The Press Gazette reports that Google is funding a project to develop robotic generation of news stories. The project will initially target the under-served market for local media stories, with electronic capture of data relevant to selected localities combined. The captured data will then be used to populate templates developed to reflect the types of news that local markets are most likely to generate. Google anticipates that the robot news agency, Radar (Reporters And Data And Robots), will be able to use Artificial Intelligence to create up to 30,000 localized news stories every month in Ireland and the United Kingdom. Google's Digital News Initiative (DNI) is providing funding for the cooperative project with European news publishers.
Robert Heinlein's prescient 1970 science fiction novel I Will Fear No Evil contains this exchange between a store manager of the future and an old-fashioned customer who wants to make a purchase with cash.
“But, Madame—we aren’t set up for cash! I’m not certain we could make change.”
The Wall Street Journal reported this week that Visa plans to begin offering a selected group of restaurants $10,000 apiece to stop taking cash.
Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) just awarded $65 million to six vendors for research into brain-computer interfaces for the agency's Neural Engineering System Design (NESD) program. The goal of the NESD program is to create implantable high-resolution neural interfaces to, among other things, enhance human vision, hearing, and speech through direct precision communications between brains and digital devices.
Phillip Alvelda, the founding program manager of NESD, anticipates the research awards will lead to the development of advanced neural devices capable of interacting with a million or more neurons in parallel. Beyond enabling precision two-way human/computer communications, the brain-computer interface (BCI) research is expected to capture critical data from brain processes and help build better digital emulations of human cognitive processes.
In an article entitled Astronauts Are Going to Fill Outer Space With All Kinds of Weird Fungus, Gizmodo predicts, "Humans will make outer space dirty." In a nutshell, the theory is that humans inevitably carry large numbers of microorganisms in their bodies, and that those microorganisms will colonize the space habitats where people live. According to NASA's Planetary Protection Group, people carry more microbes than human cells. As fungi and other life forms enter new planetary environments along with their human hosts, some of those life forms might be able to adapt to the alien conditions and spread through those environments.
Researchers at The University of Texas at Austin now believe that the best landing spots on Saturn’s moon Titan are likely to be on its large liquid methane lakes such as Kraken Mare, Ligeia Mare, and Punga Mare. The large hydrocarbon pools in Titan's northern polar areas have minimal wave activity, with most waves reaching no higher than a single centimeter, making the larger lakes favorable targets for future probe landings.
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Steven Tinel is an old school science fiction fan & blogger.
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