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+ - Oxford Professor Says AI Could Enslave And Sustain Humans With 'Heroin Drips'->

MojoKid writes: Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak isn't the only one envisioning a world where artificially intelligent systems rise up and rule over mankind. Dr. Stuart Armstrong, an academic at the Future of Humanity at Oxford University feels we're precariously close to creating computers that will ultimately wipe out mankind, though if it comes as any consolation, they'll have good intentions. The future Dr. Armstrong envisions is one where machines have an incredible amount of computing power, and they'll be able to access all that information at speeds that would boggle the human mind. These machines will become so smart and sophisticated that they'll create their own global network to communicate with each other without the aid of pesky humans, who would only slow them down. This will mark the beginning of the end. At some point, Dr. Armstrong sees these super intelligent machines doing something incredibly dumb because of nuances in human communication. For example, a command such as "keep humans safe and happy" might prompt this network of machines to "entomb everyone in concrete coffins on heroin drips," Dr. Armstrong says.
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+ - Solar Power Capacity Installs Surpass Wind and Coal for Second Year 1 1

Lucas123 writes: Residential rooftop solar installations hit a historical high in the first quarter of 2015, garnering an 11% increase over the previous quarter and a 76% increase over the Q1, 2014. New installations of solar power capacity surpassed those of wind and coal for the second year in a row, accounting for 32% of all new electrical capacity, according to a new report by GTM Research and the Solar Energy Industries Association. Residential solar installation costs dropped to $3.46 per watt of installed capacity this quarter, which represents a 2.2% reduction over last quarter and a 10% reduction over the first quarter of 2014.

+ - Alienware 15 Laptop With Graphics Amplifier Enables Desktop Gaming Performance->

MojoKid writes: Most gaming notebooks, even boat anchor-class desktop replacements, would struggle to offer gaming performance competitive with the average gaming desktop PC. However, Dell's Alienware division decided to take a different approach to the problem of enabling sufficient graphics horsepower via a standard 15-inch laptop form factor. The recently launched Alienware 15 is a fairly stout 7 pound machine in its own right, with a GeForce GTX 970M mobile GPU on board, but connect it to Alienware's custom Graphics Amplifier box and the machine quickly converts into a system capable of desktop level gaming performance up to 4K resolution. Connected over an external PCI Express cable, the Graphics Amplifier allows essentially any standard desktop graphics card to handle the rendering workload sort of like a gaming docking station on steroids. In the benchmarks, with a desktop GeForce GTX 980 card pushing the pixels, it was easily the fastest notebook tested, as expected with its unfair advantage. Pricing-wise, the Graphics Amplifer box brings a $600 up-charge to a base config as tested with a dual-core 3.5GHz CPU, 16GB of RAM, 1TB HDD, 128GB SSD and GeForce GTX 970M on-board GPU for $1499. That said, you're better off going with an available quad-core Core i7 config, if you want to keep the external GPU fed optimally.
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+ - NAND Flash Shrinks to 15/16nm Process, Further Driving Prices Down->

Lucas123 writes: Both Micron and Toshiba are producing NAND flash memory based on 15 and 16 nanometer process technology, which reduces die area over a 16GB MLC chip by 28% compared with previous die technology. Additionally, Micron announced its upcoming consumer USB flash drives and internal SSDs will also use triple-level cell NAND flash (a technology expected to soon dominate the market) storing three bits instead of two for the first time and further reducing production cost. The advancement in NAND flash density has been driving SSD pricing down dramatically over the past few years. In fact, over the last year, the average price for a 128GB and 256GB SSDs have dropped to $50 and $90, respectively for system manufacturers, according to DRAMeXchange. And prices for consumers have dropped to $91.55 for a 128GB SSD and $164.34 for a 256GB SSD.
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Comment: Not popular, but plausible? (Score 1) 639 639

If the planet was emerging from an ice age, meaning there would be variations in temperature, CO2, and dust from the Vostok ice core over the last 400,000 years, couldn't global warming be a natural occurrence, having nothing to do with mankind's addition to CO2 gases from carbon fuels?

+ - AMD Launches Carrizo Mobile APU With Excavator CPU Cores, Integrated Southbridge->

MojoKid writes: AMD previously only teased bits of detail regarding their forthcoming 6th Generation A-Series APU, code named "Carrizo," as far back as CES 2015 in January and more recently with AMD's HSA (Heterogenous System Architecture) 1.0 spec roll-out in March. However, the company has officially launched the product today and has lifted the veil on all aspects of their new highly integrated notebook APU. Carrizo has been optimized for the 15 Watt TDP envelope that comprises the bulk of the thin and light notebook market currently and it brings a couple of first to integrated notebook chip designs. AMD's Carrizo APU is the first SoC architecture to fully support the HSA 1.0 specification, allowing full memory coherency of a shared memory space for both CPU and GPU up to 32GB. It's also the first integrated chip to include full support in hardware for H.265/HEVC HD video decoding and finally, Carizzo is also the first AMD APU to have a full integrated, in silicon, Southbridge controller block. So, with its CPU, GPU, memory controller, Northbridge, Southbridge, and PCIe 3.0 links, Carrizo is truly a fully integrated System On A Chip. The company is claiming a 39% CPU performance lift (combination clock speed and IPC) and up to a 65% in graphics, versus their previous generation Kaveri APU. AMD notes laptops from major vendors will begin shipping in the next few weeks.
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+ - SSDs Drop In Price 25% Over Past Year->

Lucas123 writes: Computer makers are paying on average $50 for a 128GB SSD and about $90 for a 256GB drive, according to DRAMeXchange. The average retail price that consumers pay for a 128GB SSD is $91.55, and for an SSD in the 240GB to 256GB range, the price is about $165.34, DRAMeXchange's data showed. A combination of denser NAND flash manufacturing process and laptop industry adoption has lead to a massive drop in SSD prices over the past year. The latest numbers from DRAMeXchange indicates prices for internal SSDs are declining at an accelerated pace as the production of NAND flash migrates to 15 nanometer process, triple-level cell and 3D NAND technologies. Previously, NAND transistors size was in the 19-plus nanometer range: More density equals lower production costs. Additionally, hard drives in notebooks are quickly being swapped out by manufacturers and SSD market penetration will be more than 30% for 2015 and will surpass 50% by 2017 to dominate the sector. The sheer economies of scale is also leading to SSD price decline.
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+ - Fabs Now Manufacturing Carbon Nanotube Memory, Which Could Replace NAND and DRAM->

Lucas123 writes: Nantero, the company that invented carbon nanotube-based non-volatile memory in 2001 and has been developing it since, has announced that seven chip fabrication plants are now manufacturing its Nano-RAM (NRAM) wafers and test chips. The company also announced aerospace giant Lockheed Martin and Schlumberger Ltd., the world's largest gas and oil exploration and drilling company, as customers seeking to use its chip technology. The memory, which can withstand 300 degrees Celsius temperatures for years without losing data, is natively thousands of times faster than NAND flash and has virtually infinite read/write resilience. Nantero plans on creating gum sticks SSDs using DDR4 interfaces. NRAM has the potential to create memory that is vastly more dense that NAND flash, as its transistors can shrink to below 5 nanometers in size, three times more dense than today's densest NAND flash. At the same time, NRAM is up against a robust field of new memory technologies that are expected to challenge NAND flash in speed, endurance and capacity, such as Phase-Change Memory and Ferroelectric RAM (FRAM).
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+ - NVIDIA SHIELD Android TV Reviewed: Gaming And Possibly The Ultimate 4K Streamer->

MojoKid writes: NVIDIA officially launched its SHIELD Android TV set-top device today and it's sort of a "tweener" product, with far more horsepower than something like Roku or Apple TV, but on par with an average game console, and at a more affordable price tag of $199. What's interesting, however, is that it's powered by NVIDIA's Tegra X1 SoC which features a Maxwell-derived GPU and eight CPU cores; four ARM A57 cores and four A53s. The A57 cores are 64-bit, out-of-order designs, with multi-issue pipelines, while the A53s are simpler, in-order, highly-efficient designs. Which cores are used will depend on the particular workload being executed at the time. Tegra X1 also packs a 256-core Maxwell-derived GPU with the same programming capabilities and API support as NVIDIA's latest desktop GPUs. In standard Android benchmarks, the SHIELD pretty much slays any current high-end tablet or smartphone processor in graphics, but is about on par with the octal-core Samsung Exynos in terms of standard compute workloads but handily beating and octal-core Qualcomm Snapdragon. What's also interesting about the SHIELD Android TV is that it's not only an Android TV-capable device with movie and music streaming services like Netflix etc., but it also plays any game on Google Play and with serious horsepower behind it. The SHIELD Android TV is also the first device certified for Netflix's Ultra HD 4K streaming service.
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+ - Florida Hospital Shows Internet Lag Time Won't Affect Remote Robotic Surgeries->

Lucas123 writes: Remote robotic surgery performed hundreds or even thousands of miles away from the physician at the controls is possible and safe, according to the Florida Hospital that recently tested Internet lag times for the technology. Roger Smith, CTO at the Florida Hospital Nicholson Center in Celebration, Fla., said the hospital tested the lag time to a partner facility in Ft. Worth, Texas and found it ranged from 30 to 150 milliseconds, which surgeons could not detect as they moved remote robotic laparoscopic instruments. The tests, performed using a surgical simulator called a Mimic, will now be performed as if operating remotely in Denver and then Loma Linda, Calif. The Mimic Simulator system enables virtual procedures performed by a da Vinci robotic surgical system, the most common equipment in use today; it's used for hundreds of thousands of surgeries every year around the world. With a da Vinci system, surgeons today can perform operations yards away from a patient, even in separate but adjoining rooms to the OR. By stretching that distance to tens, hundreds or thousands of miles, the technology could enable patients to receive operations from top surgeons that would otherwise not be possible, including wounded soldiers near a battlefield. The Mimic Simulator was able to first artificially dial up lag times, starting with 200 milliseconds all the way up to 600 milliseconds.
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+ - GM to Offer Apple CarPlay and Android Auto API in Most 2016 Vehicles->

Lucas123 writes: GM today announced it will offer Apple CarPlay and Android Auto mirroring APIs on 14 of its 2016 vehicles. GM's announcement follows one earlier this week by Hyundai, which said it would offer Android Auto in its Sonata Sedan this year. Some of GM's Chevrolet vehicles — such as the Malibu, Camaro and Silverado truck — use a seven-inch MyLink infotainment system; those systems will be compatible with both Android Auto and Apple CarPlay in the beginning of 2016. Those models offering the smartphone mirroring apps include the all-new 2016 Cruze compact, which will debut on June 24. Other GM vehicles use an eight-inch version of MyLink that will only be compatible with Apple CarPlay at the beginning of the new model year. While development and testing is not yet complete, Android Auto compatibility may be available on the eight-inch version of MyLink later in the 2016 model year, GM said.
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+ - Duke Researchers Enable Graphics-Rich Cloud Gaming Without Eating Up Mobile Data->

MojoKid writes: Cloud gaming is a technology that's already here, but with high bandwidth requirements and data caps still a thing that mobile users have to contend with, there's room for improvement. Researchers at Duke University and Microsoft Research have been working together and what they've come up with is a promising new tool that could lead to console-like graphics on mobile devices with comparatively lower bandwidth requirements. The tool is called "Kahawai," which is the Hawaiian word for stream. What Kahawai does is task the mobile device — smartphone or tablet — with generating a rough sketch of each frame in a game, or a few high-detail sketches of certain frames. This takes some of the load off the remote server, which can then focus on filling in the missing pieces. By taking advantage of a mobile device's GPU to help with the load locally, less bandwidth is needed. This differs from conventional cloud gaming where the remote server does all the heavy lifting. Kahawai solves that problem through collaborative rendering. To demonstrate the technique, the researchers integrated Kahawai into Doom 3 and uploaded a video showing the experience. Running at 1Mbps, the version of Doom 3 using Kahawai was noticeably better looking than the version that relied on conventional cloud gaming methods.
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+ - A Look At GTA V PC Performance And Image Quality At 4K->

MojoKid writes: Rockstar's Grand Theft Auto series has been wildly successful for many years now, offering some of the edgiest story lines, game play tactics and objectives the gaming industry has ever seen. With psychopathic main characters, you are left in the depraved communities of Los Santos and Blaine County, to walk a path few would dare choose in real life. And it's rather entertaining of course, that you're tasked with leaving a virtual world worse off than you found it, consequences be damned. But what does it take to run GTA V at 4K (3840X2160) resolution? This article takes a look at that, as well as how it scales over multiple NVIDIA GeForce GTX 980 GPUs, along with some screen shots that look at image quality at Ultra HD resolution. It's safe to say one strong, high-end GPU will get the job done, but two in SLI or CrossFire are better of course, if you want to max out all IQ settings.
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