Issue #87

Boston Dynamics shows a new robot. A bunch of great minds talk about superintelligence. A robotic coffee shop in San Francisco. FDA makes biohackers lives a bit harder and more!


More than a human

Reached Via a Mind-Reading Device, Deeply Paralyzed Patients Say They Want to Live

Using brain-computer interfaces, researchers were able to build a device allowing patients suffering from locked-in syndrome to communicate with the world for the first time in years in some cases.

 

Designer Humans: The Next Stage of Human Evolution?

In his TED Talk, Sean O’Callaghan, who holds a Ph.D. in systematic theology from University of Liverpool, talks about human enhancements, transhumanism and how we can become more than a human with technology, and then dives into ethical problems of human enhancement, like a threat of deepening inequalities.   

 

Artificial Intelligence

Superintelligence: Science or Fiction?

An hour long talk between Elon Musk, Stuart Russell, Ray Kurzweil, Demis Hassabis, Sam Harris, Nick Bostrom, David Chalmers, Bart Selman, and Jaan Tallinn about superintelligence and artificial general intelligence. I think you cannot get any better lineup for such a topic.

 

Apple joins research group for ethical AI with fellow tech giants

When Google, Facebook, IBM, Microsoft and other big tech companies were opening their AI research and publishing freely available papers on AI research, Apple was keeping its cards close. However, the times are changing and Apple joined Partnership on AI – a research group founded by the big players in the IT world.

 

AI Will Colonize the Galaxy by the 2050s, According to the “Father of Deep Learning”

Jürgen Schmidhuber, the father of deep learning, paints a picture of the future where by 2050, there will be trillions of self-replicating autonomous and highly intelligent robot factories on the asteroid belt.

 

Robotics

Boston Dynamics adds wheels to its already chilling robots

Boston Dynamics become famous for their humanoid and four-legged robots. Recently, they revealed a new robot named Handle. What’s different in this robot comparing to other Boston Dynamics robots is that it has… wheels. Check the video showing what it can do. It’s incredible.

 

Cafe X opens in San Francisco, bringing robots to the coffee shop

There is a coffee shop in San Francisco where the barista is a robot which makes the coffee faster and cheaper than a human barista. Should we add baristas to the list of jobs taken by robots?

 

Bat Robot Offers Safety and Maneuverability in Bioinspired Design

I love to see how nature inspires robotics. Here we have a bioinspired bat robot which flies (or falls in style) just like a real bat.

 

Transparent, gel-based robots can catch and release live fish

Engineers at MIT have fabricated transparent, gel-based robots that move when water is pumped in and out of them. The bots can perform a number of fast, forceful tasks, including kicking a ball underwater, and grabbing and releasing a live fish. I’m curious where the research on those gel-based robots will lead us.

 

This disposable drone could one day save your life

Maybe in the future, when you will be in a need, a paper drone dropped from a plane will send you necessary medical kit.

 

The Self-Driving Car’s Bicycle Problem

Self-driving cars are good in spotting other cars, pedestrians, and animals on the road, yet still have problems spotting bicycles. There is a lot of happening in this area, which will make autonomous cars safer.

 

Why Piaggio built Gita, a cargo-carrying robot, to follow in your footsteps

Piaggio, the Italian company that makes Vespa scooters and Moto Guzzi motorcycles, revealed its newest development this week: a personal delivery device or “cargo robot,” called the Gita. I encourage you to check how this robot looks like because it does not look like any other delivery robot.

 

Ocado is developing robot hands that won’t bruise bananas

Ocado, a UK online supermarket, will be testing a new robotic arm with soft fingers for picking and packaging the groceries.

 

Biotechnology

The FDA Is Cracking Down On Rogue Genetic Engineers

David Ishee breeds mastiffs—huge, friendly dogs that are known to be riddled with genetic disorders. Because traditional methods of breeding weren’t able to eradicate the genetic disorders, David built a lab in his shed and become a biohacker. And then the FDA stepped in with a proposal to treat every genetically modified animal as a drug.

 

How to Grow Human Organs in a Pig

Last week we heard the news that a group of scientist successfully created a human-pig chimera embryos. Their success is a step forward towards growing human organs inside of a pig for patients needing the transplants. This infographic from Scientific American explains the whole process in more details, from modifying the genetic markup of the embryo to harvesting human organs from a pig.