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'Psychic robot' predicts your intentions

For those worried about the singularity -- that time when computers or robots become smarter than us and start reproducing themselves -- new research out of the University of Illinois at Chicago might be a bit unsettling. Bioengineers there have developed a computer algorithm that can predict your intended actions, even if you accidentally change course.

"We call it a psychic robot," Justin Horowitz, a UIC graduate student research assistant and first author of a study appearing online in the journal PLOS One, said in a statement.

Machines that understand our intentions and override them when appropriate could help keep us safe. They could steer cars back on track in perilous conditions, for example. Or a smart prosthesis could counteract movements that might sabotage a stroke victim's intended movement.

The algorithm out of UIC could be a start. To develop it, Horowitz and his colleagues built a virtual desk. It consisted of a semi-transparent mirror that created the illusion that objects -- reflected from a display above the mirror -- were in the same space as the test subject's real hand, located below the mirror. While reaching for the objects, the test subject's hand was actually gripping the handle of a robot that could measure his movements and apply force, such as a slight nudge.

After the nudge, the robotic arm continued measuring the subject's hand movement but didn't otherwise interfere, Horowitz told CNET's Crave blog.

Using a comparison between nudged and undisturbed paths of movement, the researchers were able to arrive at their algorithm and design a computer model that could effectively predict the intent of the test subjects -- in this case, reaching for the virtual object. The UIC team found that it takes at least one-tenth of a second for a hand to adjust to a disturbance, such as a nudge or turbulence, but a computer is able to perform a calculation much faster than that.

"Say you're reaching for a piece of paper and your hand is bumped mid-reach, your eyes take time to adjust, your nerves take time to process what has happened, your brain takes time to process what has happened and even more time to get a new signal to your hand," said Horowitz, who worked withJames Patton, UIC associate professor of bioengineering, on the study.

The notion of a helpful computer that knows us better than we know ourselves seems comforting. Then again, how much longer will it be till we ask our computer "helper" to do something for us, it overrides our intent and we hear, "I'm sorry Dave, I'm afraid I can't do that"?

Source: http://www.cnet.com/news/psychic-robot-could-predict-your-intentions/

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Founded by Russian entrepreneur Dmitry Itskov in February 2011 with the participation of leading Russian specialists in the field of neural interfaces, robotics, artificial organs and systems.

The main goals of the 2045 Initiative: the creation and realization of a new strategy for the development of humanity which meets global civilization challenges; the creation of optimale conditions promoting the spiritual enlightenment of humanity; and the realization of a new futuristic reality based on 5 principles: high spirituality, high culture, high ethics, high science and high technologies. 

The main science mega-project of the 2045 Initiative aims to create technologies enabling the transfer of a individual’s personality to a more advanced non-biological carrier, and extending life, including to the point of immortality. We devote particular attention to enabling the fullest possible dialogue between the world’s major spiritual traditions, science and society.

A large-scale transformation of humanity, comparable to some of the major spiritual and sci-tech revolutions in history, will require a new strategy. We believe this to be necessary to overcome existing crises, which threaten our planetary habitat and the continued existence of humanity as a species. With the 2045 Initiative, we hope to realize a new strategy for humanity's development, and in so doing, create a more productive, fulfilling, and satisfying future.

The "2045" team is working towards creating an international research center where leading scientists will be engaged in research and development in the fields of anthropomorphic robotics, living systems modeling and brain and consciousness modeling with the goal of transferring one’s individual consciousness to an artificial carrier and achieving cybernetic immortality.

An annual congress "The Global Future 2045" is organized by the Initiative to give platform for discussing mankind's evolutionary strategy based on technologies of cybernetic immortality as well as the possible impact of such technologies on global society, politics and economies of the future.


Future prospects of "2045" Initiative for society


The emergence and widespread use of affordable android "avatars" controlled by a "brain-computer" interface. Coupled with related technologies “avatars’ will give people a number of new features: ability to work in dangerous environments, perform rescue operations, travel in extreme situations etc.
Avatar components will be used in medicine for the rehabilitation of fully or partially disabled patients giving them prosthetic limbs or recover lost senses.


Creation of an autonomous life-support system for the human brain linked to a robot, ‘avatar’, will save people whose body is completely worn out or irreversibly damaged. Any patient with an intact brain will be able to return to a fully functioning  bodily life. Such technologies will  greatly enlarge  the possibility of hybrid bio-electronic devices, thus creating a new IT revolution and will make  all  kinds of superimpositions of electronic and biological systems possible.


Creation of a computer model of the brain and human consciousness  with the subsequent development of means to transfer individual consciousness  onto an artificial carrier. This development will profoundly change the world, it will not only give everyone the possibility of  cybernetic immortality but will also create a friendly artificial intelligence,  expand human capabilities  and provide opportunities for ordinary people to restore or modify their own brain multiple times.  The final result  at this stage can be a real revolution in the understanding of human nature that will completely change the human and technical prospects for humanity.


This is the time when substance-independent minds will receive new bodies with capacities far exceeding those of ordinary humans. A new era for humanity will arrive!  Changes will occur in all spheres of human activity – energy generation, transportation, politics, medicine, psychology, sciences, and so on.

Today it is hard to imagine a future when bodies consisting of nanorobots  will become affordable  and capable of taking any form. It is also hard to imagine body holograms featuring controlled matter. One thing is clear however:  humanity, for the first time in its history, will make a fully managed evolutionary transition and eventually become a new species. Moreover,  prerequisites for a large-scale  expansion into outer space will be created as well.


Key elements of the project in the future

• International social movement
• social network immortal.me
• charitable foundation "Global Future 2045" (Foundation 2045)
• scientific research centre "Immortality"
• business incubator
• University of "Immortality"
• annual award for contribution to the realization of  the project of "Immortality”.

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