Issue #179

This week – an update on AI Winter; why we have an emotional connection to robots; an AI modelled after a worm’s brain parks a robotic car; AI and politics; and more!


Artificial Intelligence

AI Winter – Update

Six months ago, Filip Piekniewski wrote a blog post about incoming AI Winter. In this follow up article, he takes a look at AI landspace and checks which points from the first article still hold. A lot of space is dedicated to self-driving cars, overpromise of which Piekniewski thinks will lead to the new AI Winter.

 

Watch an AI Modeled After a Worm’s Brain Park a Tiny Car Like a Pro

C. elegans is the only organism on Earth to have its entire nervous system and brain mapped out. The connectome of the worm is available online and since then it has been put into different kind of robots. This time, a group of researchers put the worm’s brain into a small robotic car and taught it to park the car. You can watch it in action here.

 

The politics of artificial intelligence

Here’s an interview that looks how the relationship between machine learning and politics in settings as diverse as politics, commerce, policing and warfare, amplifies longstanding prejudices circumscribing access to the political public sphere, changing our relations to ourselves and others.

 

The AI Cold War That Threatens Us All

The AI race is reaching a new stage. Now it is not only between companies but between countries. “If AlphaGo was China’s Sputnik moment, the government’s AI plan was like President John F. Kennedy’s landmark speech calling for America to land a man on the moon,” Kai-Fu Lee writes in his new book.

 

Who Is Going To Make Money In AI?

This article goes in depth trying to answer the question in the title. To answer this question, first seven question are asked and answered – who will make money across the chip makers, platform and infrastructure providers, enabling models and algorithm providers, enterprise solution providers, industry vertical solution providers, corporate users of AI and nations?

 

Robotics

Why we have an emotional connection to robots

We’re far from developing robots that feel emotions, but we already have feelings towards them, says robot ethicist Kate Darling, and an instinct like that can have consequences. We are biologically hardwired to project intent and life onto machines, says Darling. An interesting idea from the talk is that we may start to treat robots like animals – some of them may even find a special place in our homes like dogs or cats. They can also teach us a thing or two about us and empathy.

 

Researchers Created an ‘AI Physicist’ That Can Derive the Laws of Physics in Imaginary Universes

Two researchers from MIT – Tailin Wu and Max Tegmark – have created an “AI physicist” that is able to generate theories about the physical laws of imaginary universes. It marks a major step toward creating machine learning algorithms that are capable of not just finding patterns, but extrapolating from those patterns to make predictions about the future. This would lay the foundation for scientific discoveries made entirely by artificial intelligences.

 

Scientists Worldwide Rush to Develop Robo-Bees

You might hear of bee Colony Collapse Disorder – the decline of bee colony population. Some people are working on finding out what’s causing the collapse and fix it, while others decided it is a good time to build robotic bees to pollinate crops. This article mentions teams from Russia, Japan and USA working on robotic bees but they probably are not the only one.

 

The thermal rescue drone that finds woodland wanderers

A rescue drone that can find people who are lost in the forest is being developed in Latvia. Researchers have equipped a drone with a thermal camera that can pick out the body heat of people among the trees. The drone uses machine learning algorithms to spot humans and alerts the drone operator.

 

Biotechnology

Can We Change Our Genes? CRISPR And Gene Editing

This video focuses on genetic engineering. It starts by describing three methods of changing genes – TALEN effector nuclease, Zinc-Finger nuclease and CRISPR, and then focuses on the last one as it is the most promising and powerful gene editing technique we know. The second part of the video switches focus on ethical issues of genetic engineering, like eugenics, bioterrorism and “playing the god” issue.

 

First Benefit of Knowing Your Genome

Science writer Carl Zimmer gives a personal example how knowing his own genome gave him knowledge of what kind of drugs are likely to treat him best. And that’s all because the cost of genome sequencing goes down with every year.