Issue #225

This week - you can order now Spot Mini; Atlas does parkour; is telepathy scientifically possible; "perfectly real" deepfakes are just 6-12 months away; and more!


More than a human

► Is Telepathy Scientifically Possible? (25:58)

This video explores the idea of reading thoughts and shows how close we are to accurately read human (or even animals) thoughts. It also touches on ethical questions and discusses the idea of "cognitive liberty", which you can think of privacy of your mind.

Facebook Acquires BCI Startup CTRL-Labs to Develop Neural Input Device

Facebook announced plans to acquire CTRL-Labs, a brain-computer interface startup developing hardware and software for decoding electrical activity from the brain to be used for computer input. Facebook says that with the company’s expertise, it plans to develop a wrist-worn neural input device.

Are brain implants the future of thinking?

Companies big and small are working on connecting our brains with machines. Guardian explores the field of brain-computer interface startups, what they offer and how these devices can be used in the future, for both good and bad.

Artificial Intelligence

Deepfake Pioneer: “Perfectly Real” Fake Vids Are Six Months Away

Hao Li - a leading expert in deepfake field - said during an MIT conference that he believes easy-to-use tech to create perfect deepfakes - ones that are virtually impossible to detect with the naked eye - is just two to three years away. Two days later, he changed his estimate to 6-12 months. What changed his mind was an increased focus on deepfake tech and the growing popularity of Zao - a deepfake app that lets users insert their faces into famous films and television shows.

Computers and Humans ‘See’ Differently. Does It Matter?

This article compares human vision with computer vision and points out where machines see better and where humans see better. Interesting thought is shared at the end of the article. We might approach the wall with current computer vision systems and maybe it is time to look for a new method for the machines to see the world.

Robotics

You can now order Boston Dynamics' robot

The long-awaited sales of Spot Mini - one of the internet famous robots from Boston Dynamics - have begun! The price was not revealed, though.

► More Parkour Atlas (0:38)

Boston Dynamics' Altas shows off some impressive acrobatic skills. I wonder when will Atlas show its dance moves.

► A drone with a nail gun for autonomous roofing (1:29)

"Let's attach a nail gun to a drone!", said engineers from the University of Michigan who ten used it to tack a shingle onto a roof.

MegaBots calls it a day, puts fighting robot up for sale on eBay

MegaBots, the creators of the Prime Eagle fighting robot, declared bankruptcy. Turns out turning an awesome idea into a profitable business is not that easy. The battle robot itself is being auctioned on eBay right now if you are interested in getting one.

Watch Legged Robot Run Circles Around Its Bigger Brethren

If you happen to meet some dog-owners in the park, your dogs might start to play with each other. At a 2019 International Conference on Robotics and Automation (ICRA) held in Montréal, the same thing happened, but instead of dogs, five four-legged robots played with each other.

Building Robots That Can Go Where We Go

Jonathan Hurst, the chief technology officer and co-founder of Agility Robotics, explains how to build a bipedal robot. It is not as easy as you might think!

Humans Wanted, Robots Need You: Record Number of Employers Globally Plan to Increase or Maintain Headcount as a Result of Automation

Manpower Group's new report found that more employers than ever - 87% - plan to increase or maintain headcount as a result of automation for the third consecutive year. The report says that companies that are transforming into digital companies are growing and hiring more people and creating new kinds of jobs. The report also says that "global talent shortages are at a 12-year high and new skills are appearing as fast as others disappear".

Biotechnology

Biology as technology will reinvent trillion-dollar industries

Biology is going to be the next big thing and businesses and investors start to see it coming. This article explains how biotech get where it is right now and showcases some innovative companies that use genetic engineering and modern biotech to reinvent existing industries or even create new ones.

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