Issue #252

This week - DeepMind's new AI masters all 57 Atari 2600 games; a startup builds AI chips with real neurons; researchers "delete" memory from rats with CRISPR; and more!


More Than A Human

The Collective Body - Russian experiments in life after death

The idea of curing ageing and postponing death is not something new in Russia. This article explores how the research of defeating death (with emphasis on cryonics) looks like in Russia and how Russia's philosophical and political history shaped the movement to life forever.

Machine translates brainwaves into sentences

Researchers have trained algorithms to read human brainwaves and turn them into sentences in real-time with 97% accuracy.  

Artificial Intelligence

Agent57: Outperforming the human Atari benchmark

Agent57 is the newest AI from DeepMind - the first deep reinforcement learning agent to obtain a score that is above the human baseline on all 57 Atari 2600 games. In this article, DeepMind researchers explain in details how Agent57 works.

A startup is building computer chips using human neurons

Cortical Labs builds computer chips that take the phrase "inspired by the human brain" one step further. Their idea is to use real, biological neurons embedded on a specialized computer chip. The company hopes that their approach will perform many of the same tasks that software-based artificial intelligence can, but at a fraction of the energy consumption.

Understanding the limits of convolutional neural networks — one of AI’s greatest achievements

Convolutional neural networks (CNNs) are at the centre of the recent explosion of artificial intelligence. They enabled machines to do things we thought will take decades to arrive. But they are not without flaws. This article compares CNNs to human vision and highlights the limits of CNNs in the context of computer vision.

Robotics

Teaching Robots Workplace Etiquette

Most often, humans and robots do not have to work directly together, instead of working on different parts in a production pipeline or with the robot performing tasks instead of a human. In such cases, any human-robot interaction (HRI) will be superficial. Yet what if humans and robots have to work alongside each other? In their new paper, researchers from MIT presented CommPlan - an HRI framework that sensors and model of the human mind state (what would be appropriate in a given situation) to only give the information that its human partner expects and appreciates.

Biotechnology

Chinese researchers ‘delete’ memories from rats with CRISPR gene editing

Scientists in China have successfully used a genome-editing technique based on CRISPR-Cas9 to knockdown genes relevant to fear memory in the brains of lab rats. This result could mean new ways to treat pathological memories and the conditions it causes like PTSD, chronic pain, drug addiction and chronic stress.

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