Singularity Podcast

Monday, April 24, 2006

Cancer-treatment company seeks $86 million IPO

Light Sciences Oncology of Snoqualmie filed plans late Friday to raise as much as $86.25 million in an initial public stock offering.
The Seattle Times: Business & Technology: Cancer-treatment company seeks $86 million IPO

Thursday, April 20, 2006

The Six Million Dollar Mankind

Bionic humanity is coming, not with the bang of a huge, secret government program of the Steve Austin variety, but on the little cat-feet of a collection of new developments.
TCS Daily - The Six Million Dollar Mankind

Monday, April 17, 2006

How to Invest in Nanotech - BusinessWeek

How to Invest in Nanotech:

IBM, Intel, and GE are taking this emerging technology seriously. An exchange traded fund means wary investors can get serious, too.

Primer on The Singularity - Ray Kurzweil

An analysis of the history of technology shows that technological change is exponential, contrary to the common-sense "intuitive linear" view. So we won't experience 100 years of progress in the 21st century -- it will be more like 20,000 years of progress (at today's rate). The "returns," such as chip speed and cost-effectiveness, also increase exponentially. There's even exponential growth in the rate of exponential growth. Within a few decades, machine intelligence will surpass human intelligence, leading to The Singularity -- technological change so rapid and profound it represents a rupture in the fabric of human history. The implications include the merger of biological and nonbiological intelligence, immortal software-based humans, and ultra-high levels of intelligence that expand outward in the universe at the speed of light.

The Law of Accelerating Returns from

In the 70s he was a TV fantasy. Now the bionic man is real - and he even plays sax

The 1970s gave us the six-million-dollar man. Thirty years and quite a bit of inflation later we have the six-billion-dollar human: not a physical cyborg as such, instead an umbrella term for the latest developments in the growing field of technology for human enhancement.
Guardian Unlimited Science In the 70s he was a TV fantasy. Now the bionic man is real - and he even plays sax:

Sunday, April 16, 2006

A Crystal Ball Submerged in a Test Tube

Genomic Health Inc: GHDX

A Crystal Ball Submerged in a Test Tube

Nanosys gets $4.6M in government contracts

Silicon Valley/San Jose Business Journal - 10:34 AM PDT Wednesday

Nanosys Inc., a developer of nanotechnology-based products, said Wednesday it has been awarded new U.S. government contracts that total about $4.6 million.
The contracts come from agencies including the National Science Foundation, Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, Department of Energy, Defense Threat Reduction Agency and the United States Army.

Nanosys, based in Palo Alto and privately held, will focus on overlapping existing technology and product development plans.

Nanotech in products sold today

After more than twenty years of basic and applied research, nanotechnologies are gaining in commercial use. Nanoscale materials now are in electronic, cosmetics, automotive and medical products. But it has been difficult to find out how many "nano" consumer products are on the market and which merchandise could be called "nano."

While not comprehensive, this inventory gives the public the best available look at the 200+ nanotechnology-based consumer products currently on the market. Prior to this inventory, the figure most often cited by the U.S. government was that approximately 80 consumer products containing nanomaterials were being sold.

Saturday, April 15, 2006

Sciperio : Company mentioned in "Print Me a Heart" article

With knowledgeable and experienced scientists and engineers in a variety of disciplines, Sciperio is pushing the boundaries of mechanical, electrical, chemical and biological sciences.

Sciperio : About Us

Argonne researchers find 217 new targets for anticancer drugs

By identifying novel genes critical to cancer progression, biologists at the U.S. Department of Energy's Argonne National Laboratory have expanded the number of drug targets researchers have available for study to find ways to stop tumors in their tracks. The report is published today in Cancer Research.

Argonne researchers find 217 new targets for anticancer drugs

Friday, April 14, 2006

Print me a heart and a set of arteries

Sitting in a culture dish, a layer of chicken heart cells beats in synchrony. But this muscle layer was not sliced from an intact heart, nor even grown laboriously in the lab. Instead, it was "printed", using a technology that could be the future of tissue engineering...

Print me a heart and a set of arteries

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

How, then, do you teach a computer common sense?

The word: Common sense
15 April 2006

From New Scientist Print Edition.

SOME things are just obvious. We all know that people don't walk on their heads, for example, or that if you go out in the rain you're likely to get wet. It's common sense.

But some things that seem obvious to one person may seem obscure to another if they are from another culture, religion or background. Common sense is not always common to everyone. This is especially true when beliefs play a strong part in how people perceive things. It may seem obvious to me that a drought was caused by a random change in weather patterns, but to someone who believes in supernatural beings it could seem just as obvious that it's because they've displeased the rain god. Einstein summed it up thus: "Common sense is the collection of prejudices acquired by age 18."

Spare a thought, then, for those trying to design computers that have common sense. It took each of us humans many years to build up a portfolio of wisdom about the way the world works. When a baby repeatedly knocks over towers of bricks it may look like a futile activity, but what the child is really doing is exploring the world and filling its brain with fundamental rules. By the age of 3, it will have acquired more common sense than the most sophisticated computer. This is the big headache for artificial intelligence (AI) researchers: they can design a computer that might beat Garry Kasparov at chess, but you couldn't have an intelligent conversation with it because it has no grasp of ordinary life.

How, then, do you teach a computer common sense? Researchers at a company called Cycorp in Austin, Texas, are trying to find out. Since 1984, they have been incorporating a huge collection of everyday knowledge in an AI project named Cyc. Cyc now contains around 300,000 concepts, such as "sky" and "blue", and around 3 million different assertions, such as "the sky is blue", in a format that can be used by computers to make deductions. It can now generate hypotheses from the facts it contains, and confirm them by searching the web. Cycorp has also just launched a trivia game for the public that will help fill in gaps in Cyc's knowledge, in which the computer generates statements that the user has to describe as true, false or incomprehensible. You can see a prototype at

There's a long way to go. Despite more than 20 years' work, the Cyc project contains only about 2 per cent of the information its designers think it needs to operate with something like human intelligence. It also begs a crucial question: can a computer really acquire common sense without experiencing the world directly, given that the latest neuroscience shows we base our judgements on gut feeling and emotion rather than a rational assessment of the facts?

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Genentech profit up on robust cancer drug sales

Singularity 20 company

Genentech Inc. (NYSE:DNA - news), the world's second largest biotechnology company, on Tuesday said first-quarter profit rose 48 percent on strong sales of cancer drugs Avastin and Herceptin, and it raised its earnings forecast for the full year.

Genentech profit up on robust cancer drug sales

New device allows woman to see, even without eyes

New device allows woman to see, even without eyes

More than a million people in the United States are legally blind. Many of them once had vision but tragically lost it. Now a breakthrough device could give them back some of their sight.

Regrow Your Own - New York Times

Regrow Your Own - New York Times

Stem cell therapy has long captured the limelight as a way to the goal of regenerative medicine, that of repairing the body with its own natural systems. But a few scientists, working in a relatively obscure field, believe another path to regenerative medicine may be as likely to succeed. The less illustrious approach is promising, in their view, because it is the solution that nature itself has developed for repairing damaged limbs or organs in a wide variety of animals.

Monday, April 10, 2006

Nanoparticles deliver cancer breakthrough news service
Gaia Vince

Tiny man-made nanoparticles have been used to successfully smuggle a powerful cancer drug into tumour cells - leaving healthy cells unharmed - in one of the first therapeutic uses for nanotechnology in living animals.

When tested in mice, the nanostructure-based therapy was 10 times as effective at delaying tumour growth, and far less toxic, than the drug given alone. The researchers believe the therapy could transform many cancers from killers into chronic, treatable diseases.

Branching polymer molecules, called dendrimers - less than five nanometres in diameter and small enough to pass through a cell membrane - were loaded with the anticancer drug methotrexate, the vitamin folic acid, and a fluorescent imaging agent.

Mice with human epithelial cell tumours on their backs, injected with the loaded nanoparticles, lived much longer than those in the control group.

“In our longest trial, which lasted 99 days, 30% - 40% of the mice given the nano-particle with methotrexate survived. All the mice receiving free methotrexate died - either from overgrowth of the tumour or from the toxic effects of the drug,” says Jolanta Kukowska-Latallo, one of the researchers at the University of Michigan, US. “Effectively, we achieved a 30-day tumour delay - equivalent to about three years for a person.”

Cunning trick

The technique employs cunning Trojan horse trickery. All living cells require folic acid to replicate, but cancer cells have a particularly strong appetite for it, displaying up to one thousand more docking sites - called folate receptors - on their membranes. By attaching five folic acid molecules to branches of the dendrimer, the researchers were able to lure the cancer cells into accepting the whole package across the membrane and into the cell - including the toxic drug, which then kills off the cell.

The targeted process is far more effective than conventional chemotherapy, which relies on large concentrations of the anticancer drug in the extra-cellular fluid to slowly diffuse across the membranes, harming healthy tissue in the process.

James Baker, professor of biologic nanotechnology, who directed the study, explains: “This targeted binding gave us a million-fold improvement on drug uptake for cancer cells.
“It’s the first time that we’ve been able to inject a therapeutic cancer treatment into the bloodstream of an animal, and have it seek out tumour cells elsewhere in the body and target them to destruction.”

Detoxified therapy

He says that the treatment targeted the cancer cells so successfully that they had not even found an upper dosage limit, since it had not been toxic to healthy cells.

“It will probably allow us to detoxify cancer therapy, so that instead of being a killer, cancer will become a chronic illness like diabetes - tumours will be reduced or killed off completely after large doses of this targeted treatment,” Baker told New Scientist. The group is hoping to begin clinical trials in humans within 18 months, although producing the dendrimers is costly and a technically difficult process.

“These preliminary results are very interesting. They show that nanotechnology has the potential to increase the effectiveness of modern day anti-cancer drugs by specifically targeting them to cancer cells," Emma Knight, Senior Science Information Officer at Cancer Research UK, says:

But she cautions that: “However, this work is still at a very early stage. Further studies are essential to work out whether this approach could be applied to humans.”
The researchers were able to determine where the dendrimers ended up in the body by following their attached fluorescent particles. They flowed freely in the extra cellular fluid - unable to cross the blood-brain barrier - before being filtered from the blood by the kidneys, and then eliminated in the mice urine.

“Brain tumours would perhaps be targeted by injecting the therapy directly into the brain,” Baker says.

Journal reference: Cancer Research (vol 65, p 12)

Monday, April 03, 2006

About Singularity Investments

Singularity Investments is a new private investment fund that will be focused on generating superior returns for investors by researching and selectively investing in companies and concepts that are targeting dramatic human life extension and “post-biological” human existence. Singularity Investments’ strategy capitalizes on emerging cross-technology development in five principle areas: Neuroscience, Genetic Engineering, Software, Nanotechnology, and Robotics.

Collectively, the merger of these five disciplines focused on dramatic human life extension and post-biological human existence is called “The Singularity”. This concept has been discussed by technologists and futurists over the last 20 years, and continued technology advances has lead the Singularity Investments team to believe that now is a reasonable timeframe to develop an investment strategy to take advantage of what appears to be “accelerating returns” in the disciplines supporting the emergence of The Singularity.