Issue #267

This week - deepfaked student was used to attack activists; China’s massive effort to collect its people’s DNA concerns scientists; how an AI graphic designer convinced clients it was human; and more!


More Than A Human

Kernel raises $53 million for its non-invasive ‘Neuroscience as a Service’ technology

Kernel, a startup that works on non-invasive brain scanning technology, has raised $53 million to deliver what they call "Neuroscience as a Service" with a goal is to make the brain-scanning technology more available.

Artificial Intelligence

Deepfake used to attack activist couple shows new disinformation frontier

Reuters reports how someone created a fake persona and added a deepfaked profile picture to spread disinformation online. Experts warned of such attacks and this might be a first of many to come.

The Windfall Clause: Distributing the Benefits of AI

Last week I shared how Robert Miles explains The Windfall Clause but I have forgotten to link to the original research done by the Future of Humanity Institute. So, if you want to learn in details what is the experts' idea for tech giants to share the benefits of AI with everyone, here is The Windfall Clause.

How an AI graphic designer convinced clients it was human

 Art. Lebedev Studio — Russia’s largest design company — revealed that Nikolay Ironov, who worked there as a graphic designer and designed more than 20 commercial projects, creating everything from beer bottle labels to startup logos, was not a human but an AI.

Robotics

Tiny Weed-Killing Robots Could Make Pesticides Obsolete

Greenfield Robotics imagines a farm where a fleet of robots roam between the crops and get rid of weeds, reducing the need for herbicides or human labour.

MIT creates a soft-fingered robotic gripper than could eventually tie knots and sew stitches

Researchers from MIT built a two-fingered robotic gripper, which has soft pads for dedicated and fine manipulation of objects like cables, sheets and more. The robot’s design is based on how humans use their fingers to do things like untangle wires and tie knots. Their robot could find a place in the automotive industry, the researchers hope, where it can automate wiring and threading cables

A GoPro for beetles: Researchers create a robotic camera backpack for insects

Researchers behind this project said this tiny camera can be used to study insects life but I'm waiting when someone connects that with the kit to control cockroaches and makes the first FPV remote-controlled insect. 

SoftBank Robots Pinch Hit For Baseball Cheerleaders

Softbank has a solution for empty stadiums with no one to cheer the athletes - put some robots as an audience!

Biotechnology

China’s massive effort to collect its people’s DNA concerns scientists

A report revealing China’s effort to collect DNA from millions of men to help solve crimes is raising concerns among researchers about privacy and consent. They say people have little control over how their information is used, and probably do not understand the implications that DNA collection has for their families.

This Company Wants to Rewrite the Future of Genetic Disease

Tessera Therapeutics is developing a new class of gene editors capable of precisely plugging in long stretches of DNA—something that Crispr can’t do.

CRISPR gene editing in human embryos wreaks chromosomal mayhem

A suite of experiments that use the gene-editing tool CRISPR–Cas9 to modify human embryos have revealed how the process can make large, unwanted changes to the genome at or near the target site.

Closing Notes

Last Monday, London Futurists hosted a webinar to discuss the Adventures at the Frontier of Birth, Food, Sex & Death. It was an interesting discussion with a lot of ideas to think about. The full recording is available on YouTube here.

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