Issue #276

This week - AI helps make chess beautiful again; a fighter pilot will dogfight an AI-controlled jet in 2024; a new report outlines path to human germline editing; and more!

Artificial Intelligence

AI Ruined Chess. Now, It’s Making the Game Beautiful Again

If you can't beat them, join them. With the help of DeepMind's AlphaZero, Vladimir Kramnik searches for more creative ways to play the game of chess and make it beautiful again. Already, AlphaZero took Kramnik to places outside even his vast understanding. “After three moves you simply don’t know what to do,” he says. “It's a nice feeling, like you're a child.”

A Fighter Pilot Will Dogfight an AI-Controlled Jet in 2024

A little less than a month ago, AI pilot has decisively beaten top US Air Force human pilot in a simulated dogfight. And last week, US Defense Secretary Mark Esper said that in 2024, a human pilot will take on an AI-controlled jet fighter in a real-life dogfight.

Building Character: Writing a Backstory for Our AI

In this article, Mariana Lin explains how she creates personalities for AIs - with their backstories, beliefs and function, which then influence the AIs speech, behaviour and thoughts.


Anduril’s New Drone Offers to Inject More AI Into Warfare

Anduril, a defense-tech startup founded by Palmer Luckey, the creator of Oculus Rift, showed their new drone, the Ghost 4. According to Luckey, the drone shows the potential for AI in military systems. Luckey says it is the first generation that can perform various reconnaissance missions, including searching an area for enemy hardware or soldiers, under the control of a single person on the ground.

Seven-foot robots are stacking shelves in Tokyo convenience stores

Two of the largest convenience stores in Japan have turned to robots to help them address the shortages in the workforce. Both companies trialled Model-T robot - a remotely-controlled robot with an owl-like head designed to stock the shelves in Japanese stores. The robot needs improvements before it can be deployed alongside humans but one of the convenience stores hopes to have them in 20 of its stores by 2022.


A CRISPR Baby Future? New Report Outlines Path to Human Germline Editing

An international commission of scientists released a highly anticipated report detailing the steps needed to turn a gene-editing fiasco into a powerful treatment that could wipe out genetic diseases throughout generations. The report stands out in that it doesn’t explicitly discuss moral and ethical issues related to CRISPR babies. It also doesn’t weigh in on the merits of the technology or whether there should be a global moratorium. Rather, the report envisions a world where CRISPR babies will eventually be allowed, and digs into the nitty-gritty of technical and oversight requirements for the procedure to become medically acceptable.


► Towards a Posthuman Future – with Martin Rees (56:37)

Martin Rees opens his lecture for The Royal Institution that we live right now in a special century. A century that is pivotal to human civilisation - where one species, us, has the planets fate in our hands. He points to main challenges ahead of us - growing population, climate change and the search for clean energy. With a help of advances in biotech, robotics and AI, we might be able to overcome those challenges and flourish as a space species, driven by a technological evolution, not Darwinian.

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