Issue #117

This week – self-driving lorries to be tested in the UK; Ford’s autonomous car delivers Domino’s pizza; bionic pop singer; hacking DNA to hack a computer; and more!


More than a human

Russian Ratnik 3 combat suit will have built in exoskeleton

Everyone’s building exoskeletons these days. In June 2017, Russia had an exhibit of the future and showed mockups of future combat suit with a built in exoskeleton. Russia hopes to be able to make operational units in a couple of years.

 

If technology makes humans into gods, old questions return

This article, which is a short reflection on Yuval Noah Harari’s book Homo Deus, was written a year ago, but the questions raised there are still valid. Once the transhumanists dream come true and we will become immortal, superintelligent and powerful beings, what will happen to our humanity?

 

World’s First Bionic Pop Artist: You Should Be Able to Transcend Your Physical Body

Actress, composer, and self-described “bionic pop artist” Viktoria Modesta spoke to Futurism about the future of humanity and how, one day, she hopes we will have the ability to truly remake our physical forms to our choosing.

 

A Roadmap to Immortality

Here’s a bunch of infographics showing how we can achieve immortality – from regenerative medicine to AI to cryonics to becoming a cyborg.

 

Artificial Intelligence

Myths and Facts About Superintelligent AI

We live in an era of self driving cars, autonomous drones, deep learning algorithms, computers that beat humans at chess and go, and so on. So it’s natural to ask, will artificial superintelligence replace humans, take our jobs, and destroy human civilization? Or will AI just become tools like regular computers. AI researcher Max Tegmark helps explain the myths and facts about superintelligence, the impending machine takeover, etc.

 

Why Neuroscience Is the Key to Innovation in AI

A summary of Demis Hassabis’ paper, where the founder of DeepMind explains how taking lessons from neuroscience contributed to company’s successes in AI research and why we should further explore how the brain works in order to create better AIs.

 

Robotics

‘Self-driving’ lorries to be tested on UK roads

By the end of the next year, some lorries on British roads will drive by itself. The UK government announced that it will conduct tests of up to three self-driving lorries travelling in formation, with acceleration and braking controlled by the lead vehicle.

 

The Autonomous Pizza Delivery Experiment That Isn’t Autonomous At All

Domino’s and Ford have announced that they’re to start tests in Ann Arbor, Michigan, where driverless cars are used to deliver meals—only, the cars won’t be driving autonomously. And while that may sound silly (and, on one level at least, it is) it’s actually an important experiment into human interactions with robotic systems.

 

Robots that understand contextual commands

In a new paper, researchers from MIT present an Alexa-like system that allows robots to understand a wide range of commands that require contextual knowledge about objects and their environments. In other words, if you say “Pick up the box I put down.”, the robot will understand what do you expect from it and it will do it.

 

MIT’s new Ford-funded robot can deftly navigate pedestrian traffic

Researchers from MIT created a robot that can swiftly move around the crowd and avoid hitting people. The results of their research will help the future robots better navigate in the real world and not be an annoying thing that always bumps into people.

 

New Warfare Drones are Small as a Quadcopter

Defense company Duke Robotics is developing a new kind of drone, capable of being equipped with a machine gun, a sniper rifle, or maybe even a grenade launcher. And it looks like a drone you can get right now, but with a machine gun.

 

Biotechnology

Biohackers Encoded Malware in a Strand of DNA

This sounds like it’s from a cyberpunk story. A group of hackers showed that you can take control over a DNA sequencing machine by giving it to read a malicious DNA. Saying that your machine caught an infection takes a new meaning.

 

Two-thirds of Americans approve of editing human DNA to treat disease

About two-thirds of Americans support the use of gene editing to treat diseases, according to a new survey. But opinions vary a lot based on people’s religious beliefs and how much they know about gene editing in general. Check the article for the graphs. You can find some interesting things there.

 

Other

Serious Wonder’s Recommended Books to Read in 2017

I added some of them to my reading list.