Technology Tuesday: July 24th

Welcome to Technology Tuesday! Every week The Job Shop Blog will bring you our 5 top science and technology news stories from around the web.

This week: Figuring out HOW AI thinks, regenerating brain tissue, liquid water on Mars, the return of google glass, and NASA’s 5 martian habitat finalists.


DARPA IS FUNDING RESEARCH INTO FIGURING OUT HOW AI THINKS

Researchers will hold the next wave of artificial intelligences (AI) to the same standard as high school math students everywhere: no credit if you don’t show your work.

On Friday, Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), a Department of Defense (DoD) agency focused on breakthrough technologies, announced its Artificial Intelligence Exploration (AIE) program. This program will streamline the agency’s process for funding AI research and development with a focus on third wave AI technologies — the kinds that can understand and explain how they arrived at an answer.

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LEARNING HOW TO REGENERATE BRAINS FROM GECKOS

We knew that they can regenerate their tails (and spinal cords). But it turns out that geckos can regenerate parts of their brain, too, according to researchers from the University of Guelph. That’s cool for geckos, but it could be cool for us, too; it could signal a new area of research for the treatment of human brain injuries and degeneration. The researchers published their study last month in the journal Scientific Reports.

Because geckos can regenerate various parts of their bodies, the researchers suspected there might be something interesting going on in gecko brains, too. So they injected leopard geckos with a chemical label they could then detect within the DNA of any newly formed cells. This allowed them to see new cells as they turned up in the geckos’ brains.

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HUGE SUBTERRANEAN LAKE OF LIQUID WATER ON MARS

It’s official. There is liquid water on Mars. And not just a little, either. A research team led by Roberto Orosei, a professor at the University of Bologna, has detected a lake of liquid water 20 kilometers (12.4 miles) wide about 1.5 kilometers (.9 miles) below the surface of Mars’ southern ice cap in a region known as Planum Australe. They suspect that dissolved salts from nearby minerals prevent the water from freezing, despite the low temperatures.

They published their research on the Martian lake Wednesday in the journal Science.

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THE RETURN OF GOOGLE GLASS

Jennifer Bennett, a technical director for Google Cloud, announced that Google Glass would be returning. But instead of being a goofy headset that your everyday person can use to covertly record everyday life, it’s geared towards industrial applications. The factory floor is really where people could use some hands-free assistance, and might not mind being goofy while doing it, according to WIRED.

If you’re among those who breathed a sigh of relief when Google decided to stop selling its glasses a few years back, I have good and bad news. Google Glass resurfaced last summer as the newly-retooled “Enterprise Edition.” If you’re wondering why you don’t have one yet, it’s probably because Google has been marketing these gadgets to businesses, not individual people. And, also, unless you work in a factory, you’re probably no longer its ideal clientele.

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NASA’S FIVE FINALISTS FOR THE FUTURE OF MARTIAN HABITATION

We’ve only been to the Moon a handful of times. But we’ve already set our sights on a far more ambitious mission: colonize Mars.

If you believe the hype, it may happen in just a few decades. Elon Musk anticipates that SpaceX’s BFR (big f–king rocket) will take its first handful of passengers to the Red Planet by 2024 — if everything goes according to plan, that is. Mars One’s crew, which will take up permanent residence on Mars, is slated to launch by 2031. NASA is aiming for a similar mission by 2033.

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