Entrepreneurs need to know when to call it quits

Don't let your business success or failure define your worth as a person

Entrepreneurs need to know when to call it quitsJody Sherman founded several companies. Some got bought out for modest success and others failed. Ecomom was his last startup. Management and staff tried hard but Ecomom didn't work and it burned. When Sherman saw no hope for Ecomom, he saw no hope for himself so he ended his own life. But there is more…

Forging new sources for biofuels and hydrocarbon-based products

Part 3 of a 10-part series: Forge Hydrocarbons, a U of A spinoff, turns low-grade fats and oils into valuable fuel

Forging new sources for biofuels and hydrocarbon-based productsNew technology employed by Forge Hydrocarbons Corp., a University of Alberta spinoff company, proves you don't have to dig oil wells to produce fuel. You only have to dig through the muck we send to the landfill. Waste streams like those from rendering plants and restaurants are loaded with low-grade fats and oils that can…

An Alberta-made high-seas pollution solution

Part 2 of a 10-part series: Taking the dirty out of dirty oil and cleaning up the world's oceans at the same time

An Alberta-made high-seas pollution solutionWhat do beer, bitumen and greenhouse gas emissions have in common? That would be Neil Camarta, founder of Field Upgrading. Camarta spent most of his engineering career building conventional upgraders, which emit sulphur dioxide and other noxious GHG pollutants into the atmosphere. Now he’s teamed up with the Coors Brewing family and Alberta Innovates to commercialize a simple…

Putting science to work solving real-world problems – and winning awards

University of Lethbridge students continue to win international honours by developing groundbreaking technology

Putting science to work solving real-world problems – and winning awardsThe University of Lethbridge has been sending teams of students to compete in the iGEM Jamboree at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in Boston for the last 10 years. At the competition sponsored by iGEM (International Genetically Engineered Machine Foundation), student teams by the hundreds gather from around the world to present their latest…

Starting from scratch: how artificial intelligence can build itself

A computer that can think and reason like a person would have an enormous impact on every aspect of our world

Starting from scratch: how artificial intelligence can build itselfPlaying good games should be a test of intelligence. Planning, strategizing, and learning moves and counter moves are all gaming skills we associate with complex human thinking. DeepMind’s Alpha Zero AI system offers a significant breakthrough in this field. The impact of its generalized game learning system will be substantial. Although many people claim that…

Patients being kept in the dark about best treatment plans

To fight costs, Canadian patients are being denied coverage for biologics until all other (less expensive and less effective) measures are explored

Patients being kept in the dark about best treatment plansAs a stem cell biologist, I was very excited when Nobel laureate Dr. Shinya Yamanaka of Kyoto University developed cellular reprogramming, which enables us to generate patient-specific, induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs). Being pluripotent, these cells have the potential to make any cell or tissue type in the body. Being patient specific, tissues derived from…

The flap over tailings pond bird deaths lacks perspective

It’s just plain crazy to let ‘I-hate-oilsands’ activists frame our national energy agenda based on an immaterial number of bird deaths

The flap over tailings pond bird deaths lacks perspectiveA few months back, the latest story of bird deaths in the oilsands went national. About 100 birds had died at the Fort Hills oilsands mine operated by Suncor. According to reports, the mine was not yet operating but bird deterrent systems (including cannons, radar scanners and scarecrows) were functioning. Mystified by the event, Suncor…

Attacks on hydraulic fracturing in B.C. defy settled science 

A public inquiry will simply play into the hands of those who oppose energy production in B.C., depriving the province of significant economic benefits

Attacks on hydraulic fracturing in B.C. defy settled science Hydraulic fracturing, a well-studied and long-used method of producing oil and gas, has again come under attack in British Columbia. A coalition of environmental groups, community groups and Indigenous bands are calling for a “full public inquiry” to “investigate the risks and harms associated with fracking.” A resource analyst with the Canadian Centre for Policy…

Future work: intelligence everywhere but few humans on the job

The next decade will see unprecedented changes in the workforce. Jobs will vanish and new jobs won’t at all resemble those they replace

Future work: intelligence everywhere but few humans on the jobWe need to start preparing for a jobless future, in which only a small number of people use machines to manage all work. Machines are taking over jobs at an accelerating pace. Society is beginning to feel the impact of massive automation. Most troubling? The kinds of jobs that machines will take over: all of them.…

The AI tipping point much closer than you think

The self-play, self-training concept of the AlphaGo Zero software provides a glimpse into the future of artificial intelligence

The AI tipping point much closer than you thinkThe self-play, self-training concept of the AlphaGo Zero software provides a glimpse into the future of self-defining artificial intelligence (AI) systems. So how and when will AI exceed human capacity? While some believe that the processing power already exists to achieve this, the software that would function at this level has not yet been invented.…
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