Endtime News Update 2-11-2018

Israel “Preparing For War In North”, Boosts Air Defenses; Warns Iran

One day after the most “significant escalation” in tensions between Israel and Syria/Iran, when an Israeli F-16 was shot down over the Golan Heights after it attacked a Syrian base which allegedly launched a drone into Israeli airspace, Israel appears to be “preparing for war in the North” according to the Jerusalem Post, which reports that the Jewish state has boosted its air defense in the region along the Syrian border following the “significant confrontation between the Jewish State, Syria and Iran.”

Witnesses cited by JPost reported seeing a convoy of missile-defense batteries heading north near the Israeli-Arab city of Baka al-Gharbiya. Other witnesses posted photos of several trucks carrying the batteries on central highways in northern Israel.

Israel’s air defenses currently include the Iron Dome, designed to shoot down short-range rockets.

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Additionally there is the Arrow system, which intercepts ballistic missiles outside of the Earth’s atmosphere and the David’s Sling missile-defense system, which is designed to intercept tactical ballistic missiles, medium- to long-range rockets and cruise missiles fired from ranges of between 40 km. to 300 km.

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Meanwhile, according to AFP, Israel issued a stark warning on Sunday over Iran’s presence in neighbouring Syria after the previously reported confrontation between the neighboring nations threatened to open a new and unpredictable period in Syria’s seven-year civil war, which now appears to also be engaged in de facto war against Israel.

In a dramatic escalation, Israel carried out major air raids in Syria on Saturday, including against what it described as Iranian targets – the first time it had publicly acknowledged doing so since the war began. The raids came after an Israeli F16 fighter was shot down by Syrian air defenses. The pilots survived, but it was Israel’s first loss of a warplane in battle since 1982.

Commenting on the escalation, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said at the start of Sunday’s cabinet meeting that “we inflicted on Saturday a heavy blow to Iranian and Syrian forces,” adding that “w made clear to everyone that our rules of engagement will not change in any way. We will continue to harm anyone who tries to harm us. This was our policy and this will remain our policy.”

Other Israeli ministers spoke of refusing to accept Iran entrenching itself militarily in Syria, as Netanyahu has said repeatedly. Tehran denies it is doing so.

And while several analysts said they did not expect a further escalation in the coming days, some spoke of the possibility of the Syrian war entering a new phase. While we have yet to see how oil will trade after the tension filled weekend, Israel’s stocks dropped as much as 1.3%, after Israel and Iran moved closer to confrontation in Syria.

Quoted by Bloomberg, Ilanit Sherf, head of equity research at Israel’s largest institutional investor, Psagot Investment House said that the drop in Israeli stocks on Sunday is “mainly due to developments in the security arena over the weekend,” and that “the confrontation in Syria was “irregular in a number of ways, and there is concern, of course, of further entanglement.”

In a surprise to some, Ofer Zalzberg of the International Crisis Group think tank said that Syria has become more emboldened to try to stop Israeli strikes inside the country, while Israel wants to maintain its ability to operate there when it sees fit. Imagine that: a country daring to defend its sovereignty.

* * *

Still, optimists believe that the latest escalation will remain contained: “I think this incident is more likely to be contained because fundamentally it is a gradual attempt to renegotiate the so-called rules of the game,” Zalzberg said, adding that Russia should mediate.

Furthermore, on Saturday, Israeli military spokesman Jonathan Conricus warned that Syria and Iran were “playing with fire”, but stressed that Israel was not seeking an escalation. “This is the most blatant and severe Iranian violation of Israeli sovereignty” in recent years, Conricus said.

After Saturday’s escalation, Iran dismissed Israeli “lies” and said Syria had the right to defend itself against Israeli attacks. Iranian foreign ministry spokesman Bahram Ghasemi said “Iran does not have a military presence in Syria, and has only sent military advisers at the request of the Syrian government.”

Meanwhile, Russia stressed the need to “avoid any measure that could lead to a dangerous escalation”.

As reported last night, Netanyahu spoke with both Russian President Vladimir Putin and US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson after Saturday’s confrontation.

Naturally, Washington backed Israel and blamed Iran for the escalation. Tillerson on Sunday begins a Middle East tour that will take him to Jordan, Turkey, Lebanon, Egypt and Kuwait.

Ultimately the decision whether a full-blown war emerges from the latest conflict will fall on Netanyahu and Putin: The Israeli PM has met regularly with the Russian president in recent months in a bid to convince Russia to keep Iranian forces away from Israeli territory. Russia and Israel have also established a hotline to avoid accidental clashes in Syria.

 

Iran’s Revolutionary Guard Vows “Hell To The Zionists” As Putin Warns Netanyahu

Iran has called reports that they sent a UAV into Israeli airspace “ridiculous,” while an Iranian commander warns that they could unleash “hell” on the “Zionist regime” by destroying all US bases in the area.

“The claim about the flight of an Iranian drone and Iran’s involvement in the downing of a Zionist fighter jet is so ridiculous that it does not merit a comment,” said Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Bahram Qassemi, while claiming that Iranian officials are only advising the Syrians “at the request of the… legitimate and lawful government.”

Moreover, any “aggressive actions” by Israel would trigger a serious response by Iran, creating “hell for the Zionists” according to Brigadier General Hossein Salami, deputy head of Iran’s elite Revolutionary Guards. His statement below:

The Zionist regime in the Muslim world was shaped by the will of the United States and Britain, and they built a cemetery from the Islamic world. You have heard the story of the domination of the world of arrogance after World War II, the tragic story of Muslim slaughter in the wars that Britain has launched and know the role of the United States and Britain in the formation of the Zionist regime, or aware of the defeats of the Arab armies of the Zionist regime by American support.

The United States was banning us and wanted to be paralyzed, but we advanced, and today, from this point on, today we can destroy all American bases in the region and create hell for Zionists.

Today, the Islamic Republic of Iran is more powerful than ever. We trust in God; this was a confession two years ago when we seized the American Marines and the American inability to confront us. –Gen. Hossein Salami via Tasnim News (translated)

Meanwhile, Russian President Vladimir Putin warned Israeli Prime Minister Benajamin Netanyahu in a Saturday phone call to avoid an escalation of the situation in Syria, reports Reuterswhile Netanyahu asserted Israel’s right to “defend against aggression.”

They discussed the situation around the actions of the Israeli air force, which carried our missile strikes on targets in Syria,” Interfax quoted the Kremlin as saying.

The phone conversation took place less than two weeks after a face-to-face meeting between the Israeli and Russian leaders in Moscow, the duo’s seventh face to face meeting in two years, in which the two leaders who are currently reshaping the middle east in the power vacuum left by the US, were said to have discussed military cooperation on Syria and Iran’s influence in the region. It is unclear whether today’s events were part of the talking points.

Netanyahu also spoke with US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson on Saturday where he reiterated Israel’s stance. Tillerson is about to embark this weekend on a five-nation tour of the Middle East, visiting Turkey, Egypt, Kuwait, Jordan and Lebanon.

“Our policy is clear,” said Netanyahu. “Israel will defend itself against any aggression and any attempt to violate its sovereignty,” adding “Iran undertook such attempt today. It violated our sovereignty, and infiltrated its drone into Israeli airspace from Syria.”

 

Israel to be key player in the next chapter of Syria’s war

http://www.jpost.com/Arab-Israeli-Conflict/Israel-to-be-key-player-in-the-next-chapter-of-Syrias-war-542326

By Anna Ahronheim
February 11, 2018 18:58
For Israel, the next chapter in Syria’s war will be a nightmare scenario.
PRIME MINISTER Benjamin Netanyahu chats with Israeli soldiers at a military outpost during a visit to Mount Hermon in the Golan Heights overlooking the Israel-Syria border in 2015.. (photo credit: REUTERS/BAZ RATNER)
The incident on Israel’s northern border on Saturday was not only a significant event for Israel but a serious incident that shows how the disastrous war in Syria is far from over, rather that a new chapter is just beginning, with Israel poised to be a central character.

Since the intervention of the Russians and the Iranian-backed Shi’ite militias including Hezbollah, the tide has turned in favor of Syrian President Bashar Assad who has become more brazen as he regains control over more territory.

Early on Saturday morning, an advanced Iranian drone believed to be a copy of a US stealth drone that was downed in Iran in 2011, drone took off from the T4 airbase deep in the Syrian province of Homs.

The drone was spotted by Israel and was intercepted near the town of Beit She’an by an Apache attack helicopter after it had flown 1.5 minutes into Israeli territory.

In response, Israeli F-16 fighter jets took off to strike the launch site and were met by massive Syrian antiaircraft fire, over 20 missiles launched from SA-5 and SA-17 batteries.

The pilots of one of the F16s ejected from their jet, which crashed in the lower Galilee. It is assumed that the jet was hit by shrapnel by the Syrian antiaircraft fire.

It was the first time in 30 years that an Israeli jet was lost in a combat situation. This led to an extensive retaliation by Israel with additional strikes against both the Syrian missile batteries and Iranian military targets. CCTV of F-16 crash in northern Israel. (Credit: Mako News)

According to IAF chief of air staff Brig.-Gen. Tomer Bar, the second in command of Israel’s air force, it was the most extensive Israeli attack against Syrian air defenses since 1982.

Syria’s army was almost decimated over the course of the deadly civil war, with some questioning how “Syrian Arab” is the Syrian Arab Army, which is propped up by some 80,000 fighters belonging to the Lebanese Shia terror group Hezbollah and another 10,000 other Shi’ite militia fighters.

As troops loyal to Assad continue to march back to Israel’s border, winning battles with local rebel and al-Qaida linked groups, Israel is watching with concern.

Officials have been warning of Iranian entrenchment on the Golan Heights, an area of key strategic importance for the Jewish state, stressing that it is a red line for Jerusalem.

Once the Assad regime re-cements its hold on the entirety of the country, these fighters, who have been trained and equipped by Iran are unlikely to return to their homes in Lebanon, Afghanistan or Iran.

Their sights will likely turn towards Israel, Syria’s old foe.

On Sunday, OC Northern Command Maj.-Gen. Yoel Strick warned that while Israel is not interested in escalating the situation, the IDF would not allow an Iranian presence in Syria.

“Those who cross the border will, on any level, receive an appropriate response. Iranian involvement in the region is a disturbing threat to Israel and the entire world. Iran wants to create a front command in Syria – we will not allow it,” he said at a ceremony marking the change of the command in the Northern Command’s 210th “Bashan” Division, which is responsible for guarding the Syrian border and the Golan Heights.

“We are not inclined toward escalation, but we have high-level capabilities and we will not hesitate to use them,” Strick added.

Incoming commander Brig.-Gen. Amit Fisher warned not only of the Iranian entrenchment across the border but the return of Syrian troops to an area which was relatively quiet for close to six years while under the control of rebels.

“We must prepare ourselves operationally and in terms of intelligence for the growing threat: The return of the Syrian army and Iranian forces, Hezbollah and others.”

For Israel, the next chapter in Syria’s war will be a nightmare scenario.

 

Arizona Senate Passes Bill To Allow Tax Payments In Bitcoin

The Arizona Senate passed a bill on Feb. 8 to allow residents in the state to pay their taxes with cryptocurrencies, public records indicate.

The Senate Bill 1091, which intends to enable cryptocurrencies for tax payment, was introduced Jan. 10, 2018 and passed by the Senate Finance Committee by a 4-3 vote on Jan. 24. On Feb. 8, the Senate passed the bill by a 16-13 margin, with one no-vote.

The bill has now been sent to Arizona’s House of Representatives.

If the bill is adopted, Arizona would become the first state in the U.S. to accept cryptocurrency tax payments by the year of 2020, as stated on the public record. The bill would allow taxpayers of the state to use “a payment gateway, such as Bitcoin, Litecoin or any other cryptocurrency recognized by the department, using electronic peer-to-peer systems.”

According to the bill, the Arizona Department of Revenue, upon receiving payments in crypto for “tax and any interest and penalties”, would be obligated to convert the cryptocurrency payments to U.S. dollars within 24 hours.

Arizona State Republican Rep. Jeff Weninger, who co-sponsored the bill, said the tax measure intends to turn the state into a center of  “blockchain and digital currency technology in the future”. Referring to the tax bill, Weninger told Fox News this week:

“It’s one of a litany of bills that we’re running that is sending a signal to everyone in the United States, and possibly throughout the world, that Arizona is going to be the place to be for blockchain and digital currency technology in the future.”

In September, 2017, Cointelegraph reported that the municipality of Chiasso, Switzerland will enable its residents to pay taxes in Bitcoin starting January 2018, following the lead of Zug.

 

 

The Mark of the Best is HERE!

 

Cancer ‘vaccine’ eliminates all traces of cancer in mice

Bodywide immune stimulation without adverse side effects
February 5, 2018

Injecting minute amounts of two immune-stimulating agents directly into solid tumors in mice was able to eliminate all traces of cancer in the animals — including distant, untreated metastases (spreading cancer locations), according to a study by Stanford University School of Medicine researchers.

The researchers believe this new “in situ vaccination” method could serve as a rapid and relatively inexpensive cancer therapy — one that is unlikely to cause the adverse side effects often seen with bodywide immune stimulation.

The  approach works for many different types of cancers, including those that arise spontaneously, the study found.

“When we use these two agents together, we see the elimination of tumors all over the body,” said Ronald Levy*, MD, professor of oncology and senior author of the study, which was published Jan. 31 in Science Translational Medicine. “This approach bypasses the need to identify tumor-specific immune targets and doesn’t require wholesale activation of the immune system or customization of a patient’s immune cells.”

Many current immunotherapy approaches have been successful, but they each have downsides — from difficult-to-handle side effects to high-cost and lengthy preparation or treatment times.** “Our approach uses a one-time application of very small amounts of two agents to stimulate the immune cells only within the tumor itself,” Levy said. “In the mice, we saw amazing, bodywide effects, including the elimination of tumors all over the animal.”

Cancer-destroying T cells that target other tumors in the body

Levy’s method reactivates cancer-specific T cells (a type of white blood cell) by injecting microgram (one-millionth of a gram) amounts of the two agents directly into the tumor site.*** Because the two agents are injected directly into the tumor, only T cells that have infiltrated the tumor are activated. In effect, these T cells are “prescreened” by the body to recognize only cancer-specific proteins.

Some of these tumor-specific, activated T cells then leave the original tumor to find and destroy other identical tumors throughout the body.


“I don’t think there’s a limit to the type of tumor we could potentially treat, as long as it has been infiltrated by the immune system.” — Ronald Levy, MD.


The approach worked “startlingly well” in laboratory mice with transplanted mouse lymphoma tumors in two sites on their bodies, the researchers say. Injecting one tumor site with the two agents caused the regression not just of the treated tumor, but also of the second, untreated tumor. In this way, 87 of 90 mice were cured of the cancer. Although the cancer recurred in three of the mice, the tumors again regressed after a second treatment. The researchers saw similar results in mice bearing breast, colon and melanoma tumors.

Mice genetically engineered to spontaneously develop breast cancers in all 10 of their mammary pads also responded to the treatment. Treating the first tumor that arose often prevented the occurrence of future tumors and significantly increased the animals’ life span, the researchers found.

Finally, researchers explored the specificity of the T cells. They transplanted two types of tumors into the mice. They transplanted the same lymphoma cancer cells in two locations, and transplanted a colon cancer cell line in a third location. Treatment of one of the lymphoma sites caused the regression of both lymphoma tumors but did not affect the growth of the colon cancer cells.

“This is a very targeted approach,” Levy said. “Only the tumor that shares the protein targets displayed by the treated site is affected. We’re attacking specific targets without having to identify exactly what proteins the T cells are recognizing.”

Lymphoma clinical trial

Read more: http://www.kurzweilai.net/cancer-vaccine-eliminates-tumors-in-mice

 

 

Future of Artificial Intelligence and its Impact on Society

http://www.kurzweilai.net/talk-council-on-foreign-relations-future-of-artificial-intelligence-and-its-impact-on-society

 

MIT nanosystem delivers precise amounts of drugs directly to a tiny spot in the brain

… without interfering with the normal functions of the rest of the brain
January 28, 2018

MIT researchers have developed a miniaturized system that can deliver tiny quantities of medicine to targeted brain regions as small as 1 cubic millimeter, with precise control over how much drug is given. The goal is to treat diseases that affect specific brain circuits without interfering with the normal functions of the rest of the brain.*

“We believe this tiny microfabricated device could have tremendous impact in understanding brain diseases, as well as providing new ways of delivering biopharmaceuticals and performing biosensing in the brain,” says Robert Langer, the David H. Koch Institute Professor at MIT and one of the senior authors of an open-access paper that appears in the Jan. 24 issue of Science Translational Medicine.**

The researchers used state-of-the-art microfabrication techniques to construct cannulas (thin tubes) with diameters of about 30 micrometers (width of a fine human hair) and lengths up to 10 centimeters. These cannulas are contained within a stainless steel needle with a diameter of about 150 micrometers. Inside the cannulas are small pumps that can deliver tiny doses (hundreds of nanoliters***) deep into the brains of rats — with very precise control over how much drug is given and where it goes.

In one experiment, they delivered a drug called muscimol to a rat brain region called the substantia nigra, which is located deep within the brain and helps to control movement. Previous studies have shown that muscimol induces symptoms similar to those seen in Parkinson’s disease. The researchers were able to stimulate the rats to continually turn in a clockwise direction. They also could also halt the Parkinsonian behavior by delivering a dose of saline through a different channel to wash the drug away.

“Since the device can be customizable, in the future we can have different channels for different chemicals, or for light, to target tumors or neurological disorders such as Parkinson’s disease or Alzheimer’s,” says Canan Dagdeviren, the LG Electronics Career Development Assistant Professor of Media Arts and Sciences and the lead author of the paper.

This device could also make it easier to deliver potential new treatments for behavioral neurological disorders such as addiction or obsessive compulsive disorder. (These may be caused by specific disruptions in how different parts of the brain communicate with each other.)

Measuring drug response

The researchers also showed that they could incorporate an electrode into the tip of the cannula, which can be used to monitor how neurons’ electrical activity changes after drug treatment. They are now working on adapting the device so it can also be used to measure chemical or mechanical changes that occur in the brain following drug treatment.

The cannulas can be fabricated in nearly any length or thickness, making it possible to adapt them for use in brains of different sizes, including the human brain, the researchers say.

“This study provides proof-of-concept experiments, in large animal models, that a small, miniaturized device can be safely implanted in the brain and provide miniaturized control of the electrical activity and function of single neurons or small groups of neurons. The impact of this could be significant in focal diseases of the brain, such as Parkinson’s disease,” says Antonio Chiocca, neurosurgeon-in-chief and chairman of the Department of Neurosurgery at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, who was not involved in the research.

The research was funded by the National Institutes of Health and the National Institute of Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering.

* To treat brain disorders, drugs (such as l-dopa, a dopamine precursor used to treat Parkinson’s disease, and Prozac, used to boost serotonin levels in patients with depression) often interact with brain chemicals called neurotransmitters (or the cell receptors interact with neurotransmitters) — creating side effects throughout the brain.

** Michael Cima, the David H. Koch Professor of Engineering in the Department of Materials Science and Engineering and a member of MIT’s Koch Institute for Integrative Cancer Research, is also a senior author of the paper.

*** It would take one billion nanoliter drops to fill 4 cups.

http://www.kurzweilai.net/mit-nanosystem-delivers-precise-amounts-of-drugs-directly-to-a-tiny-spot-in-the-brain

 

 

Superconducting ‘synapse’ could enable powerful future neuromorphic supercomputers

Fires 200 million times faster than human brain, uses one ten-thousandth as much energy
February 7, 2018

A superconducting “synapse” that “learns” like a biological system, operating like the human brain, has been built by researchers at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST).

The NIST switch, described in an open-access paper in Science Advances, provides a missing link for neuromorphic (brain-like) computers, according to the researchers. Such “non-von Neumann architecture” future computers could significantly speed up analysis and decision-making for applications such as self-driving cars and cancer diagnosis.

The research is supported by the Intelligence Advanced Research Projects Activity (IARPA) Cryogenic Computing Complexity Program, which was launched in 2014 with the goal of paving the way to “a new generation of superconducting supercomputer development beyond the exascale.”*

NIST’s artificial synapse is a metallic cylinder 10 micrometers in diameter — about 10 times larger than a biological synapse. It simulates a real synapse by processing incoming electrical spikes (pulsed current from a neuron) and customizing spiking output signals. The more firing between cells (or processors), the stronger the connection. That process enables both biological and artificial synapses to maintain old circuits and create new ones.

Dramatically faster, lower-energy-required, compared to human synapses

But the NIST synapse has two unique features that the researchers say are superior to human synapses and to other artificial synapses:

  • Operating at 100 GHz, it can fire at a rate that is much faster than the human brain — 1 billion times per second, compared to a brain cell’s rate of about 50 times per second.
  • It uses only about one ten-thousandth as much energy as a human synapse. The spiking energy is less than 1 attojoule** — roughly equivalent to the miniscule chemical energy bonding two atoms in a molecule — compared to the roughly 10 femtojoules (10,000 attojoules) per synaptic event in the human brain. Current neuromorphic platforms are orders of magnitude less efficient than the human brain. “We don’t know of any other artificial synapse that uses less energy,” NIST physicist Mike Schneider said.

Superconducting devices mimicking brain cells and transmission lines have been developed, but until now, efficient synapses — a crucial piece — have been missing. The new Josephson junction-based artificial synapse would be used in neuromorphic computers made of superconducting components (which can transmit electricity without resistance), so they would be more efficient than designs based on semiconductors or software. Data would be transmitted, processed, and stored in units of magnetic flux.

The brain is especially powerful for tasks like image recognition because it processes data both in sequence and simultaneously and it stores memories in synapses all over the system. A conventional computer processes data only in sequence and stores memory in a separate unit.

The new NIST artificial synapses combine small size, superfast spiking signals, and low energy needs, and could be stacked into dense 3D circuits for creating large systems. They could provide a unique route to a far more complex and energy-efficient neuromorphic system than has been demonstrated with other technologies, according to the researchers.

Nature News does raise some concerns about the research, quoting neuromorphic-technology experts: “Millions of synapses would be necessary before a system based on the technology could be used for complex computing; it remains to be seen whether it will be possible to scale it to this level. … The synapses can only operate at temperatures close to absolute zero, and need to be cooled with liquid helium. That this might make the chips impractical for use in small devices, although a large data centre might be able to maintain them. … We don’t yet understand enough about the key properties of the [biological] synapse to know how to use them effectively.”


Inside a superconducting synapse 

The NIST synapse is a customized Josephson junction***, long used in NIST voltage standards. These junctions are a sandwich of superconducting materials with an insulator as a filling. When an electrical current through the junction exceeds a level called the critical current, voltage spikes are produced.

Each artificial synapse uses standard niobium electrodes but has a unique filling made of nanoscale clusters (“nanoclusters”) of manganese in a silicon matrix. The nanoclusters — about 20,000 per square micrometer — act like tiny bar magnets with “spins” that can be oriented either randomly or in a coordinated manner. The number of nanoclusters pointing in the same direction can be controlled, which affects the superconducting properties of the junction.

The synapse rests in a superconducting state, except when it’s activated by incoming current and starts producing voltage spikes. Researchers apply current pulses in a magnetic field to boost the magnetic ordering — that is, the number of nanoclusters pointing in the same direction.

This magnetic effect progressively reduces the critical current level, making it easier to create a normal conductor and produce voltage spikes. The critical current is the lowest when all the nanoclusters are aligned. The process is also reversible: Pulses are applied without a magnetic field to reduce the magnetic ordering and raise the critical current. This design, in which different inputs alter the spin alignment and resulting output signals, is similar to how the brain operates.

Synapse behavior can also be tuned by changing how the device is made and its operating temperature. By making the nanoclusters smaller, researchers can reduce the pulse energy needed to raise or lower the magnetic order of the device. Raising the operating temperature slightly from minus 271.15 degrees C (minus 456.07 degrees F) to minus 269.15 degrees C (minus 452.47 degrees F), for example, results in more and higher voltage spikes.


* Future exascale supercomputers would run at 1018 exaflops (“flops” = floating point operations per second) or more. The current fastest supercomputer — the Sunway TaihuLight — operates at about 0.1 exaflops; zettascale computers, the next step beyond exascale, would run 10,000 times faster than that.

** An attojoule is 10-18 joule, a unit of energy, and is one-thousandth of a femtojoule.

*** The Josephson effect is the phenomenon of supercurrent — i.e., a current that flows indefinitely long without any voltage applied — across a device known as a Josephson junction, which consists of two superconductors coupled by a weak link. — Wikipedia

http://www.kurzweilai.net/superconducting-synapse-could-enable-powerful-future-neuromorphic-supercomputers

 

Supporting universal basic income as step in world progress

People will benefit from social help, plus accelerating tech + science abundance.
May 28, 2017


column: letters from Ray
date: May 27, 2017

topic: Adopting a universal basic income for all people can help society think creatively with new ideas, develop new industries — and free-up people to work on important future projects.

This practical social support program can grow as science & technology rapidly evolve, becoming part of world abundance.

story by: Ray Kurzweil


Dear readers,

As you might have seen in the news, entrepreneur and renowned Facebook founder & CEO Mark Zuckerberg gave a commencement speech at Harvard University. He said in his talk:

To keep our society moving forward, we have a generational challenge — to create new jobs, a renewed sense of purpose, and to take on big meaningful projects.

Our generation will have to deal with tens of millions of jobs replaced by automation like self-driving cars & trucks. But we have the potential to do so much more together.

More than 300,000 people worked to put a man on the moon — including that janitor. Millions of volunteers immunized children around the world against polio. Millions of people built the Hoover dam and other great projects.

We should have a society that measures progress not just by economic metrics, but by how many of us have a role we find meaningful. We should explore ideas like universal basic income — to give everyone a cushion to try new things.

We’re going to change jobs many times, so we need affordable child care — to get to work and health care that aren’t tied to one company. We’re all going to make mistakes, so we need a society that focuses less on locking us up or stigmatizing us. And as tech keeps changing, we need to focus more on continuous education throughout our lives.

Giving everyone the freedom to pursue purpose isn’t free. People like me should pay for it. Many of you will do well and you should too. That’s why my wife Priscilla Chan and I started the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative and committed our wealth to promoting equal opportunity. These are the values of our generation.

Mark Zuckerberg |  source

A universal basic income is a form of security for a society’s citizens in which all residents of a country regularly unconditionally receive a sum of money, either from a government or public institution, in addition to any income received from elsewhere.

I support something along these lines. We want to do it in a way that doesn’t destroy incentives to contribute to society. So the question is how we get there. We already have a muddle approximating UBI * in the form of food stamps, social security, Medicaid, Medicare, emergency rooms and other programs.

You can get most of your needs for basic sustenance from these programs today — with the important exception of housing. There are shelters but these are grim and dangerous.

We are clearly headed toward a situation where everyone can live very well, with the support that society will provide. The fantastic price-performance gains we’ve seen in information technology is coming to physical products, food, energy, and other material items as they all become information technologies — like 3D printing, vertical agriculture, and solar energy.

I plan to talk about these issues, and how they will affect — and ultimately improve our civilization — in my next book. I remain positive that people like Mark Zuckerberg are thinking creatively about the future. We will be able to enter an age of abundance, as technology & science progress makes a better world for all of us.

Ray Kurzweil

* UBI is universal basic income

 

http://www.kurzweilai.net/letter-from-ray-supporting-universal-basic-income-as-step-in-world-progress

 

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