Issue #148

This week – radio-controlled cyborg mouse; Estonia wants to sequence DNA of its citizens; people don’t like the idea of AI weapons; and more about AI, robots and merging humans with machines!


More than a human

Researchers Steer Cyborg Mice Through Maze with Brain Stimulation

Researchers from Korea created a remote-controlled cyborg mouse. Using an implant installed inside rodent’s brain, they were able to steer the mouse through a maze and made it ignore sexy lady mouse and an enticing pile of food. Humans next?

 

It’s Not My Fault, My Brain Implant Made Me Do It

Here’s a problem to think about. Imagine you have a brain implant and that this implant can change how you think or act. If your implant breaks and you do something terrible, who is responsible? It was you but it wasn’t true you, right?

 

Roam debuts a robotic exoskeleton for skiers

Do you like to ski? Would like to become a (sort of) cyborg? Here’s an exoskeleton for you. Roam presented a lower-limb exoskeleton aimed at skiers to help them ski longer or harder.

 

Could You Upload Your Mind Into A Computer?

Olly from Philosophy Tube tackles the mind uploading issue from a philosopher’s perspective. Topics discussed: neural dust, can brain and mind be modelled as a software, differences between human mind and computers and inevitable questions about consciousness and identity.

 

The Philosophy of Deus Ex: Does Paranoia Have Its Purpose?

Wisecrack looks into the philosophy behind Deus Ex and talks about paranoia, transhumanism, technology, chaos and control. A very good philosophical dissection of a game where interaction between humanity and technology is a central point of the plot.

 

New Bionic Arm Blurs Line Between Self and Machine for Wearers

A prosthetic arm is not your arm and you can’t make yourself think otherwise. Researchers from University of Alberta are working to solve this problem. Their arm uses vibrations and a sensory illusion to give wearers a natural sense of their robotic appendage moving through space. Even when blindfolded and wearing noise-canceling headphones, the patients knew what his robotic arm was up to.

 

Artificial Intelligence

Leading AI researchers threaten Korean university with boycott over its work on ‘killer robots’

More than 50 leading AI and robotics researchers have said they will boycott South Korea’s KAIST university over the institute’s plans to help develop AI-powered weapons. The threat was announced ahead of a UN meeting set in Geneva next week to discuss international restrictions on so-called “killer robots.” It marks an escalation in tactics from the part of the scientific community actively fighting for stronger controls on AI-controlled weaponry.

 

Black Mirror-inspired person blocked

Someone got inspired by Black Mirror bleak vision of the future and made an AI to block people from images.

 

The Threat of AI Weapons

The vast majority of this video by Veritasium is someone else’s video about the threat of AI and how can it start World War III. It might terrify you.

 

MKBHD & Neil Tyson — Artificial Intelligence vs. Machine Learning

What’s the difference between AI and machine learning? Marques Brownlee from MKBHD and Neil deGrasse Tyson and Chuck Nice from StarTalk discuss this question.

 

Robotics

Big organizations may like killer robots, but workers and researchers sure don’t

Tech firms and universities interested in building AI-powered weapons for lucrative military contracts are, predictably, facing some significant pushback. Thousands of Google employees signed a letter in protest of using company’s AI systems to analyze drone footage for US army and 50 leading AI researchers are boycotting Korean university KAIST over its plan to develop autonomous weapons. But while some are protesting against such weapons, others are developing them.

 

Zipline’s Bigger, Faster Drones Will Deliver Blood in the United States This Year

Zipline is probably the first commercially successful drone delivery service. They use cheap drones and existing telecommunication infrastructure to deliver blood to rural hospitals faster and safer than using traditional methods. After successfully proving the idea in Africa, Zipline will start to deliver blood in US this year.

 

Walmart Launches Small Army Of Autonomous Scanning Robots

If you can call robot in 50 stores across four states a small army. The robots are 1.8m tall, equipped with an array of lights, cameras, and radar sensors. It then goes up and down each aisle on its own, at around 4km/h, scanning the shelves for empty spots and also checking the price tags. The robot can scan an aisle in about 90 seconds, a fraction of the time it would take a human to do.

 

Russian postal drone smashes into a wall on its inaugural flight

I’m very interested what caused the drone to smash into a wall just seconds after liftoff.

 

Biotechnology

Estonia Wants to DNA Test Its Citizens to Offer Personalized Life Advice

Estonia is fully embracing the future technologies. This month, the Estonian government kicks off a program that aims to collect the DNA of 100,000 of its 1.3 million residents. In return, it will offer them lifestyle and health advice based on their genetics. Estonia will be the first nation to offer state-sponsored DNA interpretations to its citizens.