Issue #229

This week - is another CRISPR-Baby of the way; the controversy around OpenAI's Rubik's Cube solving robot; a new powerful gene-editing tool; and more!


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More than a human

Russian “CRISPR-Baby” Scientist Has Started Editing Genes in Human Eggs with the Goal of Altering Deaf Gene

Russian biologist Denis Rebrikov has started gene editing in eggs donated by women who can hear to learn how to allow some deaf couples to give birth to children without the genetic mutation that impairs hearing. Unlike He Jiankui, who shocked the world with the news of the first genetically modified human being born almost a year ago, Rebrikov does not plan to implant gene-edited embryos until he gets regulatory approval.

► Providing free spare parts for humans: The e-nable project (9:18)

Thomas Sanladerer speaks with guys from e-nable project - a group of people with 3d printers printing affordable prosthetics for those who need them.

► Neuralink and BCI (19:43)

This video dives into the topic of brain-computer interfaces (BCI) and how can we make telepathy or telekinesis a reality. It explains in details three BCI projects - Kernel, Neuralink and Facebook's B8, and then goes into possible applications of BCIs beyond medical, like mind-uploading to a robotic body or rewriting brains to remove suffering.

Scientists Made Mice Live 12% Longer by Hacking Their Telomeres

Another example that it is possible to extend the lifespan without any negative side-effects. Spanish scientists have bred mice that can live 12% longer by extending their telomeres - the strands of nucleotide sequences at the end of each chromosome which are one of the main causes of ageing. They also found that the specially-bred mice showed no difference in cognitive function, retained the longer telomeres over time, and were 20 percent less likely to develop age-related tumors.

Artificial Intelligence

Why a robot that can ‘solve’ Rubik’s Cube one-handed has the AI community at war

OpenAI's Rubick's Cube solving robot caused some controversy within the AI community. It all started with this tweet where Gary Marcus points out things OpenAI is his opinion did not mention in the video. It looks like the community, in general, does not have a problem with the research itself but how it was presented.

Are We Heading for Another AI Winter Soon?

"With all this investment, interest, and funding in AI are we headed to another AI winter? Are we once again overpromising and underdelivering on what AI is capable of? Are we going to be disappointed with the limitations of driverless vehicles, natural language processing, and AI-powered predictive analytics? Will investors start seeing more snake oil from AI vendors than real-world implementations?"

DeepMind AI beats humans at deciphering damaged ancient Greek tablets

DeepMind's new AI - Pythia - is helping archeologists decipher ancient Greek inscriptions. It reads the inscriptions and based on their shapes and patterns, it tries to guess what the missing words are. Pythia then returns 20 suggestions and then it is up to a human to decide which one makes the most sense.

I Competed against an AI

Marc Zao-Sanders from filtered shares the results from competing against magpie - the algorithm his company developed. Although the algorithm won in tagging, Marc was better at keytagging, or getting the essence of the text.

Robotics

Assembler robots make large structures from little pieces

Researchers from MIT have created this prototy[e assembler robot that can build structures from standardised blocks. The cool thing about this prototype is that the robot uses these blocks as parts of itself, making the blocks and the robot inseparable.

► Stanford engineers develop new tool for designing prosthetic limbs (2:50)

Designing new prosthetic limbs and fitting to them patients is a slow, trial-and-error endeavor. Stanford researchers have developed a tool, called a prosthetic emulator, that could dramatically speed up the process. It is a prosthetic foot loaded with sensors and capturing data for the prosthetic designers.

A Path Towards Reasonable Autonomous Weapons Regulation

A group of AI and robotics experts came together and produced a roadmap to tackle one of the hottest ethical topic in tech right now - the development and deployment of autonomous weapon systems.

Biotechnology

New CRISPR genome editing system offers a wide range of versatility in human cells

A new gene-editing technique, called prime editing, promises to correct up to 89% of genetic defects, including those that cause diseases like sickle cell anemia. Prime editing builds on powerful CRISPR gene editing, but is more precise and versatile - it "directly writes new genetic information into a specified DNA site," according to the paper.

With These 4 Breakthroughs, We’ll Be Able to Write Whole Genomes From Scratch

Creating new organisms with custom DNA is a Holy Grail of genetic engineering. Genome design, DNA synthesis, genome editing, and chromosome construction will bring us closer to that dream becoming a reality.

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