Artificial intelligence

Here are the Singularity Hub’s 10 most read stories of 2022

As the end of 2022 approaches, we’ve taken a look at the stories that have struck a chord with readers this year. Below you will find Singularity Hub 10 most read articles of 2022.

They range from a quantum computer demonstrating the quantum advantage — the ever-smooth benchmark for tasks that only a quantum machine can handle — to a house 3D printed from recycled plastic water bottles. We wrote about a transistor gate the size of a carbon atom, a DeepMind AI that can write computer code like your average programmer, a bet to drill 12 miles into the earth’s crust and unleash the nearly limitless energy in underneath, and a spinal cord implant that has helped paralyzed people walk again.

There was plenty of food for curious minds this year, and alongside another frenetic news cycle, science and technology continued to advance. As always, thanks for reading.

A quantum chip takes microseconds to perform a task that a supercomputer would spend 9,000 years
By Shelly Fan
“Are quantum computers overhyped? A new study in Nature say no. A cleverly designed quantum device developed by Xanadu, a company based in Toronto, Canada, has wiped out conventional computers on a benchmark task that would otherwise take more than 9,000 years. For the Borealis quantum chip, the answers came within 36 microphoneseconds. Xanadu’s achievement is the latest to demonstrate the power of quantum computing over conventional computers – a seemingly simple idea dubbed the quantum advantage.

Our conscious experience of the world is just a memory, according to a new theory
By Shelly Fan
“[According to the theory, consciousness] helps us remember events in our life – when, where, what and who – which in turn can help us recombine them in creative and flexible ways to predict or imagine alternative possibilities. It gets more mind-blowing. Rather than perceiving the world in real time, we actually experience a memory of that perception. Simply put, our unconscious minds filter and process the world under the hood and often make split-second decisions. When we become aware of these perceptions and decisions, that is, once they have reached the level of consciousness, we actually experience “memories of these unconscious decisions and actions,” the authors explained. In other words, it is mainly the unconscious that is driving.

The world’s largest cultured meat plant is under construction in the United States
By Vanessa Bates Ramirez
“Despite the fact that consumers have never tasted it and it is only legal in Singapore, cultured meat is on the rise. Its cost of production is falling, several companies have entered the space, and the FDA recently granted its first approval to one of them. Last week, the industry took another step as an Israeli company [Believer Meats] broke ground on what it says is the largest cultured meat plant in the world…with a production capacity of 10,000 metric tons.

This engineered “superplant” cleans indoor air like 30 regular plants
By Vanessa Bates Ramirez
“Most air purifiers are designed to remove airborne particles such as dust, dirt, smoke or bacteria. But Neo P1 was designed to fight against a type of pollution called volatile organic compounds. They are found in all kinds of household items, from furniture and cleaning products to paint, upholstery and flooring. The chemicals in these items that are most harmful to human health – which are also the ones the plant was designed to neutralize – are formaldehyde, benzene, toluene and xylene. They can contribute to lung problems like cancer and COPD, as well as heart disease and other health issues.

Spinal cord implant allowed paralyzed people to walk in just one day
By Shelly Fan
“Michel Roccati would never have thought of walking again, much less swimming, cycling or paddling in a kayak. A terrifying motorcycle collision in 2017 damaged his spinal cord, leaving him completely paralyzed from the waist down. Yet on a cold, snowy day last December in Lausanne, Switzerland, he took his first step outside – with the help of a walker – since his accident. His help ? A new spinal cord implant that connects signals from the brain to its lower muscles, jumping over damaged parts to restore movement. All it took was a stimulation day. “The first steps were amazing, a dream come true!” he said.”

Moore’s Law: Scientists Just Made an Atom-Width Graphene Transistor Gate
By Jason Dorrier
“There has been no greater act of magic in technology than the sleight of hand performed by Moore’s Law. Electronic components that once fit in your palm have long since become atomic, vanishing from our world to take up residence in the quantum realm. But we are now touching the bitter limits of this trend. In an article published in Nature This week, scientists at Tsinghua University in Shanghai wrote that they had constructed a graphene transistor gate 0.34 nanometers long, roughly the size of a single carbon atom.

AlphaCode by DeepMind conquers coding, works as well as humans
By Shelly Fan
“The secret to good programming might be ignoring everything we know about writing code. At least for AI. It sounds absurd, but DeepMind’s new coding AI just beat about 50% human coders in a highly competitive programming competition. At first glance, the tasks seem relatively simple: each coder is faced with a problem in common language, and the contestants must write a program to solve the task as quickly as possible and, hopefully error-free. But it’s a gigantic challenge for AI coders. Agents must first understand the task – something that comes naturally to humans – and then generate code for tricky problems that challenge even the best human programmers.

The startup will drill 12 miles into the earth’s crust to harness the unlimited energy below
By Jason Dorrier
“What if there was an almost unlimited source of energy available anywhere on the planet? What if the only thing stopping us from harnessing said energy source was technology? What if this technology leveraged the expertise of a century-old, trillion-dollar industry and could easily fit into much of the infrastructure already built for that industry? The answer to these questions is and always has been right under our feet. Our planet’s core is hotter than the surface of the sun – all we have to do is drill deep enough to release some of its heat. At least, that’s the dream Quaise Energy is launching, and the startup, spun off from MIT in 2018, recently secured $40 million in new funding to pursue it.

First controlled human trial shows calorie reduction improves health and longevity
By Shelly Fan
“Bring up calorie restriction, or ‘CR’, in humans at any longevity forum, and you’ll spark a furious debate between diehard proponents and passionate dissidents. The reason is also simple: we only have theories, but we lack sufficient data in humans. …Enter CALERIE. The comprehensive evaluation of the long-term effects of reduced energy intake is the first controlled study of CR in the average Joe. Led by scientists from Yale University and Pennington Biomedical Research, the trial found that reducing calories by just 14% for 2 years, or about one less muffin a day, conferred multiple health benefits known to fight against aging.

These stylish houses are 3D printed from recycled plastic. Prices start at $26,900
By Vanessa Bates Ramirez
“The United States has a housing shortage problem. We also have a plastic waste problem. What if we could solve both of these problems simultaneously with an unexpected two-bird/one-rock innovation? If you’ve ever dreamed of living in a tiny house made from 100,000 recycled plastic water bottles, your lucky day is just around the corner.

Image Credit: Eric Chevez / Unsplash

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