Intelligence

CIA said to back study on ways to hack the global climate

Publication: NBC News   Date: July 18, 2013   View Article

The U.S. intelligence community is helping to fund a study that is evaluating ways to cool the global climate, including proposals to pump the skies full of sunlight reflecting particles and build machines that vacuum greenhouse gases from the atmosphere.

A final report is tentatively scheduled for release in the spring or summer of 2014 by the National Academy of Sciences, which has convened a committee of science and policy experts to study the issue.

Robot learns to recognize objects on its own

Publication: NBC News   Date: May 8, 2013   View Article

When all the humans went home for the day, a personal-assistant robot under development in a university lab recently built digital images of a pineapple and a bag of bagels that were inadvertently left on a table – and figured out how it could lift them.

The researchers didn’t even know the objects were in the room.

Instead of being frightened at their robot’s independent streak, the researchers point to the feat as a highlight in their quest to build machines that can fetch items and microwave meals for people who have limited mobility or are, ahem, too busy with other chores.

Big Brother? Homes, cities to watch, interact with you

Publication: msnbc.com   Date: March 31, 2012   View Article

Our homes and cities may soon be filled with sensors and tiny, energy-sipping computers that watch our every move in order, we hope, to enrich our lives and lower our impact on the environment, according to researchers working in the field of “ambient intelligence.”

While there’s a creepy Big Brother element to our houses and cities watching, learning, and interacting with our every move, the smart homes and cities of the future are really just the next frontier in our already sensor-rich and hyper-connected world.

3-D model of rat brain circuit created

Publication: msnbc.com   Date: December 8, 2011   View Article

After six years and several million dollars, scientists have created a 3-D model of a rat brain circuit.

The accomplishment is a first step toward creating a complete computer model of the brain that will allow a deeper understanding of how our noggins work — and what causes them to malfunction, according to the scientists behind the feat.

Breakthrough chip mimics human brain function

Publication: msnbc.com   Date: November 17, 2011   View Article

The day that computers outsmart their human overlords may yet lie in the distant future, but a new computer chip that mimics the basis of learning and memory in the brain is a critical step towards that moment.

“We are not talking about recreating a whole brain at this point. We have to start with one system,” Chi-Sang Poon, a research scientist in the Harvard-MIT Division of Health Sciences and Technology, told me Wednesday.

Software taps human brains

Publication: msnbc.com   Date: August 29, 2011   View Article

Computers may eventually outsmart human intelligence, but for now they’re just finally getting smart enough to ask humans for help.

That’s the basic idea behind MobileWorks, a startup that is weaving crowdsourcing capability into computer software. Crowdsourcing is the concept of putting out a question to your social network to help solve a problem.

IBM unveils brain-like chip

Publication: msnbc.com   Date: August 18, 2011   View Article

Computer chips with worm-like intelligence were unveiled today by researchers at IBM, a breakthrough, they say, on the road to creating computers that function like the human brain.

For now, achieving the goal of human-like intelligence in a computer with the size and power needs of our brains is a long ways off, Dharmendra Modha, the researcher leading the project, told me, but the chips he held as we spoke were proof that a “new generation” of computers are in the offing.

“It is IBM’s first cognitive computer core that brings together computation in the form of neurons, memory in the form of synapses and communication in the form of axons,” he said.

© 2008-2010 Collected Writings By John Roach