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Neural Computation: Markus Meister at TEDxCaltech

Markus Meister is professor of biology at the Caltech. He studied physics in Germany and then at Caltech, where he received his Ph.D. (1987). After postdoctoral research at Stanford, Markus moved to Harvard University, where he held the Jeff C. Tarr Chair in Molecular and Cellular Biology until 2012. Last summer he finally followed the siren song of Southern California and returned to his roots. Markus has been studying how large circuits of nerve cells work. In particular, his research opened a window onto the sophisticated computations performed by the retina. His long-term goal is a framework akin to electronics by which one can understand how structure and function of the neural circuits are related. He received the Lawrence C. Katz Prize for Innovative Research in Neuroscience and the Golden Brain Award for Vision and Brain Research from the Minerva Foundation. In thespirit of ideas worth spreading, TEDx is a program of local, self-organized events that bring people together to share a TED-like experience. At a TEDx event, TEDTalks video and live speakers combine to spark deep discussion and connection in a small group. These local, self-organized events are branded TEDx, where x = independently organized TED event. The TED Conference provides general guidance for the TEDx program, but individual TEDx events are self-organized.* (*Subject to certain rules and regulations) On January 18, 2013, Caltech hosted TEDxCaltech: The Brain, a forward-looking celebration of <b>...</b>
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Cable cars, algae bio-fuel cells, and urban agriculture are sandwiched into just a small slice of Arup's future skyscraper.

Rob Hunt/Arup

The urban buildings of the near-future will be tall, smart, adaptable, responsive, honest, modular, recyclable, clean, and deeply embedded into the systems of their host cities, if an imaginative vision from Arup's Foresight team is anything to judge by. In its evocatively titled It's Alive, Arup (the firm responsible for the structural design of the iconic Sydney Opera House) asks if we can imagine the urban building of the future while simultaneously presenting its take on the matter. The report contains plenty of ideas, albeit briefly stated, so I thought it would be fun to identify some of today's science and technology that has made it into Arup's skyscraper of tomorrow and discuss whether Arup's vision is more grounded in fact or fiction.


Arup's urban building of 2050 Rob Hunt/Arup

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times

Arup's future-scraper is the product of its time; a time 37 years from now that will suck and be awesome in approximately equal measures. Why suck? Because 37 years will see us through to the year 2050, and Arup shares (or perhaps borrows) the OECD's troubling forecast of a warming, overpopulated Earth hungry for, yet deficient in, essential resources. According to this narrative, there will be 9 billion people, with 6.3 billion living in towns and cities.

The good news is that we'll still have iPhones—or their future-proxies, at least. Arup describes the denizens of our future cities as "net-native adults" who have grown up with smart cities, smart clothes, and smart objects. The Internet of Things will be ubiquitous, Arup suggests; presumably to the point that it has been abbreviated simply to "things," the "Internet of" having been long since forgotten.

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TedxVienna - Federico Pistono - Robots Will Steal Your Job, but That's OK

www.tedxvienna.at www.facebook.com Federico Pistono is an author, social entrepreneur, scientific educator, activist, blogger, and aspiring filmmaker. He is author of the book Robots Will Steal Your Job, But That's OK: How to Survive the Economic Collapse and be Happy, which explores the impact that technological advances have on our lives, what it means to be happy, and provides suggestions on how to avoid a systemic collapse. He is Co-Founder of WiFli, a benefit corporation that seeks to provide universal access to information and knowledge via the Internet, for every person on the planet, focusing on the disenfranchised in emerging economies. He has a Bachelor of Science in Computer Science from the University of Verona, he completed the Machine Learning online course at Stanford, and the Graduate Studies Program at Singularity University, NASA Ames Research Center. Federico is an award winning blogger/journalist and Italian Ambassador of Singularity University (having co-founded Axelera). He started social movements and non-profits focused on human rights, anti-corruption, environmental sustainability, and innovation for positive social change through exponential technologies. www.federicopistono.org
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Mind-controlled Machines: Jose del R. Millan at TEDxZurich

The idea of controlling machines not by manual operation, but by mere "thinking" (ie, the brain activity of human subjects) has always fascinated humankind. A brain-machine interface (BMI) makes this truly possible as it monitors the user's brain activity and translates their intentions into actions, such as moving a wheelchair or selecting a letter from a virtual keyboard. The central tenet of a BMI is the capability to distinguish different patterns of brain activity each being associated to a particular intention or mental task. This is a real challenge which is far from being solved! BMI holds a high, perhaps bold, promise: human augmentation through the acquisition of new brain capabilities that will allow us to communicate and interact with our environment directly by "thinking". This is particularly relevant for physically-disabled people but is not limited to them. Yet, how is it possible to fulfill this dream using a "noisy channel" like brain signals? Which are the principles that allow people operate complex brain-controlled robots over long periods of time? Jose del R. Millan is the Defitech Professor at the Ecole Polytechnique Federale de Lausanne (EPFL) where he explores the use of brain signals for multimodal interaction and, in particular, the development of non-invasive brain-controlled robots and neuroprostheses. In this multidisciplinary research effort, Dr. Millán is bringing together his pioneering work on the two fields of brain-machine interfaces <b>...</b>
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Barence writes "When it comes to programming, the classroom is moving online. A new wave of start-ups has burst onto the scene over the last year, bringing interactive lessons and gamification techniques to the subject to make coding trendy again. From Codecademy — and its incredibly successful Code Year initiative — to Khan Academy, Code School and Udacity, online learning is now sophisticated and high-tech — but is it good enough to replace the classroom? 'We are the first five or six chapters in a book,' says Code School's Gregg Pollack in this exploration of online code classes, but with the number of sites and lessons growing by the week that might not be the case for long."

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You’ve just run a marathon in the sweltering August sun and you’re body is overheating. While other runners are gulping down cups of cold water, you calmly plug your forearm into the Glove. Not only does it cool your core temperature down in minutes, it erases muscle fatigue, which enables you to push your body farther and harder. The technology is “equal to or substantially better than steroids … and it’s not illegal,” said one Stanford biologist working on the Glove.

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