Rice unveils super-efficient solar-energy technology @ Kurzweilai.netRice University “scientists have unveiled a revolutionary new technology that uses silicon dioxide/gold nanoshells and N115 carbon nanoparticles to convert solar energy directly into steam. The technology has an overall energy efficiency of 24 percent. Photovoltaic solar panels, by comparison, typically have an overall energy efficiency around 15 percent.” Among renewable energies, solar is the one with the most potential for improvement and provide some sort of “bridge” to overcome the coming “Peak Oil” crisis. Most likely it will not be enough though.
“In the case of artificial intelligence, it seems a reasonable prediction that some time in this or the next century intelligence will escape from the constraints of biology,” Cambridge philosophy professor Huw Price said. When that happens, “we’re no longer the smartest things around,” he said, and will risk being at the mercy of “machines that are not malicious, but machines whose interests don’t include us.”
The university said Sunday the center’s launch is planned next year.
Hollywood predicted and warned us about it long ago
Ray Kurzweil is arguably today’s most influential technological visionary. A pioneering inventor and theorist, he has explored for decades how artificial intelligence can enrich and expand human capabilities.
Drawing on the most recent neuroscience research, his own research and inventions in artificial intelligence, and compelling thought experiments, he describes his new theory of how the neocortex, the thinking part of the brain, works: as a self-organizing hierarchical system of “pattern recognizers” (PR). An important and novel aspect of his conceptualization of the machinery of the mind is his idea of the human brain consisting of about 300 million PRs, each one of them being a sort of universal pattern recognition machine, that work together to build the hierarchy of concepts that constitutes the human mind.
In the video Singularity Hub’s Keith Kleiner interviews Ray Kurzweil about his book. In the interview Mr. Kurzweil explains in broad terms his theory of the architecture of the mind and, in the second part of the interview, he explores the philosophical and practical problems and opportunities that the creation of true artificial intelligences, artificial minds, will bring. He now considers his well known prediction of an artificial mind being able to pass the Turing Test by 2029 as” conservative”.