This week - how to become invisible to AI; Anki is shutting down; what is the meaning of life and what about transhumanism; drone delivers an organ for a transplant in the US; how to make CRISPR 50x more accurate; and more!
More than a human
Here is a list of some transhumanist movies. I think this list is vastly incomplete so let's make our own list of H+ movies. I've created a Google Forms page here where you can select which movies have some transhumanist agenda in them. If a movie is missing from the list, feel free to add it. I'll share the entire list in the next issue of H+ Weekly.
This video essay tries to answer the question of the meaning of life, starting by defining what life is and through answering this question it comes across Julian Huxley, discovers transhumanism and points three ways (cybernetics, genetics and nanotechnology) through which we can overcome the limits of biology.
In this essay, sci-fi writer Sylvia Engdahl critiques transhumanism. Her main argument is that transhumanists represent a "narrow conception of mind that rules out vast areas of human experience". She argues that human existence is something more than just a collection of physical matter that makes us and transhumanists fail to see and consider our humanity.
There is hope for all who don't want to be recognised by AI-powered surveillance cameras. New research shows that it is possible to generate an image that makes you invisible to image recognising AI. Right now this invisibility cloak works only for one specific algorithm but the researchers are working on a more general solution.
Yuval Noah Harari, a historian and writer known for his books about past and the future of humanity, talks with Fei-Fei Li, renowned computer scientist and Co-Director of Stanford University's Human-Centered AI Institute. The discussion explores big themes and ideas, including ethics in technology, hacking humans, free will, and how to avoid potential dystopian scenarios.
The CEO of UK-based AI video startup Synthesia, Victor Riparbelli, thinks we'll see photorealistic computer-generated humans in the next three years.
“What happens when soulless artificial intelligence, devoid of feeling or emotion, is called upon to make moral or ethical choices on our behalf? The development of AI has the potential to be the source of enormous blessing for our world by augmenting human capacity, and not by replacing it. But it is imperative that this technology be harnessed to serve us, rather than the reverse”, says Chief Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis.
This article lists some ideas on how AI can improve our lives, mostly around productivity, that give low-level tasks (answering emails, scheduling, and so on) to the AI while you can focus on the high-level tasks and be in the creative state of flow.
Anki, the robotics company behind the cute Cozmo and Vector robots, is shutting down. The company failed to secure another round of funding or to find an acquirer and closed the shop on Wednesday.
Researchers at Berkley asked the question "can we enable robots to use tools through observation and experimentation?" Then they designed an algorithm for the robot to learn through imitation and interaction how to use the tools at hand to perform some tasks. One step closer towards robots that can actually work in the unpredictable real world.
I like the main takeaway from this article - if you are building a consumer robot, ask yourself is your robot making the process significantly faster or significantly better and does it require a human to be actively engaged the whole time? A good example here is Roomba - you just let it go and forget about.
Surgeons at the University of Maryland Medical Center received a donor kidney delivered by a drone. It is the first time a drone was used to drop off an organ for a transplant in the US.
Two Chinese scientists took a closer look at the infamous experiment by He Jiankui leading to the first genetically modified humans being born last year. They argue He demonstrated “a troubling lack… of the requisite understanding of genetics and gene editing” and that the controversial experiment might not work at all.
From pet breeding to improving food to data storage to bringing back extinct species, wherever you put CRISPR into the use you spark people's hopes and dreams. Here is a list of 10 such dreams.
CRISPR, the wunderkind of genetic engineering, has a problem - it is not accurate enough. However, a small change to the guiding RNA can dramatically improve CRISPR's accuracy by a factor of 50 for Cas9 variant or even 200 for other variants, like Cas12.