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For all you AI and Singularity geeks out there, I found this article entitled "How to Build a Mind?" really interesting and intuitive. It is about a new theory that attempts to integrate recent findings from both neuroscience and deep learning. It explains how the hippocampus encodes recent episodic memories of life events, and then plays them back while we sleep in order to "train" the neocortex. This is very similar to the approach used by the folks at DeepMind to teach AlphaGo using a combination of supervised learning and reinforcement learning. In fact, Demis Hassabis, founder of DeepMind, was a co-author on the paper, along with neuroscientist Jay McClelland from Stanford - a former colleague and collaborator of mine during the earlier days of artificial neural networks while we were both at CMU, along with neural net pioneer Geoff Hinton, who is also now at Google. In fact, most of the smartest people I've ever worked with (literally, at least 10 people I can think of off the top of my head) now work at Google... Which reminds me, earlier today I watched a really good video (embedded below) by Demis about DeepMind, AlphaGo and the future of AI. Demis describes in very accessible detail (starting at 28:15) the way AlphaGo works, and how it was trained (by playing against itself millions of times) to beat Lee Se-Dol, one of the world's top human Go players. I predict that DeepMind's approach to the development of artificial general intelligence may actually work, and come to fruition in the next couple decades. That will really make things interesting. I usually shy away from offering investment advice, but for those of you who haven't but can afford to, I recommend investing at least a little of your retirement savings in Google as an insurance policy against technological unemployment. When and if a Google AI steals all the jobs, you'll be glad you did... --Dean https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f71RwCksAmI
And, CBC had an article on the likelihood of a human marrying a robot by 20XX. Future Predictions for 2017-2045 Posted on Jan. 6, 2017, 1:18 p.m. in Industry News Artificial Intelligence Biotechnology Longevity Medical Technology http://www.worldhealth.net/news/future-predictions-2017-2045/ Dr Robert Goldman, Co-Founder & Chairman-World Academy of Anti-Aging Medicine, weighs in with his latest set of predictions for health and technology. Future Predictions for 2017-2045 It is estimated that the doubling time of medical knowledge in 1950 was 50 years; in 1980, 7 years; and in 2010, 3.5 years. In 2020 it is projected to be 0.2 years—just 73 days. Computer power is doubling every 18 months, so massive increases in scope and scale. Once nanotechnology and nano circuitry, stem cells, and genetic engineering, come on board, the world as we know it will be unrecognizable. Get ready for the first complete synthetic human brain, moon mining, chips implanted in our brains, self-driving cars, trucks and planes, robotic moon bases and maybe even high-speed rail linking London to Beijing. The most popular movie super heroes demonstrate cellular regeneration like 'Wolverine' allowing mutations to enable rapid cellular repair & healing achieving Immortality, or Captain America in 1942 using Hormone Therapy/Steroid Augmentation to become an athletic Super Hero and with Cryonics/suspended animation freezing him into the 21st century. This Brave New World is coming into being faster than we imagined. To have the great jobs and careers of the future, you must embrace and see it before it arrives. Radical Life Extension Billions of dollars have recently flowed into Anti-Aging Medical research, from the likes of Silicon Valley & Biotech Startups chasing after the 'Fountain of Youth', such as Calico (Google), Johnson & Johnson, Human Longevity Inc, Elysium Health, Synthetic Genomics, GlaxoSmithKline / Sinclair, Startup Health, Mayo Clinic, Scripps Research, Roche , Novartis (Rapamycin), AstraZeneca, AbbVie, Pfizer, Sanofi, Medtronic/Covidien, IBM Watson Healthcare, Quest, Apple, Microsoft, Qualcomm, Facebook, Amazon, Novo Nordisk and other giants. They finally realize that Anti-Aging & Regenerative Medicine is the next generation of healthcare -the age of PRACTICAL IMMORTALITY, where lifespans of 120 to 150 in superior health may become commonplace and may be seen as early as 2029. Others such as Oracle co-founder Larry Ellison, for example, has given more than $430 million toward anti-aging research because he finds the quiet acquiescence of mortality “incomprehensible.” XPRIZE entrepreneur Peter H. Diamandis co-founded Human Longevity, which, in conjunction with StartUp Health, launched the Longevity Moonshot, whose mission is “to extend and enhance healthy life by 50+ years and change the face of aging.” Google co-founder Larry Page launched a biotech company called Calico, which aims to extend the human life span by a century. Calling it “a longer-term bet,” Page said he was confident they “can make good progress within reasonable timescales with the right goals and the right people.” PayPal co-founder Peter Thiel created Breakout Labs to fund scientists and start-ups that include some working on achieving immortality, and he invested millions in funding research to treat aging as an engineering problem to be solved at the cellular level by reprogramming cells to stop aging. The anti-aging literature is loaded with technologies to prolong lifespan by 20-40%, at least in lab animals. Interventions such as caloric restriction, rapamycin, stem cells, genetic engineering, nanotechnology and metformin, etc have been studied for decades for their anti-aging capacity. In the past several years, multiple scientific teams demonstrated the rejuvenating powers of young blood. A study published in the esteemed journal Nature found that eliminating senescent cells in aged mice boosted their lifespan by a hefty 30%. Hundreds of anti-aging drugs are now in the pipeline and billions of dollars are being expended to find real answers. The FDA finally recognized 'Aging' as a disorder that the medical community could target and potentially treat, something the American Academy of Ant-Aging Medicine (A4M) (www.Worldhealth.net, www.A4M.com) has been stating for decades. Notes A4M President Dr Ronald Klatz, "'Aging is Not Inevitable' and we are seeing the largest paradigm shift in the history of medicine." We know that lifespan has essentially been going up roughly 1 year in every 4, but healthspan is not going up at anywhere near the same rate. The United States spends 19% GDP on healthcare, most of which is used in the last 6 months of a person’s life. If u want an exciting career, the anti-aging & regenerative medicine marketplace is one to look at seriously. We can no longer practice the 'disease based' medicine of the past...preventative anti-aging & regenerative medicine is the only viable solution to prevent bankrupting of the national budgets due to massive chronic healthcare costs. The Robots are Coming Robotics is a rapidly emerging technology which will penetrate every aspect of business and our daily lives. This will replace massive numbers of manufacturing jobs and manual labor. Japan is expecting one in three of its population to be over the age of 65 by 2030, and one in five to be over 75, creating a major requirement for the care of the elderly. Japan is now using robots to service the elderly. A hotel opened in Japan in 2015 with lifelike robots, called 'Actroids', serving as the check-in staff. Aid assistance in nursing facilities is on the horizon, meaning many of the entry-level jobs in those areas will become obsolete just like bank tellers. Look at the field of Robotics, AI (Artificial Intelligence) and VR (Virtual Reality) technologies for massive growth industries. Coastal Changes Climate change will have a strong economic impact in the future. It is anticipated that by 2050, more than 40% of the world’s population will live under severe water stress, resulting in floods or drought that, combined, can put the economic value of assets at risk to record highs. Becoming efficient with resources is socially responsible and cost beneficial. Organizations need to adapt to increasing regulations controlling energy efficiency, waste, water leakage, urban congestion, transportation efficiency, land degradation, freight impact, and other factors. Allowing employees to work virtually also reduces the need for facilities and helps organizations minimize their carbon footprints. New Energy Sources Where we get our energy from will change dramatically. The U.S. military has pledged to get half its energy from renewable resources by 2020, and the Navy whole-heartedly believes it can turn to 50 percent biofuels by then. It makes political sense not to rely on volatile regions for energy, and this push could mean both cleaner vehicle fleets and a major bump in the competitiveness of biofuels in the market. The strangle hold that Middle Eastern oil holds will soon be an ancient memory. Biofuels and renewable clean energy are growth industries of the future..Oil and coal are on their way out. 3D Print Your Organs and Meat 3D Printable Organs are already in process via 3D “bioprint” organ tissues, a process that involves depositing a “bio-ink” made of cells precisely in layers, resulting in a functional living human tissue for use in the lab. These tissues should be better predictors of drug function than animal models in many cases. In the long-term, this has the potential to pave the way to “printing” human organs, such as kidneys, livers and hearts. By 2020, the goal is to have the technology be broadly used by pharmaceutical companies, resulting in the identification of safer and better drug candidates and fewer failures in clinical trials. ...This same 3D Printed technology via stem cells, is also being applied to meat production for human consumption. (Keith Murphy, CEO of Organovo -World Economic Forum) World Will Get Very Small There is major globalization shift in where business is conducted and is occurring now. McKinsey estimates that half of the world’s largest companies will be headquartered in what are now emerging markets, such as Brazil, India, and eastern European countries. Pressure from global competition and other factors resulted in over 40% of the companies that were in the Fortune 500 in 2000 falling off the list in the next several years. These were replaced largely by new global entrants and technology companies. This will continue to shift to farther parts of the planet. The Job Skills/Info Gap The Job Skills Gap and information Gap is the problem and not that workers are unskilled; it’s that workers don’t know what skills employers need. Technology is already disrupting existing jobs, and creating new jobs that never existed before. In fact, the top 10 in-demand jobs in 2010 did not even exist in 2004. Change is happening so rapidly that 65 percent of today’s grade school kids in the U.S. will end up at jobs that haven’t even been invented yet. If u wish to be competitive you must enhance your tech skill levels for future industries not yet mainstream. (Alexis Ringwald, Cofounder and CEO, LearnUp, -World Economic Forum) Water as a Major Asset Water is an asset not a liability. Driven by global population growth and rising water scarcity, the UN reports that 75 percent of the world’s available freshwater is already polluted. Under-investment in water management is exacerbating the problem, causing serious impacts on human health and the environment. A key challenge is the high capital cost, and high energy requirements, of current wastewater treatment and management systems. Desalination plants will spring up worldwide to create massive needed fresh water from sea ocean water. The ability to use biotechnology to extract resources, such as energy, from waste, and the dropping cost of industrial automation, will begin to change our approach to managing water globally. Rather than a liability, wastewater will be viewed as an environmental resource, providing energy and clean water to communities and industry, and ushering in a truly sustainable and economical approach to managing our water resources. (Matthew Silver, CEO of Cambrian Innovation-World Economic Forum) Super Computers Replacing Your Doctor? Supercomputers with artificial intelligence taking better care of you than your Doctor? IBM Watson has partnered with Celgene to better track negative drug side effects and IBM is applying its cognitive computing AI technology to recommend cancer treatment in rural areas in the U.S., India, and China. For example, IBM Watson could read a patient's electronic medical records, analyze imagery of the cancer, and even look at gene sequencing of the tumor to figure out the optimal treatment plan for a particular person. The IBM Watson programs are able to instantly scan the world's medical literature data for making a diagnosis and treatment plan, so in the future a nurse or tech may be able do a more detailed evaluation than even team of doctors. And coupled with advanced MRI, CT and PET scans, view the inner body in mind boggling ways and even treating cancers and other issues at the microscopic level. This will turn the medical profession on its ear. (Fortune Magazine) The Nanobots are Coming Nanobots (miniaturized robots as small as an atom or electron) could become commonplace and in the future, may even integrate with our brain matter allowing us to merge with computers and the 'Cloud' for a 'Singularity' or merging of our minds with machines & computers. Nanotechnology ("nanotech") is manipulation of matter on an atomic, molecular, and supramolecular scale. The earliest, widespread description of nanotechnology referred to the particular technological goal of precisely manipulating atoms and molecules for fabrication of macroscale products, also now referred to as molecular nanotechnology which is the manipulation of matter with at least one dimension sized from 1 to 100 nanometers and such technologies deal with the special properties of matter which occur below the given size threshold potential applications (including industrial and military). Governments have invested billions of dollars in nanotechnology research and can be as diverse as surface science, organic chemistry, molecular biology, semiconductor physics, microfabrication, molecular engineering, etc. The associated research and applications are equally diverse, ranging from extensions of conventional device physics to completely new approaches based upon molecular self-assembly, from developing new materials with dimensions on the nanoscale, to direct control of matter on the atomic scale. Nanotechnology may be able to create many new materials and devices with a vast range of applications, such as in nanomedicine, nanoelectronics, biomaterialsenergy production, and consumer products. On the other hand, nanotechnology raises many of the same issues as any new technology, including concerns about the toxicity and environmental impact of nanomaterials, and their potential effects on global economics, as well as speculation about various doomsday scenarios. These concerns have led to a debate among advocacy groups and governments on whether special regulation of nanotechnology is warranted.. So with nano circuitry, we may be able to live, basically, in a virtual world — Matrix style....and perhaps even Reincarnate deceased ones virtually and be able to "bring back" those lost through artificial intelligence states some scientists. By the 2030s perhaps we send nanobots into people's brains to extract memories of loved ones. Augment that with a DNA sampling of the deceased, and it may be possible to create a convincing virtual version of somebody who's passed on. This progress is so profound, that within 30 years, computational power of artificial intelligence will be a billion times that of human intelligence, allowing us to upload our minds and maybe even our very souls to a computer, leading to a form of connective 'Singularity', a term created by Google scientist Ray Kurzweil. Even Stephen Hawking thinks it's possible; "I think the brain is like a program in the mind, which is like a computer, so it's theoretically possible to copy the brain on to a computer and so provide a form of life after death," the physicist said. This may in fact lead to virtual bodies like the wild video games and Virtual Reality (VR) and Artificial Intelligence (AI) devices we seeing exploding on the scene: (PopSci.com) Self-Driving Trucks and Cars The push for self-driving cars is not just because motorists would rather let the machine do the work. It’s because taking humans out of equation could mean safer travel and smarter traffic flow. To look forward to how we will drive in 2020 you just have to look back to 1957. The US electricity industry ran a newspaper ad promising a life of leisure in the future with a now iconic image showing a near empty highway and a family in a self-driving car with a glass bubble roof. Instead of worrying about the road ahead, the family are doing what all families do in their downtime apparently — they play dominoes and clearly don’t have a care for skin cancer. When it comes to self-driving cars, the year 2020 doesn’t just mark a vision of the future but a deadline. Nissan and Mercedes-Benz have set 2020 down as when they plan to introduce cars that can navigate city streets without the need for a driver. Volvo, which will soon begin trialling self-driving cars in Australia, has taken that one step further. Back in 2008, Volvo’s lead safety expert Anders Eugensson predicted that “by 2020, nobody shall be seriously injured or killed in a new Volvo”. Since then, Volvo has added some fine print to that bold prediction. Volvo safety expert Trevor Rourke admitted earlier this year that “not even the Pope is infallible” but said the trend was towards zero fatalities by 2020. No matter how attentive a human driver can be, a self-automated car with lasers, radar, sonar and video sensors gives the car the edge in keeping an eye on the road. In many ways Google is leading the charge towards self-driving cars with its autonomous vehicles now having driving nearly 3 million self-autonomous kilometres with only a handful of minor accidents and most of them caused by drivers running into the self-driving car because they are distracted by the Google logo and sensors on the top. But other new players working on autonomous cars include Uber, Tesla and, if the rumours are true, Apple. As Telstra Chief Technology Officer Vish Nandlall says, we’re already down. Driverless Trucks Driverless trucks will be safer and cheaper than their human-controlled counterparts, but that doesn’t mean America’s 3.5 million professional truck drivers are giving up to the machines without a fight. Across the US, truckers collectively haul more than 10 Billion tons of freight each year, but it’s a tough job – the hours are long and lonely, the pay is low and the lifestyle is sedentary. In many ways it’s a job ripe for disruption; robots v truckers. “Picture the taxi drivers around the world acting in response to Uber,” says Andy Stern, the former former president of the Service Employees International Union, referring to protests and violence that erupted in many cities as the $62.5 Billion Silicon Valley on-demand ride-hailing firm challenged conventional, regulated taxis. “Truck drivers will follow a similar pattern,” says Stern. “There will be disruption in different places. You can imagine people ringing state capitals with their trucks.” Much has been written about the advent of the driverless car, with rival versions being developed by Google, Uber and Tesla, yet driverless trucks are likely to roll out at scale much sooner. “Individuals can make their own choices about whether they want to get into a driverless car or taxi, but labour-saving technology will be deployed by businesses much quicker,” explains Stern, whose book Raising the Floor explores the need for a universal basic income as technology replaces jobs. Mining giant Rio Tinto already uses 45 240-ton driverless trucks to move iron ore in two Australian mines, saying it is cheaper and safer than using human drivers. Now the race is on to put driverless trucks on public roads. In May 2015, the first self-driving truck hit the American road in the state of Nevada, and there have been several tests around the world since then including a convoy that drove across Europe to the port of Rotterdam. That convoy used a new automated driving technology called platooning, which connects trucks using Wi-Fi, sensors, GPS and cameras. The leading vehicle dictates speed and direction, while the rest automatically steer, speed up and slow down in close convoy. In San Francisco, former Googlers have launched a startup called Otto, which promises to retrofit vehicles with driverless capabilities for just $30,000. The average trucker’s wage is around $40,000 per year. The potential saving to the freight transportation industry is estimated to be $168 Billion annually. The savings are expected to come from labor ($70 Billion), fuel efficiency ($35 Billion), productivity ($27 Billion) and accidents ($36 Billion), before including any estimates from non-truck freight modes like air and rail. It’s regulation, and not technology that stands in the way of eliminating people from behind the wheel. Although trucking companies are likely to lobby hard for the legal reform so they can save on labor, which represents an estimated 34% of operational costs per mile, Morgan Stanley conservatively estimates that the freight industry could save as $168 Billion annually by harnessing autonomous technology – $70 Billion of which would come from reducing staff. In addition to cost savings, fleets of automatedtrucks could save lives. Crashes involving large trucks killed 3,903 people in the US in 2014, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, and a further 110,000 people were injured. More than 90% of the accidents were caused at least in part by driver error. What next for drivers? Where does this leave the 3.5 million truckers whose livelihoods depend on the need for a human behind the wheel? Truck Driver is not a profession for the future. Internet of Things It’s the simplest of terms that is obsessing the tech industry and confusing the public: The 'Internet of Things'. There are currently 13.4 billion things connected in the world — smartphones, smart TVs, computers, tablets and the odd fridge and robotic vacuum. Juniper Research predicts that figure will reach 38.5 billion by 2020. Technology analysts Telsyte predict the number of connected devices in the average Australian home will jump from the current figure of nine to at least 24 and the internet-enabled white good will become the norm, just as smart TVs are now standard. This is another career growth area in the tech fields. So we either prepare for these future high tech/Info tidal waves and embrace them, or be swept away by them.
All, Sthira has several times (e.g. here) plaintively called for the more widespread application of advances in the burgeoning field of artificial intelligence to the problem of defeating aging. You would think Google-owned Calico would be leading the charge in the arena, and perhaps they are. But Calico's inner workings are quite opaque, and judging by the apparent vaporware status of the glucose-monitoring contact lenses supposedly under development at Verily, that other Google-owned, health technology-focused company, we may be waiting a long time for results from Calico... Fortunately, it appears others in the tech industry are picking up the torch of applying AI to the problem of aging. This announcement talks about a partnership between the Life Extension Foundation (LEF) and Insilico Medicine, a Big Data / AI startup that was spun off from Johns Hopkins University that is focused on applying deep learning to drug discovery. According to the press release, the partnership will focus on discovering "effective nutraceuticals that promote the young healthy state in old tissues and support health and longevity." In a bit more detail: Insilico Medicine will focus on applying advanced signaling pathway activation analysis techniques and deep learning algorithms to find nutraceuticals that mimic the tissue-specific transcriptional response of many known interventions and pathways associated with health and longevity. They will also search for dietary ingredients referred to as "geroprotectors" that mimic the young healthy signaling state in older human tissues. Life Extension will use this information to develop novel nutraceutical products to support health and longevity. While I'm not very optimistic about the prospects of dramatic life extension via pharmacological interventions, it's good to see AI, Big Data and deep learning being applied to "advanced signaling pathway activation analysis". It seems to me that any true longevity breakthrough will require this sort of analysis to help unravel the incredible complexity of human metabolism as it relates to aging, whether it can ultimately be translated into "geroprotector" nutraceuticals or (more likely) not. --Dean