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A constant stream of SingularityHub's high-quality articles, read to you via an AI system.

A constant stream of SingularityHub's high-quality articles, read to you via an AI system.


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A constant stream of SingularityHub's high-quality articles, read to you via an AI system.




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Nvidia's New Supercomputer Will Create a 'Digital Twin' of Earth to Fight Climate Change

It’s crunch time on climate change, and companies, governments, philanthropists, and NGOs around the world are starting to take action, be it through donating huge sums of money to the cause, building a database for precise tracking of carbon emissions, creating a plan for a clean hydrogen economy, or advocating for solar geoengineering—among many other initiatives. But according to Nvidia, to really know where and how to take action on climate change, we need more data, better modeling, and...


AI Can Now Model the Molecular Machines That Govern All Life

Thanks to deep learning, the central mysteries of structural biology are falling like dominos. Just last year, DeepMind shocked the biomedical field with AlphaFold, an algorithm that predicts protein structures with jaw-dropping accuracy. The University of Washington (UW) soon unveiled RoseTTAFold, an AI that rivaled AlphaFold in predictive ability. A few weeks later, DeepMind released a near complete catalog of all protein structures in the human body. Together, the teams essentially solved...


Scientists Say We Need to Look Into Hacking the Sun Now—Before It's Too Late

With the pace of emissions reductions looking unlikely to prevent damaging climate change, controversial geoengineering approaches are gaining traction. But aversion to even studying such a drastic option makes it hard to have a sensible conversation, say researchers. Geoengineering refers to large-scale interventions designed to alter the Earth’s climate system in response to global warming. Some have suggested it may end up being a crucial part of the toolbox for tackling global warming,...


Beeple's New NFT Just Sold for $29 Million, and He'll Update It for the Rest of His Life

Just a few months ago, most of us had never heard of an NFT. Even once we figured out what they were, it seemed like maybe they’d be a short-lived fad, a distraction for the tech-savvy to funnel money into as the pandemic dragged on. But it seems NFTs are here to stay. The internet has exploded with digital artwork that’s being bought and sold like crazy; in the third quarter of this year, trading volume of NFTs hit $10.67 billion, a more than 700-percent increase from the second quarter....


These Modular Houses Are Affordable, Carbon Neutral, and Go Up in Just 2 Weeks

House prices have soared during the last year and a half, and the implications aren’t great (unless you’re a homeowner looking just to sell and not buy). Homelessness and housing insecurity have risen dramatically over the course of the pandemic, with millions of people unable to afford to live where they want to, and many unable to afford to live anywhere at all. A supply shortage is just one among many factors contributing to these problems, but it’s a big one; houses take a long time to...


The First Continents Bobbed to the Surface More Than Three Billion Years Ago, Study Shows

Most people know that the land masses on which we all live represent just 30 percent of Earth’s surface, and the rest is covered by oceans. The emergence of the continents was a pivotal moment in the history of life on Earth, not least because they are the humble abode of most humans. But it’s still not clear exactly when these continental landmasses first appeared on Earth, and what tectonic processes built them. Our research, published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences,...


New Spiking Neuromorphic Chip Could Usher in an Era of Highly Efficient AI

When it comes to brain computing, timing is everything. It’s how neurons wire up into circuits. It’s how these circuits process highly complex data, leading to actions that can mean life or death. It’s how our brains can make split-second decisions, even when faced with entirely new circumstances. And we do so without frying the brain from extensive energy consumption. To rephrase, the brain makes an excellent example of an extremely powerful computer to mimic—and computer scientists and...


How Astronauts Could Produce Biofuel on Mars to Power Their Trip Back to Earth

While getting humans to Mars is likely to be one of the grandest challenges humanity has ever undertaken, getting them back could be even tougher. Researchers think sending genetically engineered microbes to the Red Planet could be the solution. Both NASA and SpaceX are mulling human missions to Mars in the coming decades. But carrying enough fuel to make sure it’s a round trip adds a lot of extra weight, which dramatically increases costs and also makes landing on the planet much riskier....


Alphabet Chases Wonder Drugs With DeepMind AI Spinoff Isomorphic Labs

AI research wunderkind, DeepMind, has long been all fun and games. The London-based organization, owned by Google parent company Alphabet, has used deep learning to train algorithms that can take down world champions at the ancient game of Go and top players of the popular strategy video game Starcraft. Then last year, things got serious when DeepMind trounced the competition at a protein folding contest. Predicting the structure of proteins, the complex molecules underpinning all biology,...


This Restaurant Robot Fries Your Food to Perfection With No Human Help

Four and a half years ago, a robot named Flippy made its burger-cooking debut at a fast food restaurant called CaliBurger. The bot consisted of a cart on wheels with an extending arm, complete with a pneumatic pump that let the machine swap between tools: tongs, scrapers, and spatulas. Flippy’s main jobs were pulling raw patties from a stack and placing them on the grill, tracking each burger’s cook time and temperature, and transferring cooked burgers to a plate. This initial iteration of...


GE's New Autonomous Electric Pods Have No Steering Wheel, Pedals, or Cab

Self-driving cars are taking longer to become a reality than many experts predicted. But that doesn’t mean there isn’t steady progress being made; on the contrary, autonomous driving technology is consistently making incremental advancements in all sorts of vehicles, from cars to trucks to buses. Last week, General Electric (GE) and Swedish freight tech company Einride announced a partnership to launch a fleet of autonomous electric trucks. According to the press release, the fleet will be...


Scientists Mapped Every Large Solar Plant on the Planet Using Satellites and Machine Learning

An astonishing 82 percent decrease in the cost of solar photovoltaic (PV) energy since 2010 has given the world a fighting chance to build a zero-emissions energy system which might be less costly than the fossil-fueled system it replaces. The International Energy Agency projects that PV solar generating capacity must grow ten-fold by 2040 if we are to meet the dual tasks of alleviating global poverty and constraining warming to well below 2°C. Critical challenges remain. Solar is...


These Mice Pups Inherited Immunity From Their Parents—But Not Through DNA

The rules of inheritance are supposedly easy. Dad’s DNA mixes with mom’s to generate a new combination. Over time, random mutations will give some individuals better adaptability to the environment. The mutations are selected through generations, and the species becomes stronger. But what if that central dogma is only part of the picture? A new study in Nature Immunology is ruffling feathers in that it re-contextualizes evolution. Mice infected with a non-lethal dose of bacteria, once...


New Optical Switch Is Up to 1,000 Times Faster Than Silicon Transistors

As Moore’s Law slows, people are starting to look for alternatives to the silicon chips we’ve long been reliant on. A new optical switch up to 1,000 times faster than normal transistors could one day form the basis of new computers that use light rather than electricity. The attraction of optical computing is obvious. Unlike the electrons that modern computers rely on, photons travel at the speed of light, and a computer that uses them to process information could theoretically be much...


Animal Evolution: Fossil Discovery Hints First Animals Lived Nearly 900 Million Years Ago

Ever wonder how and when animals swanned onto the evolutionary stage? When, where, and why did animals first appear? What were they like? Life has existed for much of Earth’s 4.5-billion-year history, but for most of that time it consisted exclusively of bacteria. Although scientists have been investigating the evidence of biological evolution for over a century, some parts of the fossil record remain maddeningly enigmatic, and finding evidence of Earth’s earliest animals has been...


This Spooky, Bizarre Haunted House Was Generated by an AI

AI is slowly getting more creative, and as it does it’s raising questions about the nature of creativity itself, who owns works of art made by computers, and whether conscious machines will make art humans can understand. In the spooky spirit of Halloween, one engineer used an AI to produce a very specific, seasonal kind of “art”: a haunted house. It’s not a brick-and-mortar house you can walk through, unfortunately; like so many things these days, it’s virtual, and was created by research...


Deciphering the Philosophers' Stone: How Scientists Cracked a 400-Year-Old Alchemical Cipher

What secret alchemical knowledge could be so important it required sophisticated encryption? The setting was Amsterdam, 2019. A conference organized by the Society for the History of Alchemy and Chemistry had just concluded at the Embassy of the Free Mind, in a lecture hall opened by historical fiction author Dan Brown. At the conference, Science History Institute postdoctoral researcher Megan Piorko presented a curious manuscript belonging to English alchemists John Dee (1527–1608) and his...


This Tiny Personal Aircraft Costs Under $100K and Can Take Off From Your Driveway

From buses to taxis to ambulances, the number and type of vehicles set to take to the skies in the allegedly near future keeps growing. Now another one is joining their ranks, and it seems to defy classification—it’s not a flying car, nor a drone; the closest to an accurate description may be a flying all-terrain vehicle, or the designation its creators have given it, which is a “personal electric aerial vehicle.” And it shares its name with a widely-beloved futuristic cartoon family: the...


Friend or Foe? Single Neurons in the Brain Control Social Interaction, Study Finds

Neurons live in a society, and scientists just found the ones that may allow us to thrive in our own society. Like humans, individual neurons are strikingly unique. Also like humans, they’re constantly in touch with each other. They hook up into neural circuit “friend groups,” break apart when things change, and rewire into new cliques. This flexibility lets their collective society (the brain) and their owners (us) learn about and adapt to an ever-changing world. To rebuild neural circuits,...


Not So Mysterious After All: Researchers Show How to Crack AI’s Black Box

The deep learning neural networks at the heart of modern artificial intelligence are often described as “black boxes” whose inner workings are inscrutable. But new research calls that idea into question, with significant implications for privacy. Unlike traditional software whose functions are predetermined by a developer, neural networks learn how to process or analyze data by training on examples. They do this by continually adjusting the strength of the links between their many neurons....