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The future holds a lot of technological marvels, but what happens when perfect robots make humans redundant in the workforce? It's actually already happening, says Neil deGrasse Tyson, and as long as we're more "intellectually nimble" going forward, we don't have to worry about it.
"Yes, robots have already taken over our jobs. So what it means is...If all you think about is the jobs today, and you project forward, there might be a day when robots take over every job we have today," Dr. deGrasse Tyson said. "Is that the future that will come? No, because we have innovative people in society, and we invent new things all the time. These require new jobs to manage them, to invent them, to conceive them, to engineer them."
The World Economics Forum already predicts that 5 million existing jobs will be lost to robots by 2020. That's a pretty big economic disruption, and generally seen as a warning sign by most hard-working people. But deGrasse Tyson says that humanity will be okay, as long as we keep stimulating ourselves intellectually.
Wireless Power Transfer, of Tesla fame, is about to become a reality. His vision of actually transmitting power to charge devices is almost here.
Tesla's original design
Wireless charging is currently limited to simply not having to plug something physically into your phone. You still need to make contact with something, like a pad, to charge that battery. But soon, we'll have true wireless charging, where that precious power is beamed through the air to your device. From a distance.
Scientists from ITMO University and the Giricond Research Institute have just made a pretty substantial breakthrough in transferring power over distances of around 20cm. That might not seem like much, but it's a far cry from having to put your phone down on a Qi pad. And their methods have only a small decrease in power efficiency, with over 80% of the power transmitted being transferred.
Strong evidence suggests a new planet 10 times the size of Earth has been hiding out at the edge of our solar system for...quite some time now. Tentatively named "Planet Nine", it would found in the outer darkness 30.5 billion kilometers from the sun, or about five times farther than Pluto.
Evidence for this possible planet surfaced in 2014 but wasn't strong enough to be taken too seriously. Recently, scientists Konstantin Batygin and Mike Brown at the California Institute of Technology uncovered "anomalies in the orbits of a handful of smaller bodies they can see", indicating they were being "shepherded" by the gravity of a planet. As a result, the likelihood Planet Nine does indeed exist has majorly increased, and the scientific community at large is taking note.
Neurosurgeons and engineers at the Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis and the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have just created an exciting new medical device. An tiny sensor that can send life-saving information wirelessly, then dissolve completely, not requiring surgery to take out.
Their device is made of a polylactic-co-glycolic acid and silicon mixture, making it very safe for humans. It's a huge breakthrough because cranial surgery can be dangerous and risky. Now this tiny little device, which is smaller than the tip of a pencil, can be implanted into key areas in your head to monitor intracranial pressure and temperature, and then just be completely absorbed by the body.
Since these new devices dissolve over time, they avoid a lot of the common complications that can occur. There's very little worry of infection, inflammation or any other kind of triggered immune response that can occur with implants of this kind. That means it can help more people more readily. A lot of lives could potentially be saved by using this device. There's a quoted 50,000 people that die of traumatic brain injuries that go undetected or aren't properly monitored.
Robots are slowly taking over the human population, in factories, retail and service industries - slowly, but surely. But, how much worse can it get? The World Economic Forum has now weighed in, with some estimates.
The WEF says that over 5 million jobs will be lost to robots, with the white-collar workers (admin/office jobs) being the ones most at risk. The WEF surveyed 15 countries that have over 1.9 billion workers - including China, France, Germany, Japan, Mexico, the UK and the US. These 1.9 billion workers make up 65% of the global workforce, with hope that robots won't take over all of our jobs - as people will need to adapt to technology as it arrives.
WEF founder Klaus Schwab and board member Richard Samans explained: "To prevent a worst-case scenario -- technological change accompanied by talent shortages, mass unemployment and growing inequality -- reskilling and upskilling of today's workers will be critical". You can read their full report "The Future of Jobs" here.
Apple has acquired facial recognition and analysis firm Emotient, which features a let's say interesting self-description on its website.
"[Our] company is at the vanguard of a new wave of emotion analysis that will lead to a quantum leap in customer understanding and emotion-aware computing," it reads. "Emotient's cloud-based services deliver direct measurement of a customer's unfiltered emotional response to ads, content, products and customer service or sales interactions."
"The insights gained from Emotient give businesses the ability to make better decisions and accelerate their revenue growth."
The $32 million collaboration between the Google-owned Boston Dynamics team and DARPA has been put on the backburner indefinitely, as the US Marines Corps has decided not to go forward with the LS3 "robotic mule" produced by the project. The main reason: it's too damn loud. Repairs and squad integration were also concerns.
The purpose of the creatures was to carry up to 400lbs worth of equipment, though judging from the look of them, enemy intimidation was part of the appeal as well.
Tim Peake, the first British ESA astronaut on the ISS, seems to have accidentally called the wrong number on Christmas. From space.
Presumably he was trying to reach his family on Christmas day when he accidentally phoned an unknown lady and said "Hello, is this planet Earth?", which he was likely promptly hung-up on. I can't imagine that that wouldn't sound like a prank call to someone on Earth, even if it's an endearing message from anyone who knows who the message was.
But these types of wrong numbers aren't unusual, either. Astronaut Sam Christoforetti has also accidentally called the wrong number while orbiting the Earth, to 911. Though I'm not sure that the police ever responded to let them know the dangers of calling if it's not an emergency.
Columbia University Engineers have successfully created the world's first biologically powered computer chip, which could ultimately usher in a new harmonious union of nature and technology.
Thanks to a new advancement in the field of bioelectronics, the union of man and machine may not be that far away. Researchers at New York's Columbia University have tapped the energy created by a natural biological process to power an integrated CMOS circuit, which is found in common electronics such as cell phones.
"In combining a biological, electronic device with CMOS, we will be able to create new systems not possible with either technology alone," says Ken Shepard, Lau Family Professor of Electrical Engineering who led the study. "We are excited at the prospect of expanding the palette of active devices that will have new functions, such as harvesting energy from ATP, as was done here, or recognizing specific molecules, giving chips the potential to taste and smell. This was quite a unique new direction for us, and it has great potential to give solid state systems new capabilities with biological components."
Stuart Grey has created a great animation that shows a time-lapse of all of the wonderful things we've shot into space. It's gorgeous and downright terrifying if you understand the implications.
Space debris flying around our beautiful blue and green planet is a real threat to us and our future ventures in space. We've put a tremendous amount of stuff into space, and a lot of it is still there. In fact, almost 20,000 pieces of debris, or inactive and non-used space objects are still out there today.
Just imagine what happened in Gravity actually happening in real-life. We track a lot of the stuff up there, but there's just so much that one day it's possible that something will slip through and actually hit a communications satellite or GPS satellite that you're using. Whoops! Thankfully there are some efforts underway to clean some of it up, before it falls into peoples homes.