Issue #220

This week - DeepMind's co-founder placed on leave; China's plan to become CRISPR superpower; OpenAI releases more details on GPT-2; and more!

More than a human

Biohacking: Why I’ll live to be 180 years old | Dave Asprey (3:54)

Dave Asprey, the founder of Bulletproof Coffee, shares his story that lead him into biohacking and what he got out of that journey. "It turns out that those tools that make older people young make younger people kick ass," he says.

► Can We Learn to Regenerate? Multipotent and Pluripotent Stem Cells (19:58)

This video explains the science behind tissue regeneration and checks where the research into stem cells is right now and how far away we are from regrowing our own body parts.

An Innovative Robotic Exosuit Boosts Both Walking and Running

Researchers at Wyss Institute have made an exoskeleton made of soft textile materials. This 5kg exosuit could reduce the metabolic costs of walking by 9% and of running by 4%.

Artificial Intelligence

Google DeepMind Co-Founder Placed on Leave From AI Lab

Mustafa Suleyman, co-founder of Deep Mind, has been placed on leave after controversy over DeepMind’s “applied” division, which seeks practical uses for the lab’s research in health, energy and other fields.

GPT-2: 6-Month Follow-Up

OpenAI published a follow-up report for GPT-2 - an AI system capable of writing so convincing articles that OpenAI deemed too dangerous to release to the general public. The report contains lessons learned and what needs to be done in terms of detecting auto-generated fake news. Alongside the report, OpenAI released half of the GPT-2 model.

AI Is in Danger of Becoming Too Male—New Research

A recent study on gender diversity in AI community has found that only 13.8% AI authors in arXiv are women and, in relative terms, the proportion of AI papers co-authored by at least one woman has not improved since the 1990s. The research also found a stronger representation of women in AI research in the Netherlands, Norway, and Denmark, and a lower representation in Japan and Singapore. Women working in physics, education, biology, and social aspects of computing are more likely to publish work on AI compared with those working in computer science or mathematics.


Disney Research Makes Dynamic Robots Less Wiggly, More Lifelike

Disney Research, which has an interest in developing lightweight and dynamic robot characters, has presented a paper at SIGGRAPH 2019 demonstrating an effective vibration damping method for robots that would otherwise be very, very wiggly. (Personal note - the paper came out just in time for my new project which involves building retractable wings very, very quickly).

► Origami robots that reshape and transform themselves (12:26)

Taking design cues from origami, robotician Jamie Paik and her team created "robogamis": folding robots made out super-thin materials that can reshape and transform themselves. In this talk and tech demo, Paik shows how robogamis could adapt to achieve a variety of tasks on earth (or in space) and demonstrates how they roll, jump, catapult like a slingshot and even pulse like a beating heart.


Inside China’s Play to Become the World’s CRISPR Superpower

Just like with AI a couple of years ago, China is taking full-speed-ahead approach on CRISPR and genetic engineering to become a superpower in this field. China is already catching up US in the number of CRISPR-related papers and patents. In some areas, such as agriculture and industrial applications, China holds more patents and has published more papers than anyone else.

California Passed the Country’s First Law to Prevent Genetic Biohacking

California has now passed the first bill aimed at restricting the sale of home gene therapy kits unless they carry warnings “stating that the kit is not for self-administration.”

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