Koert van MensvoortCreative Director
Visualizing the World Economy
IBM Predicts Artificial Intelligence Future
Watson, IBM’s signature artificial-intelligence system, became famous in 2011 for beating Jeopardy! champion Ken Jennings at his own game. But now IBM has much larger plans for it.
At the World of Watson event held last week in New York, Ginni Rometty, the chairman and CEO of IBM, stood on stage in front of a packed room and announced that she was going to make “a bold prediction”.
“In the future, every decision that mankind makes is going to be informed by a cognitive system like Watson,” she said “and our lives will be better for it”.
Plastivore – A Bird that Feeds on Plastic
Imagine humankind would magically disappear from the planet today. We would leave the ruins of cities, roads, cars and… plastics. Since its invention in 1907, plastic steadily worked its way into the geology of Earth. As plastics hardly break down they could survive humankind.
Artist Britt Duppen envisions that, in due time, new species might evolve that could feed on plastic. Her speculative ‘Plastivore’ bird (Latin for ‘plastic eater’, plasticio meaning ‘plastic’ or ‘food that contains particles of plastic’ and vorare meaning ‘to devour’) thrives on a diet of fungi and plastics.
MyWebwill Dead Before its Subscribers
Nowadays we live a large part of our lives online, but what happens to our digital identity after we are gone? Five years ago we wrote about a tech startup that serves your online wishes after dead. The company MyWebwill helped you to manage your digital afterlife. Unfortunately the company itself has now deceased.
Solar Eclipse May Impact Power Supply Due to Increased Use of Solar Panels
For the first time in human history a solar eclipse is expected to impact our electrical power supply systems. Not because the forthcoming eclipse of 20th march 2015 is bigger or longer lasting than earlier solar eclipses, but rather due to the increased use of solar energy for power supply.
Back in 1999, around the time of the last large solar eclipse in Europe, solar power covered just 0.1 per cent of all the electricity produced in Europe from renewable energy sources. Since then solar power generation increased to at least 10.5 per cent as countries subsidize green power to meet EU renewable energy targets.
In Vitro Meat Godfather Dies at Age of 91
Dutch researcher and entrepreneur, Willem van Eelen, has died in Amsterdam on the 24th of February 2015. Van Eelen was born in 1923, the son of a doctor, and a child of colonial privilege. After suffering starvation in a Japanese P.O.W. camp during the second World War, Van Eelen imagined growing meat in the laboratory, late 1940. The idea came to him while attending a scientific lecture on how to preserve meat as a psychology student at the University of Amsterdam.
For more than half a century, Van Eelen relentlessly researched and promoted In Vitro Meat, also known as victimless meat, cultured meat, tubesteak, frankenmeat, shmeat, and test-tube meat. Admitted, he was not the first to envision the idea of growing meat – or muscle tissue – outside of the animal, yet his lasting effort to turn the vision into a reality earned him the title The Godfather of In Vitro Meat.
Meet the Modern Miners
The good people of Motherboard gained access to a massive, secretive Bitcoin mine that is said to make 4050 bitcoins a month, which converts to some 800,000 Euro at the current rate. The mine consists of 3,000 computers specifically build to mine for bitcoins and is based in a re-purposed factory in rural northeast China.
Cities Evolve in Similar Ways as Galaxies
Satellite images of Earth at night evoke ambiguous feelings: While on a ground level our cities appear as purely cultural artifacts, a traveler from outer space might just as well marvel at them as beautifully glowing organic fungi-like structures that sprouted on our planet. Less than a millennium ago, the Earth at night was all dark. Today it is all glowing and blossoming.
Scientists think the laws governing the structure of galaxies in outer space are the same laws underlying the growth of cities. Henry Lin and Abraham Loeb at the Harvard-Smithsonian Centre for Astrophysics have used models for showing how galaxies evolve based on matter density to propose a unifying theory for scaling laws of human populations.
Australians Wake Up One Hour Early Due to System Error in Their Mobile Phones
Customers of the Australian Telecom provider Optus didn’t get as much sleep as they’d hoped last week. Due to incorrectly set switching units in Brisbane, some phones in the state’s south-east automatically switched their time zone.
The glitch meant many woke an hour earlier than usual, leaving not just phone customers but whole households unhappy about rising early.