Thiel Foundation Press Release Quotes Leaders of Singularity Institute, Halcyon Molecular

The Thiel Foundation recently formally announced the “20 Under 20″ initiative:

SAN FRANCISCO, Sept. 29 /PRNewswire/ — Warning that America’s long-term economic prospects are uncertain without radical innovation in technology, Peter Thiel this week launched the Thiel Fellowship to foster the next generation of tech visionaries.

“Our world needs more breakthrough technologies,” said Thiel. “From Facebook to SpaceX to Halcyon Molecular, some of the world’s most transformational technologies were created by people who stopped out of school because they had ideas that couldn’t wait until graduation. This fellowship will encourage the most brilliant and promising young people not to wait on their ideas, either. The Thiel Fellows will change the world and call it a senior thesis.”

The Thiel Foundation will award 20 people under 20 years old cash grants of $100,000 to further their innovative scientific and technical ideas. In addition, over a two year period, Peter Thiel’s network of tech entrepreneurs and philanthropists–drawn from PayPal, Facebook, Palantir Technologies, Founders Fund, the Singularity Institute, and others–will teach the recipients about creating disruptive technologies and offer mentorship, employment …

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Stephen Omohundro: The Basic AI Drives

More info on Stephen, thank you commenter Bettina:

Stephen Omohundro http://selfawaresystems.com/

Via Wikipedia:

He graduated from Stanford University with degrees in Physics and Mathematics. He received a Ph.D. in Physics from the University of California, Berkeley and published the book Geometric Perturbation Theory in Physics based on his thesis.

At Thinking Machines Corporation, he developed Star Lisp, the first programming language for the Connection Machine, with Cliff Lasser. From 1986 to 1988, he was an Assistant Professor of Computer science at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and cofounder of the Center for Complex Systems Research. He subsequently joined the International Computer Science Institute (ICSI) in Berkeley, California, where he led the development of the object-oriented programming language Sather in 1990 and developed novel neural network and machine learning algorithms. He subsequently was a Research scientist at the NEC Research Institute, working on machine learning and computer vision, and was a co-inventor of U.S. Patent 5,696,964, “Multimedia Database Retrieval System Which Maintains a Posterior Probability Distribution That Each Item in the Database is a Target of …

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Brian Wang: “Molecular Nanotechnology Was Explicitly Excluded from Funding… You Get What You Pay For”

A recent post on Next Big Future responding to Scott Locklin’s recent nanotech-smearing piece, Brian Wang explains why there has been almost no progress on molecular nanotechnology throughout the last 25 years — it hasn’t been funded:

Again there are people complaining that the vision of Eric Drexler was not realized after 25 years since he wrote Engines of Creation and other research papers on molecular nanotechnology.

However, almost no money was spent funding the research and development of molecular nanotechnology. Significant amounts of money were devoted to mostly relabeled chemistry starting in November, 2003.

Locklin (link to his site removed, since he is a flamebaiting troll) gets facts wrong and the target of his outrage is totally misdirected. The billions for NNI were hijacked for the falsely labeled nanotech starting in 2003. It is idiotic to blame Drexler, Merkle, Freitas when they did not get the money.

Locklin and people like him ignored what has been happening for eight years and allowed the funding to be hijacked for what they do not believe is nanotechnology. Now …

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Assorted Links for 9/24/10

Fab Lab bill before Congress Full-bore transhumanist advocacy for brain implants in MIT Technology Review Current decisions shape your future preferences Lifelong exercising yields sensational results Nano antenna increases light capacity 1000 fold Technology Review: Artificial Ovary Could Help Infertile Women Technology in the extreme — radio transmitters that can survive 900 °C (1652 °F) Carbon nanotubes twice as strong as once thought

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Researchers Engineer Adult Stem Cells That Do Not Age

PhysOrg:

(PhysOrg.com) — Biomedical researchers at the University at Buffalo have engineered adult stem cells that scientists can grow continuously in culture, a discovery that could speed development of cost-effective treatments for diseases including heart disease, diabetes, immune disorders and neurodegenerative diseases.

UB scientists created the new cell lines – named “MSC Universal” – by genetically altering mesenchymal stem cells, which are found in bone marrow and can differentiate into cell types including bone, cartilage, muscle, fat, and beta-pancreatic islet cells.

The researchers say the breakthrough overcomes a frustrating barrier to progress in the field of regenerative medicine: The difficulty of growing adult stem cells for clinical applications.

Because mesenchymal stem cells have a limited life span in laboratory cultures, scientists and doctors who use the cells in research and treatments must continuously obtain fresh samples from bone marrow donors, a process both expensive and time-consuming. In addition, mesenchymal stem cells from different donors can vary in performance.

The cells that UB researchers modified show no signs of aging in culture, but otherwise appear to function as regular …

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io9 Continues to Perpetuate Ridiculous “IBM Simulated a Cat Brain” Meme

In a recent post at io9, Esther Inglis-Arkell perpetuates the stupid claim that IBM successfully simulated a cat cortex in a computer, which the site made right after it happened. Doesn’t anyone consider it odd that we have supposedly simulated a cat’s brain, but full-resolution simulations of the brains of lower animals, including insects, are nowhere to be found? There isn’t even a simulation of a flatworm that displays behavioral isomorphism to a real flatworm. Behavioral isomorphism is something we would expect from a real simulation.

That the writers and editors of io9 don’t even question this news item shows that their knowledge of the technology they write about is very poor. This is what happens when you focus too hard on pop culture — there’s no time for real science reading. The end result is poor coverage and the perpetuation of obviously false memes. Perhaps io9 should stick to covering sketches of Wookies and UFOs, and leave science/AI reporting to others.

Shortly after IBM’s announcement, computational neuroscientist Henry Markram at EFPL’s Blue Brain project called …

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Flattering Words from CounterPunch

Quote:

…the singularity movement enjoys nearly universal praise from both conservative and progressive media outlets. Their futurist claims charm bloggers and reporters from across the political spectrum, from Forbes to the Daily Kos, from Wired Magazine to the Huffington Post.

These words make me happy, because Singularity awareness is important to me. It’s relevant to note, however, that the Singularity movement is not a monolith; it contains quite a bit of internal complexity. One side claims that everything is going to be alright and success is more or less inevitable, and another side claims that the “default Singularity” is human extinction, and that urgent measures are required to survive.

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Radio Theologian: “Time is Running Out to Influence Debate on Transhumanism”

Thomas Horn of the Raiders News Network, a radio show, recently issued a statement on ChristianNewsWire titled, “An Open Letter to Christian Leaders on Biotechnology and the Future of Man”. Here’s the beginning of the letter:

Theologian believes time is running out to influence debate on transhumanism

Dear Christian Leader,

In recent years, astonishing technological developments have pushed the frontiers of humanity toward far-reaching morphological transformation that promises in the very near future to redefine what it means to be human. An international, intellectual, and fast-growing cultural movement known as transhumanism, whose vision is supported by a growing list of U.S. military advisors, bioethicists, law professors, and academics, intends the use of biotechnology, genetic engineering, nanotechnology, cybernetics, and artificial intelligence as tools that will radically redesign our minds, our memories, our physiology, our offspring, and even perhaps — as Joel Garreau, in his bestselling book “Radical Evolution”, claims — our very souls.

As a recent taxpayer funded US National Science Foundation Report suggests, the technological, cultural, and metaphysical shift now underway unapologetically forecasts a future dominated …

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Assorted Links for September 15, 2010

Self-taught rocketeer’s backyard is Jetson-like reality Artificial skinlike material 1000 times more sensitive than human skin Advanced Space Launch System would use railgun, scramjet, and rockets Big Think: The Singularity’s Branding Problem 10 minutes could prevent one-third of road deaths American women are happier going to church than shopping on Sundays MJSL2050: Good reasons to hire transhumanists Moral Machines: Survey on Attitudes Regarding Unmanned Systems Telomere breakthrough at Sierra Sciences Katja Grace: Ignorance of non-existent preferences CounterPunch: “If Only Glenn Beck Were a Cyborg” Synthetic Pathogens Might Pose Bioterror Threat, Scientists Warn

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