Google Chairman Says AI Can Solve Population Reduction Goals

TN Note: Google’s chairman is Eric Schmidt, a newly installed member of the Trilateral Commission and a poster child for Technocracy and Transhumanism. His intention is to drive Google’s technology team until it produces tangible results for Transhumanism, which is why his Director of Engineering is Ray Kurzweil.

Google’s chairman thinks artificial intelligence will let scientists solve some of the world’s “hard problems,” like population growth, climate change, human development, and education.

Rapid development in the field of AI means the technology can help scientists understand the links between cause and effect by sifting through vast quantities of information, said Eric Schmidt, executive chairman of Alphabet Inc., the holding company that owns Google.

“AI will play this role to navigate through this and help us.”

 It can also aid companies in designing new, personalized systems. In the future, Schmidt would like to see “Eric and Not-Eric,” he said at a conference in New York, where “Eric” is the flesh-and-blood Schmidt and“not-Eric is this digital thing that helps me.”

Google has been one of the most significant corporate backers of AI. It uses the technology for new businesses, like self-driving cars, and to improve existing ones, such as the Android phone operating system or Google’s search engine. But competition is heating up as Facebook Inc., Microsoft Corp, International Business Machines Corp., Baidu Inc. and others are also plowing resources into research for the technology.

“The power of AI technology is it can solve problems that scale to the whole planet,” Mike Schroepfer, Facebook’s chief technology officer, said at the event.

AI is becoming so influential and important that companies should work together to create standardized approaches, said Schmidt, using similar tools and publishing their research to the academic community.

Read full story here…



Human-Animal Chimeras Are Gestating on U.S. Research Farms

TN Note: TN has warned about wrongful and/or dangerous uses of the new CRISPR technology for editing DNA. In this case, scientists are using CRISPR to mix DNA from different species to produce what are known as “chimeras”. Technocrat scientists push the envelope of science without any regard for the moral or ethical implications of their research. In other words, if they “can”, they “will”, just because they can.

Braving a funding ban put in place by America’s top health agency, some U.S. research centers are moving ahead with attempts to grow human tissue inside pigs and sheep with the goal of creating hearts, livers, or other organs needed for transplants.

The effort to incubate organs in farm animals is ethically charged because it involves adding human cells to animal embryos in ways that could blur the line between species.

Last September, in a reversal of earlier policy, the National Institutes of Health announced it would not support studies involving such “human-animal chimeras” until it had reviewed the scientific and social implications more closely.

The agency, in a statement, said it was worried about the chance that animals’ “cognitive state” could be altered if they ended up with human brain cells.

The NIH action was triggered after it learned that scientists had begun such experiments with support from other funding sources, including from California’s state stem-cell agency. The human-animal mixtures are being created by injecting human stem cells into days-old animal embryos, then gestating these in female livestock.

Based on interviews with three teams, two in California and one in Minnesota, MIT Technology Review estimates that about 20 pregnancies of pig-human or sheep-human chimeras have been established during the last 12 months in the U.S., though so far no scientific paper describing the work has been published, and none of the animals were brought to term.

The extent of the research was disclosed in part during presentations made at the NIH’s Maryland campus in November at the agency’s request. One researcher, Juan Carlos Izpisua Belmonte of the Salk Institute, showed unpublished data on more than a dozen pig embryo containing human cells. Another, from the University of Minnesota, provided photographs of a 62-day-old pig fetus in which the addition of human cells appeared to have reversed a congenital eye defect.

The experiments rely on a cutting-edge fusion of technologies, including recent breakthroughs in stem-cell biology and gene-editing techniques. By modifying genes, scientists can now easily change the DNA in pig or sheep embryos so that they are genetically incapable of forming a specific tissue. Then, by adding stem cells from a person, they hope the human cells will take over the job of forming the missing organ, which could then be harvested from the animal for use in a transplant operation.

“We can make an animal without a heart. We have engineered pigs that lack skeletal muscles and blood vessels,” says Daniel Garry, a cardiologist who leads a chimera project at the University of Minnesota. While such pigs aren’t viable, they can develop properly if a few cells are added from a normal pig embryo. Garry says he’s already melded two pigs in this way and recently won a $1.4 million grant from the U.S. Army, which funds some biomedical research, to try to grow human hearts in swine.

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Americans To Be Issued ‘Threat Calculation Score’ In Surveillance Scheme

TN Note: We warned that this was coming. In a recent article, TN revealed that China is tracking dissenters by assigning a score to each citizen, based on activities, associations, financial and social media posts. (See Technocracy: China Building Huge Citizen Database To Track Dissenters) Now we find that similar technology is being applied in the United States. This is a very dangerous precedent that will be hard to stop because it is providing benefits to law enforcement.

While officers raced to a recent 911 call about a man threatening his ex-girlfriend, a police operator in headquarters consulted software that scored the suspect’s potential for violence the way a bank might run a credit report.

The program scoured billions of data points, including arrest reports, property records, commercial databases, deep Web searches and the man’s social- media postings. It calculated his threat level as the highest of three color-coded scores: a bright red warning.

The man had a firearm conviction and gang associations, so out of caution police called a negotiator. The suspect surrendered, and police said the intelligence helped them make the right call — it turned out he had a gun.

As a national debate has played out over mass surveillance by the National Security Agency, a new generation of technology such as the Beware software being used in Fresno has given local law enforcement officers unprecedented power to peer into the lives of citizens.

Police officials say such tools can provide critical information that can help uncover terrorists or thwart mass shootings, ensure the safety of officers and the public, find suspects, and crack open cases. They say that last year’s attacks in Paris and San Bernardino, Calif., have only underscored the need for such measures.

But the powerful systems also have become flash points for civil libertarians and activists, who say they represent a troubling intrusion on privacy, have been deployed with little public oversight and have potential for abuse or error. Some say laws are needed to protect the public.

In many instances, people have been unaware that the police around them are sweeping up information, and that has spawned controversy. Planes outfitted with cameras filmed protests and unrest in Baltimore and Ferguson, Mo. For years, dozens of departments used devices that can hoover up all cellphone data in an area without search warrants. Authorities in Oregon are facing a federal probe after using social media-monitoring software to keep tabs on Black Lives Matter hashtags.

“This is something that’s been building since September 11,” said Jennifer Lynch, a senior staff attorney at the Electronic Frontier Foundation. “First funding went to the military to develop this technology, and now it has come back to domestic law enforcement. It’s the perfect storm of cheaper and easier-to-use technologies and money from state and federal governments to purchase it.”

Few departments will discuss how — or sometimes if — they are using these tools, but the Fresno police offered a rare glimpse inside a cutting-edge $600,000 nerve center, even as a debate raged in the city over its technology.




Tiny 160-Square-Foot Houses The Future Of Weekend Getaways

TN Note: Short story, but you have to listen to Pete Seegar’s 1963 song, Little Boxes. Was he prophetic, or what?

Sometimes vacations are more trouble than they’re worth. You spend a lot of money, travel far, and leave stressed.

Getaway, a hospitality startup launched in the Harvard Innovation Lab, shakes up that routine by offering tiny houses for rent. Relaxing in the forest reins in the temptation to take day trips or shop, leaving guests to unwind. It’s like camping, but with the creature comforts of home.

The company maintains three 160-square-foot tiny houses in the Massachusetts woods, which guests can book for $99 a night. The location of the homes is top secret, but all are within a two-hour drive of Boston.

Tech Insider spoke with Jon Staff, CEO of Getaway and a Harvard Business School student, to see why tiny houses might be the future of tourism.

Read full story and see all the pictures…




Washington Post: Electric Cars Were Not Worth The Feds $7.5 Billion Investment

TN Note: Forget the hype for just a minute. Has there been a positive result of massive government backing of electric vehicles? No. With the price of oil and gasoline cratering in the last two years, hardly anyone can justify an electric car. Plus, who generates the electricity that fuels the electric cars? Well, its some other conventional power source like nuclear, oil, natural gas, hydro-electric. 

In August 2010, I proposed this wager to a fellow journalist: President Obama’s declared goal was to get 1 million plug-in hybrid and all-electric cars on the road in the United States by 2015. I didn’t think that goal was reachable by 2018, even with the huge subsidies that Obama backed — but if I was wrong about that, I’d buy my colleague a new plug-in hybrid Chevy Volt.

Now the 2015 car-sale data are in; time to review the bidding. Americans bought a record 17.5 million passenger vehicles in the United States, of which116,548 — 0.67 percent — were either plug-in hybrids or all-electrics, according to insideevs.com. That was about 6,500 fewer than in 2014.

Automakers have sold 407,136 electrics (EVs) since they hit the market in 2010. That is 0.16 percent of the 250 million-plus U.S. passenger vehicle fleet. Assuming all are still on the road, carmakers must sell 300,000 this year and next to reach 1 million, or 0.3 percent of the fleet, by 2018.

I like my odds! The problem for EV enthusiasts is not the technology, though EVs still have not cured fundamental consumer concerns such as the fear that the battery will run out on a long trip and leave you stranded — “range anxiety.”

Rather, the limiting factor is, was and will be for years the value proposition: Given the cost of advanced batteries, which has not come down as swiftly as EV boosters assumed, most EVs are still very expensive. Gas savings, however, can’t offset the higher purchase price, even when you factor in the $7,500 federal tax credit EV buyers get.

Unless and until that’s solved, the raison d’etre of electric cars, and of federal policies to favor them — making a significant dent in carbon emissions — will be null and void.

Take the 2016 Chevy Volt, a plug-in hybrid that can go 50 miles or so on battery power before a gas motor kicks in. The Volt’s annual fuel cost (gas and electricity) is $250 less than the yearly gas tab for a comparable Mazda 3, according to the Energy Department.

However, the Volt’s list price (with all the options and after the tax credit) is $3,525 more than a similarly equipped Mazda 3’s. Do the math: The Volt’s gas savings will offset the price differential in 14 years.

Read the full story here…