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Category Archives: Singularity

The Technologies Changing How We Grow, Distribute, and Consume Food – Singularity Hub

Posted: October 20, 2019 at 10:35 pm

Food. What we eat, and how we grow it, will be fundamentally transformed in the next decade.

Already, indoor farming is projected to be a US$40.25 billion industry by 2022, with a compound annual growth rate of 9.65 percent. Meanwhile, the food 3D printing industry is expected to grow at an even higher rate, averaging 50 percent annual growth.

And converging exponential technologiesfrom materials science to AI-driven digital agricultureare not slowing down. Todays breakthroughs will soon allow our planet to boost its food production by nearly70 percent, using a fraction of the real estate and resources, to feed9 billionby mid-century.

What you consume, how it was grown, and how it will end up in your stomach will all ride the wave of converging exponentials, revolutionizing the most basic of human needs.

3D printing has already had a profound impact on the manufacturing sector. We are now able to print in hundreds of different materials, making anything from toys to houses to organs. However, we are finally seeing the emergence of 3D printers that can print food itself.

Redefine Meat, an Israeli startup, wants to tackle industrial meat production using 3D printers that can generate meat, no animals required. The printer takes in fat, water, and three different plant protein sources, using these ingredients to print a meat fiber matrix with trapped fat and water, thus mimicking the texture and flavor of real meat.

Slated for release in 2020 at a cost of $100,000, their machines are rapidly demonetizing and will begin by targeting clients in industrial-scale meat production.

Anrich3D aims to take this process a step further, 3D printing meals that are customized to your medical records, heath data from your smart wearables, and patterns detected by your sleep trackers. The company plans to use multiple extruders for multi-material printing, allowing them to dispense each ingredient precisely for nutritionally optimized meals. Currently in an R&D phase at the Nanyang Technological University in Singapore, the company hopes to have its first taste tests in 2020.

These are only a few of the many 3D food printing startups springing into existence. The benefits from such innovations are boundless.

Not only will food 3D printing grant consumers control over the ingredients and mixtures they consume, but it is already beginning to enable new innovations in flavor itself,democratizingfar healthier meal options in newly customizable cuisine categories.

Vertical farming, whereby food is grown in vertical stacks (in skyscrapers and buildings rather than outside in fields), marks a classic case of converging exponential technologies. Over just the past decade, the technology has surged from a handful of early-stage pilots to a full-grown industry.

Today, the average American meal travels1,500-2,500 miles to get to your plate. As summed up by Worldwatch Institute researcher Brian Halweil, We are spending far more energy to get food to the table than the energy we get from eating the food. Additionally, the longer foods are out of the soil, the less nutritious they become, losing on average 45 percent of their nutrition before being consumed.

Yet beyond cutting down on time and transportation losses, vertical farming eliminates a whole host of issues in food production. Relying on hydroponics and aeroponics, vertical farms allows us to grow crops with 90 percent less water than traditional agriculturewhich is critical for our increasingly thirsty planet.

Currently, the largest player around is Bay Area-based Plenty Inc. With over $200 million in funding from Softbank, Plenty is taking a smart tech approach to indoor agriculture. Plants grow on 20-foot-high towers, monitored by tens of thousands of cameras and sensors, optimized by big data and machine learning.

This allows the company to pack 40 plants in the space previously occupied by 1. The process also produces yields 350 times greater than outdoor farmland, using less than 1 percent as much water.

And rather than bespoke veggies for the wealthy few, Plentys processes allow them to knock 20-35 percent off the costs of traditional grocery stores. To date, Plenty has their home base in South San Francisco, a 100,000 square-foot farm in Kent, Washington, an indoor farm in the United Arab Emirates, and recently started construction on over 300 farms in China.

Another major player is New Jersey-based Aerofarms, which can now grow two million pounds of leafy greens without sunlight or soil.

To do this, Aerofarms leverages AI-controlled LEDs to provide optimized wavelengths of light for each plant. Using aeroponics, the company delivers nutrients by misting them directly onto the plants rootsno soil required. Rather, plants are suspended in a growth mesh fabric made from recycled water bottles. And here too, sensors, cameras, and machine learning govern the entire process.

While 50-80 percent of the cost of vertical farming is human labor, autonomous robotics promises to solve that problem. Enter contenders like Iron Ox, a firm that has developed the Angus robot, capable of moving around plant-growing containers.

The writing is on the wall, and traditional agriculture is fast being turned on its head.

In an era where materials science, nanotechnology, and biotechnology are rapidly becoming the same field of study, key advances are enabling us to create healthier, more nutritious, more efficient, and longer-lasting food.

For starters, we are now able to boost the photosynthetic abilities of plants. Using novel techniques to improve a micro-step in the photosynthesis process chain, researchers at UCLA were able to boost tobacco crop yield by 14-20 percent. Meanwhile, the RIPE Project, backed by Bill Gates and run out of the University of Illinois, has matched and improved those numbers.

And to top things off, The University of Essex was even able to improve tobacco yield by 27-47 percent by increasing the levels of protein involved in photo-respiration.

In yet another win for food-related materials science, Santa Barbara-based Apeel Sciences is further tackling the vexing challenge of food waste. Now approaching commercialization, Apeel uses lipids and glycerolipids found in the peels, seeds, and pulps of all fruits and vegetables to create cutinthe fatty substance that composes the skin of fruits and prevents them from rapidly spoiling by trapping moisture.

By then spraying fruits with this generated substance, Apeel can preserve foods60 percent longer using an odorless, tasteless, colorless organic substance.

And stores across the US are already using this method. By leveraging our advancing knowledge of plants and chemistry, materials science is allowing us to produce more food with far longer-lasting freshness and more nutritious value than ever before.

With advances in 3D printing, vertical farming, and materials sciences, we can now make food smarter, more productive, and far more resilient.

By the end of the next decade, you should be able to 3D print a fusion cuisine dish from the comfort of your home, using ingredients harvested from vertical farms, with nutritional value optimized by AI and materials science. However, even this picture doesnt account for all the rapid changes underway in the food industry.

Join me next week forPart 2 of the Future of Foodfor a discussion on how food production will be transformed, quite literally, from the bottom up.

Abundance-Digital Online Community:Stay ahead of technological advancements and turn your passion into action. Abundance Digital is now part of Singularity University.Learn more.

Image Credit: Vanessa Bates Ramirez

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Algorithms Are Designed to Addict Us, and the Consequences Go Beyond Wasted Time – Singularity Hub

Posted: at 10:35 pm

Goethes The Sorcerers Apprentice is a classic example of many stories in a similar theme. The young apprentice enchants a broom to mop the floor, avoiding some work in the process. But the enchantment quickly spirals out of control: the broom, mono-maniacally focused on its task but unconscious of the consequences, ends up flooding the room.

The classic fear surrounding hypothetical, superintelligent AI is that we might give it the wrong goal, or insufficient constraints. Even in the well-developed field of narrow AI, we see that machine learning algorithms are very capable of finding unexpected means and unintended ways to achieve their goals. For example, let loose in the structured environment of video games, where a simple functionpoints scoredis to be maximized, they often find new exploits or cheats to win without playing.

In some ways, YouTubes algorithm is an immensely complicated beast: it serves up billions of recommendations a day. But its goals, at least originally, were fairly simple: maximize the likelihood that the user will click on a video, and the length of time they spend on YouTube. It has been stunningly successful: 70 percent of time spent on YouTube is watching recommended videos, amounting to 700 million hours a day. Every day, humanity as a collective spends a thousand lifetimes watching YouTubes recommended videos.

The design of this algorithm, of course, is driven by YouTubes parent company, Alphabet, maximizing its own goal: advertising revenue, and hence the profitability of the company. Practically everything else that happens is a side effect. The neural nets of YouTubes algorithm form connectionsstatistical weightings that favor some pathways over othersbased on the colossal amount of data that we all generate by using the site. It may seem an innocuous or even sensible way to determine what people want to see; but without oversight, the unintended consequences can be nasty.

Guillaume Chaslot, a former engineer at YouTube, has helped to expose some of these. Speaking to TheNextWeb, he pointed out, The problem is that the AI isnt built to help you get what you wantits built to get you addicted to YouTube. Recommendations were designed to waste your time.

More than this: they can waste your time in harmful ways. Inflammatory, conspiratorial content generates clicks and engagement. If a small subset of users watches hours upon hours of political or conspiracy-theory content, the pathways in the neural net that recommend this content are reinforced.

The result is that users can begin with innocuous searches for relatively mild content, and find themselves quickly dragged towards extremist or conspiratorial material. A survey of 30 attendees at a Flat Earth conference showed that all but one originally came upon the Flat Earth conspiracy via YouTube, with the lone dissenter exposed to the ideas from family members who were in turn converted by YouTube.

Many readers (and this writer) know the experience of being sucked into a wormhole of related videos and content when browsing social media. But these wormholes can be extremely dark. Recently, a pedophile wormhole on YouTube was discovered, a recommendation network of videos of children which was frequented by those who wanted to exploit children. In TechCrunchs investigation, it took only a few recommendation clicks from a (somewhat raunchy) search for adults in bikinis to reach this exploitative content.

Its simple, really: as far as the algorithm, with its one objective, is concerned, a user who watches one factual and informative video about astronomy and then goes on with their day is less advantageous than a user who watches fifteen flat-earth conspiracy videos in a row.

In some ways, none of this is particularly new. The algorithm is learning to exploit familiar flaws in the human psyche to achieve its ends, just as other algorithms find flaws in the code of 80s Atari games to score their own points. Conspiratorial tabloid newspaper content is replaced with clickbait videos on similar themes. Our short attention spans are exploited by social media algorithms, rather than TV advertising. Filter bubbles of opinion that once consisted of hanging around with people you agreed with and reading newspapers that reflected your own opinion are now reinforced by algorithms.

Any platform that reaches the size of the social media giants is bound to be exploited by people with exploitative, destructive, or irresponsible aims. It is equally difficult to see how they can operate at this scale without relying heavily on algorithms; even content moderation, which is partially automated, can take a heavy toll on the human moderators, required to filter the worst content imaginable. Yet directing how the human race spends a billion hours a day, often shaping peoples beliefs in unexpected ways, is evidently a source of great power.

The answer given by social media companies tends to be the same: better AI. These algorithms neednt be blunt instruments. Tweaks are possible. For example, an older version of YouTubes algorithm consistently recommended stale content, simply because this had the most viewing history to learn from. The developers fixed this by including the age of the video as a variable.

Similarly, choosing to shift the focus from click likelihood to time spent watching the video was aimed to prevent low-quality videos with clickbait titles from being recommended, leading to user dissatisfaction with the platform. Recent updates aim to prioritize news from reliable and authoritative sources, and make the algorithm more transparent by explaining why recommendations were made. Other potential tweaks could add more emphasis on whether users like videos, as an indication of quality. And YouTube videos about topics prone to conspiracy, such as global warming, now include links to factual sources of information.

The issue, however, is sure to arise if this conflicts with the profitability of the company in a large way. Take a recent tweak to the algorithm, aimed to reduce bias in the recommendations based on the order videos are recommended. Essentially, if you have to scroll down further before clicking on a particular video, YouTube adds more weight to that decision: the user is probably actively seeking out content thats more related to their target. A neat idea, and one that improves user engagement by 0.24 percent, translating to millions of dollars in revenue for YouTube.

If addictive content and engagement wormholes are whats profitable, will the algorithm change the weight of its recommendations accordingly? What weights will be applied to ethics, morality, and unintended consequences when making these decisions?

Here is the fundamental tension involved when trying to deploy these large-scale algorithms responsibly. Tech companies can tweak their algorithms, and journalists can probe their behavior and expose some of these unintended consequences. But just as algorithms need to become more complex and avoid prioritizing a single metric without considering the consequences, companies must do the same.

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This Week’s Awesome Tech Stories From Around the Web (Through October 19) – Singularity Hub

Posted: at 10:35 pm


Alphabets Wing Starts Drone Deliveries to US HomesKris Holt | EngadgetAlphabets Wing has started makingdeliveries by drone to homes in the US for the first time. During a pilot program in Christiansburg, Virginia, drones will drop off packages from FedEx, Walgreens and local retailer Sugar Magnolia, which include over-the-counter medication, snacks and gifts.

The US Military Is Trying to Read MindsPaul Tullis | MIT Technology ReviewA new DARPA research program is developing brain-computer interfaces that could control swarms of drones, operating at the speed of thought. What if it succeeds?

New Alternative to Bitcoin Uses Negligible EnergyCharles Q. Choi | IEEE Spectrum[the researchers] argue that Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies based on blockchains are essentially overkill. The researchers saytheir consensusless algorithmsare not only secure, but also consume negligible amounts of electricity, with transactions each requiring about as much as energy as exchanging emails.

SpaceX Looks to Rule Space With 30,000 More SatellitesJustin Jaffe | CNETThe filings come in addition to the 12,000 Starlink satellites previously approved by the FCC. Yes, you did the math right: SpaceX would like to ultimately be able to operate up to 42,000 satellites. Estimates of the total number of satellites launched by humanity come to about 8,500, which means SpaceX is aiming to nearly quintuple that figure on its own.

The UN World Food Program Is Looking for a Unicorn to End World Hunger by 2030Justin Jaffe | CNETThe magnitude of the programs audacious goaleliminating hunger by 2030is difficult to comprehend. But the WFPs startups help crystallize the specific, multifaceted challenges people are facing in the worlds poorest regionsand the incredibly meaningful implications of the technologies and solutions theyre working on.

Image Credit:Maxime Lebrun /Unsplash

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Comedians have to walk a tightrope on issues of race. That will make the art form better. – NBC News

Posted: at 10:35 pm

I love the art form of stand-up comedy. It didn't matter to me what my career would look like or whether or not I would be successful when I started out as a teenager in the 80s. I just loved the feeling of doing it. And that carried me through the loneliness of being the only Asian American woman out there. I was so enamored of performing that I didn't question the solitary journey.

I loved it because it gave me so much power over something that would be terrifying in a social situation. I have a lot of social anxiety, and it could be hard for me to speak to even one person, so the fact that I could speak to a room full of people and get them gasping and talking and laughing and reacting there was a supreme feeling of having control over people and society and my own fears.

If all of us who are considered minorities have more of a presence as voices in the media, then we could be in a space where racism was less of a trigger.

I didnt face open hostility coming into comedy clubs and breaking into the industry. Instead, the feeling of not belonging came from not seeing anybody else like me. That didnt necessarily make it harder for me; as artists we all long for specialness and singularity, and it's hard to achieve that if you're just like everyone else. Because I'm so naturally different, it helped my voice stand out.

But racism against Asian Americans is definitely still out there in other ways. It's almost as if we wear the idea of foreignness on our skin. In some regards, we represent immigration in America, so thats something thats used against us. Since there hasnt been that much inclusion for Asians in media and entertainment, it's almost like you can continue to think were still foreign.

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The fact that now we're starting to participate more is a really good thing. The cis white male heterosexual voices have been heard in comedy for as long as comedy has been around, and now we're finally welcoming other voices.

With this shift has also come a change in how comedians deal with race. Now comedians need more to come across as not flat-out racist when making jokes dealing with identity. They need to finesse those messages, to make the presentation so stylish and so covert that their opinions are heard without being blamed for out-and-out prejudice.

It's a fine line, a tightrope that we all have to walk. And I welcome it because this is really the beginning of societal change where were paying more attention to the voices of the other. It's really a special time.

Of course, I also am concerned about getting called out and facing a backlash for something I say. You dont have to be in comedy to be concerned about that, because anybody whos engaging in a public dialogue is at risk. I'm definitely aware of those boundaries and aware of the struggle of wanting to push them but at the same time knowing that I'm also limited.

But that's also the beauty of it. It's like we are finally being seen, and what a great thing. Having to question everything might be good for the art form. It might be good for what we're able to bring forth as artists.

Taken altogether, I don't know that society has gone too far in policing speech, but more that we finally have a place to put our frustration -- social media. Maybe these feelings existed all along, we just didn't have a place to express them.

When we're underrepresented, when our voices as minorities are minority voices, that's a problem. When were equally represented in the media, then race becomes less of an issue. It becomes a lot easier to be lax about what we say about each other. I think that's the answer: If all of us who are considered minorities have more of a presence as voices in the media, then we could be in a space where racism was less of a trigger.

I myself can play off Asian stereotypes when I perform, but it's the truth of who I am. I'm only talking about my family as they actually are. Any of those things I do that are looked at as parody are actually real impressions. The question is, what do we own racially? I think we own what race we are.

Comedy is really about courting the dangerous quality of language. Comedy by nature is an art form that is meant to offend and meant to cross boundaries. Unfortunately, oftentimes that includes using stereotypes, using prejudices to sort of reinforce these societal evils. Comedy is one of those last frontiers of art where you can do whatever you want but the consequences are there. They're not optional. You just have to live it. If you really believe in comedy and what youre saying, you accept those consequences.

I deal with hearing stereotyped Asian jokes personally by really shutting it out. I realize that part of that performers show isn't for my benefit or for my enjoyment. So I just tune it out, which for me is enough. But everybody has a different way of dealing with these things.

Comedy is one of those last frontiers of art where you can do whatever you want but the consequences are there. They're not optional.

So I know that Shane Gillis, whom Saturday Night Live fired after audio of him making racist Asian jokes came out, will still be able to find the audience that his work is intended for. Even without being on SNL, hell be fine. Hell reach his audience, which is the point of comedy to find your crowd. At the same time, I'm celebrating that SNL hired Bowen Yang. Ive been a huge fan of his for a while now, and it's really great that they hired him.

For the longest time, I felt like I was the only Asian American woman out there doing stand up. And now I have a whole generation of Asian American comedians to look to as people who were inspired. It's phenomenal. It's so great not to be alone, and I'm really excited about the future of SNL. I'm really excited about Bowen Yang's casting, and I think they should have me on as a host. I deserve it now.

As told to THINK editor Hilary Krieger. Edited and condensed for clarity.

Comedian Margaret Cho has been nominated for five Grammy and Emmy awards and is currently on her Fresh Off the Bloat world tour. She also hosts a podcast, The Margaret Cho.

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What Are The Most Interesting Trends In FinTech? – Forbes

Posted: at 10:35 pm


What are the most interesting fintech in 2019?originally appeared onQuora:the place to gain and share knowledge, empowering people to learn from others and better understand the world.

AnswerbyEric Poirier, Chief Executive Officer atAddepar, onQuora:

Crypto / Blockchain / ICOs are certainly grabbing lots of headlines. There are some legitimate use cases, and a hyper engaged community thats motivated to make this more real and impactful on a global basis. I see that opportunity too, but think it needs a few generations to evolve (like other similarly ambitious and pioneering ideas).

I think its irresponsible to hawk ICOs at retail investors (weve seen that movie before) - investors who allocate capital into risky bets need to be able to stomach losing it all.

Some headline-grabbing companies have overplayed the extent to which they are tech and increased scrutiny by more discerning investors has tended to correct for that over time. There are examples here in lending, payments and real estate among other areas.

Im most bullish on FinTech companies who put the client first and who are proactive and expansive about partnerships - both with traditional financial services companies and other emerging fintechs.

Im bearish on FinTech companies who believe that skilled financial professionals can be automated / replaced entirely by tech. While there are a variety of daily tasks that can be automated with tech, clients who have complex needs will continue to work with other skilled, resourceful humans who are armed with the right technology and data. (Singularity is still pretty far off.

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How Esther Duflo reacted to being called ‘Abhijit’s wife’ in Indian news reports – Free Press Journal

Posted: at 10:35 pm

On 14th October 2019, Esther Duflo, Abhijeet Banerjee and Michael Kremer were announced winners of the Noble Prize in Economics. The three are awarded for their exceptional research and work to alleviate global poverty.

The news was received with mighty acceptance and celebration in India and abroad. The Indian media churned out many pieces celebrating the three noble laureates. However, most articles downplayed the role of Esther Duflo, a remarkable economist, by choosing to not name her and instead call her the wife of Abhijit Banerjee(an Indian-American economist).

While many took to Twitter and unconventional media websites published write-ups the next day calling out the casual sexism portrayed by the Indian media once again, the economist herself has little to no care about it.

In a recent interview with an Indian newspaper, Esther Duflo was asked whether the headlines that read wife of upsets her, to which she had a very nonchalant answer. She said the headlines did not upset her because, in the particular instance of winning a Noble prize, it becomes a matter of national pride.

She informed that the French press similarly carried the news, it read Esther Duflo and two economists, including husband, win Noble Prize. She then went to appreciate the way PM Narendra Modi acknowledged and congratulated her and the third economist Michael Kremer in a separate tweet, while he sent out a single congratulatory tweet for Abhijit Banerjee.

Esther perspective does tell us to cut some slack for the Indian media. An Indian-American to have won the Noble Prize is a boastful fact for Indians. Although, only if the event is seen in singularity, the perspective steers clear of any sexism.

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AMD Ryzen Threadripper 3960X 24-core CPU spotted, hinting therell be a 64-core flagship – TechRadar

Posted: at 10:35 pm

The AMD Ryzen Threadripper 3960X is the name of one of AMDs incoming 3rd-gen chips, and its a 24-core processor, at least according to an Ashes of the Singularity benchmark which mentions the CPU.

This was spotted by the prolific leaker TUM_APISAK, who spotted the processor clearly labelled in the benchmark and tweeted it without any further comment.

So it would seem that the 3960X is the name of the incoming 24-core (48-thread) CPU which is to be the initial top-dog offering of Ryzen Threadripper 3rd-gen set to debut in November as previously revealed by AMD.

Looking at the current-gen Threadripper chips, its the 2970X which is the 24-core model compared to the 60X with the next-gen products. Which would seem to suggest that Ryzen Threadripper 3rd-gen will step up the core counts through the range.

Speculation runs that the 3970X will therefore have 32-cores, and the 3980X 48-cores, with a flagship 3990X brimming with 64-cores (128-threads). Naturally, bear in mind that this is pure guesswork, based on an unsubstantiated leak too.

However, the leak is from a reputable source, and as Videocardz points out, yesterday witnessed another leak from the AMD Master Product list (spotted by another well-known leaker on Twitter, Komachi). This particular spillage appears to confirm that Threadripper 3rd-gen chips will have a TDP of up to 280W. And that matches the TDP of the 64-core Epyc server processor AMD has just unleashed, funnily enough

So putting two and two together with all this, are we ending up with 64 for Ryzen Threadripper 3rd-gen? Okay, so that maths doesnt add up, but this speculation might.

After all, this isnt the first weve heard of a possible 64-core flagship for the new Threadripper chips the CPU has been rumored in the past, so maybe were justified in getting a little more excited now.

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Investment in Quantum Computing Is BoomingBut Will a Quantum Winter Follow? – Singularity Hub

Posted: October 19, 2019 at 1:45 am

Quantum computing is red hot right now, not least after Googles recent announcement that it had achieved quantum supremacy. An analysis by Nature shows the quantum hype is translating into a massive investment boost in the technology, but it might be a double-edged sword.

Quantum supremacy refers to the point at which a quantum computer can perform calculations beyond the most powerful classical computer imaginable. After all the hype about this milestone one might have expected a great fanfare when it was achieved, but instead the paper describing it was accidentally leaked by Googles collaborators at NASA.

Nonetheless, its a significant marker. While the problem it solved was practically useless and chosen specifically to favor the quantum device, the man who coined the term, John Preskill, writes that it demonstrates the hardware works as we hoped it would.

Now starts the long journey to applying that quantum speedup to more useful problems, but despite the long timescales it will take for this to happen, money has been pouring into the field.

Google, IBM, and Intel have all been investing considerable sums into quantum computing for several years, but Nature found that in 2017 and 2018 quantum technology companies received at least $450 million in private fundingmore than four times the $104 million disclosed over the previous two years.

Much of that money is coming from VC funds, raising the prospect of the same kind of boom as was seen in AI at the turn of the decade. But given that most experts think its still a long road to doing anything practical with quantum computers, theres growing fear that all this excitement could lead to a quantum winter.

The term borrows from the AI industry, which prior to its recent boom has experienced two AI winters. Hype and unrealistic expectations led to a huge surge in interest followed by a dramatic retraction after disappointing progress saw investors pull out.

Theres growing fear in quantum computing circles that the breathless headlines around the race for quantum supremacy may have inflated expectations. Todays devices are error-prone and measured in tens of qubits, but we will need to build machines of thousands if not millions of qubits to achieve an error-free, general-purpose quantum computer able to solve a broad selection of useful problems.

Nature notes a particularly worrying sign: a significant amount of investment so far has gone into quantum software companies, which are designing algorithms and programs for devices that dont yet exist. Given that consensus still hasnt developed on what the underlying materials of a quantum computer should be, that seems premature.

A more pernicious problem is the danger of a brain drain as companies flush with investor cash lure the best minds out of academia in a mirror of what has happened in AI. Given that there are still fundamental questions that need to be answered about quantum computing, in a field as small as it is that could severely hamper progress.

Ultimately, its a question of horizons. Few in the field doubt we will be able to build a powerful general-purpose quantum computer, but the question is whether investors are willing to wait the decades it could take to get there.

A solution to that quandary would be to find uses for the smaller, imperfect machines we have today. Theres a growing body of research in this direction, but even in the best-case scenario these devices will likely only be able to solve some niche problems in things like chemistry or optimization.

One saving grace is that quantum technology is not only about computers. Quantum communications and quantum cryptography have been making major advances in recent years and are likely to reach widespread commercial adoption considerably sooner, which could help maintain the fields momentum.

Theres also considerable foresight about the potential for a quantum winter from within the industry. Michael Marthaler, co-founder of startup Heisenberg Quantum Simulations, told The Economist hes already expecting one and is just hoping his firm is established enough by then to hibernate. Matthew Kinsella, managing director at Maverick Ventures, told Business Insider hes preparing for a retraction despite having invested in a quantum technology company.

Given the nascent state of the field, theres plenty of potential for a sudden breakthrough, for instance if silicon-based quantum computers make it possible to build large devices much sooner than expected, or Microsofts pursuit of far more stable topological qubits sidesteps the error-correction problem.

So dont be surprised if the investors keep piling in.

Image Credit: Dmitriy Rybin/

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My Hero Academia Explains the Growing Problem with Quirk Evolution –

Posted: at 1:45 am

My Hero Academia's manga has been laying the groundwork for a huge conflict for the last few arcs, but one of the most mysterious teases has involved the true power of One For All. When Izuku Midoriya started tapping into its power, and opened up the door to more quirks at his disposal, there was an ominous tease about an approaching singularity. But the latest chapter of the series has given an explanation behind what this is referring to as All For One's doctor theorizes that it has to do with rapidly evolving quirks.

As he examines just how much stronger Shigaraki has gotten since his fight with Re-Destro, the doctor explains that rapidly evolving quirks are starting to reach outside of humanity's control and approaching what's he has coined as a "Quirk Singularity."

Chapter 246 of the series sees the doctor explain that each generation has provided stronger quirks that are starting to mix, and becoming more complex and ambiguous. As he theorizes, humanity's collective memory is evolving with each new generation as well, but there will eventually be a point where they won't be able to keep up with the growing quirks.

This would lead to the quirks eventually going out of control, and reaching a "Quirk Singularity." The Doctor reveals that All For One was the only one to take this theory seriously, and the human race will soon become unstable. It's a problem that began with the fourth generation of quirks, but Shigaraki can continue to evolve and overcome this singularity and potentially even take One For All for himself.

This ominous tease compounds on what Midoriya foresaw in his vision. When he looked into the past of One For All, and saw the first vestige, the vestige spoke to him and warned the singularity was approaching. With a clear time line toward an even bigger conflict, this could potentially be a compounded warning as the singularity could be approaching as well.

My Hero Academia was created by Kohei Horikoshi and has been running in Shueisha's Weekly Shonen Jump since July 2014. The story follows Izuku Midoriya, who lives in a world where everyone has powers, even though he was born without them. Dreaming to become a superhero anyway, he's eventually scouted by the world's best hero All Might and enrolls in a school for professional heroes. The series has been licensed by Viz Media for an English language release since 2015. My Hero Academia will also be launching its second big movie, Heroes Rising, in Japan this December.


My Hero Academia Explains the Growing Problem with Quirk Evolution -

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Quincy Crew will play the Minor with Singularity’s offlaner SabeRLight- – VPEsports

Posted: at 1:45 am

There is not much time between now and the first Dota Pro Circuit tournament, especially if you are a team one player short. Dota fast approaches!! signals Quincy Crew manager, Jack KBBQ Chen on his Twitter account when introducing a trial offlaner for DOTA Summit 11 Minor.

Jon SabeRLight- Volek of Team Singularity will join the North American squad in the coming days to begin the training for the Minor, a tournament which can turn into a true breakout for him.

SabeRLight- spent two years at the Czech team Hippomaniacs, a squad that has been pushing through lower tier events and open qualifiers for a while now. Dota 2 fans might remember them from the TI9 European regional qualifiers, where they took first place in the group stage and made it all the way to the playoffs lower bracket finals. They were finally defeated by Chaos Esports, the team which eventually took the one ticket to the pinnacle tournament of the year. SabeRLight- was the only player to leave the team in the post TI9 shuffle. He was signed by Singularity, where he teamed up with Steve Excalibur Ye and he placed second in the MDL Chengdu Major European qualifiers group stage. However, Singularity lost two series in a row in the playoffs and dropped to the Minor qualifiers. They werent the only team from the Major qualifiers to fight for a Minor slot, and once again they got bested by their European adversaries and missed the start of the DPC season entirely.

In the meantime, in the NA region, a newly formed squad was keeping the headlines, featuring the Hassan brothers, SumaiL and YawaR. The qualifiers rounds were the first official matches where the two brothers teamed up. But despite the hype created by the Quincy Crew line-up, the team didnt make it to the MDL Chengdu Major. Nonetheless, they did clinch a spot at the Minor preceding it. Although the DOTA Summit Minor is held on US soil and Quincy Crew have a real shot at winning it all and reach the first Major of the season, SumaiL was announced to have departed the team for a couple of reasons. There were fit issues, Jack Chen said last week. It is worth mentioning that SumaiL was playing for the first time in the carry role, while his brother was also at his first offlane experience. Besides that, the team manager mentioned later on in a Reddit thread that there was so much more besides what he Tweeted. There were some legal issues that added some additional complications, but cant really discuss that in public, he said, adding that its easy for people on the outside to wonder or even jump to conclusions.

With SumaiL unable to join Quincy Crew, the team will now have the young Czech offlaner, SabeRLight-, as a trial and will play with him at the upcoming Minor. The Dota Summit Minor will be the only DPC event held in the United States this season. It will unfold November 7-10, with eight teams fighting for the tournament title, which besides the $72,000, it also brings a ticket to the MDL Chengdu Major.

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Quincy Crew will play the Minor with Singularity's offlaner SabeRLight- - VPEsports

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