and more than 2,000 TED talks. The AI uses a neural net and deep learning technology to continuously improve its output.

Hala Systems, Inc. is a social enterprise focused on developing technology-driven solutions to the worlds toughest humanitarian challenges. Hala is currently focused on civilian protection, accountability, and the prevention of violent extremism before, during, and after conflict. Ultimately, Hala aims to transform the nature of civilian defense during warfare, as well as to reduce casualties and trauma during post-conflict recovery, natural disasters, and other major crises.

Billion Bricks designs and provides shelter and infrastructure solutions for the homeless. The companys housing solutions are scalable, sustainable, and able to create opportunities for communities to emerge from poverty. Their approach empowers communities to replicate the solutions on their own, reducing dependency on support and creating ownership and pride.

Tellus Labs uses satellite data to tackle challenges like food security, water scarcity, and sustainable urban and industrial systems, and drive meaningful change. The company built a planetary-scale model of all 170 million acres of US corn and soy crops to more accurately forecast yields and help stabilize the market fluctuations that accompany the USDAs monthly forecasts.

Loowatt designed a toilet that uses a patented sealing technology to contain human waste within biodegradable film. The toilet is designed for linking to anaerobic digestion technology to provide a source of biogas for cooking, electricity, and other applications, creating the opportunity to offset capital costs with energy production.

Image Credit: LuminAID via YouTube

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Why It’s Taking Less and Less to Manufacture More of the Things We Want – Singularity Hub

Manufacturing productivity has been on a tear. Its nearly doubled versus construction productivity over the last couple decades.

Ever wonder why? I do. And at the heart of the answer is the increasing use of programmable logic controllers. These specialized computers analyze data, act on programmed, complex functions, report on a facilitys performance and hiccups, and generally supervise the operation. Simply, they orchestrate key parts of the industrial process.

Like all things computerized, these tools are getting better at a very rapid pace.

This recent Gatorade promo video drove the point home for meit shows how incredibly accurate and reliable modern control systems have become.

The perfectly timed, rapid precision controls making this video possible also enable HPs new 3D printer to deposit 350 million fusing agent droplets per second with 30,000 nozzles. And they allow CNC machines to remove material from an object while moving along seven axes.

What makes this even more exciting? It shows just one element delivering performance that only 10 years ago was unthinkable. Now imagine what happens when we pair it with others.

A wide range of factors contribute to the improving performance and declining cost of these tools. Microprocessors, digital storage, memory, input-output, softwaretheyve all followed an exponential curve and helped supercharge manufacturing to deliver what we see today.

Take sensors, for example.

From 2004 to 2013, image sensors have had a 5x decrease in the space between pixels (pixel pitch) and a 10x increase in image resolution. This improvementwhich is already compounding the effects of programmable logic controllers by providing pick-and-place robots with the eyes they need to make rapid selectionsis further boosted by advances in other areas. Without a greater range of bright and dark areas in images (HDR) and many more frames per second (time resolution), enabled by increased edge computing power, image sensors would not be nearly as effective as they are today.

Improved processing of this data flood, thanks to deep learning algorithms operating in thecloud, for example, makes the evolution look even faster. The results are stunningwe can use sensor input to automatically create new machine toolpaths that adapt to changes in materials or obstacles in real time.

The same is true for the localization and orchestration of distributed computing in edge devices (computing devices located near machines instead of a central hub), which are enabling more rapid, autonomous reaction to changing events instead of following a pre-defined set of actions. The marriage of sensors and actuators, most prominently in so-called collaborative robots (or cobots), is another such example.

Normally new technologies reinvigorate the development of an application after previous improvements start to flag. This process looks like a group of linked S-shaped curves over time. In manufacturing, were instead seeing multiple, simultaneous technology developments stretching over longer time-periods supercharging the opportunities for improvement.

So, the incredibly fine and reliable control demonstrated in the Gatorade video is only one of many technologies moving manufacturing ahead at a quick pace. Where will this symbiosis of technological acceleration take us? In my view: Distributed, on-demand, agile manufacturing. But thats a story for another time.

Image Credit: Gatorade/G Active via YouTube

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Why It’s Taking Less and Less to Manufacture More of the Things We Want – Singularity Hub

Singularity University’s Second Annual Global Summit … – Markets Insider

SAN FRANCISCO and MOUNTAIN VIEW, Calif., Aug. 10, 2017 /PRNewswire/ — Singularity University (SU), a global community with a mission to educate, inspire, and empower leaders to apply exponential technologies to address humanity’s grand challenges, announces its second flagship annual event, Singularity University Global Summit, August 13-15, 2017 at the Hilton Union Square, San Francisco. SU is expecting 1,500 participants from around the world, from individuals to entrepreneurs representing startups, to intrapreneurs from large enterprises, organizations, and governments. Deloitte is the Premier Consulting Sponsor for the SU Global Summit. Several Deloitte speakers will address the topics of Digital Transformation, Digital Reality, Re-thinking Strategy, and The Future of Work. To learn more about the agenda and to register, go to Singularity University Global Summit.

“The past year has been one of increasingly rapid change and disruption in the world,” said Rob Nail, CEO and Associate Founder of Singularity University. “I remain incredibly encouraged and optimistic for our future. I’ve seen how exponential technology and innovations from the SU community, startups, and large organizations are positively changing business while solving key challenges humanity is facing. There are concrete examples about how SU alums are having impact in energy, the environment, learning, health, water, food, disaster resilience, shelter, security, prosperity, and governance. If you want to be uplifted, improve and grow your business, see the remarkable progress we are making, and become a force for good in the world, then I invite you to come to the Global Summit and partner with us to get involved!”

At the Global Summit, SU will also be announcing a series of initiatives for individuals, startups, and large organizations. For startups, there is a new series of programs that support them end-to-end along their entrepreneurial journey from concept to prototype to market entry to scale. For enterprises or large organizations, we will announce a set of programs to help them stay relevant, remain competitive and leverage opportunities created by rapid business change and disruption. Offerings will focus on helping organizations develop and optimize their innovation capabilities and develop leaders who understand the impact of emerging technologies. For individuals, we’ll be unveiling a set of focused programs based on innovation and exponential technologies, as well as how to engage in local SU chapter and community activities taking place around the world. Details on these offerings will be announced during the Global Summit.

Speakers and topics at the SU Global Summit 2017 include:

“We live in a time where unprecedented change is disrupting nearly every way we work and live. Our personal and professional lives are shifting in response to new technologies and business models that are changing what’s possible and calling for us to respond and adapt, or fall behind. Since 2014, over 1,300 Deloitte clients have participated in SU programs around the world, empowering them to envision and realize significant exponential growth and efficiency opportunities,” said Andrew Vaz, Deloitte Global Chief Innovation Officer.

Deloitte is the Premier Consulting Sponsor for this event, as well as Exponential Manufacturing, Exponential Finance and Exponential Medicine, and International Summits, which take place in different countries, such as Australia, Canada, Chile, Germany, India, Italy, Japan, Mexico and others; and is a founding member of SingularityU Netherlands.

To learn more about any of the SU programs and events and Deloitte innovation resources, go to http://www.su.org and https://www2.deloitte.com/us/en/pages/strategy/topics/innovation-consulting.html.

ABOUT DELOITTEDeloitte provides industry-leading audit, consulting, tax and advisory services to many of the world’s most admired brands, including 80 percent of the Fortune 500 and more than 6,000 private and middle market companies. Our people work across more than 20 industry sectors to deliver measurable and lasting results that help reinforce public trust in our capital markets, inspire clients to make their most challenging business decisions with confidence, and help lead the way toward a stronger economy and a healthy society.

ABOUT SINGULARITY UNIVERSITY Singularity University (SU) is a global learning and innovation community using exponential technologies to tackle the world’s biggest challenges and build an abundant future for all. SU’s collaborative platform empowers individuals and organizations across the globe to learn, connect, and innovate breakthrough solutions using accelerating technologies like artificial intelligence, robotics, and digital biology. A certified benefit corporation headquartered at NASA Research Park in Silicon Valley, SU was founded in 2008 by renowned innovators Ray Kurzweil and Peter H. Diamandis with program funding from leading organizations including Google, Deloitte, and UNICEF. To learn more, visit SU.org, join us on Facebook, follow us on Twitter @SingularityU, and download the SingularityU Hub mobile app.

MEDIA CONTACTSAdrian Eyre, rel=”nofollow”>Adrian.Eyre@ogilvy.com 415-677-2708 Jodie Stern, rel=”nofollow”>jodiestern@deloitte.com 414-702-0167

Deloitte refers to one or more of Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu Limited, a UK private company limited by guarantee (“DTTL”), its network of member firms, and their related entities. DTTL and each of its member firms are legally separate and independent entities. DTTL (also referred to as “Deloitte Global”) does not provide services to clients. In the United States, Deloitte refers to one or more of the US member firms of DTTL, their related entities that operate using the “Deloitte” name in the United States and their respective affiliates. Certain services may not be available to attest clients under the rules and regulations of public accounting. Please see http://www.deloitte.com/about to learn more about our global network of member firms.

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Biotechnology | Future of Everything With Jason Silva (Part 4) – Singularity Hub

In the latest installment ofSingularity Universitys newweb series, Future of Everything With Jason Silva, Silva discusses the digitization of biology.

The world has been transformed by information technology. Billion dollar businesses have formed out of nowhere. Now, biology is becoming information technology. Thats what biotechnology is, and as exponential technologies like gene sequencing accelerate, healthcare is about to be radically upended.

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Biotechnology | Future of Everything With Jason Silva (Part 4) – Singularity Hub

The World’s First Autonomous Ship Will Set Sail In 2018 – Singularity Hub

What

A Norwegian container ship called the Yara Birkeland will be the worlds first electric, autonomous, zero-emissions ship.

With a capacity of up to 150 shipping containers, the battery-powered ship will be small compared to modern standards (the biggest container ship in the world holds 19,000 containers, and an average-size ship holds 3,500), but its launch will mark the beginning of a transformation of the global shipping industry. This transformation could heavily impact global trade as well as the environment.

The Yara Birkeland is being jointly developed by two Norwegian companies: agricultural firm Yara International, and agricultural firm, and Kongsberg Gruppen, which builds guidance systems for both civilian and military use.

The ship will be equipped with a GPS and various types of sensors, including lidar, radar, and camerasmuch like self-driving cars. The ship will be able to steer itself through the sea, avoid other ships, and independently dock itself.

The Wall Street Journal states that building the ship will cost $25 million, which is about three times the cost of a similarly-sized conventional ship. However, the savings will kick in once the ship starts operating, since it wont need traditional fuel or a big crew.

Self-driving cars arent going to suddenly hit the streets straight off their production line; theyve been going through multiple types of road tests, refining their sensors, upgrading their software, and generally improving their functionality little by little. Similarly, the Yara Birkeland wont take to the sea unmanned on its first voyage, nor any of its several first voyages, for that matter.

Rather, the ships autonomy will be phased in. At first, says the Journal, a single container will be used as a manned bridge on board. Then the bridge will be moved to shore and become a remote-operation center. The ship will eventually run fully on its own, under supervision from shore, in 2020.

Kongsberg CEO Geir Haoy compared the ships sea-to-land bridge transition to flying a drone from a command center, saying, It will be GPS navigation and lots of high-tech cameras to see whats going on around the ship.

Interestingly, theres currently no legislation around autonomous ships (which makes sense since, well, there arent any autonomous ships, either). Lawmakers are getting to work, though, and rules will likely be set up by the time the Yara makes it first fully-autonomous trip.

The ship will sail between three ports in southern Norway, delivering Yara International fertilizer from a production facility to a port called Larvik. The planned route is 37 nautical miles, and the ship will stay within 12 nautical miles of the coast.

The United Nations International Maritime Organization estimates over 90 percent of the worlds trade is carried by sea, and states that maritime transport is By far the most cost-effective way to move en masse goods and raw materials around the world.

But ships are also to blame for a huge amount of pollution; one study showed that just 15 of the worlds biggest ships may emit as much pollution as all the worlds cars, largely due to the much higher sulfur content of ship fuel. Oddly, shipping emission regulations werent included in the Paris Agreement.

Besides reducing fuel emissions by being electric, the Yara Birkeland will supposedly replace 40,000 truck drives a year through southern Norway. Once regulations are in place and the technology has been tested and improved, companies will start to build larger ships that can sail longer routes.

Image Credit:KONGSBERG Gruppenvia YouTube

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The World’s First Autonomous Ship Will Set Sail In 2018 – Singularity Hub

Singularity: The Influence Of New Order

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Irvine Welsh as a writer has produced fifteen books, as well as plays, film and TV scripts. A native of Edinburgh, he now lives mainly in the USA.

NEW ORDER BY IRVINE WELSH

I hate writing about music. You either love a tune or a band or you dont. The whole point of it is that you never really know why. So you talk a lot of irrelevant personal nonsense, about how a group is so important to your own timeline as were now psychotically inclined to designate our lives.

So here goes.

Like a lot of New Order fans of my vintage, I came to the band through having been a Joy Division obsessive. For me, like most, it was a painless succession. The same talented people were still making great music, and like the band, I was also emerging from a doom-laden period (though there would be more to follow) in favour of something a little more upbeat.

It would be lazy to try and define such a successful group as New Order by the tragedies of Ian Curtis and Rob Gretton. It would also be extremely silly, especially given that the bands personnel are all people who so evidently enjoy their lives. The loss of both would have been considerable however; with the death of Curtis, the band went from being a bunch of North West of England young bloods, having fun and making post-punk music, to growing up in public in the most dramatic and harrowing way.

To outsiders, the death of a famous youth often provokes both unfathomable tragedy and phantom romance, the latter part amplified by stardoms iconizing qualities. As you get older however, you see that the real horror of this is just how widespread the illness of depression is, and how devastating it can be. In Ians case, this was compounded by the terrifying onset of epilepsy. As a group, those young friends were suddenly forced to confront both existential and practical issues: What is this? What do we do? Do we carry on? Despite their youth, they all managed to do this with an incredible decorum and dignity.

New Order grew out of this desire to build on the Joy Division achievement, while producing a less bleak sound. Movement, the bands first album, with its iconic minimalist Factory records sleeve, was awaited with a kind of eager trepidation by fans of the original group. Shamefully, I recall dismissing it before Id heard it -in the way of the arrogant young clown- just because a good friend had bought a copy of it first. If Id allowed it to be great, I would have undermined the competitive relationship that inspired the Renton-Sick Boy friendship in Trainspotting. So I waited for Power, Corruption and Lies to appear, in order that I could announce to my mate that the band had found their feet with this album. It remains one of my favourite albums of all time.

So it was that New Order became one of the essential acts that have provided the soundtrack to my life. Its hard to mark out a definitive New Order era; theyve covered so much ground that I cant think of them as an 80s or 90s band, or even of the twenty-first century. For very straightforward, personable individuals, New Order collectively retains a strange mystique, with a prevailing sense of enigma resilient in their music. An upbeat track will always carry an ominous undercurrent, while a darker piece invariably comes bundled with a subversive joy.

A further complication lies in the strength of the album tracks. Though known as a big pop hits band to the masses, the purists will tell you that its easy to compose an alternative best of album from tracks that were never released as singles. Your Silent Face is probably my favourite New Order song; a quintessential dance/rock n roll fusion, its all at once hypnotic, melancholic, sinister and uplifting. Back when we were talking about the inclusion of songs for the Trainspotting movie soundtrack, everyone had their favourite artists, but the only consensus was that a New Order track was totally essential. There was, obviously, far less accord around exactly which tune that should be.

Thus the New Order sound is highly diverse, but still very markedly their own. It owes a lot to the clash of distinctive melodies and throbbing, angry bass lines. The most interesting thing about the band is how they often manage to eschew a lot of traditional pop structure. Many of their biggest tunes swerve the verse-chorus-verse orthodoxy, developing instead more like classical songs, such as Age of Consent and Run.

For aficionados like myself, Peter Hooks departure from the band felt like a much-loved couple of friends going through a messy divorce. But just like that example, such an estrangement is generally unfathomable to everybody but the parties involved. Whatever has or will be publicly uttered on the matter, its a sad fact of life that people sometimes grow apart. Best to just leave it at that and celebrate the fact that there are now two acts out there for fans to enjoy.

New Order survived and thrived after this, principally because they are natural collaborators. The band members have always been excited to embrace a number of side projects and have thrived on working with different artists. I recall being at an impressive Bad Lieutenant gig in Dublin some years ago, and thus it was no surprise that Tom Chapman became a member of New Order. As individuals, they remain remarkably easy-going and laconic, brimming with a trademark sly Mancunian wit, and apparently unfazed by the trials that have come their way.

Now they have an amazing legacy, which they can augment with new material or curate through gigs, as they see fit. Going to a New Order show is like a zooming through a history of British cultural life of the last few decades, while marveling at just how many big hits and great songs they have knocked out over this time. Ive danced, partied, wooed, lost, won, courted, got married to New Order, been taken under the wing of their ex-label boss, the incredible Tony Wilson, and become friends with the band.

But I really didnt want to write all this, as its pretty much tangential to the real message, which is: I just absolutely fucking love New Order.

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Singularity: The Influence Of New Order

The Age of Cyborgs Has Arrived – Singularity Hub

From time to time, the Singularity Hub editorial team unearths a gem from the archives and wants to share it all over again. Its usually a piece that was popular back then and we think is still relevant now. This is one of those articles. It was originally publishedSeptember 1, 2016.We hope you enjoy it!

How many cyborgs did you see during your morning commute today? I would guess at least five. Did they make you nervous? Probably not; you likely didnt even realize they were there.

In a presentation titled Biohacking and the Connected Body atSingularity University Global Summit, Hannes Sjoblad informed the audience that were already living in the age of cyborgs. Sjoblad is co-founder of the Sweden-based biohacker network Bionyfiken, a chartered non-profit that unites DIY-biologists, hackers, makers, body modification artists and health and performance devotees to explore human-machine integration.

Sjoblad said the cyborgs we see today dont look like Hollywood prototypes; theyre regular people who have integrated technology into their bodies to improve or monitor some aspect of their health. Sjoblad defined biohacking as applying hacker ethic to biological systems. Some biohackers experiment with their biology with the goal of taking the human bodys experience beyond what nature intended.

Smart insulin monitoring systems, pacemakers, bionic eyes, and Cochlear implants are all examples of biohacking, according to Sjoblad. He told the audience, We live in a time where, thanks to technology, we can make the deaf hear, the blind see, and the lame walk. He is convinced that while biohacking could conceivably end up having Brave New World-like dystopian consequences, it can also be leveraged to improve and enhance our quality of life in multiple ways.

The field where biohacking can make the most positive impact is health. In addition to pacemakers and insulin monitors, several new technologies are being developed with the goal of improving our health and simplifying access to information about our bodies.

Ingestibles are a type of smart pill that use wireless technology to monitor internal reactions to medications, helping doctors determine optimum dosage levels and tailor treatments to different people. Your body doesnt absorb or process medication exactly as your neighbors does, so shouldnt you each have a treatment that works best with your unique system? Colonoscopies and endoscopies could one day be replaced by miniature pill-shaped video cameras that would collect and transmit images as they travel through the digestive tract.

Singularity University Global Summit is the culmination of the Exponential Conference Series and the definitive place to witness converging exponential technologies and understand how theyll impact the world.

Security is another area where biohacking could be beneficial. One example Sjoblad gave was personalization of weapons: an invader in your house couldnt fire your gun because it will have been matched to your fingerprint or synced with your body so that it only responds to you.

Biohacking can also simplify everyday tasks. In an impressive example of walking the walk rather than just talking the talk, Sjoblad had an NFC chip implanted in his hand. The chip contains data from everything he used to have to carry around in his pockets: credit and bank card information, key cards to enter his office building and gym, business cards, and frequent shopper loyalty cards. When hes in line for a morning coffee or rushing to get to the office on time, he doesnt have to root around in his pockets or bag to find the right card or key; he just waves his hand in front of a sensor and hes good to go.

Evolved from radio frequency identification (RFID)an old and widely distributed technologyNFC chips are activated by another chip, and small amounts of data can be transferred back and forth. No wireless connection is necessary. Sjoblad sees his NFC implant as a personal key to the Internet of Things, a simple way for him to talk to the smart, connected devices around him.

Sjoblad isnt the only person who feels a need for connection.

When British science writer Frank Swain realized he was going to go deaf, he decided to hack his hearing to be able to hear Wi-Fi. Swain developed software that tunes into wireless communication fields and uses an inbuilt Wi-Fi sensor to pick up router name, encryption modes and distance from the device. This data is translated into an audio stream where distant signals click or pop, and strong signals sound their network ID in a looped melody. Swain hears it all through an upgraded hearing aid.

Global datastreams can also become sensory experiences. Spanish artist Moon Ribas developed and implanted a chip in her elbow that is connected to the global monitoring system for seismographic sensors; each time theres an earthquake, she feels it through vibrations in her arm.

You can feel connected to our planet, too: North Sense makes a standalone artificial sensory organ that connects to your body and vibrates whenever youre facing north. Its a built-in compass; youll never get lost again.

Biohacking applications are likely to proliferate in the coming years, some of them more useful than others. But there are serious ethical questions that cant be ignored during development and use of this technology. To what extent is it wise to tamper with nature, and who gets to decide?

Most of us are probably ok with waiting in line an extra 10 minutes or occasionally having to pull up a maps app on our phone if it means we dont need to implant computer chips into our forearms. If its frightening to think of criminals stealing our wallets, imagine them cutting a chunk of our skin out to have instant access to and control over our personal data. The physical invasiveness and potential for something to go wrong seems to far outweigh the benefits the average person could derive from this technology.

But that may not always be the case. Its worth noting the miniaturization of technology continues at a quick rate, and the smaller things get, the less invasive (and hopefully more useful) theyll be. Even today, there are people already sensibly benefiting from biohacking. If you look closely enough, youll spot at least a couple cyborgs on your commute tomorrow morning.

Image Credit:Movement Control Laboratory/University of WashingtonDeep Dream Generator

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The Age of Cyborgs Has Arrived – Singularity Hub


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