Issue #94

Inside – Jeff Bezos in a giant mech robot, upgrading human body, evolving AIs, Apple and augmented reality, and more!


I created this poll to see what kind of human augmentations people are waiting for. I will then prepare a report which I will share with the community. If you have a minute, please check it out. I’m just curious how people want to upgrade themselves.

Take the survey


More than a human

Will Humans Have to Upgrade Their Bodies to Survive on Mars?

Some people say we will need to adapt human body to live on Mars or even to get there alive. NASA has numerous reports on experiments on how human body changes in space and zero-gravity environment and all of them show multiple changes, some of them could be even dangerous over longer periods of time. There is a chance that humans would need to adapt quickly to 1/3 Earth’s gravity and higher radiation on Mars, and maybe technology will come with solutions.

 

Yuval Noah Harari: ‘Homo sapiens as we know them will disappear in a century or so’

I’m happy to see that the ideas of transhumanism are being noticed by the public, thanks to books like Homo Deus by Yuval Noah Harari. Here, the author of the book takes some questions about the future of humanity from the readers and answer them.

 

Of man and machine: The evolution of transhumanism

On transhumanism, this time from someone coming from the medicine. I particularly liked this sentence: “we are undeniably witnessing an increasing cultural acceptance of integrating our bodies with technology”. Do you agree?

 

The Entrepreneur with the $100 Million Plan to Link Brains to Computers

Many Silicon Valley entrepreneurs jumped into neurotechnology, but neurotechnology is hard. We don’t know exactly how the brain works. Yet some people want to upgrade it. This article from MIT explains why taking Bryan Johnson’s Kernel as an example, which after gaining a lot of media buzz with $100 million investment and promising a lot, is now pivoting and dropping some of their promises.

 

 

Artificial Intelligence

Opening a new chapter of my work in AI

Andrew Ng, known in academia for his research on deep learning, had left Baidu AI group. I recommend reading his letter on Medium. It has some interesting thoughts, like comparing US and China contribution to AI. But the most interesting part is where Andrew Ng writes that “AI is the new electricity”. Anyway, I wish good luck!

 

Why AlphaGo Is Not AI

“There is no AI without robotics . . . This realization is often called the ‘embodiment problem’ and most researchers in AI now agree that intelligence and embodiment are tightly coupled issues.”, writes Jean-Christophe Baillie. Later he states that “culture is the essential catalyst of intelligence and an AI without the capability to interact culturally would be nothing more than an academic curiosity. However, culture can not be hand coded into a machine; it must be the result of a learning process.”

 

Luna, the Most Human AI Prototype to Date, Wasn’t Built By a Tech Giant

Luna is an AI chatbot, but their creators claim it is something more. Saying it is “an artificial general intelligence” in the making is a bold statement. All the videos showing Luna in action are made by its creator where he tests her abilities, so I’d be careful naming it the “most amazing AI you’ve never heard of”.

 

Researchers are using Darwin’s theories to evolve AI, so only the strongest algorithms survive

How to make an AI even better? Use evolution! Or neuroevolution, as it is called in AI research world. Create a number of instances of your AI algorithm, each with slightly different parameters, and let them evolve like a living organism. The best ones will be allowed to “live”, while others will “die”. The ones that perform best will be copied, slightly changed and maybe better than the previous generation. Google and OpenAI are already applying neuroevolution in their research.

 

YC AI

Even YCombinator, one of the biggest startup accelerators in the world, is jumping into AI with their vertical group dedicated to AI companies.

 

Robotics

Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos Pilots A Giant Mech

<place your favourite supervillain quote here>

 

What Is It Like to Be a Robot?

A very long post (and the first in a series) by Rodney Brooks, where he takes a closer look at the current state of artificial intelligence and its future. The reason why I recommend the article is that Rodney Brooks is responsible for Baxter – a collaborative robot which you might have already seen somewhere, and he’s an expert in robotics. Expect a cold and thorough analysis.

 

Biotechnology

Impossible Foods to supersize production of lab-grown burger

The company behind the lab-grown burger, Impossible Foods, is switching to a higher gear and opens a large-scale production facility and plans to pump out 1 million pounds (or over 450 tonnes) of faux meat every month.

 

5 Biotech Products U.S. Regulators Aren’t Ready For

Another episode of The Law not Keeping up with the Tech series. These biotech products are: Living bacteria that act like drugs, Gene-edited animals and crops, Lab-grown meat, Fragrant moss and Gene drives.

 

Virtual Worlds

Apple’s Next Big Thing: Augmented Reality

Apple, with its reach and influence, can be one of the few companies that make augmented reality a thing. We will see if these rumours about Apple and AR are true.

 

Google Glass Didn’t Disappear. You Can Find It On The Factory Floor

After its failure in the consumer market, it might find a new life in factories, where it can provide the needed information for the worker. Some companies, including General Electric and Boeing, are testing if the concept will actually work in the real life.