Circulate on Fridays: How nature solves problems through computation

Publication Date: 

Friday, 14 July 2017 - 6:21pm


Seb Egerton-Read

A skyscraper that could be a solution for our future food supply, how nature solves problems through computation, renewable energy continues to improve so much that even Donald Trump can’t stop it, and much more in a jam-packed Circulate on Fridays this week.

Facebook is aiming to re-think technology’s biggest urban design challenges after announcing preliminary plans for an expansion of its Menlo Park campus. Besides emphasising a community approach, which many tech companies have been criticised for in the past, but it is also potentially going to be designed experimentally for positive urban innovation, challenging issues like traffic congestion, building aesthetics and management of spaces.


Quanta Magazine explores the connection between biology and computation in a Q&A with evolutionary scientist Jessica Flack in an article that sheds interesting light on the patterns that exist within natural systems. The article begins to explain some of the computational rules that groups organisms use to solve problems, uncovered in Flack’s research, and the meanings that might hold for human innovation.

Could a modular and transportable skyscraper concept one day help to feed the world? With room for farms, aerial drone deliveries and a market for farmers and shoppers, it’s unquestionably an captivating idea, and worth taking a look at via Futurism.

How did an umbrella sharing economy model fail and ultimately lose 300,00 brollies in China? While we don’t concur with The Memo’s bottom line, that humans can’t be trusted, it’s probably a good learning point for some business models.

Find out why Quartz think that even Donald Trump’s aggressive stance and withdrawal from the Paris commitments won’t prevent renewable energy from taking hold in the US.

A new study suggests that waste products, like chip fat and other urban sources of waste, are a more effective and affordable feedstock source for doubling the UK’s production of biofuels, as opposed to growing more crops like wheat. It’s a finding that draws even more attention on the kind of thinking exhibited in the Ellen MacArthur Foundation’s Urban Biocycles scoping paper.

When will artificial intelligence exceed human performance? And where? The MIT Technology Review has asked experts to predict the pace of change.

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