Issue #101

Inside – AI and consciousness, mind-reading AI, how VR can create a better humanity and more!


I don’t know if you noticed it, but National Geographic in April had a very transhuman cover (at least in UK). The article itself was written in a balanced way, maybe slightly leaning towards being optimistic. You read my thoughts about the article (plus see some photos of it) in my post in Rational Transhumanism group on Facebook (which you should join).


More than a human

Researchers Just Found a Way to Create Better Bionic Eyes

A researcher in the U.K. has developed the world’s first synthetic, soft tissue retina. Because it doesn’t contain any hard materials, the device should be able to bypass many of the problems posed by current mechanical implants.

 

Artificial Intelligence

The Dark Secret at the Heart of AI

Deep learning has become a silver bullet to many problems. It just works and works very well. But, no one really knows how the most advanced algorithms do what they do. That could be a problem.

 

Neural network learns to reproduce what your brain sees

A trio of Chinese researchers created a neural network that predicts what a person is looking at based on functional MRI brain scans. In other words, mind reading is getting closer to become a reality.

 

AI Learns Gender and Racial Biases From Language

Garbage in, garbage out. The new study proves that AI can learn gender and racial biases from the data they learned from.

 

The Singularity and the Neural Code

Bionic convergence and psychic uploading won’t be possible unless we crack the neural code, science’s hardest problem.

 

It Would Not Be Cool If AI Were Conscious — It Would Be Dumb

“We can make tools that are smart as the dickens, and use them and understand what their limitations are without giving them ulterior motives, purposes, a drive to exist and to compete and to beat the others. Those are features that don’t play any crucial role in the competences of artificial intelligence. So for heaven sakes don’t bother putting them in.”, argues Daniel Dennett. The later though about treating AIs as slaves is also an interesting starting point for further thoughts.

 

Robotics

Drone Uses AI and 11,500 Crashes to Learn How to Fly

Practice makes the master. If you are a drone, the practice means 11500 crashes from which you learn how to fly on your own, even in narrow, cluttered environments.

 

This Robot Completes a 2-Hour Brain Surgery Procedure in Just 2.5 Minutes

A team of researchers is developing a robot that reduces the time it takes to drill into the skull from two hours to 2.5 minutes. Not only it can make the brain surgeries faster, but can also reduce the chances of an error during the operation.

 

We Need Conscious Robots

Or “How introspection and imagination make robots better”. In this article, Ryota Kanai argues that it would be a good idea to give AI consciousness because it will create more flexible machines able to adapt quicker to new situations and think better on their own.

 

This Robot Manipulates Objects and Shares What It Learns With the Hive Mind

RightHand Robotics has developed a robotic arm that can pick up objects and categorize them by bin, similar to the responsibilities of some manufacturing and fulfillment jobs. Each robotic arm is connected to the others via a cloud server, so the group learns and improves from the mistakes of the individual.

 

A Brief History of Our Robotic Future

Artificial intelligence and automation stand to upend nearly every aspect of modern life, from transportation to health care and even work. So how did we get here and where are we going?

 

‘MythBusters’ Adam Savage Explains Why Interstellar’s TARS Is The Perfect Robot

Adam Savage explains why TARS is the perfect robot. Not because of its software or how clever it is. He came to that conclusion from a mechanical point of view. It is a simple robot. It’s not overly complex. And that what makes is beautiful.

 

Virtual Worlds

How Virtual Reality will create a better Humankind

One might ask, how? According to Dominic Escofier in his TEDx Talk, VR will prepare you better for the future, make you healthier and make you smarter.