Issue #96

Employees getting implanted with microchips, Google’s new machine learning chips, rejuvenating mice, don’t fear the AI and more!


More than a human

Cyborgs at work: employees getting implanted with microchips

A company in Sweden offers to implant its workers and startup members with microchips the size of grains of rice that function as swipe cards: to open doors, operate printers, or buy smoothies with a wave of the hand. Some people will say it is the first step into becoming a cyborg. Others will point to dystopian sci-fi stories.

 

Artificial Intelligence

7 Reasons You Should Embrace, Not Fear, Artificial Intelligence

While much attention is placed on the dangers of artificial intelligence and automation, the technology has tremendous potential to improve the world. From revolutionising healthcare to helping us protect the environment, AI could prove to be humanity’s greatest ally.

 

OpenAI Just Beat Google DeepMind at Atari With an Algorithm From the 80s

Researchers from OpenAI applied neuroevolution strategies to an AI playing Atari games and in the result made an algorithm that just a few hours mastered the games. DeepMind’s famous reinforced learning algorithm needed a day to achieve the same result.

 

An AI is turning paintings into realistic photos

There is an AI that takes a painting and transforms it into a realistic looking photograph.

 

Google says its custom machine learning chips are often 15-30x faster than GPUs and CPUs

Last year, Google announced they are building their own chips designed to accelerate machine learning and optimised for TensorFlow – Google’s machine learning framework. This week, Google share a bit more about the project, claiming the new Tensor Processing Units (TPU) are faster and more energy effiecient than a traditional combination of CPU and GPU.

 

Robotics

Driverless shuttle bus to be tested by public in London

If you live in Greenwich, you might encounter a driverless shuttle bus prototype being tested there.

 

Remember that US vs. Japan giant robot duel? It’s happening this August

I cannot wait!

 

Robot Arm From Recyclables

Did you ever wanted to build a robotic arm, but you thought it would be too expensive? Then check out this project where you can learn how to build a working robotic arm using almost completely out of salvaged recyclables: scrap wood, a plastic bottle, bits of plastic string and a spring. The design also includes a very vital part – a potato.

 

3 Squishy Medical Robots That Are as Soft as You Are

The heart hugger, the drug doser, and flexible forceps show how malleable machines will work safely inside the body

 

Is it a bird? Is it a bug? No, it’s a biomimetic microdrone with flapping wings

UK biomimetic engineering startup Animal Dynamics is building a microdrone unlike any you have seen. Instead of rotors, it uses flapping wings to fly like a dragonfly.

 

Biotechnology

Old Mice Made Young Again With New Anti-Aging Drug

Scientists have tested a new anti-aging treatment method on mice. The result – aged mice regrew their scraggly fur into luscious coats and saw improved liver and kidney functions. They also seemed more energised, opting to spend their time on a running wheel instead of sleeping in a corner. The team behind the study is planning how to test the method on humans.

 

CRISPR Has a Pro-Life Problem

Everywhere CRISPR goes, the controversy follows. This time, the pro-life activists are raising concerns about using gene editing to modify humans, arguing that a human embryo is a human being with a conscience and haven’t agreed to be modified.