Issue #156

This week – report into Uber’s fatal crash is out; exoskeleton for the elderly; Microsoft wants to fight AI bias with AI; Eric Schmidt says Elon Musk is wrong about AI; clean meat updates; and more!


More than a human

The Elderly May Toss Their Walkers for This Robotic Suit

SRI International imagines a future in which the elderly won’t need walkers to walk. Instead, they will wear soft exoskeletons that learn the wearer’s movement and augment it. But most likely the first to use it will be soldiers.

 

Artificial Intelligence

Microsoft Announces Tool To Catch Biased AI Because We Keep Making Biased AI

Amongst many problems AI community needs to solve, bias is one of the biggest. Microsoft wants to tackle this problem with an AI system to detect bias. The idea is noble but there are voices saying it is not enough. Such system will be able to detect only existing and known bias. A much better solution would be to introduce third-party, independent audits, they say.

 

Machines playing God: How A.I. will overcome humans | Max Tegmark

AI needs thousands of pictures in order to correctly identify a dog from a cat, whereas human babies and toddlers only need to see each animal once to know the difference. But AI won’t be that way forever, says AI expert and author Max Tegmark, because it hasn’t learned how to self-replicate its own intelligence. However, once AI learns how to master AGI—or Artificial General Intelligence—it will be able to upgrade itself, thereby being able to blow right past us.

 

Eric Schmidt says Elon Musk is ‘exactly wrong’ about AI

Eric Schmidt, CEO of Google, a company that is at the forefront of AI research and applying AI in their products, said that Elon Musk, the most vocal person when it comes to AI safety, is “exactly wrong”. “He doesn’t understand the benefits that this technology will provide to making every human being smarter,” Schmidt said. “The fact of the matter is that AI and machine learning are so fundamentally good for humanity.”

 

‘The Sims’ Is Teaching the Household Robots of Tomorrow

When it comes to AI playing games, we have had AI playing Atari classics, AI playing chess, AI playing Go and now the new goal is to make AI playing StarCraft. But no one expected that Sims will be a game where AI learns how to manoeuvre a robot in a household.

 

Robotics

The deadliest stage in self-driving development

The report into the Uber self-driving crash that killed a woman in March is out. The investigation found that the car’s software saw the women six seconds before the crash but was confused how to classify her. Then, one second before the crash, the car tried to apply emergency brakes. But, Uber had disabled the Volvo’s factory-equipped automatic emergency braking system to avoid clashes with its own tech, the report said. There is more in the linked article. It also gives some possible actions to make self-driving cars safer.

 

UK drone users face safety tests and flight restrictions

UK drone users may have to pass online safety tests under legislation being introduced to the House of Commons. Restrictions around airport boundaries have also been clarified stopping any drone flying within 1km of them. The changes, which are set to come into effect between July 2018 and November 2019, follow a rise in the number of drone near-misses with aircrafts.

 

This soft robotic arm is straight out of Big Hero 6 (it’s even from Disney)

Researchers from Disney Research are one step closer to a real-life Baymax from Big Hero 6 thanks to this soft robotic arm that even looks like it was taken from the movie.

 

New Hybrid Robot Uses Living Muscles to Move

Researchers from the University of Tokyo have successfully attached living muscles to a robot. This mix of metal, plastic and living cells, which in this experiment simulates the look and movements of a human finger, can be a starting point for creating better robotic hands and even arms.

 

This tiny, laser-powered RoboFly could sniff out forest fires and gas leaks

RoboFly is a tiny flying robot that looks like an insect. What makes it special is that it does not have any batteries. It is powered by lasers. Right now the robot can only take off and land but the team behind it imagine a future where devices like this one can be used to monitor our environment.

 

The WIRED Guide to Robots

From the origins of the word “robot” to the first machines to Atlas to Boston Dynamics, this article tells the story of robotics and what can we expect in the future.

 

Biotechnology

8 Amazing CRISPR projects that could change life as we know it

Among such applications like treating diseases, improving crops and growing organs for transplant, we also have encoding GIFs in DNA.

 

Clean Meat Updates, Live from Harvard Med

In this post from Imgur, a Harvard student shares her progress on growing meat in the lab in an interesting and funny way (it’s Imgur after all).