Re-Blog: Futurism Is A Thing. Just Ask A Futurist.


(Originally posted 9/14/2017 on Read With The Gringa)

If my dear readers are anything like the gringa, they are always wondering what the future holds. What goes through your mind? War? Peace? Natural disasters? Space alien invasion? AI revolution and hostile take-over? To know the best theories about the future, all you have to do is ask a futurist. Yeah. Futurism. That’s a thing.

Who else would be a qualified futurist when it comes to tomorrow’s technology than the Director of Engineering for Google? Although the gringa loves how Google synchronizes so many things in life, I do have to admit that sometimes it’s downright creepy. I mean, when my phone starts asking me questions, like, “Do you want your friend’s to know that you’re at the donut store,” I mean, I’m like, “Just mind your own business, phone, okay?” But I digress, Google has a lot to say about what’s in store for the general public as artificial intelligence keeps getting smarter.


Ray Kurzweil, Director of Engineering for Google, wants everyone to mark the year 2029. What’s so important about the year the gringa will be a dowdy, old 61-year-old gal? He expects that to be the year when AI passes a valid Turing test. But what does that mean? What is a Turing test?


In 1950 Alan Turing developed a test that would measure a machine’s ability to exercise intelligence on a level that is indistinguishable from a human. In other words, to pass a credible Turing test means technology has been developed that is so sophisticated, when we engage with another person we will be left wondering if that person is truly human or just a cunningly convincing robot.


If that’s not provocative enough of a benchmark for you, mark the year 2045 on your calendar and hold on to your hats, folks. This is when Kurzweil expects a singularity to occur. But what does that mean? Why is that significant? 


Where basic semantics are concerned, a singularity is simply something that is unique, like a culture. Where space exploration and matter are concerned, it means something that has infinite value, like a black hole. But where humanity and AI are concerned, it means something hair-raising which is why the gringa advises the dear reader to hold on to your hat.


Achieving a singularity with regard to AI and humanity means technology and biology merge, becoming a singular creation, indistinguishable from one another. Now, images from those 1970s TV series about the bionic woman and her male counterpart come to mind. Is that what Kurzweil is talking about? Not exactly.


What he expects is that by 2049 AI will evolve to be smarter than human beings. They will become super-intelligent. When that happens, humans will begin transplanting technology directly into our brains. This means no more logging on or off, we will be perpetually linked with the cloud and constantly having our information updated, backed-up and optimized. Our lives will be digitally enhanced on a biological level 24/7.


In fact, Kurzweil claims that this evolution is already happening. It’s just that when the Turing event happens, things will begin to accelerate. But is there reason to be concerned? Afraid? Well, it seems pointless to fret too much. The genie is already out of the bottle. The best thing to do is to begin preparing humanity for this transition. 

Instead of using scare tactics, causing people to fear the possibility of being enslaved by robots, truth should be shared to put their minds at ease. After all, billions of AIs are already hard at work right now. So far, they haven’t banded together and waged war against humanity. 


Instead, AIs are helping humans improve the lives of all mankind. They are empowering humans to overcome serious medical disabilities. And when humans are able to hook-up their neocortex to the cloud, AIs will become our intellectual partners, sharing their super-intelligence with us.


What’s to fear about fellow humans who are smarter, funnier, and more creative? What’s to fear from humans that will finally be able to grasp complex science and histories that once baffled them? What’s not to love about a cybernetic cure for diseases like Parkinson’s? 


So, the gringa is looking forward to the day when I can make an appointment with my doctor to fix the epilepsy that challenges my life every single day. I look forward to less pain. I eagerly anticipate more emotional stability. Being able to scuba dive or climb the Alps without the experience resulting in my death is the gringa’s idea of real freedom. 


Even if I am an old lady by the time the 2030’s and 2040’s roll around and make this kind of technology available, to live epilepsy free if only for a single day is worth it. The gringa may find that adventure even more exciting than flying to Mars.


Source: Futurism


Image Credit: Artist


Video Credit: Cosmology Today

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The Story Of America Thru Social Media


(Originally posted 7/18/2017 on Read With The Gringa)

If any of the dear readers of the gringa are active on social media platforms, then you are familiar with term “top influencers”. But have you ever stopped to think about what this says about American society? Well, to see who is at the top of their game in the industries of entertainment, travel, gaming, fitness, beauty, and home life, just take a look at the data comprised by Forbes so far.

Other industries like fashion, comedy, parenting, food, sports, technology and business will be reported on in the fall. But for now, this is what social media reflects about American culture:

Entertainment: Canadian vlogger, Lilly Singh, commands a YouTube audience of 11 million, has conducted a 27-city worldwide tour and has a book on the New York Times bestseller list. What does she stand for? Although comedy is her main game, she also performs hip-hop, bhangra dance, does impressions and has done a bit of acting.

The top 10 influencers in social media entertainment collectively have:

– nearly 89 million Instagram followers,

– more than 33 million Twitter followers,

– nearly 50 million likes on Facebook.

Travel: Brian Kelly is earning millions annually. Along with his 20-person team, they help travelers game the system and take advantage of all those elusive points and perks for travel associated with credit cards. In a sense, he is as much an educator as he is a travel czar.

As a whole, the top 10 influencers for the travel industry in social media have:

–          – nearly 11 million Instagram followers

–          – 1.5 million Twitter followers

–          – 2.5 million Facebook likes

–          – 2.6 million YouTube subscribers

Gaming: Just about every American alive today can say that they have been a gamer at some point in their life. The gringa still games. My oldest son is quite impressed with my “bad-ass” high elf avatar on Skyrim. But I digress.

The top influencer for the gaming industry is not the gringa. That acclaim goes to Mark Fischback. His horror genre games have been viewed more than 7 billion times. If you’ve played a zombie game lately, stand and be counted.

Along with his other top 10 gaming influencers, here’s how many social media fanatics are influenced by the entertaining digital escapes they create:

–          – 35 million Instagram followers

–          – 28 million Twitter followers

–          – 11 million Facebook likes

–          – 152 million YouTube Subscriptions

Fitness: Lungers and Lycra lovers have all probably heard of Kayla Itsines who tops the list of social media fitness influencers. Last year her fitness app earned her a tidy $17 mill. She sells out stadiums when she tours and touts 6.6 million followers on Instagram (the gringa is clueless as to who she is – I walk. I don’t sweat. I don’t grind. I don’t do pain and discomfort voluntarily).

She and her other top influencers have a strong following on all the most popular social media sites:

–          – 39.5 million Instagram followers

–          – 2.6 million  Twitter followers

–          – 52 million Facebook likes

–          – 5 million YouTube subscriptions

Beauty: If you like to dabble in contouring and eyebrow shaping, then you have probably enjoyed some video tutorials by Zoe Sugg. She gives cosmetic divas the dish on how to get the best deals on all things make-up. But she’s not just a pretty face. Her novels have broken sales records.

All the top 10 beauty influencers are working to make the world a much lovelier place:

–          – 50 million Instagram followers

–          – 11.6 million Twitter followers

–          – 16.6 million Facebook likes

–          – 46.5 million YouTube subscribers

Home: You might think that house flippers would take center stage. Actually, topping the list for home life influencers is DIY interior designer, Grace Bonney. And independent artisans owe her a world of thanks for making their crafts and trades in greater demand. With a million readers subscribing to her monthly design magazine, even folks who avoid social media like the plague can discover how to spiffy up their digs.

Interior designers that are in hot demand on social media have:

–          – 3.2 million Instagram followers

–          – 890 thousand Twitter followers

–          – 1.4 million Facebook likes

–          – 1 million YouTube subscribers

But what does this tell us about American society that is tuned in and logged on? Well, the American population numbers about 321.5 million as of 2015 US Census data. When we see the total reach of these top influencers as reported by Forbes, in puts things in greater perspective. Granted, many of these followers hail from other countries, but it is still easy to see what it means for America who comprises the largest portion of the numbers:

Entertainment Total Reach: 247 million are influenced by comedy, dance and theater in any format.

Travel Total Reach: 17.4 million are influenced by snagging every travel perk they are owed by their credit card company and then using them.

Gaming Total Reach: 228 million are engaged in blood and mayhem through cyber proxies.

Fitness Total Reach: 106 million are still searching for the Fountain of Youth by way of a fitness guru.

Beauty Total Reach: 135 million are searching for ways to look like a supermodel without breaking the bank.

Home Total Reach: 7.4 million still believe that a beautiful home is where the heart is.

By and large, Americans want to be entertained. Perhaps the jet-setting lifestyle of their favorite celebrities in turn drive them to the top influencers of travel, fitness and beauty. And the gringa supposes that for those who can’t afford to mimic the lifestyles of the rich and famous they worship, the next best thing is to escape into the high drama of a make-believe character of a video game. And then, finally, when reality sets in, they simply decide to make the best with what they’ve got. They settle down to a bit of nesting. And that’s the story of America through the effects of the top influencers of social media.

Source: Forbes

Image Credit: Blue Fountain Media

Video Credit: AsapSCIENCE

Holding Time In Your Hands


What, exactly, is time? A dictionary might define time as continued progress through existence including events from the past, present and future. Or, it might describe time as a form of measurement. But either way, time is not physical. You know, meaning that it has no mass. In other words, it’s not matter that you can hold in your hands, right? Um, the gringa says prepare to have your minds blown. Physicists have gone and done it again. They have created a time crystal. What the heck?


How is a crystal time? Have you ever looked at a crystal under a microscope? Well, check out these images depicting different crystals under a microscopes:


What interests physicists in crystals and how they can be seen as “time” are the repeating patterns and symmetry, called lattices. What is even more interesting is that sometimes crystals will repeat a pattern in several direction yet opt out of other directions. Then there is the curious thing scientists call “symmetry breaking”. That is when there is disruption in a crystal’s spatial symmetry. The reason these unexpected occurrences happen is because a crystal doesn’t exert the same amount of energy in expanding and forming itself in those areas of anomalies.


In case you didn’t catch that “exert the same amount of energy” phrase, let the gringa draw your attention to that. Because that is the most amazing thing about crystals. Because they use energy to grow, a crystal is not just some dead lump of rock. It’s actually a living organic object. Granted, it’s at the lowest rung of the ladder where energy state beings exist, but, in a sense, a crystal is very much “alive”. But what’s that got to do with time?


Well, if a crystal’s physical aspect of symmetry can be seen and disrupted, albeit with a microscope, physicists want to know if a crystal’s temporal symmetry can be made manifest. In other words, convert time into a form of matter that can be touched, seen or held in the hand. Say what?!! Yeah, we’re not talking watch or clock here. We are talking the real, ambiguous, invisible concept of TIME blowing all of our minds by becoming visible and physical.


According to physicists, it’s already been done. The concept is to arrange a bunch of ions in a ring. Then they need to be cooled to bring their energy down to the lowest state possible. Theoretically, this will result in an unbroken ring of ions that are perfectly still.


Now, if the symmetry of the ring is broken, time is disrupted. That is done by rotating the ring. A turn. Kind of like how an orbit around a star marks time for a planet. But, with a crystal, the energy of this rotation can’t be extracted. It has to be conserved in order for temporal symmetry to occur, meaning time repeating itself in consistent cycles. Now, this is the theory. It sounds neat and tidy. Real life is not so simple.


When breaking things down to the quantum level, scientists find that time kind of doesn’t exist. The quantum world doesn’t care about time. When ions are cooled down in a ring on the quantum level, instead of being stationary they spin around and interact. The gringa supposes being friendly in the quantum world is more important than worrying about whether or not you’re late for a meeting. 


So, these cooled, social quantum particles kind of smear themselves about throughout space, willy-nilly, where ever they please. But scientists have discovered that certain things can provoke certain actions, allowing scientists to predict where a quantum particle might show up. This is called “Anderson Localization”, a discovery made in the 1950s.


Scientists today have discovered a particular chain of quantum particles that stick together in their ring pattern. These particles have a magnetization that can be affected by lasers to create certain rates of oscillation. This allowed scientists to measure rates of interaction between the spinning crystals. The scientists zapping these magnetized crystals left them alone to evolve on their own for awhile. They discovered that interactions began occurring at double the rate as before. Because there was nothing driving the particles to interact, since they were being left alone, the only explanation then was that the symmetry of time had been broken. Thus, a time crystal had been created.


It sounds like a lot of hoo-hah to the gringa. What’s the point? What does this mean? Does it have any usefulness? It doesn’t even sound like any of this makes sense. Maybe understanding the properties of this laser affected crystal will help the dear reader and the gringa understand the significance.

  • Changing the frequency of the laser did not change the frequency of the time crystal (remember, all energy beings, humans included, emanate a frequency, including crystals)
  • The crystal’s patterns do not repeat in space, but in time.
  • Once zapped with the laser, the crystals remain in perpetual motion yet contain no energy, which violates one of the fundamental law of physics. Thus time crystals are matter with no energy equilibrium (you know that old physics rule about for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction). Think of it like someone coming along and giving you a push in a swing and you never stop going back and forth.

So, on its most basic level, a time crystal is a form of matter that contains movement that is created without energy. The hope among scientists is that time crystals can become a never-ending energy source and the energy of time crystals can be harvested to power quantum computers. The gringa thinks, then, that “time” crystal is a misleading name. It should be something related to the perpetual energy aspect. Something like “crystal dynamo”. But nobody asked me.

The gringa would really appreciate it, however, if she could use one to power her air conditioner during the Gulf Coast summer season. My electric bills are KILLING me!

Sources: 


Technology Review


Popular Mechanics


APS Physics


Berkeley


Futurism


IFL Science


images:  Xfoor News


Pinterest


K Glyphics


https://www.dreamstime.com/stock-photography-microscopic-view-sucrose-crystals-polarized-light-colorful-recrystallized-table-sugar-crossed-polarizers-image36097622


Video Credit:  Seeker

The Computing Cardigan


How would you like to have a computing cardigan to wear this fall and winter?  Maybe a hi-tech tie is the thing for you. The gringa has already written posts about the future fabrics that will respond to eye contact with movement or will provide air conditioner features. The next innovation in wearables are computerized clothing. This sounds totally cool to the gringa provided the camera is integrated in the right spot, if you know what I mean!

So what is going to make all of this possible? How will we all be digitally connected through our blouses and jeans and socks? Where exactly WILL that USB port be located? Will I need to plug in my mini-skirt for a charge? Well, don’t worry about power cords poking out of intimate places. This is all going to be made possible with a specialized gel. And, no, the gringa’s not talking about gummy bear styled outerwear.

The advanced technology has two potential markets: smart clothing for humans and smart skin for robots. Since my dear readers are most likely human, the gringa’s gonna stick with the smart clothing angle. So good-bye silicone-based laptop and hello gel-based jumpsuit.

Now how this gel works boggles the gringa’s mind. Developers at the University of Pittsburgh have created a gel that can recognize patterns as a way of solving problems. Rather than being powered by electricity it is powered by chemicals that cause reactions of oscillations. In other words, the gel is like a beating heart. Chemicals react, this causes a wiggly sensation, and, VOILA, energy is created to power the electronic device that is also a t-shirt. This is the advent of bionic clothing that can think. The fabric is a computer.

Now what would life be like for people who can wear their computer? Well, for one thing, hopefully you will never misplace your smartphone again. If you did, that would mean you were running amok naked. It might also do away with people ignoring other people as they stare like zombies into their devices. Perhaps we would become more engaged, scrolling one another’s tummies and backsides. Stroking a loved one’s arm could take on a whole new meaning, like finding out where the restaurant is located.

So when can we expect to see bionic clothing in our local retailers? Well, right now it is in the earliest stages of development. In fact, much of the claims of what smart gel-based fabric can do is only theory. But the first advent of the concept will be fitness trackers integrated into sportswear. The gringa is hoping, however, that by the time she can afford to go to China for that trip to outer space at their theme park, she may be sporting a new outfit purchased just for the occasion. Then, hopefully, I can live-stream my adventure and post a video to the blog. Provided, of course, that the camera is mounted in the RIGHT SPOT! I haven’t decided just yet whether I might prefer a wristband camera for a Spider-Man effect while recording or a collar mounted camera so I can be hands-free. Tricky, tricky, tricky.

Sources:  www.engineering.pitt.edu

www.livescience.com

advances.sciencemag.org

Image Credit: chopra-m.blogspot.com