Issue #95

Elon Musk founds Neuralink, on the quest to cure ageing and death, Uber has more problems with the self-driving cars, robotic octopus tentacle arm, pizza delivered by a robot in Germany, growing human heart cells on a spinach and more!


More than a human

Elon Musk presents Neuralink

This week, Elon Musk finally presented his idea to make humans have a chance with AIs. Being Elon Musk, he created a company called Neuralink which will focus on working out how to improve human brains. Currently, the website is empty aside from an email for people interested in joining the vision.

 

This Man Is a Cyborg and He Could Make You One Too

Vice interviews Liviu Babitz, a man who co-founded Cyborg Nest and offers an implant that will give you the ability sense north. The questions are about the whole point of augmenting yourself in such a way, merging humans with machines and where the technology can go.

 

The Young Scientist Who Wants Us To Live Forever

A very interesting interview with  Maria Konovalenko, a Russian-born scientist on a quest to cure ageing. I like her motivation: “I have an endless list of dreams. And that’s why I need an endless amount of hours.”

 

Yuval Harari on why humans won’t dominate Earth in 300 years

Yuval Harari, the author of Homo Deus, talks why in 300 years there won’t be humans as we know it today ruling the world. The questions are about AI and how it will impact humanity in the long run. The interesting part is at the end, where Harari discusses what will people do if all the jobs will be taken by machines. His prediction – drugs and computer games. Especially realistic virtual reality games. It sounds to me like the world from The Matrix.

 

Solar-powered skin for prosthetic limbs

“Are you sunbathing?”
“No, I’m charging my arm”

 

Ageing is a disease. Gene therapy could be the ‘cure’

Wired UK shares the story of Elizabeth Parrish – what made her interested in gene editing and longevity, which ended up in founding BioViva and becoming the first person to undergo aging-reversal gene therapy.

 

Artificial Intelligence

Tech Giants Are Racing to Be the First to Develop “The Last App”

This “last app” would be your personal assistant. One app that will know everything about you and try to do its best to help you. It will be your doctor, your lawyer, your source of news and your navigator. With the advancements in the AI, the dream of a perfect personal assistant is getting closer and the big tech companies know that they have to make it first before everyone else.

 

This Chart Depicts The AI Explosion At Google Over The Years

It would be nice to see how the number of papers on AI published by researchers at Google compares to other companies, like Facebook, Microsoft, Amazon, Baidu and others. Also, taking more that the last four years into account would be nice.

 

Ghost in the Shell: Hollywood’s Mischievous Vision of AI

Hollywood movies show AI and robots as a threat to humanity. Scientific American decided to ask some AI experts if there is any movie that got AI right.

 

DeepMind’s first deal with the NHS has been torn apart in a new academic study

Some time ago, DeepMind teamed up with Royal Free Hospital in London. The hospital gave DeepMind access to their patients’ data and DeepMind in return would use the power of AI to help doctors do their job. Some people, however, didn’t like the deal and started to question why DeepMind was given permission to process millions of NHS patient records so easily and without patient approval.

 

Robotics

Uber grounds entire self-driving fleet as it probes Arizona crash

Uber has some bad time recently. They had to ground the entire fleet of their self-driving cars in Arizona, Pittsburg and San Francisco after one of them had an accident and flipped on its side. At the moment of the accident, the car was in the autonomous mode. Apparently, the accident wasn’t the car’s fault, but a human’s mistake in a regular vehicle which “failed to yield”.

 

Robotic Octopus Tentacle from Festo

Guys from Festo, a German robotic company known for their bioinspired experimental robots, created a robotic octopus tentacle arm. It is a flexible robotic arm that instead of a hand has a tentacle with vacuum-powered suction cups to provide grip.

 

Domino’s is going to use sidewalk robots in Germany to deliver pizza

Pizza delivered by a robot. We live in the future!

 

The Weird World of Cyborg Animals Is Here

This article from Singularity Hub shows the recent projects of merging animals (and one plant) with machines – light-controlled dragonflies, joy-riding moths, remote-controlled bugs, magnetic mind-control of mice, interfaced sheep and a cyborg rose.

 

Meet ‘Professor X,’ the AI genius who left his lab at Princeton to beat Uber, Google, and Intel at their own game

The story of Dr Jianxiong Xiao (who is known among his students and colleagues as Professor X), who left the academia, moved from New Jersey to Silicon Valley and founded a startup working on self-driving cars. He claims his company, AutoX, achieved the same results as the big guys – Google, Tesla and Uber – in just 6 months and at a fraction of the cost.

 

Biotechnology

Spinach Leaf Transformed Into Beating Human Heart Tissue

Using the plant like scaffolding, scientists built a mini version of a working heart, which may one day aid in tissue regeneration.

 

Safety first with gene editing

Or how DARPA is leading the debate on biosecurity and biosafety with genome editors, written by someone from DARPA.

 

How to Feed 9.7 Billion People? CRISPR Gene Editing For Crops

Growing population and the negative impact of the climate change on crop yields might force us to genetically modify plants to be more resilient or to yield more. This will be done thanks to CRISPR – the wonder gene editing technology, and will also make another wave of anti-GMO concerns.