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Welcome to the IEEE Future Directions Tech Blog.

Where is the USB socket on the tomato plant?

Over ten years ago researchers studied microbial fuel cells MFCs. These are cells that use microbes to produce electricity. Microbes as part of their metabolisms split molecules and out of this split electrons are mobilised. Since then several progresses have been made and the first practical applications are now being considered …

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Playing with molecules in VR

In the past fifteen years the amazing progress in computation capabilities has made possible to address very demanding computational problems. One of them is the protein folding, an area that was already identified as demanding huge computational capabilities back in the early nineties. Understanding protein folding is crucial in health …

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Will our offsprings be smarter than us? – II

Adaptability and capability to leverage of the environment has been key to the success of life, from the very early forms to us and to what we see around us. Adaptability has not been a characteristic of the single individual, rather it emerged from natural selection as result of environmental …

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Will our offsprings be smarter than us? – I

In my previous post in this series I included a clip of an interview with dr. Michio Kaku, a US theoretical physicist and futurist with Japanese grandparents, where he made the point that the basic, structural ingredients of intelligence with respect to evolution can be found in the opposable thumb, …

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There’s really plenty of room at the bottom!

Once in a while it is good to go back to the times I studied elementary particle physics. At that time the particle “zoo” was much more limited, still concepts like degree of freedom in quantum mechanics and entanglement were considered. The difference is that today those esoteric concepts are …

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Are we smarter than our ancestors? – II

In the closing of the previous post I tried to make clear that the focus here is on smartness not on intelligence. There are tools to measure intelligence, IQ tests. However, these tools are using measuring sticks that are suited to our current view of Intelligence. Were we to apply …

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Are we smarter than our ancestors?

Tomorrow I am going to be part of a panel at COMPSAC 2018 discussing “a smarter future”. I will be focussing on the trend towards symbiotic autonomous systems and will be claiming that this is a path towards a smarter future. I’d like to share with you a few thoughts …

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Towards a Bionic Eye III

Following on challenges to create a bionic eye, an issue is the material compatibility of the implant. So far implants are made of hard materials, they are rigid and may subject to wear and tear the surrounding tissues. Flexible electronics is clearly moving in the direction of allowing circuits into …

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Using AI to explore drugs side effect

Discovering the possible side effects of a drug is a complex matter, requiring many extended clinical studies that last many years and cost a lot of effort (and money). This complexity gets multiplied when one wants to consider the side effects deriving from the use of two (or more) drugs. …

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