20th November 2015

Issue #24

Boosting human memory, reactions to Google’s TensorFlow, Stephen Wolfram talks about AI, biohackers and more!


More Than A Human

First Human Tests of Memory Boosting Brain Implant—a Big Leap Forward

Memory loss seems to be inescapable. But one maverick neuroscientist is working hard on an electronic cure. Funded by DARPA, Dr. Theodore Berger, a biomedical engineer at the University of Southern California, is testing a memory-boosting implant that mimics the kind of signal processing that occurs when neurons are laying down new long-term memories.

Konami Developing a Metal Gear Solid-Inspired Prosthetic Arm for an Amputee Gamer

I think we are slowly entering the age when physical disabilities can be fixed by technology and make you look like a badass.

Watch These Guys Make a Shark Swim With Their Minds

The Wired visits OpenBCI to see how their open-source brain-computer interface works. And also to control a robot-shark with their minds.

This is Your Brain. This is Your Brain as a Weapon

Cutting-edge neural technologies can erase traumatic memories and read people’s thoughts. They could also become the 21st century’s next battleground.

Artificial Intelligence

The Doomsday Invention

A long (like, really long) read from New Yorker, which tries to answer the question “Will artificial intelligence bring us utopia or destruction?”. It mostly focuses on concerns raised by Nick Bostrom, the lead anti-AI philosopher.

Google Open-Sourcing TensorFlow Shows AI’s Future Is Data

Open-sourcing TensorFlow by Google was a big news for many people. But most of them forgot that the power of current AI systems lies not in algorithms, but in data feeding these algorithms.

Google’s TensorFlow Alone Will Not Revolutionize AI

The lead thought of the article – “I think it will focus our attention on experimenting with mathematical tricks, rather than on understanding human thought processes”.

Stephen Wolfram Discussing AI and the Singularity

Someone asked Stephen Wolfram a question “Should we fear singularity?”. “Oh, boy…” , he said, and then started to talk automation, AI, Singularity, and the future. Short question with a long answer.

Robotics

DARPA wants your crazy ideas for space robots

DARPA is calling on non-government people to come up with some new and innovative robots it can throw the US government’s money behind. If you have an idea for space robot, then maybe you should call them.

Meet Pleurobot, an Amphibious Robot

Pleurobot, a Salamander-like robot that can both walk on land and swim in the water. Tested chats with professor Auke Ijspeert of the EPFL about how Pluerobot’s movements were programmed and how biorobotics engineers studied the physiology of salamanders in making this robot.

BioRobots Inspired by Animal Movements

And here’s more from Tested on biorobots.

Google Driverless Car Pulled Over for Driving Slowly

A policeman pulled over a car for driving too slow. To his surprise, the car had no driver.

Biotechnology

The Gene Hackers

New Yorker in another long read (you can prepare yourself a coffee or tea) about CRISPR, its history and upcoming gene editing revolution.

These Biohackers Are Creating Open-source Insulin

That’s why I love the maker’s/hacker’s movements. It is also an argument against fearmongers claiming that biohackers will bring the apocalypse.

We Can Now Edit Our DNA. But Let’s Do it Wisely | Jennifer Doudna | TED Talks

Geneticist Jennifer Doudna co-invented a groundbreaking new technology for editing genes, called CRISPR-Cas9. The tool allows scientists to make precise edits to DNA strands, which could lead to treatments for genetic diseases … but could also be used to create so-called “designer babies.” Doudna reviews how CRISPR-Cas9 works — and asks the scientific community to pause and discuss the ethics of this new tool.

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