Issue #90

This week – who is allowed to use CRISPR, Chinese robots and AIs, hacking human brain, AI draws things with cats, while other steals code and more!


More than a human

Kernel Is Trying To Hack The Human Brain — But Neuroscience Has A Long Way To Go

In many sci-fi stories, we saw some form of augmenting human intelligence by putting implants into our skulls. For Bryan Johnson, the founder and CEO of neuroscience startup Kernel, the question is when, not if, we all have computer chips inside of our brains. But the road to achieve this goal is long and we need to learn a lot more about our brains and how our mind work.

 

Tiny fibres open new windows into the brain

For the first time ever, a single flexible fiber no bigger than a human hair has successfully delivered a combination of optical, electrical, and chemical signals back and forth into the brain.

 

Open Bionics is 3D Printing Awesome Prosthetics

Joel Telling, a cool guy who knows a lot about 3D printing, shares his story how he stumbled up Open Bionics and spreads the word out.

 

The merging of humans and machines is happening now

The merging of machine capability and human consciousness is already happening. Writing exclusively for WIRED, DARPA director Arati Prabhkar outlines the potential rewards we face in the future – and the risks we face.

 

Talks from BDYHAX 2017

Here are six talks from BDYHAX 2017 conference. The topics vary from body modifications to regulations, ethics, and law to more business side talks.

 

Artificial Intelligence

Turn anything into a nightmare cat with this machine learning tool

edges2cats is a deep learning experiment that takes an image of something and the pre-trained AI algorithm tries to fill the doodle you have made. But, the AI is pre-trained on the cat images only and it will mash cats to fit the image you have made. The results vary from hilarious to terrifying.

 

AI learns to write its own code by stealing from other programs

DeepCoder, created by researchers at Microsoft and the University of Cambridge, is an AI system designed to write programs. The way it writes the programs is interesting. It takes pieces of code from other programs and tries to stitch a program to solve a problem. At the moment, DeepCoder is only capable of solving programming challenges that involve around five lines of code. Over time, however, it will be better and allow non-coders create simple programs without a need to learn how to code.

 

China’s Artificial-Intelligence Boom

Slowly, but steady, China is becoming an artificial intelligence superpower. Companies like Baidu or Didi and countless other are putting more and more resources into AI research and the pace of advancements in AI in China is getting faster than that in Silicon Valley. It might be that the next breakthrough AI algorithm will not come from Google or Facebook, but from China.

 

A Computer to Rival the Brain

A nice article from New Yorker explaining why some tasks that are easy for us are hard for computers and then swiftly switches to briefly explain what neuromorphic design is.

 

Millimeter-Scale Computers: Now With Deep-Learning Neural Networks on Board

As the number of so-called intelligent devices grow, the need to put even more power and more intelligence in these devices grows. David Blaauw and his colleague Dennis Sylvester from CubeWorks try to add more computing power in smaller, low-power computers with their new computer design, which size is not in centimeters, but in millimeters.

 

Robotics

Driverless Roborace car crashes at speed in Buenos Aires

The first race of autonomous cars ended badly for one of two cars involved in the race. The unfortunate Devbot vehicle crashed out of the Roborace competition after misjudging a corner while travelling at high speed. The incident occurred ahead of the start of the latest Formula E electric car race in Buenos Aires. The other vehicle managed to complete the course after achieving a top speed of 186km/h. I hope the next race will have more cars just to see how they will approach the first corner.

 

China is Using Drones Equipped With Flamethrowers for an Unexpected Purpose

Or how to clean power lines in a badass way.

 

China Has Deployed A Brand New “RoboCop”

If you go to Zhengzhou East station in China, you might encounter a Dalek-looking robot. Don’t worry, it is not to exterminate you, but to protect you. AnBot is the first railway security robot deployed in China and it looks awfully similar to Knightscope – another Dalek-like security robot from California.

 

Bill Gates says robots that take your job should pay taxes

The robots are taking more and more jobs, and we should make them pay taxes, says Bill Gates. In a recent interview with Quartz, the billionaire philanthropist explained that robot labor should get taxed just like human labor — primarily as a way to maintain funding for society’s many social services.

 

The robots of CERN

Meet Train Inspection Monorail, or TIM in short. TIM a robotic inspector working at CERN. This snake-like robotic train uses a monorail track bolted to the LHC tunnel’s ceiling and is equipped with cameras and sensor to check if everything is ok with the biggest and most powerful particle accelerator in the world.

 

Biotechnology

The Long-Shot Bid to Put CRISPR in the Hands of the People

CRISPR in probably the most important and the most disruptive technology we have right now. Its impact on biotechnology and our lives will be unimaginable. But the recent ruling on CRISPR patent owner might stop commercializing some of the applications of the technology. I hope CRISPR will become an open technology that will help humanity instead of being a proprietary technology granted to chosen companies.

 

Who should be allowed to use CRISPR?

Here’s another view on the whole CRISPR license mess, this time from an intellectual property lawyer’s perspective.

 

Virtual Worlds

This Guy Is Going to Spend a Whole Month Alone in a Room with Virtual Reality Goggles Strapped to His Face

I’d like to see how it will end. For 28 days, Mark Farid will remain in one room, experiencing his every waking moment through the eyes of another human being—a real-life “avatar,” who, through some kind of Google Glass-like apparatus, will be streaming everything he sees into a virtual reality headset worn by Mark.