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

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

How Industrial Systems Are Turning into Digital Services

To some, ball bearings are boring, even though these small steel spheres are what keep everything from factory machines and wind turbines as well as cars, trucks, planes, and trains moving smoothly and safely. But to Sweden-based SKF Group — the leading company in the $76 billion global market for …

Internet of Things

Three ways the world’s power mix is about to change

Big changes are afoot for the energy sector in the next 25 years. Coal and gas are headed out and solar and wind are rushing to take their place on a multi-trillion dollar investment bonanza, according to a new report from Bloomberg New Energy Finance that scopes out the power generating landscape …

Energy

Oslo Creates World's First 'Highway' to Protect Endangered Bees

Oslo: From flower emblazoned cemeteries to rooftop gardens and balconies, Norway's capital Oslo is creating a "bee highway" to protect endangered …

Environment

Tsipras’s shock call for vote on Greek bailout sets day of destiny for Europe

Five years of wrenching austerity that have left many Greeks traumatised and pauperised are about to get a lot worse.

Creditor governments meeting in Brussels on Saturday night pledged to halt Greece’s bailout on Tuesday after the leftwing government abandoned five months of negotiations with its …

Bailouts

Where Is The Internet-Of-Things Being Invented? Not In Silicon Valley

The emerging consensus view of humanity’s imminent future is that just about everything will soon be interconnected with just about everything else.

In a recent report on Digital Life in 2025, the Pew Research Center’s Internet Project predicted that the internet would soon become a “global, …

Silicon Valley

Banks are seriously worried about startups like TransferWise and are desperately trying to 'hedge'

Banks are facing a huge wave of competition from financial technology, or fintech, startups who are eating away at various parts of their business by using technology to do the job faster, cheaper and better.

One of the highest profile areas of attack on the banks has been in the international money …

Money

Inside the race to create the next generation of satellite internet

Is the sky big enough for two multi-billion dollar satellite internet projects? In the next two years, we’ll find out if entrepreneurs driven by human betterment—one looking up at the heavens and humanity’s future, the other looking down to the earth’s neediest—can share a shot at creating the next …

Satellites

Insurance Agents Are Pretty Freaked Out About Climate Change

Lloyd's prepares "an exploration" of apocalyptic scenarios

Rarely does a document prepared by an insurance group read like an apocalyptic screenplay. But it does happen. In this case, Lloyds, a storied insurance market put out a report outlining the potential global meltdown that could occur if …

Climate Change

This startup pays young people in Africa to learn to code and connects them with Fortune 500 companies

Africa has the largest pool of untapped tech talent in the world, according to Jeremy Johnson.

The 31-year old says that for two reasons:

Human brilliance is evenly distributed around the world, but opportunity isn't.
• There are four jobs for every software developer in the U.S.

Johnson's solution is …

Startups

Researchers develop a new means of killing harmful bacteria

The global rise in antibiotic resistance is a growing threat to public health, damaging our ability to fight deadly infections such as …

Life Sciences

All 3 of Elon Musk's companies are in MIT's list of the 50 smartest businesses

The MIT Tech Review has compiled a list of the 50 “smartest” companies in the world. Elon Musk’s Tesla tops the list, while the Chinese mobile and wearables upstart Xiaomi comes in second.

The Review gives Tesla props for its new line of batteries “in service of a big goal: remaking the energy grid …

Elon Musk

There is a $12 trillion revolution taking place in the energy market

After years of anticipation, the renewable energy revolution is finally here.

Solar energy is poised to become the dominant player in electricity markets worldwide moving forward, capturing a large share of the expected $12 trillion in investment between now and 2040, according to a new report from …

Energy

China’s Dangerous Game

The country's intensifying efforts to redraw maritime borders have its neighbors, and the U.S., fearing war. But does the aggression reflect a government growing in power—or one facing a crisis of legitimacy?

In the tranquil harbors that dot the coastline of Palawan, a sword-shaped island in the …

International Relations

Dutch government ordered to cut carbon emissions in landmark ruling

A court in The Hague has ordered the Dutch government to cut its emissions by at least 25% within five years, in a landmark ruling expected to cause ripples around the world.

To cheers and hoots from climate campaigners in court, three judges ruled that government plans to cut emissions by just …

UK Politics

Report Suggests Young People May Abandon Social Media If Privacy Breaches Continue

With all of the revelations of data snooping and privacy violations at the hands of government agencies and clandestine hacker groups, a new report suggests young people are having buyer’s remorse regarding the amount of social media accounts they’ve poured their life details into.

In a report …

Social Media

DARPA: We Are Engineering the Organisms That Will Terraform Mars

It’s no secret that the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency is investing heavily in genetic engineering and synthetic biology. Whether that excites or terrifies you depends on how you feel about the military engineering totally new life forms. If you’re in the excitement camp, however, here’s …

Mars

AI’s Next Frontier: Machines That Understand Language

The AI startup MetaMind has published new research detailing a neural networking system that uses a kind of artificial short-term memory to answer a …

Artificial Intelligence

How to learn 30 languages

Some people can speak a seemingly impossible number of tongues. How do they manage it, asks David Robson, and what can we learn from them?

Out on a sunny Berlin balcony, Tim Keeley and Daniel Krasa are firing words like bullets at each other. First German, then Hindi, Nepali, Polish, Croatian, …

Linguistics

Japanese Paper-Cutting Is The Future Of Flexible, Bendable Gadgets

The University of Michigan figured out a way to cut circuit boards in such a way that they bend and flex without breaking.

Ever wonder why all our gadgets are rigid rectangles? It doesn't have anything to do with the outside of the device, but the inside. Electronics are full of conductive sheets, …

University of Michigan

Synapses Last as Long as the Memories They Hold

A new study confirms that synapses between hippocampal neurons remain for the duration of an episodic memory.

Google Partners With Broad Institute Of MIT And Harvard To Bring Genome Analysis Tool To Its Cloud Platform

Google today announced that it has partnered with the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard to launch a limited alpha of the institute’s Genome Analysis Toolkit (GATK) on Google’s Cloud Platform and make it available as a service. The software, which was developed by the Broad Institute and helps …

Google

Google’s Next Moonshot: Lining City Streets With Wi-Fi Hubs

Google's new Sidewalk Labs wants to bring free public Wi-Fi projects to cities around the world.The post Google’s Next Moonshot: Lining City Streets …

Google

Ford Is Now Using Carbon3D’s CLIP 3D Printers With Astonishing Results While Researching New Materials

The Silicon Valley startup, Carbon3D, has been in the headlines a lot lately. Following their launch out of stealth mode earlier in the year with …

Manufacturing

Wal-Mart CEO reveals how the company could eliminate the worst part of shopping

Wal-Mart is testing a revolutionary barcode technology that could eliminate long lines at checkout registers.

The technology is called invisible watermarking, and it allows scanners to read barcodes from anywhere on a product's packaging, Mike Rogoway at The Oregonian reports.

That drastically speeds …

Barcodes

Rise of the machines: The industrial Internet of Things is taking shape

GUEST:

The next wave of innovation about to wash over the connected world is the industrial Internet of Things (IoT). Beyond smart watches and FitBits, forward-thinking businesses are applying the concept of IoT to complex, psychical machinery, like jet engines and locomotives, to unleash unexpected …

Internet of Things

A New High-Res 3D Printer Can Print Objects Smaller Than Blood Cells

Those telltale layered stripe marks all over a 3D-printed object might soon be a thing of the past thanks to a new high-res printing technique that’s …

Fab Lab