Posts Tagged ‘tech’

Posted: January 8, 2013 by Wildcat in Uncategorized
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3D Systems, the industrial 3-D printing giant, is expanding its desktop line of printers with the oversized, multicolor-printing CubeX printers. The printers, announced today at CES, promise an oversized print platform that can output objects up to 10.8″ x 10.45″ x 9.5″, more than twice the build volume of printers from other manufacturers such as the Makerbot Replicator 2. The line offers from one to three print heads to allow for colorful printouts, although information about the ability to blend the filaments into additional colors was not released. CubeX appears to be based on 3D Systems’ 3DTouch series of printers, but with various upgrades. In addition to a modified chassis and larger print area, previously only available on the single- and double-head 3DTouch printer, the new machines also use the proprietary smart cartridges 3D Systems uses with entry-level Cube printers, rather than the more common standard spools of filament. These spools trade accessibility for a moisture-inhibiting system that is said to increase shelf life. (via 3D Systems’ Outsized Machine Does Multicolor Prints as Big as Your Head | Wired Design |

Posted: January 7, 2013 by Wildcat in Uncategorized
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WHAT do you get when you cross a fragrance with an actor?

Answer: a smell Gibson.

Groan away, but you should know that this joke was written by a computer. “Smell Gibson” is the C.P.U. child of something called Standup (for System to Augment Non-Speakers’ Dialogue Using Puns), a program that generates punning riddles to help kids with language disabilities increase their verbal skills.

Though it’s not quite Louis C. K., the Standup program, engineered by a team of computer scientists in Scotland, is one of the more successful efforts to emerge from a branch of artificial intelligence known as computational humor, which seeks to model comedy using machines.

As verbal interaction between humans and computers becomes more prominent in daily life — from Siri, Apple’s voice-activated assistant technology, to speech-based search engines to fully automated call centers — demand has grown for “social computers” that can communicate with humans in a natural way. Teaching computers to grapple with humor is a key part of this equation.

“Humor is everywhere in human life,” says the Purdue computer scientist Julia M. Taylor, who helped organize the first-ever United States symposium on the artificial intelligence of humor, in November. If we want a computational system to communicate with human life, it needs to know how to be funny, she says.

As it turns out, this is one of the most challenging tasks in computer science. Like much of language, humor is loaded with abstraction and ambiguity. To understand it, computers need to contend with linguistic sleights like irony, sarcasm, metaphor, idiom and allegory — things that don’t readily translate into ones and zeros.

(keep on reading)

Posted: January 7, 2013 by Wildcat in Uncategorized
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Researchers in Japan have come up with a storage solution to keep your most important data with a method that seems to be drawn directly from the pages of Superman.

Everyone who has gone through the process of upgrading their computer system knows the inevitable task of transferring data involves a certain amount of acceptance that some data will forever be lost.

Saved on storage devices without drives to retrieve the files, or by the deterioration of the storage substrate, data becomes lost.

Even Ray Kurzweil mentions in The Singularity Is Near, how he resorts to paper printouts to save his most important data for the long term.

Now, Japanese storage and electronics company Hitachi has announced that it has come up with a solution that stores data on slivers of quartz glass, keeping important data safe and sound for perhaps as long as hundreds of millions of years. The company’s main research lab has developed a way to etch digital patterns into robust quartz glass with a laser at a data density that is better than compact discs, then read it using an optical microscope. The data is etched at four different layers in the glass using different focal points of the laser. (via 33rd Square | Superman’s Indestructible Data Crystals May Be Possible)

Posted: January 5, 2013 by Wildcat in Uncategorized
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The concept of e-noses – electronic devices which mimic the olfactory systems of mammals and insects – is very intriguing to researchers involved in building better, cheaper and smaller sensor devices (read more: “Nanotechnology electronic noses”). Less well known is the fact that equivalent artificial sensors for taste – electronic tongues – are capable of recognizing dissolved substances (see for instance: “Electronic tongue identifies cava wines”). Conventional electronic tongues utilize pattern recognition for analysis using arrays of synthetic materials such as polymers, artificial membranes and semiconductors, for applications in the food and beverage industries. “Even with current technological advances, e-tongue approaches still cannot mimic the biological features of the human tongue with regard to identifying elusive analytes in complex mixtures, such as food and beverage products,” Tai Hyun Park, a professor in the School of Chemical and Biological Engineering at Seoul National University, tells Nanowerk. Park, together with Professor Jyongsik Jang and their collaborators, have now developed a human bitter-taste receptor as a nanobioelectronic tongue. Reporting their work in a recent issue of Nano Letters (“Human Taste Receptor-Functionalized Field Effect Transistor as a Human-Like Nanobioelectronic Tongue”), they utilized a human taste receptor as a sensing element for mimicking the human taste system and selective detection. (via Researchers develop a human-like nanobioelectronic tongue)

Posted: January 2, 2013 by Wildcat in Uncategorized
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Predicted for 2003 (above): Apple redefined the desktop, laptop, and MP3 player. The next insanely great thing: an LCD arm cuff that includes a PDA, wireless Internet, a mini iPod, and, of course, a phone. The iPhone bracelet’s motion sensor allows you to scroll through apps and files with the flick of a wrist, its clasp holds a digicam for use during video calls, and its wireless ear clip lets you listen and speak to callers. And everything can be done via voice recognition or touchscreen. Talk about the right call. Illustration: Kenn Brown. (via The Future Is Now: What We Imagined for 2013 — 10 Years Ago | Gadget Lab |


Here is an essay version of my notes from Peter Thiel’s recent guest lecture in Stanford Law’s Legal Technology course. As usual, this is not a verbatim transcript. Errors and omissions are my own. Credit for good stuff is Peter’s.

When thinking about the future of the computer age, we…

When thinking about the future of the computer age, we can think of many distant futures where computers do vastly more than humans can do. Whether there will eventually be some sort of superhuman-capable AI remains an open question. Generally speaking, people are probably too skeptical about advances in this area. There’s probably much more potential here than people assume. 

It’s worth distinguishing thinking about the distant future—that is, what could happen in, say, 1,000 years—from thinking about the near future of the next 20 to 50 years. When talking about legal technology, it may be useful to talk first about the distant future, and then rewind to evaluate how our legal system is working and whether there are any changes on the horizon.

Blake Masters: Peter Thiel on The Future of Legal Technology – Notes Essay

Posted: December 29, 2012 by Wildcat in Uncategorized
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Have you ever wondered what the next major input method for smartphones and other devices will be? Well, if this Danish company, The Eye Tribe, is able to achieve its goal, the next big thing might be your gaze. The Eye Tribe is working to build a software that would allow users to interact with their mobile devices just by looking at them. The startup’s work has already enabled it to raise $800,000 in seed funding from European investors, but the company has now got its big break. The Eye Tribe has announced the launch of a $4.4 million project over three years, that will put its eye-control system on smartphones and tablets. Out of the $4.4 million, $2.3 million was provided by the Danish National Advanced Foundation, a Danish government foundation. The foundation will not take an equity stake in the company. (via The Eye Tribe wants to create the first eye-controlled tablet)