Issue #205

This week - a discussion about longevity; an AI that makes puns; looking into monkey's brain with AI; would cyborgs make better astronauts; and more!

Before we dive into this week's issue, here is a fine example of human-robot interaction.


More than a human

► Joe Rogan Experience #1234 - David Sinclair (2:32:04)

Joe Rogan speaks with David Sinclair about ageing and how to stop it. If you want to live longer and be healthy longer, then I suggest taking some notes from this interview. Notes provided by Joe Rogan can come handy too.

'Exoskeleton' suits: Nuneaton firm's staff puts them to test

RS Components is trialling exosuits at its at its main distribution centre in Nuneaton, where some of the lifting tasks involve awkward and heavy items.

How Wearable AI Will Amplify Human Intelligence

This articles describes the potential benefits of intelligence amplification in which human intelligence is boosted by voice assistants like Amazon's Alexa or Google Voice Assistant.

Major Bank: The Immortality Industry Is The Next Hot Investment

Bank of America analysts say that companies focused on immortality and longevity — extending the human lifespan as much as possible — are going to grow in coming years, with the market expected to be worth $600 billion by 2025. Bank of America’s predictions would mean a six-fold increase in the amount of money in longevity companies. 

► Would Cyborgs Make Better Astronauts? (29:37)

Here is a conversation with cyborg anthropologist Amber Case about cyborgs in space but that's not the only topic of the conversation. There is a fair bit about what is a cyborg and how could we interact with cyborgs (as in augmented and non-augmented groups of people can see each other).

Artificial Intelligence

OpenAI Wants to Make Ultrapowerful AI. But Not in a Bad Way

OpenAI is changing. Under Sam Altman's leadership, the company went from non-profit to for-profit model and started to look for new investors. The message for them - "invest in OpenAI and if we succeed in creating artificial general intelligence, your return on investment will be 100-fold". At the same time, OpenAI wants to be true to its core value - making AI that will benefit humanity.

The Comedian Is in the Machine. AI Is Now Learning Puns

Finally, a serious usage of AI - generating puns!

A Neural Net Hooked Up to a Monkey Brain Spat Out Bizarre Images

Scientists from Harvard wanted to isolate individual neurons and see what they are responsible for. To do that, they have created a neural network that was connected to the monkey's brain. The neural network was learning what kind of images it needs to generate to stimulate the neurons. The full paper can be found here.

Artificial Intelligence May Not 'Hallucinate' After All

Researchers have shown on many occasions how to trick an AI into misclassifying images, like mistaking a picture of a dog as a picture of a cat. Researchers from MIT took a closer look into what's going on inside the AI. They found out that AI learned itself to classify images based on subtle features humans ignore. “It’s not something that the model is doing weird, it’s just that you don’t see these things that are really predictive,” says Shibani Santurkar, a PhD student at MIT and another lead author on the paper. “It’s about humans not being able to see these things in the data.”

Who to Sue When a Robot Loses Your Fortune

When a computer does a mistake, who is to blame? Or, if a computer makes trading decisions in which you lose millions of dollars, who do you sue? In this specific case, the investor is suing the people who are behind the AI. It’s the first-known instance of humans going to court over investment losses triggered by autonomous machines and throws the spotlight on the “black box” problem - if people don’t know how the computer is making decisions, who’s responsible when things go wrong?

Robotics

Amazon says fully automated shipping warehouses are at least a decade away

According to Scott Anderson, Amazon's director of robotics fulfillment, the point at which an Amazon warehouse is fully, end-to-end automated is at least 10 years away. At Amazon facilities and other companies’ fulfillment centers, a bulk of the labor is still largely done by human hands, because it’s difficult to train robots to see the world and use robotic grippers with the dexterity of human workers.

► The artificial muscles that will power robots of the future (10:54)

Robot brains are getting smarter and smarter, but their bodies are often still clunky and unwieldy. Mechanical engineer Christoph Keplinger is designing a new generation of soft, agile robot inspired by a masterpiece of evolution: biological muscle. See these "artificial muscles" expand and contract like the real thing and reach superhuman speeds - and learn how they could power prosthetics that are stronger and more efficient than human limbs.

Drone Registration Tax Sought By UK’s CAA

The UK’s aviation regulator, the Civil Aviation Authority, is considering a drone registration tax. Proposals for a drone registration scheme have been in the works for a while now, and if enacted it would go into effect on 1 November. Owners of craft weighing more than 250 g (0.55 lbs) would have to fork out £16.50 ($21.50) per year. For comparison, in the US, the FAA has a drone registration program in place that requires registration based on the same 250 g weight guideline, but only charges $5 (£3.82) for a 3-year license, about thirteen times less than the CAA proposal.

Biotechnology

► Biology Will Build the Next Tech Revolution (3:37)

Here is a short fragment from Susan Hockfield's speech about the future potential of biotechnology. This fragment focuses on applying biology in energy storage, aka batteries.

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