Issue #108

This week – cyborgs; sneak peek into Facebook bots language; Amazon’s bee-hives for drones; biological teleportation machine; a DIY AI to sort LEGO pieces; and more!


More than a human

Becoming Cyborg

Becoming Cyborg is a documentary about biohackers – people who right now are implanting chips and devices in their bodies and explores the strange new world of the contemporary cyborg movement, and the pioneers who are making it happen. Worth watching. Some images can be disturbing.

 

Is the Brain Augmentation Hype Justified? Here’s an Expert’s Take

Seems like everyone these days wants to enhance our brains. Here’s a short interview with a neuroscientist who explains where we are right now when it comes to understanding how the brain works, what can we do and what could we do in the future.

 

Ray Kurzweil: Here’s What Will Happen When We Connect Our Brains to the Cloud

Ray Kurzweil explains what will happen when we will be able to upload our minds to the cloud. According to him, we will become a hybrid between human and machine living mostly in the cloud. Worth watching and then thinking about it.

 

Ectogenesis: Crib Designed To Grow Babies Outside The Womb

This fake commercial of a crib designed to grow a human baby outside of the womb made by art students, but there is a chance that this vision might become a reality. Not so long ago I shared with you an artificial womb capable of keeping a baby sheep alive, so who knows where will a similar technology look like in 10 years from now.

 

A Biohacker Put an Implant in His Hand to Pay for Public Transport

A biohacker from Australia implanted a chip from his travel card in his hand and now he can pay for public transport just by swiping his hand.

 

Artificial Intelligence

What an AI’s Non-Human Language Actually Looks Like

Researchers from Facebook Artificial Intelligence Lab published recently results from their experiment in training bots to negotiate between themselves. They have reported that the bots created their own language in order to perform the task. Now they have “translated” the bots language into something we can read and it looks interesting.

 

Half of UK Consumers Find Artificial Intelligence ‘Creepy’

This report describes what people in UK, US, France and Germany think is Creepy or Cool in shopping experiences. It’s interesting to see that 55% of UK consumers find advanced recommendation engines “creepy”, but they are ok with voice recognition or fingerprint scanning.

 

How I Built an AI to Sort 2 Tons of Lego Pieces

Human laziness and ingenuity strikes again! This guy bought 2 tonnes of Lego pieces and didn’t want to sort the manually, so he built an image recognition system and a simple robot that did the sorting for him. Go check the videos on his website to see the machine in action.

 

InspiroBot

Do you need an inspirational quote to enrich your existence? Then check this bot whose wisdom will leave your mind blown away.

 

China’s Tech Moguls Warn of AI’s Troubling Trajectory

The discussion on AIs impact on society and politics happens not only in the West, but also in China. For example, the CEO of Alibaba, Jack Ma, said that artificial intelligence could displace many workers in both China and the US, thereby heightening tensions that some fear could lead the two countries toward armed conflict.

 

AI? Just Sandbox it… – Computerphile

Another video in which Computerphille tackles the problem of AI safety. Roughly first 3 minutes of the video is an advice for all the people who have a “solution” for the AI safety problem but later in the video, Rob Miles discusses the idea of containing AI in a “box” and why it is not the solution we are looking for.

 

Robotics

Amazon has applied to patent a beehive-like drone tower

Amazon is still dreaming about drones flying above our heads delivering packages quickly and on-demand. Recently, Amazon has applied to patent a multi-level beehive-like tower that would deploy and receive delivery drones. The concept looks interesting.

 

Robots to help children with autism

The Development of Robot-Enhanced therapy for children with AutisM spectrum disorders,(or DREAM in short) project will design robots that can operate autonomously and help the therapist to improve the child’s social interaction skills, such as turn-taking, imitation and joint attention.

 

Meet drone dueling, the sport California is about to inadvertently kill

Another, after racing, sport using drones is emerging – drone dueling. Rules are simple – human pilots control unmanned machines into combat against each other, and the last machine standing (or flying) wins. But this sport can be killed before it spreads its wings because of the new legislation which forbids weaponizing drones.

 

In Oakland, hackers race DIY autonomous cars

Underground races of DIY autonomous cars. We live in the future.

 

Biotechnology

Who will pay for CRISPR?

CRISPR-based therapies are slowly being used in hospitals in clinical trials. The technology is promising and offers power over living organisms we never had before, but it comes with a huge price tag. Hundreds of thousands of dollars for a single therapy is a price that makes insurance companies question if it is worth it.

 

‘Biological Teleportation’ Edges Closer With Craig Venter’s Digital-to-Biological Converter

Imagine a machine that scans a living organism, creates a digital description of it and sends it to another machine that takes this description and “builds” exact copy of the organism. Craig Venter, the pioneer in genetic engineering, is working on such machine right now.