Issue #142

This week – AI as a weapon; hard life as a robot at Boston Dynamics; new applications of CRISPR; BBC document on the quest for immortality; quantum AI papers from Google; and more!


More than a human

Forever Young: The Documentary – BBC News

This documentary produced by BBC explores the possibility of extending human life. Gabriela Torres meets the self-experimenters and scientists, ranging from BioViva’s Elizabeth Parrish to scientists working at Google’s Calico, who are trying to dramatically extend our lives.

 

Invasion of the Body Snatchers: Transhumanism Is Dominating Sci-Fi TV

The ideas of transhumanism are finding their way into science fiction television series. Netflix’s newest series, Altered Carbon, is just yet another series exploring the topics of an intersection of humanity and technology. This story from Wired explores how TV series are using transhumanism and also gives a short history of the movement.

 

Mind-controlled robots: the factories of the future?

The ability to control the physical world with your mind using a brain-computer interface or a mind machine has traditionally been focused on health care, and more recently the gaming industry. Now, thanks to cutting-edge technology pioneered by Altran, these applications are set to transform the way man and machine communicate on the factory floor.

 

We’re getting even closer to creating ‘superhumans’

It is interesting to see an article on how we can become superhumans on New York Post. The article briefly explains three ways we can create superhumans – with advanced genetic engineering, AI and merging human body with machines.

 

Artificial Intelligence

AI ripe for exploitation, experts warn

Drones turned into missiles, fake videos manipulating public opinion and automated hacking are just three of the threats from artificial intelligence in the wrong hands, experts have said. The Malicious Use of Artificial Intelligence report warns that AI is ripe for exploitation by rogue states, criminals and terrorists.

 

Preparing for Malicious Uses of AI

Here is a paper co-authored by researchers from OpenAI that forecasts how malicious actors could misuse AI technology, and potential ways we can prevent and mitigate these threats.

 

Why even a moth’s brain is smarter than an AI

Nature can train an insect better and faster recognize odors than the current state of the art deep neural networks. AI researchers decided to take lessons from nature hoping that by creating neural network that simulates the way moths recognize odors they can learn how to make machines learn better.

 

The “Father of Artificial Intelligence” Says Singularity Is 30 Years Away

Another prediction when Singularity is going to happen, this time by Jürgen Schmidhuber who is considered by some as the “father of artificial intelligence”.

 

Quantum AI

Here are all the publicly available papers from Google research teams trying to combine quantum computing with artificial intelligence.

 

Robotics

Testing Robustness

Once again, at Boston Dynamics, a robot wants to do something but a pesky human thinks it will be funny to interrupt and make robot’s life harder.

 

What May Be U.S.’s First Drone-Linked Aircraft Crash Is Being Investigated

After so many near misses, it looks like it had finally happened. A helicopter’s crash landing in South Carolina, USA, may have been triggered by a civilian drone, which would make it the first drone-related crash of an aircraft in the US. The incident involved a student pilot and an instructor, both of whom told that a small drone appeared directly in front of them. The instructor took over the controls and attempted to avoid a collision, and the tail of the helicopter hit a tree or brush, triggering a crash landing.

 

Yandex shows off the first tests of self-driving cars on Moscow roads

Yandex, the Russian search engine giant, joins Google and Baidu and shows its own self-driving car. Unlike Google and Baidu, Yandex’s car had an extra challenge – it had to navigate in the snow, which is not an easy task for a self-driving car.

 

Germany Pledges Not to Use “Killer Robots”

At the on-going Munich Security Conference, the head of Germany’s cyber command group said his country will never use “killer robots.” However, he made it clear that the German military is not simply choosing not to engage with the issue, but is prepared to defend the country against potential attacks carried out by foreign remote weapons.

 

Biotechnology

CRISPR Isn’t Just for Gene Editing Anymore

Recently, scientists have begun exploring new uses for CRISPR, like DNA detective to identify snippets of DNA that might signal a viral infections, cancer, or even defective genes. Another team used CRISPR to locate tumor DNA in blood samples of lung cancer patients. And yet another team found a way to use CRISPR as a recording tool of what’s going on inside of a cell.

 

Everything You Need to Know About CRISPR Gene Editing

Nice explanation from Wired on how CRISPR, the wonder gene editing technique which took biotech by storm, work.