50 Interesting Facts You Didn’t Know About Modern Technologies

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26Tay AI Bot

Tay was an artificial intelligence bot that was released by Microsoft via Twitter on March 23, 2016. It caused controversy when the bot began to post inflammatory and offensive tweets through its Twitter account, causing Microsoft to shut down the service only 16 hours after its launch.


27. Israeli researchers have been successful in creating a 3D-printed heart by converting fatty tissue from human patients to form “bio ink” which built the heart layer by layer. Around the size of a rabbit heart, it contains cells, blood vessels, chambers, and other structures a heart needs to function normally.


28. The computer chips that are put into spacecraft are not state of the art but are so old as to be obsolete. Their known reliability makes up for it.


29. In a 2017 criminal case, the US government put the secrecy of its hacking tools above all else. Prosecutors chose to drop all charges in a case of child exploitation on the dark web rather than reveal the technological means they used to locate the anonymous Tor user.


30. A fundamental limit exists on the amount of information that can be stored in a given space, which is about 10^69 bits per square meter. Regardless of technological advancement, any attempt to condense information further will cause the storage medium to collapse into a black hole.


31Savenger Technology

A new kind of scavenger technology allows robots to ‘eat’ metal for energy. Right now when electronics need their own power sources, there are two basic options: batteries and harvesters (like solar panels). This kind of technology can harvest its energy from metals around it.


32. Breeder reactors are a type of nuclear reactor that produce more fissile materials than they consume. They are designed to extend the nuclear fuel supply for the generation of electricity. If you use breeder reactors, there is enough nuclear fuel on earth to power all of humanity (electricity + heat + transportation + industry) for ~4 billion years, thereby making it literally as renewable as the sun-derived renewables (wind/solar/hydro). In other words, the sun will run out of its finite but huge nuclear fusion fuel around the same time. The concerns about nuclear weapons proliferation have been one large impediment to creating breeders.


33. Modern Polaroid film is less technologically advanced than traditional Polaroid film, and that Polaroid photos are now worse than they used to be.


34. As of 2014, the most accurate simulation of the human brain ever was carried out, but a single second’s worth of brain activity took one of the world’s largest supercomputers 40 minutes to calculate.


35. An AI-generated portrait titled “Edmond de Belamy” was sold at an auction for $432,500 in 2018. The AI used 15,000 portraits from the 14th to the 19th century, and the artwork is signed with a part of the algorithm code that produced it.


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36Smart Watches

Smartwatches measure blood pressure by emitting light to the skin and reading how much light is reflected back. As the heart pumps blood, it causes a variation in blood volume on the skin and can be detected by a change in light absorption, a not-so-new technology called photoplethysmogram.


37. The “Nasal Ranger” is a device that is described as “binoculars for your nose” and not unlike the “Smell-O-Scope” in Futurama. American cities with odor control ordinances are buying the $2000 olfactometer for monitoring odors and also fine cannabis smokers or growers if their scents are too strong.


38. After crashing, a driver in Germany was fined for using Tesla touchscreen wiper controls, under the same rules as using a phone while driving. The German court decided touchscreen car controls should be treated as a distracting electronic device


39. One of Jupiter's moons, Europa is known to have a huge ocean underneath its icy surface. NASA is developing an ice-penetrating technology called ARCHIMEDES that uses laser light to penetrate Europa’s crust and allow explorers to access its underlying ocean.


40. Thanks to 3D printing, NASA can basically “email” tools to astronauts.


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41Ancient Voice

Scientists have managed to recreate the voice of a 3000-year-old mummified Egyptian priest. They produced a 3D-printed voice box based on a precise scan of his vocal tract, and then used the vocal tract with an artificial larynx sound, synthesizing a vowel-like sound reminiscent of a sheep’s bleat.


42. A solar flare acts as an electromagnetic pulse and if the earth was hit by a large enough flare it could fry every microchip and piece of technology in existence.


43. Each person has a “walking signature” that can be detected by their smartphone’s accelerometer data. The signature persists even if you change phones.


44. Researchers have figured out a way to break into locks by using a smartphone to record the sound of a key being inserted. They were able to narrow down the range from more than 330,000 keys to 3.


45. “Smart” toilets identify users through their fingerprints and distinctive features of their anoderm to analyze excreta using computer vision and deep learning. The data is then encrypted and stored in the cloud.


46Bitflips

Cosmic rays can trigger bitflips (Soft Errors) in computers and other tech devices causing them to glitch in disastrous ways.


47. Smart Dust is a miniature sensing chip with an autonomous power supply, computing, and wireless communication in a space that is typically only a few millimeters in volume. With such a small size, these devices can stay suspended in an environment just like a particle of dust.


48. Artificial Intelligence can predict aftershocks better than trained seismologists. The machine learning process - termed “neural-network forecast” outperformed the traditional “stress-failure” method by allowing computers to consider additional variables, including stresses in metals.


49. Augmented reality technology could help treat lazy eyes.


50. The proliferation of IoT sex toys has led to the development of sex toys that use the TOR network to communicate, a field referred to as ‘Onion Dildonics.’

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