Issue #258

This week - NVIDIA's new data centre GPU; the bitter lesson and the future of computation; an AI that can cry; and more!

More Than A Human

Soft robotic exosuit makes stroke survivors walk faster and farther

The tests on patients recovering from strokes showed that a new soft robotic exoskeleton enabled them to walk faster and farther. More tests are required before this tech becomes widely available but the results are promising.

The Rise of the Human Hive Mind

There are many ideas how to approach the problem of sentient AI outsmarting humans, from regulating or banning the research to putting it into our brains. This article proposes another path - the human hive mind - in which we would "swarm" on a problem and collectively solve a problem. It works for birds, bees and fishes, so why it shouldn't work for humans?

Artificial Intelligence

► Exponential Progress of AI: Moore's Law, Bitter Lesson, and the Future of Computation (29:27)

In this video, Lex Fridman analyses Rich Sutton's blogpost The Bitter Lesson. Sutton argues that the recent advancements in AI are not because we found better algorithms but because we got to the computational level where we can run general brute-force algorithms in an effective way. Fridman then explores where we can gain more computational powers, from smartphones to GPUs to quantum computing and brain-computer interfaces, as well as how we can design better neural networks to keep the exponential growth of AI.

► NVIDIA A100 Data Center GPU Based on NVIDIA Ampere Architecture (23:45)

NVIDIA introduced yesterday A100 - NVIDIA's new data centre GPU based on new Ampere architecture. The A100 is offered in the DGX A100, an integrated AI system, which NVIDIA's CEO Jensen Huang says will deliver extraordinary performance for AI systems - up to 20 times faster than their previous state-of-the-art data centre GPU.

► Faith: First AI That Can Cry (1:56)

Is AI coming for voice actors now? Faith is a short story about a mother and daughter reunited after being separated. What's interesting is that both voices are entirely computer generated using Sonantic’s AI text-to-speech technology and it can manipulate the voices to add emotions.

A Guide to Writing the NeurIPS Impact Statement

From now on, researchers submitting papers to NeurIPS (one of the biggest AI conferences) will require a statement describing the impact of the research that needs to describe the “potential broader impact of their work, including its ethical aspects and future societal consequences.”


Boston Dynamics’ Spot is patrolling a Singapore park to encourage social distancing

Spot has found a new job. It walks around Singapore's Bishan-Ang Mo Kio Park (not autonomously, it's remotely controlled) and shouts at people to keep their distance.

► Robots Size Comparison (5:00)

This video compares the sizes of robots from video games, from tiny robots to humanoids to giants measured in kilometres.

The robot assistant that can guess what you want

SecondHands is a collaborative robot (cobot in short) that combines the newest technologies in AI and robotics to anticipate what a human is going to do and help them. There is still more work to be done to bring helpful robots from sci-fi into reality but it is a step towards realising the vision of collaborative robots.

How many jobs do robots really replace?

MIT economist Daron Acemoglu’s new research puts a number on the job costs of automation. His research found that each additional robot added in manufacturing replaced about 3.3 workers on average in the US and lowered wages by roughly 0.4%. The study also found that the impact of robots varies widely by industry and region, and may play a notable role in exacerbating income inequality.

► How can robots help us? (1:04:35)

Although this introduction to robotics talk by Chris Atkeson (who was featured here twice with breakdowns of robots in movies and TV) is aimed for young people, it is still interesting to see how much robotics has progressed over the years and have a sneak peek into Atkeson's lab and be inspired by his passion for robotics.

Closing Notes

If you have some spare time tomorrow, London Futurists is hosting Hacking Darwin: Genetic Engineering and the Future of Humanity event with Jamie Metzl and Nessa Carey from 4 pm UK time. You can reserve your seat here.

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