Issue #125

This week – CRISPR 2.0; a vest that adds new senses; construction robots; why cryonics makes sense; the dark side of the Singularity; and more!


More than a human

DARPA Brain Stimulation can accelerate learning by 40%, know why it works, could be common by 2023

DARPA is funding a research which tries to enhance our ability to learn by stimulating parts of the brain at the exact moment when the memory is being made. The initial tests on animals look promising and researchers are looking for a green light to start experiments on humans.

 

This vest could improve your hearing, smell and even the stock market

Here’s a vest that gives a new sense and you can decide what do you want to feel – from augmenting your current senses to sensing stock market to whatever crazy idea someone will come up with.

 

Why Cryonics Makes Sense

Another great article by Tim Urban. This time, Urban takes a closer look at cryonics or freezing our bodies after we die. He goes through the procedure and explains why this gamble on immortality might actually pay off someday in the future.

 

Artificial Intelligence

Inside Google’s DeepMind Project: How AI Is Learning on Its Own

Artificial Intelligence is already outsmarting us at ’80s computer games by finding ways to beat games that developers didn’t even know were there. Just wait until it figures out how to beat us in ways that matter, says Max Tegmark.

 

For robotics and AI, great power comes with great responsibility

As robots join the workforce and intelligent algorithms are weaved into daily life, are we ready for what comes next? John Basl describes the moral questions facing society as robotics and artificial intelligence evolve, as well as the challenges still on the horizon, and those we must grapple with quickly.

 

Is OpenAI Solving the Wrong Problem?

OpenAI’s goal is to research AI for the benefit of all humanity. And because OpenAI is not a company, it does not have any business goals to achieve. But how can they guarantee that whatever they develop and bring to humanity will not be exploited by someone else?

 

Robotics

This Company’s Robots Are Making Everything—and Reshaping the World

Fascinating story about Fanuc – a secretive Japanese factory-automation business, might be the planet’s most important manufacturer. You might not hear about them but it’s very likely you have something made using Fanuc industrial robots.

 

The Guardian GT’s 7-Foot-Long Arms Make It the Most Bonkers Robot on Earth

Meet Guardian GT – a big robot that feels like an extension of your own body. It’s teleoperated by a human in an exoskeleton who sees what the robot does via stereo cameras mounted on the robot. Although the robot’s arms are over 2 meters long, they have the same proportion as human arms, so controlling the machine feels natural. And the robot looks awesome, by the way.

 

Self-driving bus to shuttle Bavarian townsfolk

Deutsche Bahn unveiled its first-ever driverless bus, saying the shuttle will bring passengers through a picturesque spa town of Bad Birnbach, Germany, to the train station.

 

This Robot Tractor Is Ready to Disrupt Construction

Soon, the construction sites might be filled with robots like this autonomous track loader. From the outside, it looks like a normal track loader. But inside, it is filled with electronics and sensors. Give it coordinates, tell it what size the hole should be, hit enter, and it tears off and digs the thing with impressive accuracy.

 

Biotechnology

CRISPR 2.0 Is Here, and It’s Way More Precise

In two studies published recently, researchers from the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard describe a new way to edit DNA and RNA, called base editing. They were able to modify single DNA base, for example changing A to G. The approach could one day treat a range of inherited diseases, some of which currently have no treatment options.

 

Scientists Created Low-Fat Pigs by Editing Their Genes With CRISPR

Researchers in China reported that they have created healthy pigs with much less body fat.It turns out that pigs don’t have this gene, which other mammals, including mice and rats, use to regulate their body temperature. Using CRISPR, the scientists inserted a gene that helps pigs to burn fat to stay warm.

 

Is Eating Synthetic Human Flesh Cannibalism?

Is eating cloned, lab-grown human flesh an act of cannibalism? What do you think?

 

Other

The Dark Side Of The Singularity

Joe Scott looks at the Singularity and the progress of technology and asks what can go wrong? Can we experience the same fate as the horses did when the cars started to be used? How are we going to react to this new world?