Issue #109

This week – the ethics of enhancing humans; why having a chip in a brain is inevitable and who is working on it right now; a creepy chatbot that reads human emotions; and more!


More than a human

Why You Will One Day Have A Chip In Your Brain

Wired did an interview with Bryan Johnson, the founder of Kernel, a company that wants to augment our brains. Bryan explains why he started the company, what motivates him and why having a chip in a brain is inevitable.

 

‘Supersoldiers’: Ethical concerns in human enhancement technologies

There is a lot of interesting ethical problems raised by Dr Adam Henschke when it comes to enhancing humans in a military context. Are soldiers involved in these projects know exactly what is going to be done to their bodies? Will an enhanced soldier be still seen as a human by the enemy? There was one thing that was missing in Dr Henschke’s video – what will happen to these soldiers and that technology when they leave the military?

 

An Exoarm For The Elderly

Check this awesome open source exo arm. If you feel fancy you can build one yourself for about $100.

 

Would human enhancement create Supermen or super tyrants?

As human augmentation becomes more a reality than a science fiction, some people start to ask what will happen if we could make ourselves better? Will the ones able to afford to become a new god-like class ruling upon unaugmented humans and keep the technology for themselves? Or will the technology be available to everyone to become superhuman? Or will we end up with a third option – “Although new technologies can be used for either laudable or nefarious purposes, they are typically used for whatever purpose creates the most profit.”

 

These 11 tech companies want to hack your brains

Not only Elon Musk and DARPA wants to make your brain better. I’m surprised Facebook is not the list. They work on a “telepathic” system based on brain-computer interfaces.

 

Artificial Intelligence

The Body Is the Missing Link for Truly Intelligent Machines

Some people think we’re nowhere near achieving human-like AI. Why? Because the layered model of cognition is wrong. Most AI researchers are currently missing a central piece of the puzzle: embodiment. Putting AI in a physical body and letting it interact with the world, just as we do.

 

Meet Nadia, the scarily ‘human’ chatbot who can read your emotions

Nadia is a chatbot. But unlike other chatbots, it prefers to see the people it interacts with to read their emotions and manifests itself as a computer generated being voiced by Cate Blanchett. There is a video inside showing how Nadia works. Warning – uncanny valley ahead.

 

Robotics

7 robots that were inspired by nature

Robotic octopus, robotic salamander, robotic bird and more.

 

Biotechnology

The Age of CRISPR | Joe Hanson | PBSDS Nerd Night 2016

Joe Hanson from the Youtube channel It’s Okay to Be Smart offers his wisdom and insight into CRISPR and asks the question: “What will we do now that we can do anything?”.

 

Is Getting Genetically Engineered a Human Right?

CRISPR technology is transforming biomedical research and is at the heart of numerous recent discoveries — but if no one can pay for treatments it produces, how will we make use of it? Experts have a range of ideas to solve this knotty problem.