#postscarcity or bust!

Architects around the globe are racing to build the world’s first 3D printed houses — a breakthrough with profound implications for housing affordability and customization.

In China, a company named Winsun this year said it built 10 3D printed houses in just one day. The reported cost for each: just $5,000.

In Amsterdam, a team of architects has started construction of the 3D Print Canal House, using bio-based, renewable materials. The site is both construction site and public museum; President Obama was among the visitors this year. Hedwig Heinsman, co-founder of DUS architects, the team behind the project, tells Business Insider that in addition to being ec0-friendly, “The main goal, I think, is really to deliver custom-made architecture.”

3D printers build structures layer by layer. But at USC in California, Professor Behrokh Khoshnevis is pushing the fabrication process one step further with what he calls "contour crafting." He hopes to develop a gigantic 3D printer, able to print whole house in a single run, from its structure to its electrical and plumbing conduits.

The revolution in 3D printed housing, in other words, is well underway.

(more at businessinsider.com)

Artificial humans are set to replace the controversial technique of animal testing, scientists have claimed. 

The micro-chipped human machines due to be available in three years time will remove the need for experiments that claim the lives of up to 90 million animals each year, according to the Sunday Times. 

Artificial organs such as lungs, liver, and kidneys are already being used to test cosmetics, chemicals and drugs. 

"If our system is approved by the regulators, then it will close down most of the animal-testing laboratories worldwide," said Uwe Marx – a tissue engineer from Technische Universitat Berlin and founder of TissUse, a firm behind the technology.

(more at ibtimes.co.uk)

There’s a saying among futurists that a human-equivalent artificial intelligence will be our last invention. After that, AIs will be capable of designing virtually anything on their own — including themselves. Here’s how a recursively self-improving AI could transform itself into a superintelligent machine.

(more at io9.com)

TurboRoo, a chihuahua born without its front legs, was given a 3D printed cart made by San Diego firm 3dyn so he could train to be a service dog for disabled children.

Japanese artist Aki Inomata has partnered with, of all things, hermit crabs, to create a brilliant architectural art project. Using a 3D printer, Inomata created clear plastic shells with cities on them that were then promptly inhabited by their new hermit crab residents.

(more at boredpanda.com)

The jobless economy: a fully automated, engineered, robotic system that doesn’t need you, or me either. Anything we can do, machines can do better — surgery, warfare, farming, finance. What’s to do? Shall we smash the machines, or go to the beach, or finally learn to play the piano?

Economists predict that 50% of US jobs could be automated in a decade or two. Big fun show with tech wizard Ray Kurzweil and the economist Andrew McAfee. We need to hear the worker’s voice, too. Will a machine take your job someday? And in a world without work, what would you do?

  • Ray Kurzweil: Director of Engineering at Google, futurist, inventor, and author of The Age of Spiritual Machines and The Singularity Is Near.
  • Andrew McAfee: Director of the Initiative on the Digital Economy at MIT, author of The Second Machine Age: Work, Progress, and Prosperity in a Time of Brilliant Technologies.
  • Charles Derber: sociologist and author of The Surplus American
  • Sarah Jaffe: journalist and host of Dissent’s labor podcast “Belabored”

(listen to the podcast at kurzweilai.net)

The Brain and the Law: How Neuroscience Will Shift Blameworthiness

Eldar Shafir - Living Under Scarcity

When the robots disrupt the workplace, it’s clear that one group of society will be first in the firing line: the middle classes.

The latest to warn of this class attack is the UK’s university and science minister David Willetts, who said this week that the jobs most at risk of usurpation by robots were white-collar professions. Speaking at an event held by the think tank Policy Exchange, Willetts emphasized that the kind of work we tend to think involves sophisticated cognitive abilities is actually easier for a robot to do than many motor tasks we would consider very basic. As he put it, “Giving a cup of tea to a little old lady is a bigger IT robotics challenge than doing chess against Kasparov.”

Where robots once seemed best suited to production line drudgery, they’re increasingly proving themselves adept at the kind of jobs that fit better with middle class aspirations, like accountancy and journalism. They’re not heavy lifters; they’re office drones.

(more at motherboard.vice.com)