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Archive for the 'Complexity' Category

Conference video: New Methods of Exploring, Analyzing, and Predicting Molecular Interactions

Posted by Jim Lewis on October 8th, 2015

Prof. Art Olson discussed how we understand what we cannot see directly, how we integrate data from different sources, and how to develop software tools to move forward.

Surprisingly real value from virtual reality

Posted by Stephanie C on August 21st, 2014

Speaking of big computation, cyberspace isn’t yet as potent as Neal Stephenson portrayed in Snow Crash and subsequent books, but it’s getting there. A new article in the Wall Street Journal online titled Can World of Warcraft Game Skills Help Land a Job? states that some job seekers are adding gaming skills to their resumes [...]

Big computation brings your ideas into 3D

Posted by Stephanie C on August 14th, 2014

What 3D printers are doing to facilitate fabrication, 3D drawing programs are surpassing to facilitate design. As described at, two systems referred to as “powerful” and “spectacular” are being highlighted at the SIGGRAPH 2014 conference in Vancouver this week: True2Form (out of University of British Columbia) brings 2D sketches into 3D (excerpt from SD [...]

Drexler's book tour extends to U.S. May6-9

Posted by Stephanie C on May 4th, 2013

Recently we pointed at a Forbe’s interview with Eric Drexler, in anticipation of his pending new book Radical Abundance. The book  has shipped, and Drexler’s tour schedule now includes a few stops on the coasts of the U.S: New York: May 6th Los Angeles: May 8th & 9th Seattle: May 9th Find exact times and [...]

Can “artificial life” evolve intelligence? An update

Posted by Christine Peterson on August 10th, 2010

An article in New Scientist with the optimistic title “Artificial life forms evolve basic intelligence” gives an update on how two specific examples of computational artificial life is doing in terms of evolving to have more interesting behavior.  An excerpt: Brains that have been evolved with HyperNEAT have millions of connections, yet still perform a [...]

Cellular automata used for 700-bit parallel processing

Posted by Christine Peterson on July 27th, 2010

We’ve received an update on work by our friend Anirban Bandyopadhyay at the National Institute for Materials Science in Tsukuba, Japan.  Here’s the abstract of his recent Nature Physics paper: Modern computers operate at enormous speeds—capable of executing in excess of 1013 instructions per second—but their sequential approach to processing, by which logical operations are [...]

Industrial robot carves metal like butter (video)

Posted by Christine Peterson on April 15th, 2010

From Singularity Hub, 5 Axis Robot Carves Metal Like Butter: Industrial robots are getting precise enough that they’re less like dumb machines and more like automated sculptors producing artwork. Case in point: Daishin’s Seki5-axis mill. The Japanese company celebrated its 50th anniversary last year by using this machine to carve out a full scale motorcycle helmet [...]

U.S. military to use memristors for neural computing

Posted by Christine Peterson on April 1st, 2010

From David Cassel: The military is funding a project to create neural computing using memristors, a sophisticated circuit component which HP Labs describes as a stepping stone to “computers that can make decisions” and “appliances that learn from experience.” In a video, HP researcher R. Stanley Williams explains how his team created the first [...]

Keeping computers from ending science’s reproducibility

Posted by J. Storrs Hall on January 22nd, 2010

From Ars Technica: Nobel Intent, a thought-provoking article on what the prevalence of computational science portends for reproducibility in science: Victoria Stodden is currently at Yale Law School, and she gave a short talk at the recent Science Online meeting in which she discussed the legal aspects of ensuring that the code behind computational tools [...]

Autogenous or autopoietic?

Posted by J. Storrs Hall on January 7th, 2010

Back in April, I wrote: Nanotechnology, the revolutionary technology, was always about the power of self-replication and never only about the very small. The ability of a machine system to make more of itself, or more generally, make its own parts and be able to assemble or replace them as needed, is called autogeny.  There’s [...]

Learning from science

Posted by J. Storrs Hall on December 31st, 2009

There’s a really nice article at Wired about Kevin Dunbar’s research how science is really done and how often scientists get data they didn’t expect. Dunbar knew that scientists often don’t think the way the textbooks say they are supposed to. He suspected that all those philosophers of science — from Aristotle to Karl Popper [...]

Original Sin

Posted by J. Storrs Hall on December 20th, 2009

Mike Treder has a post at IEET that reads like a catechism of the Gaian religion. Now I’m a firm supporter of freedom of religion and Mike has a perfect right to believe what he does and indeed to preach it to whomever will listen. (And besides, Mike is a friend of mine.) But in [...]

Feynman on Climategate

Posted by J. Storrs Hall on December 17th, 2009

We here at Foresight are not particularly interested in climate change — the effects, even if you take the IPCC projections as gospel, are dwarfed by the capability of nanotech (for good or ill).  But we are considerably more concerned about the way science is done, and whether it can reliably find the truth.   So [...]


Posted by J. Storrs Hall on December 16th, 2009

There’s an amusing cartoon at XKCD: … which underlines yet again how amazing the technology is beneath the abilities we take for granted everyday (and put to very ordinary uses). Back in this post: The heavily-loaded takeoff I pointed out that that was likely to be the fate of most of the to-us astounding capabilities [...]

Intelligence and the Chinese Room

Posted by J. Storrs Hall on December 9th, 2009

Michael A. writes: I support the consensus science on intelligence for the sake of promoting truth, but I also must admit that it especially concerns me that the modern denial of the reality of different intelligence levels will cause ethicists and the public to ignore the risks from human-equivalent artificial intelligence. After all, if all [...]

Some Historical Perspective

Posted by J. Storrs Hall on December 5th, 2009

At Bryan Caplan’s blog this morning there was an odd comment that stirred up a 40-year old memory: A single sentence in the Durants’ The Age of Napoleon makes me wonder whether I can trust a word they write on economic policy: The memory is that it was reading another part of the Durant’s Story [...]

Cryonics and Philosophy of Mind

Posted by J. Storrs Hall on December 2nd, 2009

There’s an interesting debate between Bryan Caplan and Robin Hanson on their respective blogs. Caplan writes: … Robin didn’t care about biological survival.  He didn’t need his brain implanted in a cloned body.  He just wanted his neurons preserved well enough to “upload himself” into a computer. To my mind, it was ridiculously easy to [...]

Why raw data are important

Posted by J. Storrs Hall on November 27th, 2009

Raw data are important in validating scientific work. Even so simple an operation as smoothing by time-averaging can have counter-intuitive effects, such as Simpson’s Paradox: For a simple and homey example, here are the batting averages of Derek Jeter and David Justice in 1995, 1996, and 1997: in 1995, Jeter had 12 hits in 48 [...]

Brain mapping and the connectome

Posted by J. Storrs Hall on November 6th, 2009

I’m at the AAAI Fall Symposium session on Biologically Inspired Cognitive Architectures, and there was a really interesting talk by Walter Schneider of Pitt about progress in mapping the nerve bundles that are the “information superhighways” between the various parts of the brain.  You’ll find his slides from last year’s talk on his home page, and [...]

High-tech adoption happening faster, driving economic growth – Ars Technica

Posted by J. Storrs Hall on September 19th, 2009

More on the “is technological change accelerating front, from Ars Technica: High-tech adoption happening faster, driving economic growth – Ars Technica. Some economists have attempted to measure the spread of technology within various nations, and discovered it’s not just our imagination: newer tech is being adopted faster, and appears to account for some of the [...]