Sunday, September 24, 2017

Transhumanism: World’s First Cyborg Neil Harbisson wanted to be able to understand color, so he drilled a hole into his head

Neil Harbisson (born 27 July 1984)  a Catalan-raised, British-born avant-garde artist and cyborg activist based in New York City says "I'm  not wearing technology – I am technology” This interdisciplinary artist who is the world’s first being to be legally recognised as a cyborg.
Why? Harbisson has an antenna implanted into the back of his skull, which has "osseointegrate" into his nervous system and skeleton – attached to it is a webcam, which transposes the light frequencies of colour into his skull as vibrations, each of which produces a distinct musical note.
 While studying at Plymouth University, in the UK, he developed a software that associated color with different sounds and had it drilled into his head.
 Harbisson is one of the subjects of David Vintiner and Gem Fletcher’s photo series Transhuman, featuring people around the world who use technology to transcend the limitations of the human body. 

 The term "transhumanism" is difficult to define; broadly speaking, it looks into changing and transcending human limitations using science and technology. Proponents of a certain kind of transhumanism involve Silicon Valley billionaires like Elon Musk and Peter Thiel.

 From prosthetics to pharmaceuticals, humans have been using technology to alter their physical and mental capabilities for thousands of years. Now, with our rapid advances in technology, some people are embracing human augmentation as a means of expressing themselves and experiencing the world in a totally different way. Neil Harbisson, is one of these people. The artist was born with achromatopsia, or complete color-blindness. Far from a disability, Harbisson considers his natural world-view to be an asset, though he did want to be able to understand different dimensions to sight. But it also encompasses body hacking; the creation of new abilities or the enhancement of existing ones by modifying the body. 
 He has been able to “hear” visible and invisible wavelengths of light. An antenna-like sensor implanted in his head translates different wavelengths into vibrations on his skull, which he then perceives as sound.
 What  Harbisson spoke about the benefits of extra senses:
"Depending on how you view transhumanism, the idea that body modification – such as an implant that lets you find magnetic north – could be available on the NHS is a strange one. But almost everyone I speak to agrees that these trends are just the beginning.
There is no difference between the software and my brain, or my antenna and any other body part. Being united to cybernetics makes me feel that I am technology.

The definition that [scientist] Manfred Clynes gave for "cyborg" in 1960 was that in order to explore and survive in new environments, we had to change ourselves instead of changing our environment. Now, we do have the tools to change ourselves. We can add new senses, new organs. 
The overwhelming theme that emerges is that these initial modifications – microchips that let you sense seismic activity on the moon, additional organs that help you create new senses – are just the beginning for both biohackers and for the rest of society.

It’s like getting a tattoo, says Harbisson. “Look at how many people are now tattooing themselves in 2017, and compare that to the people getting tattooed in 1987.”

Despite Young’s assertion that integrating technology into our bodies is very human, there could be a change in what we call a human being. “Everyone will have different senses and organs and modifications, depending on what they want,” says Harbisson. “What we call diversity now – it will be nothing compared to what we call diversity in the future.”

Friday, September 22, 2017

The modular Java 9 is here: Everything you need to know

Java 9—formally, Java Platform Standard Edition version 9—is finally here, and its Java Development Kit (JDK) is available for developers to download.

It has several important if controversial new features, but is also the last of the line for the old style of Java delivery.

Where to download the Java 9 JDK

Oracle has posted the Java SE 9 JDK and documentation for download by developers.

The key new features in Java 9
Debuting nearly three years after Java SE 8, Java SE 9 has several key architectural changes, as well as a host of improvements.

Java 9’s modularity is a game-changer

The new, controversial modularity capabilities, based on Project Jigsaw, are sure to pique the interest of cutting-edge Java shops that want to see what JDK 9 has to offer now, even if more-conservative shops decide to wait for modularity to mature.

Modularity—in the form of the Java Platform Module System—divides the JDK into a set of modules for combining at run, compile, or build time. Modularity has been called a “transitive” change, enabling understanding of dependencies across modules.

Java 9’s modularity is supposed to let developers more easily assemble and maintain sophisticated applications. Also, it should make Java better able to scale down to smaller devices while security and performance are improved.

The modularity aspects of Java 9 include application packaging, modularizing the JDK itself, and reorganizing source code into modules. The build system is enhanced to compile modules and enforce module boundaries at build time. JDK and Java Runtime Environment (JRE) images are restructured to handle modules. Also, JavaFX UI controls and CSS APIs are now accessible for modularity.

A host of configurations are supported; as a result, scalability, security, and application performance should be improved. Easier scaling of Java down to small devices is a key driver of the modular effort.

With modularity, developers will be better able to construct and maintain libraries and large applications for both Java SE (Standard Edition) and Java EE (Enterprise Edition). But during Java 9’s development Oracle, IBM, Red Hat, and others had big disagreements over exactly how to make such a radical change in the platform. The module system itself was rejected in May, only to be approved on a second vote in June, after progress was made.

Even with agreement among the major Java vendors, there remains controversy over whether modularity will do Java developers much good, with some experts saying yes and others saying no. Regardless, Java 9 is now modularized.

To make migration to modularized Java 9 easier, Java 9 allows illegal reflective access for code on the class path, used by the JRE to search for classes and resource files. This capability will be disallowed after Java 9.

Compiler improvements for Java 9 code

The Java 9 upgrade features several new capabilities for compiling code, chief among them being ahead-of-time (AoT) compilation. Still in an experimental phase, this capability enables compilation of Java classes to native code before being launched in the virtual machine. This feature is intended to improve startup time of both small and large applications, with limited impact on peak performance.

Just-in-time (JIT) compilers are fast, but Java programs have become so large that it takes a long time for the JIT to fully warm up, leaving some Java methods uncompiled and weakening performance. Ahead-of-time compilation is meant to address these issues.

But Dmitry Leskov, marketing director at Java technology vendor Excelsior, worries that the ahead-of-time compilation technology is not mature enough and wishes Oracle had waited until Java 10 for a more solid version.

Java 9 also offers phase two of Oracle’s smart compilation deployment. This feature involves improving the s javac tool’s stability and portability so it can be used in the JVM (Java Virtual Machine) by default. The tool will also be generalized so it can be used for large projects outside of the JDK. JDK 9 has also updated the javac compiler so it can compile Java 9 programs to run on some older versions of Java.

Another new—but experimental—compilation feature is the Java-level JVM Compiler Interface (JVMCI). This interface lets a compiler written in Java be used as a dynamic compiler by the JVM. JVMCI’s API provides mechanisms for accessing VM structures, installing compiled code ,and plugging into the JVM compilation system.

Writing a JVM compiler in Java should allow for a high-quality compiler that is easier to maintain and to improve than existing compilers written in C or C++. As a result, compilers written in Java itself should be easier to maintain and improve. Other, existing efforts to enable in-Java compilers include the Graal Project and Project Metropolis.

A new compiler control capability is intended to provide fine-grained and method-context-dependent control of JVM compilers, letting developers change the compiler control options in runtime with no performance degradation. The tool also enables workarounds for JVM compiler bugs.

REPL finally comes to Java 9

Java 9 features a read-eval-print loop (REPL) tool—another long-term goal for Java that is getting real in this version, after years of development under Project Kulia.

Called jShell, Java 9’s REPL interactively evaluates declarative statements and expressions. Developers can get feedback on programs before compilation just by entering some lines of code.

The command-line tool’s capabilities includes tab completion and the automatic addition of needed terminal semicolons. The jShell API allows jShell functionality in IDEs and other tools, although the tool itself is not an IDE.

The lack of a REPL has been cited as a reason for schools to move away from Java. (Languages such as Python and Scala have long had a REPL.) But Scala language founder Martin Odersky questions the usefulness of a REPL in Java, saying Java is statement-oriented whereas REPLs are expression-oriented.

Enhancements to the Streams API in Java 9

Streams in Java let developers  express calculations so that data parallelism can be efficiently exploited. The Stream capability in Java 8 is for processing data declaratively while leveraging multicore architectures.

In Java 9, the Streams API adds methods to conditionally take and drop items from Stream, iterate over Stream elements, and create a stream from a nullable value while expanding the set of Java SE APIs that can serve as Streams sources.

Code cache can be divided in Java 9

JDK 9 allows code cache to be divided into segments to improve performance and allow extensions such as fine-grained locking. The results should be improved sweep times due to specialized iterators skipping non-method code; separating non-method, profiled, and non-profiled code; and improving execution time for some benchmarks. 

Better JavaScript backing in Java 9 via Project Nashorn

Project Nashorn, which provides a lightweight JavaScript runtime for Java, is being improved in JDK 9. Project Nashorn was an effort to implement a high-performance, but lightweight JavaScript runtime in Java, following up the Rhino project that was begun at Netscape. Project Nashorn was charged with enabling the embedding of JavaScript in Java applications. It provided Java with a JavaScript engine in JDK 8.

JDK 9 includes a parser API for Nashorn’s ECMAScript syntax tree. The API enables ECMAScript code analysis by IDEs and server-side frameworks without depending on Project Nashorn’s internal implementation classes.

HTTP/2 client API comes to Java 9

The beta HTTP/2 client API has come to JDK 9, implementing in Java the upgrade to the web’s core HTTP protocol. WebSocket is supported by the API as well.

The HTTP/2 API can replace the HttpURLConnection API, which has had problems, including being designed with now-defunct protocols, predating HTTP/1, being too abstract, and being hard to use.

Improved HTML5 and Unicode support in Java 9

In JDK 9, the Javadoc documentation tool is enhanced to generate HTML5 markup. The Unicode 8.0 encoding standard—which adds 8,000 characters, 10 blocks, and six scripts—is supported as well.

DTLS security API is added to Java 9

For security, Java 9 adds an API for DTLS (Datagram Transport Layer Security). The protocol has been designed to prevent eavesdropping, tampering, and message forgery in client/server communications. An implementation is provided for both client and server modes.

What Java 9 deprecates and removes

Java 9 deprecates or removes several features no longer in vogue. Chief among them is the Applet API, which is deprecated. It has gone out of style now that security-conscious browser makers have been removing support for Java browser plug-ins. The advent of HTML5 also helped bring about their demise. Developers are now guided to alternatives such as Java Web Start, for launching applications from a browser, or installable applications. 
The appletviewer tool is being deprecated as well.

Java 9 also deprecates the Concurrent Mark Sweep (CMS) garbage collector, with support to cease in a future release. The intent is to speed up the development of other garbage collectors in the HotSpot virtual machine. The low-pause G1 garbage collector is intended to be a long-term replacement for CMS.

Meanwhile, garbage collection combinations previously deprecated in JDK 8 are removed in JDK 9. These include rarely used combinations such as Incremental CMS, ParNew + SerialOld, and DefNew + CMS, which added extra complexity to the garbage collector code base.

Java 9 also elides Java warnings on import statements, to help make large code bases clean of lint warnings. With these code bases, deprecated functionality often must be supported for some time, but importing a deprecated construct does not warrant a warning message if uses of the construct are intentional and suppressed.

Also removed in Java 9 is the ability to select the JRE at launch time via the Multiple JRE (mJRE) feature. The capability was rarely used, complicated the implementation of the Java launcher, and it was never fully documented when it debuted in JDK 5.

Oracle has removed the JVM TI (Tool Interface) hprof (Heap Profiling) agent, which has been superseded in the JVM. The jhat tool was removed as well, having been made obsolete by superior heap visualizers and analyzers.

Java 9 is the end of its line as new Java 9 line begins

You could say that Java 9 is going out with a bang, with all the new capabilities. Oracle recently revealed that Java 9 is the last of its kind, in terms of its designation and time elapsed between major releases.

From here on out, Java is planned to have a six-month release cadence, with the next major version, to be called Java 18.3, due March 2018, followed by Java 18.9 six months later.

Java’s new release cadence also means JDK 9 will not be designated as a long-term support release. Instead, the next long-term release will be Java 18.9.

Java’s faster release cadence means developers won’t have to wait as long for major releases.It also may mean that developers will skip Java 9 and its “immature” modularity features and wait six months for the new version, which would likely iron out any kinks, said Simon Maple, director of Java advocacy at Java tools vendor ZeroTurnaround.

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

Expert Elon Musk Warns: AI 'most likely cause’ of World War III as Putin says the nation that leads in AI ‘will be the ruler of the world’

Artificial Intelligence, AI, is a lovely idea. It helps us translate languages, diagnoses illness more efficiently than a human doctor and finds new music for you based on your previous selections, you could manage your spending with AI.
for years, we have been hearing from people that scarcity of water may cause the third world war. But times have changed and people are more inclined towards technology than life’s essentials. So, the technology might bring what the world doesn’t want.
But if we've learnt anything from The Matrix it's just a matter of time before it turns us all into batteries to fuel its own existence.

According to Musk: in response to an earlier statement given on AI by the Russian President Vladimir Putin. “Artificial intelligence is the future, not only for Russia, but for all humankind,” he said, according to a report by Russia Today.
“It comes with colossal opportunities, but also threats that are difficult to predict. Whoever becomes the leader in this sphere will become the ruler of the world.”
Fixing the problem is proving to be a little trickier than simply calling in the IT guy. As AI learns and adapts from its original coding it becomes more complex and opaque.
A while ago Facebook had to shut down an experiment after two of its AI programs developed a language that only they could understand. While still a hypothetical issue at this point, the danger demonstrated here was clear: What if prejudiced AIs began communicating with each other and influencing our decision-making without our knowledge?


Western Digital CEO apologized to Toshiba for friction over chip unit sale

Western Digital Corp’s (WDC.O) CEO apologized to his counterpart at Toshiba Corp (6502.T) for strained ties after the U.S. firm sued to keep their chip joint venture from being sold to rival bidders, according to an Aug. 11 letter.
The embattled Japanese conglomerate has put its chip unit, - worth between $17 billion to $18 billion, up for sale as it scrambles to cover liabilities at its bankrupt U.S. nuclear unit. Relations between Western Digital and its chips partner quickly frayed, however, as Toshiba entertained other bids.
It was not immediately clear what impact the letter had on relations between the two firms, but in mid-August they agreed to try to overcome their dispute and enter into serious discussions.
They failed to clinch a deal by end-August as planned, however, and Toshiba said on Thursday that it would continue to talk to the Western Digital consortium as well as two other suitors - groups led by Bain Capital and by Taiwan’s Foxconn (2317.TW).
“I am not a litigious person by nature. Personally, I have never sued anyone,” Chief Executive Steve Milligan wrote in the letter, which was seen by Reuters.
“I understand that the litigation and ongoing disputes have created significant ill will for some within Toshiba. This is regrettable and I am deeply sorry for the feelings this has created.”
Toshiba declined to comment on the letter. A representative for Western Digital said she could not immediately comment.
In the letter, Milligan also sought to reassure Toshiba CEO Satoshi Tsunakawa that the U.S. firm would address any concerns that Apple Inc (AAPL.O), a key customer of Toshiba’s NAND flash memory chips, might have about a deal.
People familiar with the talks have said Apple is likely concerned about being on the backfoot in pricing power if Toshiba, the world’s No. 2 producer of NAND chips, struck a deal with Western Digital, which ranks No. 3.
Apple has joined Bain’s consortium bidding for Toshiba’s chip unit, sources with direct knowledge of the matter said this week.
Milligan said in the letter that Western Digital was only offering to hold convertible bonds in the chip business, Toshiba Memory Corp (TMC), and would have no voting rights or board seats.
“Additionally, Western Digital will not have any ability to interfere in the management or operations of TMC, and we have no desire or expectations to the contrary,” he said.
“We are highly confident that Apple will understand this structure and be comforted by it,” he said, suggesting that the two sides meet with Apple to address any questions.
Any delays to Toshiba clinching a deal could allow rival Samsung Electronics’ (005930.KS) extend its lead in advanced 3D chips, a risk Milligan cited as he said their differences were “down to only a very small number of outstanding issues”.
He offered to drop all legal action on the part of Western Digital once they had clinched a deal.
“As you know, time is not our friend,” he wrote. “The only people benefiting from this prolonged dispute are the competitors to our joint ventures.”

Hyundai to bring Longer-Range Hydrogen Fuel-Cell SUV to market in 2018

A fuel cell produces electricity through a chemical reaction, but without combustion. It converts hydrogen and oxygen into water, and in the process also creates electricity. It’s an electro-chemical energy conversion device that produces electricity, water, and heat.Fuel cells operates much like a battery, except they don’t require electrical recharging. A battery stores all of its chemicals inside and coverts the chemicals into electricity. Once those chemicals run out, the battery dies. A fuel cell, on the other had, receives the chemicals it uses from the outside; therefore, it won’t run out. Fuel cells can generate power almost indefinitely, as long as they have fuel to use.Some automakers are dead set on battery-powered cars being the way of the future, but others – like Hyundai – are leaning more toward hydrogen powered cars like the Next-Gen Fuel Cell SUV.
This is going to be improved version of the earlier version of of the hydrogen SUV which Tucson Fuel Cell (ix35)
(Image Source: U.S. Department of Energy)
A Hyundai spokesman characterized the second-generation FCEV as having “60% better system efficiency than the first-generation FCEV,” through internal development of fuel cells and powertrain components such as the electric motor.
According to Lee Ki-sang,Senior VP of Hyundai Motor Group’s by enhancing fuel-cell performance, reducing hydrogen consumption, and optimizing key mechanisms, Hyundai has greatly improved the vehicle’s efficiency compared to its predecessor, the ix35 Fuel Cell car (known in the U.S. as the Hyundai Tucson FCEV). The new efficiency level of 60% represents a 9% increase from the Tucson’s 55.3%.
The second-generation model targets a driving range of about 580 kilometers (360 miles) between fill-ups. The driving range of the current Hyundai Tucson Fuel Cell vehicle is up to 265 miles.
 A highly durable catalyst technology, used in the new generation FCEV also has greater durability than the current generation. And instead of two differently-sized fuel tanks as in the current Hyundai FCEVs, the new version utilizes three tanks, all similarly-sized and made of more advanced plastics to reduce thickness.
Hyundai's new hydrogen-powered SUV will be fully revealed next year in Korea, with European and North American markets following shortly afterwards. As well as the advanced fuel cell technology, the new model will also feature a number of driver assistance technologies, details of which will be disclosed in January at the 2018 CES, along with the official name for the new model.

Friday, September 1, 2017

Toshiba Locked in Negotiations Over Memory Chip which is up for sale in an attempt to cover billions in losses from its bankrupt Westinghouse the U.S.nuclear division

(Image courtesy of Toshiba).
Toshiba cleared the air on Thursday about the ongoing sale of its memory chip business. Still in the running are groups led by Western Digital, Hon Hai Precision Manufacturing, and Bain Capital and two Japanese government-backed funds.
Toshiba said that none of the bidders had taken pole position in the auction: “At this point, Toshiba has not made any decision to reduce the pool of candidate purchasers,” the company said in a statement. “The negotiation with each consortium has not reached a point which will allow Toshiba’s board of direction [to] make a decision.”
Western Digital remains in contention despite months of brawling Toshiba in court over the fate of the world’s second largest memory business. In recent months, the legal battles have spilled out into public view and hampered the auction. Reuters reported on Monday that Western Digital had taken the top spot at the negotiating table.
The companies have been legally sparring since Toshiba announced the sale of its memory business in April to patch devastating losses in its nuclear power unit. Western Digital claims that it has final say on any deal since it has agreed to build a flash memory chip plant with Toshiba in Yokkaichi, Japan.
Toshiba disagrees, and it has attempted to cut out Western Digital from the chips produced in the factory. The company said that it alone would invest around $1.75 billion into clean room equipment for the new factory, which will manufacture 3D NAND flash to meet growing worldwide demand. Western Digital says that it will not be forced out.
The announcement does not mention Apple, which Bloomberg reported on Wednesday is in talks with Bain Capital to submit an additional bid. Bain previously led a $19 billion bid in cahoots with SK Hynix, Innovation Network of Japan, and Development Bank of Japan, according to Bloomberg.
In June, Reuters reported that this coalition was the preferred bidder for the business. But that apparently changed on Monday when Reuters reported that Toshiba would accept a $17.4 billion bid submitted by Western Digital, American private equity firm KRR, and as well as the two state-backed funds that had previously allied with Bain Capital.
The recent announcement heaps more confusion onto the auction. Toshiba said that it is seeking a buyer “to promote further growth of TMC’s memory business, while also being capable of contributing enough value from the sale of TMC to return Toshiba to positive equity.”
“The memory business requires timely investments, accelerated product development, and the ability to quickly ramp-up large-scale production capacity,” Toshiba added in the statement on Thursday. “Highly reliable memory devices are essential to meet growing demand for storage.”

Thursday, July 27, 2017

Amazon founder Jeff Bezos becomes world's richest man as the company's stock price soars

Amazon founder Jeff Bezos has overtaken Bill Gates to become the world's richest person, worth $91.4bn (£70bn).A 2.5% rise in Amazon shares on Thursday means Mr Bezos's wealth has now eclipsed the Microsoft co-founder by $1.4bn, according to Forbes.Mr Bezos, 53, owns about 17% of the shares in Amazon, whose value has now exceeded $500bn.The online retailer reports second quarter results after Wall Street closes on Thursday.For the first three months of this year Amazon's sales jumped 23% to $35.7bn. The company expects a rise of 16% to 24% for the quarter to June.In recent years Mr Bezos has focused on his Blue Origin space rocket business and the Washington Post newspaper, which he bought in 2013.Soaring technology stocks have fuelled huge growth in the worth of entrepreneurs such as Mr Bezos and Facebook founder Mark Zuckberberg, 33, who is now worth $72.6bn according to Forbes.Just over two decades ago Jeff Bezos started selling books online from his garage. Today, the Amazon CEO is the richest person on Earth.Bezos's net worth topped $90 billion on Thursday, allowing the Amazon founder and CEO to narrowly dethrone Microsoft (MSFT, Tech30) co-founder Bill Gates as the richest man in the world, according to Forbes and Bloomberg. If Amazon stock holds steady through trading Thursday, Bezos will officially bump Gates, who has been No. 1 since 2013, from the the Bloomberg Billionaires Index.Bezos has been hailed as the smartest guy in business for turning a bookselling platform into a disruptive force that has flipped traditional retail on its head.His world's-richest-man milestone was made possible because of Amazon (AMZN, Tech30)'s surging stock price. The e-commerce juggernaut's market value surpassed $500 billion this week for the first time ever.The vast majority of the Bezos fortune is tied up in Amazon stock, of which the CEO owns nearly 17%. That stake alone is worth $83 billion, meaning Bezos could just as quickly lose his new title as the world's richest man should Amazon's stock decline, or Microsoft's value rise.In recent years, Bezos's fortune has whizzed past that of legendary investor Warren Buffett, Spanish retail magnate Amancio Ortega and Mexican tycoon Carlos Slim. Bezos added more than $24 billion in net worth since January 2017, according to Bloomberg.Bezos founded Amazon in the mid-1990s from a garage, originally as an online bookseller. But over the years Bezos has deftly steered Amazon into hardware, cloud services, music and streaming shows. All along the way, Amazon used technology and sheer force to ruthlessly cut prices. Customers in turn have flocked to Amazon, which raked in a stunning $136 billion in sales last year alone.The Amazon boss's bold vision was on full display again in June when he shocked Wall Street and the business world with a $13.7 billion purchase of Whole Foods (WFM). The surprise deal instantly made Amazon a major bricks-and-mortar player and sent a wave of fear through traditional grocery stores and food companies.Bezos has used his fortune to purchase The Washington Post in 2013 and launch his own rocket company, Blue Origin.

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Transhumanism: World’s First Cyborg Neil Harbisson wanted to be able to understand color, so he drilled a hole into his head

Neil Harbisson (born 27 July 1984)  a Catalan-raised, British-born avant-garde artist and cyborg activist based in New York City says...


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