Science of the Future

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Transformative potential—and risks—of artificial intelligence

Transformative potential—and risks—of artificial intelligence

[Editor's note: Max Tegmark is a professor of physics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and the author of Life 3.0: ...
Is sexual orientation 'gaydar' detection machine sound or ethical?

Is sexual orientation ‘gaydar’ detection machine sound or ethical?

[Michal Kosinski] decided to show that it was possible to use facial recognition analysis to detect something intimate, something “people ...
Robot's artificial intelligence poses unique concerns

Robot’s artificial intelligence poses unique concerns

Should you be scared by [artificial intelligence]? Based on a lecture I just attended, my answer is: "absolutely, but not ...
Human extinction could come within 5,100 years

Human extinction could come within 5,100 years

Every day, it seems, brings with it fresh new horrors. Mass murder. Catastrophic climate change. Nuclear annihilation. It's all enough to make a ...
Is life-extending modern medicine 'unnatural?'

Is life-extending modern medicine ‘unnatural?’

The word ‘unnatural’ conjures up feelings of doom and dread, and it is unfortunately often used by critics of science ...
Why won’t pharmaceutical companies invest in male birth control?

Why won’t pharmaceutical companies invest in male birth control?

Male birth control is the great promise that never was. We’ve been just a few years away from a male ...
Biohacker: How to genetically modify yourself

Biohacker: How to genetically modify yourself

“What we’ve got here is some DNA, and this is a syringe,” Josiah Zayner tells a room full of synthetic ...
Mass tragedies underscore desperate need for synthetic blood

Mass tragedies underscore desperate need for synthetic blood

Scientists have been working on creating synthetic blood for years now. The hope is that this substance will have a ...
Different types of meditations affect your brain in unique ways

Different types of meditations affect your brain in unique ways

We are used to hearing that meditation is good for the brain, but now it seems that not just any kind ...
Has the evolution of artificial intelligence reached its limits?

Has the evolution of artificial intelligence reached its limits?

But the peculiar thing about deep learning is just how old its key ideas are. Hinton’s breakthrough paper...was published in ...
Data storage may be coming to a molecule near you

Data storage may be coming to a molecule near you

[George Church] and two Harvard colleagues translated an HTML draft of a 50,000-word book on synthetic biology, coauthored by Church, ...
Viewpoint: What are the odds on the future of humanity?

Viewpoint: What are the odds on the future of humanity?

The more we learn about the history of our own world, and the wider solar system, the more we see ...
Who gave humans genital herpes? Maybe this ancient ancestor

Who gave humans genital herpes? Maybe this ancient ancestor

Genital herpes infects about one in six American adults. But who was patient zero, the individual responsible for this irritating scourge? Researchers in ...
Is society ready or willing to embrace an Artificial Intelligence deity?

Is society ready or willing to embrace an Artificial Intelligence deity?

Intranet service? Check. Autonomous motorcycle? Check. Driverless car technology? Check. Obviously the next logical project for a successful Silicon Valley ...
Flu vaccine works better on some younger people—if you have the right genetics

Flu vaccine works better on some younger people—if you have the right genetics

Nine genes are tied to a strong immune response to the flu vaccine in people 35 and under, a new ...
Beyond designer babies: What's the future of ‘bio-modifications’?

Beyond designer babies: What’s the future of ‘bio-modifications’?

Vanderbilt University professor Michael Bess's presentation, “Our Grandchildren Redesigned,” was presented at the Dawn or Doom conference on [September 27]. Bess ...
Modified polio virus could be used as cancer treatment

Modified polio virus could be used as cancer treatment

A protein common on some types of cancer cell turns out to be the same one that in other circumstances ...
Viewpoint: Inequality rooted in social conditions not biology

Viewpoint: Inequality rooted in social conditions not biology

[Editor's note: Michael White is a professor of genetics at Washington University in St. Louis.] America, we've had a long ...
Tubular cell 'highways' could change what we know about cell interactions

Tubular cell ‘highways’ could change what we know about cell interactions

[Researcher Yukiko Yamashita’s] group had been studying how fruit flies maintain their sperm supply and had engineered certain cells involved ...
‘Information bottleneck’ theory could help crack human learning mysteries

‘Information bottleneck’ theory could help crack human learning mysteries

Even as machines known as “deep neural networks” have learned to converse, drive cars, beat video games and Go champions, dream, paint pictures ...
Human embryoids push bioethical boundaries

Human embryoids push bioethical boundaries

Scientists are using stem cells to create clumps of cells that increasingly resemble bits of brain, lungs, or intestine. […] ...
Seeking human consciousness at the cellular level

Seeking human consciousness at the cellular level

To define human consciousness at the neuronal level is among the most difficult of tasks for neuroscience. Still, researchers have ...
Calculating odds of destroying humanity with genetic engineering

Calculating odds of destroying humanity with genetic engineering

How likely is it that humanity will destroy itself? Various scientists have studied this probability, and the basic calculation is ...
Transhumanism and inequality: Enhancing human life could bring dystopian consequences

Transhumanism and inequality: Enhancing human life could bring dystopian consequences

Transhumanism may offer a pathway to an 'engineered paradise,' but there are many perils and pitfalls ahead -- particularly for ...
Embryos aren't female by 'default' after all, study shows

Embryos aren’t female by ‘default’ after all, study shows

Every developing embryo, irrespective of its sex, at one point contains both male and female reproductive tracts, referred to as ...
Modified herpes virus boosts immunotherapy treatment for melanoma

Modified herpes virus boosts immunotherapy treatment for melanoma

In a two-year UCLA-led study, nearly two-thirds of people with advanced melanoma responded positively to a treatment that combines the ...
Armor of tomorrow could be derived from these 3 animals

Armor of tomorrow could be derived from these 3 animals

Scientists are investigating what makes conch shells and fish scales so tough and designing their own versions. They’re even turning to materials ...
Is scientific neutrality being lost to commercialism?

Is scientific neutrality being lost to commercialism?

In the past few decades, the life sciences have been transformed into gigantic bio-technosciences, blurring the boundaries between science and ...