Issue #123

In this issue – Facebook’s bot loses its first battle in StarCraft; the giant robots duel is finally happening; self-driving mail trucks; building life from scratch; and more!


More than a human

Androids by Isaac Arthur

Another excellent video by Isaac Arthur. Androids, machines that look and act human, are rapidly leaving the realms of science fiction and entering science fact. In this video, he explores their uses, dangers, ethical dilemmas, and more.

 

Artificial Intelligence

Facebook Quietly Enters StarCraft War for AI Bots, and Loses

Looks like we have another AI race to create a bot to master another game. DeepMind announced a couple of months ago that StarCraft is their next target. Recently, a team of researchers from Facebook unleashed their bot into a StarCraft battle. It lost, but it showed that DeepMind is not the only one thinking how to make an AI playing StarCraft.

 

How To Make AI The Best Thing To Happen To Us

In this article, Max Tegmark outlines four steps to make AI safe and the best thing we have ever created. These steps are: Invest in AI safety research; Ban lethal autonomous weapons; Ensure that AI-generated wealth makes everyone better off; and Think about what sort of future we want.

 

The Seven Deadly Sins of AI Predictions

Rodney Brooks lists his Seven Deadly Sins of AI Predictions – mistaken extrapolations, limited imagination, and other common mistakes that distract us from thinking more productively about the future.

 

Robotics

The USA is taking on Japan in a giant robot duel you can watch this Tuesday

Finally! The big mecha robots duel we were waiting for so long is happening this Tuesday, 17th October at 7pm PT time. The fight between robot made by MegaBots Inc. and Suidobashi Heavy Industry will be streamed on Twitch for everyone to witness. Can’t wait!

 

The US Postal Service Is Building a Self-Driving Mail Truck

The USPS wants to roll out first semi-autonomous delivery trucks in 7 years. These trucks will drive on their own, while the human inside of them would sort mail and prepare it for delivery. If everything goes as planned, this will save UPS a lot of money, improve the delivery service and will not cause anyone to lose their jobs to robots.

 

Deutsche Post DHL to deploy self-driving delivery trucks by 2018

DHL partners with NVidia to bring an autonomous delivery fleet to operating status starting in 2018. To help achieve this goal, DHL has already equipped its fleet of 3,400 electric delivery vehicles with sensors and cameras to gather data that will be needed to train the AIs driving the cars.

 

Singapore’s first robot masseuse starts work

Let’s add another possible job taken by robots to the list. This robot masseuse, named Emma, short for Expert Manipulative Massage Automation, specialises in back and knee massages as it mimics the human palm and thumb to replicate therapeutic massages such as shiatsu and physiotherapy.

 

Sony Aibo is reportedly returning with Amazon Echo-like features

Remeber those robo-dogs made by Sony? Sony discontinued the product some time ago, but according to a recent report, Sony might resurrect the robot. The plan is to add an AI assistant into the robo-dogs. The dog is said to be the first of a number of consumer offerings from the company designed to help Sony catch up with AI-powered offerings from the likes of Amazon, Google and Apple.

 

Clever Modular Robots Turn Legs Into Arms on Demand

CMU researchers have developed a method to allow robots with multiple limbs to switch them from locomotive to non-locomotive tasks. That is, turn them from legs into arms that can manipulate things.

 

Biotechnology

The ongoing quest to build life from scratch

A team of scientists led by Sheref Mansy has created a cell that talks to natural cells. Their partially artificial cells can “hear” molecules naturally released from bacteria, and they can also synthesize and send molecules back in reply. Here, Mansy explains the science behind the breakthrough and discusses the potential implications.