Issue #111

This week – AI creates fake Obama; Elon says AI is the greatest risk we face as a civilization; a security robot threw itself into a fountain; Alphabet’s Verily has plans to release 20 million sterile in California; aliens in Happiness Boxes; and more!


More than a human

Engineering the Perfect Astronaut

Do you want to go to Mars? Great! Here’s a gene therapy that will prepare you for the flight and for the harsh environment of Mars. This vision might become a reality. There are companies and researchers trying to figure out how to prepare humans for interplanetary travel and genetic engineering is one of the main areas of their research.

 

Google’s co-founders and other Silicon Valley billionaires are trying to live forever

The billionaires from Silicon Valley are investing into biotechnology companies that promise to cure ageing and maybe even death.

 

All Advanced Aliens Are in Happiness Boxes

Here’s another possible solution to the Fermi Paradox – the Happiness Boxes. When you are able to generate virtual worlds that look, sound, smell and feel like a real one, why should you cope with the reality when you can be perfectly happy in a virtual world?

 

Artificial Intelligence

AI Creates Fake Obama

Nothing is true. Everything is generated. Artificial intelligence software could generate highly realistic fake videos of former president Barack Obama using existing audio and video clips of him, a new study finds.

 

Elon Musk Says Artificial Intelligence Is the ‘Greatest Risk We Face as a Civilisation’

Elon Musk described artificial intelligence as “the greatest risk we face as a civilization” and called for swift and decisive government intervention to oversee the technology’s development.

 

Neuroevolution: A different kind of deep learning

Neuroevolution is the new hot thing in AI research. The idea is simple – apply genetic algorithms to neural networks. Let them grow and evolve until you get a network that best suits your needs. This article explains the ideas behind neuroevolution – artificial neural networks and genetic programming and how these two ideas work with each other to generate better AIs.

 

AI Could Revolutionize War as Much as Nukes

AI is changing everything. The way we shop. The way we interact with computers. The way we drive and transport goods. It will also change the military. A recent report shows that the impact of technologies such as autonomous robots on war and international relations could rival that of nuclear weapons.

 

AI hopes and fears in numbers

355 machine learning researchers answered a question on how good or bad they expect the results of “high-level machine intelligence” to be for humanity. You can check the result in one chart showing the distribution of optimism and pessimism when it comes to AI.

 

The Spiritual Machines: What If Artificial Intelligence Was Enlightened?

Isaac Asimov wrote a short story titled “Reason”. It was about a group of robots on an isolated space station that started to worship the space station as their god. The article assumes we will inject into artificial general intelligence some kind of spirituality. Asimov showed that it can be developed independently.

 

Robotics

DC security robot says everything is fine, throws itself into pool

A Dalek-like looking security robot threw itself into a fountain in Washington, DC. The response from the company which made the robot was spot on.

 

The growth of industrial robots

Here’s a daily chart from The Economist showing the growth of industrial robots. I’m surprised that Japan is not a leader in the number of robots per 10 000 employees. Singapour and South Korea are leading here. The article also omits the fact that China is heavily investing in robotics.

 

Biotechnology

Verily Robot Will Raise 20 Million Sterile Mosquitoes for Release in California

Alphabet’s life sciences arm, Verily, says it has built a robot that can raise a million mosquitoes a week and has used it to produce infertile male insects to fight dengue and Zika.