Issue #257

This week - OpenAIs' new AI makes music; how to become a centaur; how realistic are fictional robots; life as a digital being; and more!

More Than A Human

► Life as a Digital Being (27:30)

In the future, we might see the rise of minds entirely on computers, be it uploaded humans, transhumans, or artificial intelligence. But what would such an existence be like? Would they interact with our world or live in entirely virtual realities or simulated universes?

Artificial Intelligence

OpenAI Jukebox

OpenAI released Jukebox - an AI that can generate music. Just give it a genre, artist, and lyrics as input, and Jukebox will generate a new song from scratch. In this post, researchers from OpenAI explain how Jukebox works and give samples of what it created.

How To Become A Centaur

I have recently re-read this article again. It proposes that instead of building artificial intelligence (AI) and pitting humans vs AI, may we should look at intelligence augmentation (IA) and create centaurs - cooperation between humans and machines which can do what others on their own cannot.

US patent office rules that artificial intelligence cannot be a legal inventor

The US Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) has ruled that artificial intelligence systems cannot be credited as an inventor in a patent, the agency announced earlier this week. The decision came in response to two patents — one for a food container and the other for a flashing light — that were created by an AI system called DABUS. “Under current law, only natural persons may be named as an inventor in a patent application,” the agency concluded.


Moxie is a technically impressive childhood robot from iRobot’s former CTO

Moxie is yet another attempt to make a successful social robot. The company has funding, it has some names behind it (USC robotics professor and former iRobot CTO) and has a cute-looking robot for $1,499. I wish them all the best but I see many similarities with other social robots that also were cute but failed.

► Robotics Expert Breaks Down 13 Robot Scenes From Film & TV (20:13)

Chris Atkeson, a professor at the Robotics Institute at Carnegie Mellon University, takes another 13 fictional robots and AI and checks how realistic the concepts behind them are and how they translate into modern robotics. The list includes HAL from 2001: Space Odyssey, Baymax from Big Hero 6, KITT from Knight Rider and more.

Stanford Pupper - An Inexpensive & Open-source Quadruped Robot

If you are bored in self-isolation but you'd like to build a four-legged robot, check this project from Stanford students. The website contains everything you need, from materials to source code, to build your own mini Boston Dynamics-like robot.

Closing Notes

I have listened this week to Lex Fridman's conversation with Stephen Wolfram about cellular automata, intelligence, physics, and the theory of everything. It's an over 3 hours long conversation but at the end of it, I've had a better understanding of computation in general and of artificial intelligence. I highly recommend checking it out, you'll get something out of it too.

On Saturday, May 16th at 4pm UK time, London Futurists is hosting Hacking Darwin: Genetic Engineering and the Future of Humanity event with Jamie Metzl and Nessa Carey. You can reserve your seat here.

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