Issue #21

Inside – how will future humans look like, what a deep learning algorithm thinks about your selfies, killer autonomous cars and, as always, a lot about robots and drones.


More Than Human

Hugh Herr On The Future Of Bionics

Hugh Herr, who you should recognize from his fameous TED Talk, where he presented his state-of-the-art bionic prosthesis, shares his thought on future of bionic and the future of human augmentation.

Neural Implant Enables Paralyzed ALS Patient to Type Six Words per Minute

Researchers from Stanford University have created a system called BrainGate2, which enables a paralyzed person to control a computer using thoughts via a neural implant.

Humans In 1000 Years

Guys from AsapSCIENCE decided to answer a question – how will humans look like in 1000 years? How will technology and evolution (natural or artificial) impact the future humans? You will get a glimpse from this excellent short video.

Life as a Bionic Woman

Here is a story of Chelsey Loeb, who suffers from epilepsy, and how she became a “cyborg” by implanting a stimulator in her brain in order to cure her disease.

More Than A Rat

Brain Implants Let Rats See In Infrared

I just wanted to share this with you. Researchers at Duke gave rats an extra sense – an infrared vision. It required a bit of brain surgery, thought, but if we can give rats a new sense, then sooner or later we will be able to do the same thing with humans.

Artificial Intelligence

What a Deep Neural Network thinks about your #selfie

Andrej Karpathy shows in details how he created a deep neural network which can say how good is your selfie.

Facebook’s AI Can Caption Photos for the Blind on Its Own

Engineers from Facebook have recently shown their AI system that can describe for the blind what’s on a photo by just looking on it.

Why Self-Driving Cars Must Be Programmed to Kill

Designers of the self-driving cars, besides finding solutions for engineering problems, had to suddenly tackle an old philosophical problem known as The Trolley Problem. The car is going to crash, but it can choose where to hit – into the wall killing everyone inside it, or into a group of people, killing all of them, but the passengers will survive. It’s a morally tough question which self-driving cars’ manufacturers have to answer before they send millions of autonomous cars to the streets.

It’s Way Too Early to Be Afraid of a Superintelligent AI

A response to Hawking, Gates, Musk and other AI fear-mongers, which can be condensed to two points – we are not on a path to general AI and no one is even trying to build a general AI.

Robotics

Wal-Mart eyes drone home deliveries

Wal-Mart joins Amazon in the race for home delivery drones. Company states that is has been testing the technology indoors “for several months” and on Monday made a request to US aviation authorities to do likewise outside.

The word ‘robot’ is meaningless. Why are we still saying it?

I particularly like this quote: “Robots are things that don’t do useful things. Once they eventually work, we call them what they are, like ‘dishwasher’ or ‘toaster” or ‘drone.’”

Inside the Japanese Hotel Staffed by Robots

Ben Ferguson from Motherboard visits Henn-na Hotel in Nagasaki – a hotel in which the whole person has been replaced by robots.

Will Robots Make Us More Human?

Excellent video from Vsause2 which tries to answer the question “will robots make us more human?”. Kevin starts with the history of work and jobs, how the technology impacted jobs and ends with an optimistic thought that machines will free us to make more meaningful, more human work.

Leeds could become the first ‘self-repairing city’ with a fleet of robotic civil servants

Researchers from the University of Leeds are working on a robot fleet that will focus on robotic fixes for citywide issues like burst or damaged utility pipes, broken or nonfunctional street lights, and road fractures that disturb drivers on their way to anywhere, making Leeds the first “self-repairing” city in the world.

You Probably Shouldn’t Expect City Repairing Drones Any Time Soon

And here’s response from IEEE Spectrum, which says “it is an awesome idea, but here is the reality and here are the hard problems you need to solve”.

Uncanny Lover: Building a Sex Robot

Matt McMullen is developing a sex robot that uses technology to create the illusion of sentience. But is it enough to generate real emotions in its user?

Drone Crash Kills Power to Hundreds of LA Residents

Be careful when you are flying with a drone. Especially watch out for wires or you will cut power to some people. In this case, 700 people.

What will the advent of advanced AIs and robotics mean for humanity?

Ben Goertzel talks what the development of artificial general intelligence and the new human-machine relation might bring us.

Martin Ford on the Rise of the Robots

Leading expert on AI and the robotics revolution Martin Ford offers both an exploration of this new technology and a call to arms to face its radical implications.

MIT’s Cube Robot Uses Springy Metal Tongues to Jump

A cleverly designed cube-shaped robot which can jump using springy metal tounges.

Why We Should Ban Killer Robots

Around the world, right now, several countries are developing autonomous weapons that use artificial intelligence to locate, track and destroy their targets. AI professor Toby Walsh explains why that’s a problem.

Drones to Shark-Patrol Australian Beaches

Drones will circle popular swimming spots in eastern Australia and “listening stations” track tagged sharks as part of a new strategy announced Sunday to keep beachgoers safe.

DARPA Wants Drones That Vanish Into Air

Guys from DARPA have a lot of crazy ideas. This is about self-destructing drones which would dissolve after a certain amount of time.

Biotechnology

Revolutionizing the Way We Grow Food

As the climate changes and water becomes scarce in many parts of the world, growing enough food to feed the world’s increasing population will be a challenge. Caleb Harper, a 2015 National Geographic emerging explorer, is working to solve this problem by using technology to reenvision the way we grow our food and move farms into the city. Imagine living in a world where food can be farmed from anywhere via a personal food computer, and your plants can send you a tweet when you’re away to tell you how they’re doing.

CRISPR Variation Won’t Introduce New DNA To Plants

A team of Korean researchers has altered the CRISPR complex so that it can knock out genes without introducing new ones, according to a study published this week in Nature Biotechnology. The modifications are so minor that they might not even qualify as genetically modified foods according to most regulatory definitions of GMO, which might trigger another round of discussion what is GMO and what’s not.

Other

Real-time Expression Transfer for Facial Reenactment

Would you like to hijack someone else’s face and make more or less stupid things with it? Well, technology comes with a solution for that!

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