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By David Forrest | THE FUTURE IS HERE innovationwatch.com ...strategic foresight... ...breakthrough innovations... ...global trends...

This Geek Will Put Reporters Out of Business

Artificial intelligence systems can turn structured data into stories so sophisticated they're indistinguishable from those penned by humans. How robots are taking over the newsroom.

When the science fiction writer William Gibson first looked inside a computer, he was surprised by its antiquated …

Artificial Intelligence

Silicon Valley Wants to Disrupt Your Trash

In a world of on demand everything, consumers have next to no say as to how their garbage is handled. That could soon change.The post Silicon Valley …

Recycling

IBM Watson CTO: Quantum computing could advance artificial intelligence by orders of magnitude

Combining the vast processing power of quantum computers with cognitive computing systems like IBM's Watson will lead to huge advances in artificial …

Intelligence

Why Truck Drivers Could Be The First Casualties Of The Robot Age

Self-driving trucks make so much sense already that it's a scary time to be one of the millions of Americans who depends on the trucking economy.

There are 3.5 million truck drivers in America, 5.2 million people who have non-driving roles in the trucking industry, and millions more who depend on …

Robots

Memory loss in old age breakthrough offers dementia hope, say researchers

Researchers may have found a way to slow down or prevent memory problems that arise in old age and which can become devastating in patients with dementia.

The fresh hope comes from a series of studies in humans and mice that identified a protein which causes memory impairment when it builds up in …

The Brain

California Drought Sends U.S. Water Agency Back to Drawing Board

FOLSOM, Calif. — Drew Lessard stood on top of Folsom Dam and gazed at the Sierra Nevada, which in late spring usually gush enough melting snow into the reservoir to provide water for a million people. But the mountains were bare, and the snowpack to date remains the lowest on measured record.

“If …

Natural Resources

Saab Owner To Build $400 Million Electric Car Factory In China

The Chinese-backed investment group that bought technology and assets from Sweden’s Saab in 2012 now says it plans to build a $400 million factory and R&D unit for electric cars in Tianjin, northeast China.

National Electric Vehicle Sweden (Nevs) held a launching ceremony on Sunday in the Tianjin …

Asia

Tesla Gigafactory on track to begin battery production by the end of 2015 and the Tesla 3 low price coming from batteries and more robotic production

Tesla Motors is on track for initial lithium-ion battery production at the Gigafactory by the end of 2015 and significant production for existing …

Batteries

'Bank of Apple' Moves Closer With New Patent To Kill PayPal, Square

Apple has quietly filed for a new patent which details a person-to-person money transmission method which could potentially grab market share from PayPal and Square, and hit the already beleaguered banking sector struggling to keep up with FinTech.

Apple is already banking on consumers using the …

Patents

Why Elon Musk's Hyperloop may be built overseas before it comes to the US

When Musk first proposed his Hyperloop idea in 2013, he called for it to be built between San Francisco and Los Angeles.

But his futuristic tube travel vision will likely be built far from California first.

While a few US companies are currently working on building smaller-scale Hyperloop systems, a …

Elon Musk

Ford shifting gears as it teases new e-bike, flexible ownership

The annual “Further with Ford” event, held last week in San Francisco and Silicon Valley, has signalled a change for the venerable manufacturer. While this is the fifth time the gathering has taken place, it’s the first to be held outside of company headquarters in Dearborn, Mich.

The reason for the …

Autos (Canada)

Metamaterials that harvest energy almost perfectly from electromagnetic waves

The metasurface used for collecting electromagnetic energy (credit: O.Ramahi/U.Waterloo)

Researchers from the University of Waterloo in Canada have …

Student Develops An Ingenious Building Material That Shapeshifts In Response To Rain

Chao Chen, a product design student at RCA, created a water-reacting laminate that can open when it's sunny and close when it rains.

When Chao Chen had to conduct a materials study during his second term at the Royal College of Art, he found inspiration while walking through London's Hyde Park on a …

Plants

Amazon Scanning Backyards In Seattle, Suggesting Drone Delivery In Its Sights

Amazon.com appears to be taking small steps to develop its drone delivery program and doing so from backyards in its hometown of Seattle.

On Thursday, one observer tweeted that the online retailing giant would be scoping out his property for its Amazon Prime Air program next week.

“Amazon is coming …

Amazon

This quantum dot spectrometer fits on your smartphone

A portable spectrometer small enough to fit inside a smartphone camera could soon be used to diagnose diseases including skin cancer.

As well as diagnosing diseases the portable spectrometer could also be used to analyse urine samples, check pulse and oxygen levels and measure environmental …

Quantum Mechanics

A machine is about to do to cancer treatment what ‘Deep Blue’ did to Garry Kasparov in chess

When world chess champion Garry Kasparov first faced IBM's Deep Blue computer in 1996, he was certain he would win.

"I will beat the machine, whatever happens," he recalled thinking, in a later film about the famous match up. "It's just a machine. Machines are stupid."

But much to Kasparov's horror, …

Cancer

Scientists 'resurrect' gene believed to have helped woolly mammoths tolerate cold

No one has brought a woolly mammoth back from extinction, but a team of scientists has brought back a woolly mammoth gene, discovering that it and others unique to the long-vanished elephant-like beasts probably helped the animals withstand the harsh cold of the Arctic tundra.

The work helps to …

Biology

Bernie Sanders Blasts Greece's Creditors

Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) attacked the International Monetary Fund and European authorities on Wednesday for imposing what he called excessive austerity measures on Greece in negotiations over the country’s debt payments.

“It is unacceptable that the International Monetary Fund and European …

Greece

Nasa's space-age 'boomerang' drone is headed for Mars

Nasa has developed a prototype drone aircraft destined to be the first to fly on Mars.

The Preliminary Research Aerodynamic Design to Land on Mars, or Prandtl-m, is a glider drone that's designed to piggyback on a rover and seek out landing sites for an eventual manned mission on the Red Planet.

The …

Mars

Going Further Faster Together

Rocky Mountain Institute and Carbon War Room merge to speed the energy revolution and create a clean, prosperous, and secure low-carbon future.

When …

Energy

Fracking is using up an increasingly massive amount of water in drought-prone areas

Fracked wells require more than 18 times the amount of water they used to, a new USGS study found

Those who laud fracked natural gas as the Great Green Alternative to other fossil fuels (ahem, David Brooks) are forced to overlook a few glaring inconsistencies regarding the so-called “bridge fuel,” …

Natural Resources

Why Elon Musk is donating millions to make artificial intelligence safer

Tesla’s founder, along with two other organizations, have given $7 million to researchers looking for ways to avoid any problems caused by artificial intelligence.

What do Stephen Hawking, Bill Gates, and Tesla Motors founder Elon Musk have in common?

They all fear that advances in artificial …

Artificial Intelligence

New method can make cheaper solar energy storage

Storing solar energy as hydrogen is a promising way for developing comprehensive renewable energy systems. To accomplish this, traditional solar …

Energy

Are we on the brink of an electric car revolution?

Carlos Ghosn, the fast-talking head of the Renault-Nissan alliance, is not keen to be drawn on targets for electric car sales. A 2011 prediction of 1.5m Renault-Nissan electric vehicles by 2016 turned out to be wildly optimistic. The group just passed the 250,000 mark.

Ghosn was not alone. President …

Electric Vehicles

Could This Machine Push 3-D Printing into the Manufacturing Big Leagues?

An emerging additive manufacturing technology could be fast and cheap enough to compete with conventional methods, but it faces materials-related …

Fabrication

Brazil announces massive reforestation and renewable energy plan with US

Barack Obama and Dilma Rousseff put climate change at the top of their agenda at their bilateral meeting on Tuesday, with the US and Brazil agreeing to obtain up to 20% of their electricity from renewable power by 2030.

Brazil also committed to restoring up to 12m hectares of forest – an area about …

Brazil

A Chinese artificial intelligence program just beat humans in an IQ test

Science just took us a small step closer to HAL 9000.

A new artificial intelligence (AI) program designed by Chinese researchers has beat humans on a verbal IQ test.

Scoring well on the verbal section of the intelligence test has traditionally been a tall order for computers, since words have …

Intelligence

A robot called Hadrian wants to build you a house in two days

A West Australian company has a robot they say can lay 1,000 bricks per hour and build the frame of an average house in under two days.

The robot is still in prototype stage, but Fastbrick Robotics is hoping to bring a commercial machine onto the market within the next couple of years, Mike Pivac, …

Robots

The self-healing concrete that can fix its own cracks

Of all the carbon emitters that surround us every day it’s easy to overlook one of the most ubiquitous: concrete.

The material that builds our buildings, paves our roads and spans our bridges is the most widely produced and consumed material on earth apart from water, according to a WBCSD report. By …

Concrete