Our Final Invention – Panel Discussion

A couple of days ago I took part in an online panel discussion of James Barrat's book, "Our Final Invention".  The session was organised by David Wood, chair of the estimable London Futurist Group.  Apart from David, James and me, the other panel members were Jaan Tallinn (co-founder of Skype), and William Hertling (author of the very good "Avogadro Corp.").   Here's the video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F3sB7Nk-_oI

Startling progress in brain simulation

Researchers claim to have modelled one percent of a human brain, taking 40 minutes to replicate one second of brain activity.  If this is true it is startling, and should be making much bigger headlines than it is. You might wonder why, given that it was only 1% of a brain, and it took so long to model just one second.  But that would be to ignore the power of exponential increase, as recorded in Moore's Law.  As a comment on Reddit pointed out, applying Moore's Law generates this forecast: Jan 2015 - 20 minutes for 1 second of 1%...

Why did Google buy all those robot companies?

Late last year the internet was lit up by the news that Google had bought eight companies that develop and manufacture robots.  A newsworthy development in itself, but what really got people talking was that Google did its buying very quietly, and didn't explain what it wanted all that robot tech for. The move into robotics wasn't taken lightly.  The (undisclosed) cost of the shopping spree probably wasn't enough to have a perceptible impact on Google's torrential cash flow, but it is significant that one of their key talents runs the new department: Andy Rubin, who was responsible for establishing...