This week - how facial recognition led to false arrest of a black man; an AI that makes realistic human faces; biohacker's quest to make a DIY Covid-19 vaccine; and more!
I haven't had time yet to listen to the latest episode of Lex Fridman's podcast but knowing Lex and his guest - Ben Goertzel - it is going to be fascinating. Four hours of high-level discussion about artificial general intelligence, Goertzel's work and life.
Károly Zsolnai-Fehér from Two Minute Papers showcases a new powerful AI that can generate realistic human faces in real-time. The algorithm allows to dynamically change the parameters such as gender or facial structure and can create a new face that is a cross between two input faces.
Academic and government studies have demonstrated multiple time that facial recognition systems misidentify people of colour more often than white people. With police forces starting to use those systems to find who committed the crime, it seemed it was a matter of time when the system erroneously labels someone as a suspect. And exactly this is what happened recently in Detroit.
Working together with microprocessor company Intel, a team of researchers at the University of Zurich has now developed a quadrotor helicopter, or quadcopter, that can learn to fly acrobatic maneuvers. While a power loop or a barrel role might not be needed in conventional drone operations, a drone capable of performing such maneuvers is likely to be much more efficient. It can be pushed to its physical limits, make full use of its agility and speed, and cover more distance within its battery life.
Cute social robots are coming to help older people ease the loneliness caused by COVID-19 lockdowns.
The warm and solicitous female voices of smart assistants contrast with cinematic robot archetypes of the "menacing male" or "monstrous mother", with their highly synthesized voices and dangerous surveillant personalities. Instead, smart assistants voices have been strategically adapted by companies like Google, Apple and Amazon to sound helpful and sympathetic.
A team of European researchers has grown blobs of brain tissue from human stem cells that contain Neanderthal DNA and proteins, with the hope they will shed more light on how Neanderthals relate to modern humans.
Josiah Zanyer, probably the most well-known biohacker on the planet, is working on a DNA vaccine and plans to livestream the entire process over the course of several weeks with the aim of showing how to make this vaccine.
The video recordings of Dawn of the Transhuman Era and Politics for greater liberty: Transhumanist perspectives are available to watch on YouTube. Both of them are full of interesting ideas.