Tech

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In the struggle to slow the runaway freight train of humanity’s destructive impact on Earth, scientists are increasingly looking at the role our oceans can play. Teaming up with industry, scientists from the University of Southern California have discovered a ‘kelp elevator’ technique that produces ample seaweed, potentially providing a high-yield biofuel to help wean
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Artificial intelligence (AI) is learning more about how to work with (and on) humans. A recent study has shown how AI can learn to identify vulnerabilities in human habits and behaviours and use them to influence human decision-making. It may seem cliched to say AI is transforming every aspect of the way we live and
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Scientists have developed a new kind of cryogenic computer chip capable of functioning at temperatures so cold, it approaches the theoretical limit of absolute zero. This cryogenic system, called Gooseberry, lays the groundwork for what could be a revolution in quantum computing – enabling a new generation of machines to perform calculations with thousands of
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A robot inspired by the shape and delicate underwater movements of a jellyfish, allowing it to safely explore endangered coral reefs, was unveiled by British scientists on Wednesday. According to research by teams at the universities of Southampton and Edinburgh and published in the journal Science Robotics, the small robot mimics “nature’s most efficient swimmer
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The idea of artificial intelligence overthrowing humankind has been talked about for many decades, and scientists have just delivered their verdict on whether we’d be able to control a high-level computer super-intelligence. The answer? Almost definitely not. The catch is that controlling a super-intelligence far beyond human comprehension would require a simulation of that super-intelligence
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Scientists have just set a new world record for high-temperature sustained plasma with the Korea Superconducting Tokamak Advanced Research (KSTAR) device, reaching an ion temperature of above 100 million degrees Celsius (180 million degrees Fahrenheit) for a period of 20 seconds. Known as Korea’s “artificial sun”, the KSTAR uses magnetic fields to generate and stabilise
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Within the next few decades, according to some experts, we may see the arrival of the next step in the development of artificial intelligence. So-called “artificial general intelligence“, or AGI, will have intellectual capabilities far beyond those of humans. AGI could transform human life for the better, but uncontrolled AGI could also lead to catastrophes
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A team of Chinese scientists have developed the most powerful quantum computer in the world, capable of performing at least one task 100 trillion times faster than the world’s fastest supercomputers. In 2019, Google said it had built the first machine to achieve “quantum supremacy,” the first to outperform the world’s best supercomputers at quantum calculation, Live Science
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A long-standing and incredibly complex scientific problem concerning the structure and behaviour of proteins has been effectively solved by a new artificial intelligence (AI) system, scientists report. DeepMind, the UK-based AI company, has wowed us for years with its parade of ever-advancing neural networks that continually trounce humans at complex games such as chess and
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The Virgin Hyperloop made its first journey carrying passengers Sunday, in a test the company claimed represented a major step forward for the “groundbreaking” technology capable of transporting people at 1,000 kilometers (620 miles) an hour. The Hyperloop is intended to carry passengers in small pods through a vacuum tube, with proponents arguing it could
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A major renewable energy project in Australia billed as the world’s largest solar farm in development has had its proposed location revealed. The AUD$20 billion facility – the heart of an ambitious electricity network called the Australia–ASEAN Power Link – will be built at a remote cattle station in the Northern Territory, roughly halfway between
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Scientists in Japan have developed a paper-based sensor equipped with an array of extremely tiny microneedles, which they say can painlessly penetrate human skin for a quick and easy method of conducting diagnostic tests for conditions like pre-diabetes. Microneedles are super tiny-spikes so small they’re measured in micrometres (one thousandth of a millimetre), designed to
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Plants have a seemingly effortless skill – turning sunlight into energy – and scientists have been working to artificially emulate this photosynthesis process. The ultimate benefits for renewable energy could be huge – and a new approach based on ‘photosheets’ could be the most promising attempt we’ve seen so far. The new device takes CO2, water, and sunlight
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In 2020, we’re sadly used to hearing how disinformation campaigns are being waged to influence people’s thinking, spread fake news, and further political agendas But the same tactics aren’t solely a threat in terms of long-term social manipulation, scientists warn. In a new study, researchers demonstrate that weaponised disinformation campaigns could also hypothetically be exploited to
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Fourteen years after receiving the official go-ahead, scientists on Tuesday began assembling a giant machine in southern France designed to demonstrate that nuclear fusion, the process which powers the Sun, can be a safe and viable energy source on Earth. The groundbreaking multinational experiment, known as the International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor (ITER), has seen components arrive in
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We have developed four-winged bird-like robots, called ornithopters, that can take off and fly with the agility of swifts, hummingbirds and insects. We did this by reverse engineering the aerodynamics and biomechanics of these creatures. Our ornithopters have the potential to outperform and outmanoeuvre existing drone configurations with static wings or propellers. What are ornithopters?
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US officials and scientists have begun laying the groundwork for a more secure “virtually unhackable” internet based on quantum computing technology. At a presentation Thursday, Department of Energy (DOE) officials issued a report that lays out a blueprint strategy for the development of a national quantum internet, using laws of quantum mechanics to transmit information