4th December 2015

Issue #26

This issue is heavy on biotechnology, gene editing and CRISPR, but we will also look at an idea of races of autonomous cars, cryonics, AIs, drones, robots and more.


More Than A Human

How close are we to Star Wars-like prosthetics?

Not so close, but thanks to many researchers, like this one from Imperial College London, we are getting closer to Star Wars-like prosthetics.

Geneticists Are Concerned Transhumanists Will Use CRISPR on Themselves

Geneticists developing powerful genome editing tools are worried that transhumanists will try to use them on themselves before they’re deemed safe and effective for use in humans, which could undermine the future of technologies, such as CRISPR/Cas9, that allow for specific, targeted DNA editing.

OpenBionics Fabs Prosthetics As Unique As Those Who Wear Them

Humans may all have the same overall form, but when we need to find a suitable replacement for a missing limb, it’s clear a one-size-fits-all prosthetic just won’t cut it. OpenBionics is putting forth a framework of tools that’s flexible enough to fit the spectrum of hand shapes and enables us to create our own prosthetic at home that can meet the challenge of most everyday tasks.

We’re closer to Alpha Centauri than to cryopreserving humans

A critical article on cryonics which argues that we are closer to interstellar travel than immortality.

The Science Surrounding Cryonics

Here’s a handy explanation what is cryonics and the science behind it looks like.

You’re Only Human, But Your Kids Could Be So Much More

You and I are typical human beings which features were decided for us by nature and pure luck. But our kids could be special. They could be designed to meet our criteria, whatever they are.

Artificial Intelligence

Preparing For The Technology Revolution Created By Artificial Intelligence

A 30-minutes long podcast about the impact of artificial intelligence and its effect on society, as well as ways to design machines so humans aren’t left out of the decision-making process.

Elementary

The Economist takes a closer look on IBM’s Watson, telling its story, what is it capable of, and what the future holds fro it.

A Short History Of AI, And Why It’s Heading In The Wrong Direction

Nice article from Hackaday on the history of AI and why it is heading in the wrong direction, meaning that we are not creating now an intelligence, but rather a system that acts like it has an intelligence.

Beyond the Fence: the world’s first machine-generated musical to debut in London

Beyond the Fence is a quite unique musical as it was generated by computers. The AI system created the music, the lyrics, everything. If you will be somewhere around London between 22nd February and 5th March, then you can have a chance to see it live.

Wikipedia Deploys AI to Expand Its Ranks of Human Editors

From now on, an AI will be monitoring Wikipedia for vandalism or putting misleading (but sometimes funny) informations, freeing humans to do more important stuff, like making Wikipedia a better place.

Artificial Intelligence Program Passes College Entrance Exam

Artificial intelligence is now smart enough to be accepted into most Japanese universities.

Robotics

Watch This Robot Solve a Rubik’s Cube in a World Record 2.39 Seconds

Current record held by human – 4.09 seconds. We can add another thing in which robots are better than us.

Amazon Shows Off New Delivery Drones

Amazon presented its new delivery drone. A hybrid which can take off and land vertically, and while in the air it flies like an airplane.

This Surveillance Drone Never Needs to Land

A new automated aerial vehicle uses an extremely thin wire tethered to the ground to transmit power and data. Until someone cuts the wire, the drone will stay in air for a very long time.

RoboCup 2019 In Sydney Will Be World’s Biggest Annual Competitive Robotics Event

Two thousand researchers and innovators from 50 nations will join together in Sydney, Australia June 2019 for the world’s biggest annual robotics event: the RoboCup.

Simple Natural Language Interaction with Consequence Reasoning

Or “How to teach robot to disobey orders from human and feel the consequences”.

A Human Driver Vs. Robby The Autonomous Racecar

Audi had taken its autonomous racecar to a racing track and challenged it against a human driven. Yep, an autonomous racecar. What can be more awesome than that?

Racing Self-Driving Cars Will Make Roads Safer for Everyone

Answering last question – a race of autonomous race cars! Formula E, the electric version of Formula One, is launching “Roborace,” a global motorsports series for autonomous vehicles. This article from Wired explains how this can lead to better autonomous cars in general and push this new industry forward.

Biotechnology

Customized Human Genes: New Promises and Perils

This week, at an international summit in Washington D.C., scientists debated the use of easy new ways to alter human DNA, which could cure diseases but also literally change humanity. Scientific American reports from the front lines of the debate in a series of articles available online for everyone.

Biologists Create More Precise Molecular Scissors for Genome Editing

By tweaking an enzyme that cuts DNA, synthetic biologists say that they can make genome editing even more specific—an essential improvement if the technique is to be deployed in the clinic to treat genetic diseases.

The Future Of Gene Editing Is Being Decided Right Now

On 1st December 2015, hundreds of scientists had gathered in Washington, D.C. for the international summit on genome editing. The three-day conference discussed the ethical and appropriate use of all genome-editing technologies, CRISPR in particular.

Cyborg rose has electric circuits running through polymer veins

A team from Sweden built a working electronic circuit from an ordinary garden rose by filling its veins with conductive polymer. Basically, they made a cyborg rose.

Cheap DNA Sequencing Is Here. Writing DNA Is Next

It looks like we solved the problem of cheap DNA sequencing. We can read, but writing is still expensive. A new startup wants to change it and make DNA writing not only cheaper but also faster.

CRISPR Is Getting Better. Now It’s Time to Ask the Hard Ethical Questions

As long as CRISPR creates too many off-target mutations, it’s easy to assert that the technology is not predictable, and that editing human embryos is therefore not ethical. But the technology is being upgraded every week, so as we are closer to play god, more and more people are starting questioning the ethics of that path.

Chinese Factory Will Make Cloned Beef On A Massive Scale

Chinese company BoyaLife plans to clone cattle on a massive scale (100,000 cloned cows per year) in order to keep up with demand for beef in China.

Virtual Worlds

Heads up: Cambridge holographic technology adopted by Jaguar Land Rover

Did you ever wanted a head-up display in your car? Well, soon you might find one in cars manufactured by Jaguar Land Rover.

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