Issue #128

This week – Boston Dynamics shows a new robot; a campaign against killer robots; people are starting to be afraid of biohackers; and more!


More than a human

Inside the Race to Hack the Human Brain

In the race to hack human brain, there are four competitors – Kernel, Neuralink, Facebook and DARPA. This article focuses on Bryan Jonhson’s Kernel and how he envisions connecting humans and machines.

 

Google’s AI guru predicts humans and machines will merge within 20 years

Another prediction from Ray Kurzweil. This time, Kurzweil said that “medical robots will go inside our brain and connect our neo-cortex to the smart cloud” by the year 2029.

 

When Will We Have Designer Babies?

This is a question that Gizmodo asked a couple of biotech researchers and experts in bioethics. Some said it will never happen. Some said it is already here in a form of IVF. Other said the issue is tricky and requires more research.

 

Artificial Intelligence

The Dangers of Tech-Bro AI

This article highlights how not including women in AI research introduces an unintentional bias into the AI systems. But you can generalise from there and argue that using biased datasets to train your AI might become sexist or racist.

 

China To Build World First Artificial Intelligence Powered Police Station

Although regarded as a police station, this fully automated police station concept seems to be designed with driver and vehicle-related matters in mind thus making it more like a Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) rather than a police station. Some of the services it will provide include driver’s examinations, registration services, and feature advanced face-scanning technology developed by Tencent.

 

An algorithm for your blind spot

Researchers from MIT have created a system that can see around the corner. The way they did it is very interesting. The system works by analyzing light at the edge of walls, which is impacted by the reflections of objects around the corner from the camera.

Robotics

The New SpotMini

A new robot from Boston Dynamics! Its name is SpotMini and looks sleek.

 

A Human Driver Caused a Collision During a Self-Driving Shuttle’s Debut

Less than two hours into its maiden voyage around the streets of Las Vegas, a self-driving shuttle was involved in a crash. But it wasn’t the self-driving car responsible for the crash. It was the human driver of the other vehicle is to blame for the collision.

 

Slaughterbots

Slaughterbots is a fake documental film showing a fictional world where a swarm of tiny drones was weaponised and what can happen if such a technology falls into wrong hands. It’s a part of a campaign against militarising robotics and AI.

 

Why the rise of the robots won’t mean the end of work

The robots taking our jobs is a popular headline nowadays where optimism clashes with pessimism. In this video, Vox looks at both sides of the debate, recalls past automation revolutions and tries to answer the question how is this newest wave of automation different from others and how will it affect society and economy.

 

Bioengineered robotic hand with its own nervous system will sense touch

Researchers are developing a first-of-its-kind bioengineered robotic hand that will grow and adapt to its environment. This “living” robot will have its own peripheral nervous system directly linking robotic sensors and actuators. The research team is creating a living pathway from the robot’s touch sensation to the user’s brain to help amputees control the robotic hand. A neuroprosthesis platform will enable them to explore how neurons and behaviour can work together to regenerate the sensation of touch in an artificial limb.

 

Octopus-Inspired Robots: Silicone Skin Can Change Texture for “3-D Camouflage”

Researchers have created a synthetic form of cephalopod skin that can transform from a flat, 2D surface to a three-dimensional one with bumps and pits. This technology could one day be used in soft robots, which are typically covered in a stretchy silicone “skin,” the researchers said.

Biotechnology

In a Major First, Scientists Edit DNA Within the Human Body

For the first time, scientists have edited the DNA inside of a patient’s body, in an attempt to cure a genetic disorder by permanently changing the human genome. It’s a big news, but we will need to wait at least three months to check if the therapy worked as intended.

 

Biohackers are using CRISPR on their DNA and we can’t stop it

I try not to link to paywalled articles, but I want to show you this article. People are starting to freak out about biohacking, DIY biolabs and CRISPR and even start to ask if CRISPR and gene editing should be regulated. The current discussions about AI and robots will be nothing comparing to what will happen when mainstream media starts to discuss (and most likely demonise) advanced biotechnology.

 

Using CRISPR to Do More Than Cut

This short video nicely explains what is CRISPR, how it works and outline some innovative usages of this method of gene editing. I particularly liked the 3D animations which do a good job showing CRISPR in action.