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10 hours ago, Pamela Galli said:

For children this extreme acceleration of change that we have been experiencing for the last decade or so will be the norm. The rest of us are trying with various levels of success to adapt to it. 

I don't think the young are going to have any more success adapting to change than the rest of us. It's not like we're going to evolve better adaptation or multitasking abilities in less than the next few thousand years. It's true that people who grew up amidst stability will prefer it, and if you never had it, you might not miss it, but that's not an ability. Anxiety disorder diagnoses are on the rise, some of that is improved reporting, but some likely isn't.

And then there's the very short term kind of change that's increasingly challenging us... multitasking. I've been following discussions on this for years, I think public perception isn't tracking the science...


People who are proud of their ability to multitask are probably fooling themselves. Kids, the ones we adults think are handling it better than us, are actually worse. And while I'm supposed to have the female advantage in that department, I think I got robbed. Multitasking just makes me irritable.

Heaven help those who enter a world of accelerating change that demands increased multitasking. Let's hope there's an alternate route ahead.

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3 hours ago, Innula Zenovka said:

That certainly makes sense, but it means both the manufacturer's shareholders and insurers have to be very sure indeed of the product.    In particular, if I'm an insurer, then essentially I'm betting that the self-driving cars won't be involved in accidents for which people who buy my policies are liable.   That's a completely unknown quantity, at least at first, so I'm probably going to want to charge pretty high premiums -- same as I would do for recently-qualified drivers -- to justify the unknown risk I'm taking on.   Or I'll decide to play it safe, and stick to insuring only human drivers for the time being, until I have a better handle on the risks.

What would scare me is that if I'm selling insurance policies to human drivers, I'm worrying about how well or badly individuals are going to drive, and I can set one bad driver off against thousands of my customers whose driving doesn't cost me anything.   If, however, I'm writing insurance policies for self-driving cars, I've got to worry that every single one of a particular model sold with a particular iteration of the software might turn out to be an expensive liability in particular conditions.

You don't have to look hard to find articles predicting dramatic declines in the size of the auto insurance industry as a result of AI...


If it hasn't happened already, there will soon be far more safety data for autonomous cars than has been acquired in the entire history of human driving. So, it may not be the case that insurance companies are facing complete unknowns at first. If there is an unknown, it'll probably be the human reaction to the provably increased safety of autonomous vehicles. We've still got people fighting vaccines. There may be individual cases of harm, but the statistical evidence is overwhelmingly positive. There will be better data for car safety than vaccine safety. I actually think insurance companies might become the driving force behind public acceptance of autonomous vehicles.

It's easy to miscomprehend AI and big data, as they're unlike anything we've ever experienced, or can ever experience. Our sensory systems are simply too limited in scope and bandwidth to compete. Autonomous cars can see in all directions at once and measure with centimeter accuracy. They can communicate with other cars on the road, with the roads themselves and with wide area emergency and traffic monitoring systems. And they can react to all this information 10x faster than we do. And all of this will only get better. Humans are stuck with a glacial pace of evolution, which you can bet isn't feeling much selection pressure from driver performance. AI evolution is accelerating.

I've thought that Ray Kurzweil is a bit nutty. He predicts that machines will begin to achieve/merge with humanity around 2045. He recently predicted that a computer will pass the Turing test by 2029. Elon Musk, Sergey Brin, Larry Paige, Bill Gates and others who are in the thick of it all are expressing both surprise and concern that AI is coming faster than any of them thought possible a few years ago. Kurzweil's looking a bit less nutty.

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On 5/7/2017 at 6:33 PM, Pamela Galli said:

New cars have everything on the steering wheel. Your iPhone apps like iMessage show up on the car screen, and you answer the phone by clicking a button on your steering wheel, eyes on the road. Texts are read to you, and convert your response to text. Radio buttons controlled on steering wheel. Everything is about eyes on the road.

That is what amazes me, my new (ish) car! The technology in this one, as opposed to my last is absolutely astounding! Also, being in the medical field, (nurse) the use of 3D printing is mind blowing.

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6 minutes ago, LittleMe Jewell said:

There are (at least) two fascinating parts of the science in that story. The 3D printing is one, but co-opting cell differentiation is another. Differentiation is one of the most fascinating bits of cell biology to me. That a single stem cell can become any of hundreds of cell types in a creature, based on context, and get it so damned right, is mind boggling. As we're gestating, how do the cells dividing in our left hand know to do so in reverse and at the same rate as in the right? Our left hands knew what our right hands were doing even before we had brains to be amazed by that.

Our ability to synthesize structures that promote useful cell differentiation will be crucial to growing replacement parts in the laboratory. That surely will involve both the discovery and creation of materials (the stuff we print) and geometries (the way we print it). I accidentally found myself in the biomedical world after college and I still think it's the most interesting place to apply technology. We can't go cyborg without this.

I'd never planned to use my ovaries for anything productive and they're now gone, but this is a very welcome development nonetheless. And finally, here's the opening sentence of the story...

"An all-female team of researchers at Northwestern University's Feinberg School of Medicine and McCormick School of Engineering has managed to use a 3-D printer to create a fully functioning prosthetic ovary in mice."

Girls rock!!!

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