Month: February 2018

Articles by Dirk Helbing at the Globalist

Recent articles:


Google and the Birth of a Digital God?
A question that not only science fiction lovers should ask is: What future do we want to live in?


Digital Fascism Rising?
Can we still stop a world of technological totalitarianism?

We Need Peace Rooms, Not War Rooms
A proposal for the pro-social use of big data intelligence


The World Today: A Net Assessment

Is the call for a global emergency mere alarmism? Or do we really have reason to be alarmed?


Projecting battery adoption in the prosumer era

•We calculate the profitability of residential battery systems.

•Available batteries can significantly increase consumer self-sufficiency.

•Batteries are uneconomic with current tariffs for most consumers.

•We calculate the conditions required for widespread residential battery adoption.

•Electricity prices above $0.40/kW h and PV subsidies below $0.05/kW h are required.


Projecting battery adoption in the prosumer era
EdwardBarbour, Marta C.González

Applied Energy
Volume 215, 1 April 2018, Pages 356-370


Horizontal transfer of code fragments between protocells can explain the origins of the genetic code without vertical descent

Theories of the origin of the genetic code typically appeal to natural selection and/or mutation of hereditable traits to explain its regularities and error robustness, yet the present translation system presupposes high-fidelity replication. Woese’s solution to this bootstrapping problem was to assume that code optimization had played a key role in reducing the effect of errors caused by the early translation system. He further conjectured that initially evolution was dominated by horizontal exchange of cellular components among loosely organized protocells (“progenotes”), rather than by vertical transmission of genes. Here we simulated such communal evolution based on horizontal transfer of code fragments, possibly involving pairs of tRNAs and their cognate aminoacyl tRNA synthetases or a precursor tRNA ribozyme capable of catalysing its own aminoacylation, by using an iterated learning model. This is the first model to confirm Woese’s conjecture that regularity, optimality, and (near) universality could have emerged via horizontal interactions alone.


Horizontal transfer of code fragments between protocells can explain the origins of the genetic code without vertical descent
Tom Froese, Jorge I. Campos, Kosuke Fujishima, Daisuke Kiga & Nathaniel Virgo
Scientific Reportsvolume 8, Article number: 3532 (2018)


Convergence of marine megafauna movement patterns in coastal and open oceans

Understanding the key drivers of animal movement is crucial to assist in mitigating adverse impacts of anthropogenic activities on marine megafauna. We found that movement patterns of marine megafauna are mostly independent of their evolutionary histories, differing significantly from patterns for terrestrial animals. We detected a remarkable convergence in the distribution of speed and turning angles across organisms ranging from whales to turtles (epitome for the slowest animals on land but not at sea). Marine megafauna show a prevalence of movement patterns dominated by search behavior in coastal habitats compared with more directed, ballistic movement patterns when the animals move across the open ocean. The habitats through which they move will therefore need to be considered for effective conservation.


Convergence of marine megafauna movement patterns in coastal and open oceans

A. M. M. Sequeira, et al.



Why Self-Taught Artificial Intelligence Has Trouble With the Real World

Until very recently, the machines that could trounce champions were at least respectful enough to start by learning from human experience.

To beat Garry Kasparov at chess in 1997, IBM engineers made use of centuries of chess wisdom in their Deep Blue computer. In 2016, Google DeepMind’s AlphaGo thrashed champion Lee Sedol at the ancient board game Go after poring over millions of positions from tens of thousands of human games.

But now artificial intelligence researchers are rethinking the way their bots incorporate the totality of human knowledge. The current trend is: Don’t bother.