Issue #150

This week – a robot assembled a chair from IKEA; how far are we from bionic humans; robotbees on Mars; UK report urges action to combat AI bias; and more!


More than a human

Beyond sci-fi: Building the bionic body

Science fiction is full of augmented people blurring the line between human and a machine but how far are we from those vision to come true? This article looks into our bionic future, from robotic arms to brain-computer interfaces to 3d printed organs.

 

Tiny Tooth Sensor Tracks What You Eat, and It Could Help You Be Healthier

“You have something on your tooth”
“Oh, that’s just my sensor. It keeps track of what I eat”

 

Artificial Intelligence

One machine to rule them all: A ‘Master Algorithm’ may emerge sooner than you think

A retired professor from the National Chung Cheng University in Taiwan published a white paper earlier this month proposing a new class of math that could lead to the birth of machine consciousness. The paper, titled “A Mathematical Framework for Superintelligent Machines,” proposes a new type of math, a class calculus that is “expressive enough to describe and improve its own learning process.” You can read the paper here.

 

UK report urges action to combat AI bias

The need for diverse development teams and truly representational data-sets to avoid biases being baked into AI algorithms is one of the core recommendations in a lengthy Lords committee report looking into the economic, ethical and social implications of artificial intelligence, and published today by the upper House of the UK parliament. The committee is also recommending a cross-sector AI Code to try to steer developments in a positive, societally beneficial direction (though not for this to be codified in law) and that AI should not be used to diminish the data rights or privacy of individuals, families or communities.

 

Robotics

A robot by NTU Singapore autonomously assembles an IKEA chair

Another week, another item added to the list of things robots can do now.

 

Five reasons why robots won’t take over the world

Yet.

 

Drones will soon decide who to kill

The US Army recently announced that it is developing the first drones that can spot and target vehicles and people using artificial intelligence. This is a big step forward. Whereas current military drones are still controlled by people, this new technology will decide who to kill with almost no human involvement.

 

Engineering professor to develop robotic bees for mapping surface of Mars

NASA is looking into sending a swarm of robotic bees to Mars and they employed a team or researchers and engineers to develop prototypes that will collect samples from Mars and map the planet. The robots, coined “Marsbees”, will help researchers collect more accurate data to create topographic maps of the planet and go where no other Mars rover went before.

 

Bio bots: robots that mimic animal physiology

Guardian lists five robots whose creators took lessons from nature.

 

Can the U.S. Military Combat the Coming Swarm of Weaponized Drones?

With UAVs becoming cheaper and more sophisticated every year, the likelihood of using them as a weapon grows. To counter the threats posed by small drones, the U.S. military may have to rapidly step up its R&D timeframes, according to a new report commissioned by the U.S. Army.

 

Biotechnology

CRISPR hack transforms cells into data recorders

Researchers have harnessed the popular gene-editing tool CRISPR–Cas9 to turn DNA into a sensitive recording device that can document the duration and order of events within cells — and even erase and re-record information in the same genome.