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Aug 5, 2022

U.S. appeals court says artificial intelligence can’t be patent inventor

Posted by in categories: law, robotics/AI

(Reuters) — An artificial intelligence system cannot be an inventor under United States patent law, a U.S. appeals court affirmed Friday.

The Patent Act requires an “inventor” to be a natural person, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit said, rejecting computer scientist Stephen Thaler’s bid for patents on two inventions he said his DABUS system created.

Thaler said in an email Friday that DABUS, which stands for “Device for the Autonomous Bootstrapping of Unified Sentience,” is “natural and sentient.”

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Aug 4, 2022

What Are States Planning To Do With Federal EV Charging Funds?

Posted by in categories: economics, energy, law, sustainability, transportation

State plans for the National EV Charging Infrastructure (NEVI) Formula Program were due to the Joint Office of Energy and Transportation this week, and many states released a draft plan for feedback in the last couple of months. The NEVI Program is one of two programs in the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law that provide funding for publicly-accessible electric vehicle (EV) charging infrastructure. Program funds can be used to plan for, install, operate, and maintain EV charging stations along travel corridors, with a focus on designated Alternative Fuel Corridors. Funding under the NEVI program totals $5 billion from 2022 through 2026. Funds will be allocated to states each year for implementation based on a pre-established formula, provided the departments of transportation in those states submit a satisfactory EV charging plan to the Joint Office, with updates to the plan required annually.

So what’s in the draft plans?

I pulled a few draft plans to look at as a starting point, aiming for a cross section of states in different regions, with different politics, with different economic stakes in the EV transition, at different places in EV adoption, with different weather. I couldn’t get quite the representative cross section I wanted because there are still big gaps in which states have released a draft plan. I decided to start with Alabama, California, Texas, and Wyoming.

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Jul 29, 2022

They Found Another Species of Human Beings

Posted by in categories: law, media & arts, transportation

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Jul 27, 2022

A new law is putting astronomy back in the hands of Native Hawaiians

Posted by in categories: government, law, policy, space

While the University of Hawai’i has until 2028 to officially hand off its management duties to the group, locals like native activist Noe Noe Wong-Wilson are optimistic about the change. She and others note that it feels like policy makers are finally listening to Native Hawaiians’ voices regarding the stewardship and care of their own community.

“This is the first time with the new authority that cultural practitioners and community members will actually have seats in the governing organization,” says Wong-Wilson, who is the executive director of the Lālākea Foundation, a nonprofit Native Hawaiian cultural organization. Wong-Wilson, who is a member of the working group that helped develop the bill proposal, says that the choice to bring in people and ideas from all over the community is what helped make the new law a reality.

She adds that the law’s mutual stewardship model takes into account all human activities on the mountain, and is designed to help “protect Mauna Kea for future generations,” as Native Hawaiians believe the mountain is a sacred place—a part of their spirituality as well as their culture. But years of mismanagement has created a mistrust in the state’s stakeholders, which included the University and Hawaiian government officials, and deepened a rift between Indigenous culture and western science.

Jul 26, 2022

America’s First Funeral Home for Composting Human Remains Is Open for Business

Posted by in category: law

Death comes to all of us, and it’s never easy. If cemeteries and funeral homes don’t give you warm fuzzies, then consider instead having your body covered in soil and bacteria so it can be composted into mulch.

The idea of a human remains becoming rich soil that can lead to new life seems — oddly refreshing.

After a decade of planning and fundraising and a successful bid to change Washington state law, Recompose, a composting funeral home, is finally open for business.

Jul 18, 2022

California Bullet Train Gets $4.2 Billion Green Light For First Phase While Bigger Challenges Loom

Posted by in categories: law, transportation

The country’s most expensive public infrastructure project finally appears to have the money and legal approval to complete its first leg.

Jul 17, 2022

Chinese courts allow AI to overrule judges and draft new laws

Posted by in categories: law, robotics/AI

Judges must now consult the AI on every case by law, Beijing’s Supreme Court said in an update on the system published this week, and if they go against its recommendation they must submit a written explanation for why.

The AI has also been connected to police databases and China’s Orwellian social credit system, handing it the power to punish people — for example by automatically putting a thief’s property up for sale online.

Beijing has hailed the new technology for making ‘a significant contribution to the judicial advancement of human civilisation’ — while critics say it risks creating a world in which man is ruled by machine.

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Jul 16, 2022

An open-access, multilingual AI

Posted by in categories: government, law, robotics/AI, supercomputing

A new language model similar in scale to GPT-3 is being made freely available and could help to democratise access to AI.

BLOOM (which stands for BigScience Large Open-science Open-access Multilingual Language Model) has been developed by 1,000 volunteer researchers from over 70 countries and 250 institutions, supported by ethicists, philosophers, and legal experts, in a collaboration called BigScience. The project, coordinated by New York-based startup Hugging Face, used funding from the French government.

The new AI took more than a year of planning and training, which included a final run of 117 days (11th March – 6th July) using the Jean Zay, one of Europe’s most powerful supercomputers, located in the south of Paris, France.

Jul 13, 2022

Twitter sues Elon Musk to force him to complete $44B acquisition

Posted by in categories: Elon Musk, law

Jul 9, 2022

Elon Musk says he’s terminating Twitter deal, board to fight

Posted by in categories: Elon Musk, law

Elon Musk announced he will walk away from his tumultuous $44 billion offer to buy Twitter, leaving the deal on the verge of collapse. The Tesla CEO sent a letter to Twitter’s board Friday saying he is terminating the acquisition.

But Twitter isn’t accepting Musk’s declaration. The chair of Twitter’s board, Bret Taylor, tweeted in response that the board is “committed to closing the transaction on the price and terms agreed upon with Mr. Musk and plans to pursue legal action to enforce the merger agreement. We are confident we will prevail in the Delaware Court of Chancery.”

Twitter could have pushed for a $1 billion breakup fee that Musk agreed to pay under these circumstances. Instead, it looks ready to fight to complete the deal, which the company’s board has approved and CEO Parag Agrawal has insisted he wants to consummate.

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