Issue #144

This week – Alexa laughs; build your own Boston Dynamics robot; UK prepares for driverless cars; AI tricks human to see things in the pictures; and more!

More than a human

Would you hack your own body?

At a trendy east London bar, a group of body hackers are putting forward their reasons for human augmentation to a packed audience of mainly under-35s, many of whom are sporting piercings and tattoos. BBC asked the panellist what made them to get an implant and how does a life with one looks like.


Nerds Unite: Prosthetics Inspired by Comics and Beyond!

Companies like Open Bionics bring faith in humanity back. They make accessible 3D printed prosthetic arms. All their designs are open source and they even have special arms, like Iron Man’s or Elsa’s hand designed to make children who need a prosthetic arm like a superhero.


Artificial Intelligence

A video game-playing AI beat Q*bert in a way no one’s ever seen before

Give an AI an old Atari game and it will find a bug no one knew about, exploit it and blew researchers minds.


Hacking the Brain With Adversarial Images

Recently, there were some papers showing how easy it is to trick a computer vision algorithm to “see” things that are not in the picture. For example, one team tricked AI to see a gun instead of an innocent turtle. Now, researchers from Google Brain show that adversarial images can trick both humans and computers, and the implications are scary.


Bots Are Passing The Turing Test. Here’s Why That’s a Problem

In this video, Joe Scott explores the boundary between human and machine – from Turing test (and it’s variations) to robots crossing the uncanny valley to an army of twitterbots influencing people’s worldviews.


Amazon has a fix for Alexa’s creepy laughs

So that’s how the robot uprising is starting… with Alexa’s creepy laugh.


Do neural nets dream of electric sheep?

This is an interesting find. Microsoft Azure’s computer vision API tends to see sheep in photographs where there are no sheep. If you, however, give it a picture of a sheep, it does not see it. Very peculiar.



Robotic spiders and bees: The rise of bioinspired microrobots

If the current decline in bee population continues, the only solution to get the plants to grow might be to employ swarms of bioinspired microrobots. If you watched Black Mirror you know what can happen if this goes wrong but the researchers say this could be the revolution in robotics that spearheads the next generation in manufacturing technology.


Roller Skating Robot ANYmal

Here is a robot doing “weeeeee!”.


DIY Boston Dynamics-like robot

Boston Dynamics robots are not for sale. But if you ever wanted to have one of theirs robot-dogs, here is how to build one.


UK kicks off driverless car law review to get tech on the road by 2021

The British government said it wants to establish a looser framework for testing self-driving vehicles “without a safety operator” with the stated aim of getting driverless cars on the roads by 2021.


Starsky Robotics Unleashes Its Truly Driverless Truck in Florida

Here’s another company that wants to use driverless trucks to automate delivery. Just like Otto (which was bought by Uber and caused them a lot of problems with Google), Starsky Robotics uses existing trucks and makes them driverless by adding sensors and computer into the truck. They also have a successful fully automated delivery and plan to start making completely driverless deliveries in Florida by the end of 2018, with at least one truck.



Gene Editing Is Now Precise Enough to Modify a Single Letter of DNA

MhAX is a new gene editing technique that is so precise it can modify a single letter of DNA. It combines CRISPR and a DNA repair system to give the most precise tool in genetic engineering.