This week - meet the transhumanists; AlphaStar vs a Grand Master player; robots enjoying autumn leaves; the first Gattaca-like baby tests are here; and more!
More than a human
#IAmTranshuman is a project and a website to showcase the transhumanists out there and how they are contributing to the movement. "We strive to negate the outmoded paradigm of deleterious binary organizations while humanizing transhumanism. We want to show the variety of Transhumans and the reasons they identify as such. In many ways, it is about raising awareness about the values we share and human rights to live and love indefinitely."
This course, led by Anders Sandberg, will teach you the history, motivations and goals of transhumanism, and offers predictions of what humanity might resemble in a trillion years. The course touches such topics like genetic engineering, body modifications, ageing and classical and religious roots of modern transhumanist thinking.
One of the most expensive steps in creating prosthetics is the fitting. FitSocket is a device that can speed up this process. It can produce more accurate maps of the limb and make prosthesis sockets more comfortable and better customized.
Theresa Vereline last week became the first paralyzed American to complete a marathon, thanks to help from her ReWalk 5.0 exoskeleton suit. "Words cannot express the feelings I had crossing the finish line," Vereline said. "This has been a dream of mine, and I hope I can serve as an inspiration to others that you too can achieve what seems like the impossible - especially all of the disabled children I meet across the country."
A new study shows that it takes only an hour of using BCI for the brain to adjust itself to the new device
Space is not a welcoming place for humans. To prevent serious damage caused by cosmic radiation during long space flights to Mars and beyond, some researchers are looking at how we can use genetic engineering to make human cells more resilient to harsh space environment.
Genomic Prediction offers a Gattaca-like genetic tests on embryos. The company says it can use DNA measurements to predict which embryos from an IVF procedure are least likely to end up with any of 11 different common diseases. According to flyers distributed by the company, it will also warn clients about any embryo predicted to become a person who is among the shortest 2% of the population, or who is in the lowest 2% in intelligence.
Over the last months, AlphaStar from DeepMind was playing StarCraft II against human players. In this video, Lowko - one of the StarCraft II commentators - casts a game where AlphaStar played against a Grand Master level player. It is interesting to see how the AI plays with a professional commentary explaining what's going on in the game.
As developments in AI accelerate, some in the US fear that the ability of China's powerful central government to marshal data and pour resources into the field will push it ahead. The country has announced billions in funding for start-ups, launched programmes to woo researchers from overseas and streamlined its data policies.
It's hard to make an AI the technology that benefits everyone on the planet when you prevent AI researchers from Africa from attending the most important conference in the world.
Researchers from MIT took their Cheetahs robots outside to let them play and experience autumn leafs.
CRISPR is a powerful tool that made some people's imagination go wild with potential applications, like curing autism or depression with changing some genes. But as Jim Kozubek points out, this might be a fantasy never to be realised. He also points out that there are no superior genes. "Rather every version of a gene comes with tradeoffs. So gene modification should make us cautious: It may, depending on our environmental niche, impose a new weakness or the loss of a strength we can’t foresee", writes Kozubek.
Here is the newest upgrade to CRISPR - Prime editing, explained in details.