Issue #268

This week - a conference for virtual beings about virtual beings; AI learns to read from lips; two interestingly looking robots; and more!


More Than A Human

My Glitchy, Glorious Day at a Conference for Virtual Beings

Emma Grey Ellis shares her experiences from attending Virtual Beings Summit - a conference for virtual beings about virtual beings where humans spend most of their time trying to figure out who is real and who is a computer-generated persona.

Who Wants to Be a Cyborg?

Philosopher Susan Schneider weighs the pros and cons of radical technological enhancement.

Elon Musk Says Neuralink Will Stream Music Straight Into Your Brain

Who needs headphones when you have Neuralink, right?

Artificial Intelligence

► Can an AI Learn Lip Reading? (6:02)

Do you remember that scene from 2001: A Space Odyssey where HAL learned how to read lips? We have now AIs that can do exactly that thing right now.

Powerful AI Can Now Be Trained on a Single Computer

Using a new machine learning training approach, researchers were able to run similar tests DeepMind runs on a powerful server using just a workstation or high-end gaming PC. Their results could help under-resourced academic labs catch up with big tech.

MIT researchers warn that deep learning is approaching computational limits

“The explosion in computing power used for deep learning models has ended the ‘AI winter’ and set new benchmarks for computer performance on a wide range of tasks. However, deep learning’s prodigious appetite for computing power imposes a limit on how far it can improve performance in its current form, particularly in an era when improvements in hardware performance are slowing,” the researchers wrote. “The likely impact of these computational limits is forcing … machine-learning towards techniques that are more computationally-efficient than deep learning.”

Robotics

Velox is a biological-inspired surveillance drone

This is an interesting drone. Inspired by manta rays, Velox can move both on land and in water with its flexible fins.

The Robot Revolution Was Televised: Our All-Time Favorite Boston Dynamics Robot Videos

Singularity Hub compiled a list of 9 videos where Boston Dynamics shows what their robots can do. Some of them are internet classics but some might be new to you (I did not know Boston Dynamics made a humanoid robot with a gas mask and camouflaged chemical protection suit).

Ex-Googler's Startup Comes Out of Stealth With Beautifully Simple, Clever Robot Design

Stretch RE1 is a robot with a curious design. It is basically a mobile stick with a robotic arm attached to it. But the arm is both clever and beautiful. You can check the robot in action here in their launch video.

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