Issue #278

This week - Ring's new flying home surveillance camera; how biotech can help with climate change; AI democratisation in the era of GPT-3; and more!


Artificial Intelligence

Memristor Breakthrough: First Single Device To Act Like a Neuron

Researchers have created a device that acts like a neuron. It combines resistance, capacitance, and what’s called a Mott memristor all in the same device. Memristors are devices that hold a memory, in the form of resistance, of the current that has flowed through them. There’s a lot of work ahead to turn these into practical devices but it is a step towards building a machine that works like a human brain.

Rethinking human-AI interaction

This essay explores some of the possibilities to rethink how humans and “intelligent” machines interact today. It looks closer where the human can be in the loop and how to change inputs and outputs of intelligent systems so a human can better understand them and use them. The focus is on practical application — how can technology that exists today be leveraged creatively to make applications that are vastly more powerful and useful?

Amsterdam and Helsinki become first cities to launch AI registers explaining how they use algorithms

Amsterdam and Helsinki became the first cities in the world to launch open AI registers that track how algorithms are being used in the municipalities. In a press release, the cities said the registers would help ensure that the AI used in public services operates on the same principles of responsibility, transparency, and security as other local government activities.

Why neural networks struggle with the Game of Life

The Game of Life is a simple automaton very popular in discussions about science, computation, and artificial intelligence. Despite its simplicity, however, the Game of Life remains a challenge to artificial neural networks, as AI researchers have shown. Their result suggests that for such a simple challenge you need to build a neural network with many layers and parameters, increasing cost of training and running the deep learning model. Or be very lucky with setting the initial parameters of the network.

AI Democratization in the Era of GPT-3

The recent partnership between OpenAI and Microsoft, granting Microsoft exclusive access to GPT-3, will have a big impact on the process of democratisation of AI, writes Mark Riedl in this article. OpenAI will become a gatekeeper to a powerful AI system and it will decide who can access it or not, either by pricing (excludes those who can't afford it) or manually banning people or organisations from accessing GPT-3.

Robotics

Ring’s latest security camera is a drone that flies around inside your house

Amazon has revealed the Always Home Cam - a home security camera that is also a drone. The idea is for the drone to fly around your home, checking if everything is ok. Once it’s done flying, the Always Home Cam returns to its dock to charge its battery.

Why You Should Be Very Skeptical of Ring's Indoor Security Drone

Evan Ackerman from IEEE Spectrum takes a closer look at Ring's indoor security drone and raises some concerns about the whole idea of a flying surveillance camera, from the cost (you can get a couple of static cameras for the price of one drone) to privacy.

Researchers develop versatile robotic fabric

Researchers at Yale have developed a robotic fabric, a breakthrough that could lead to such innovations as adaptive clothing, self-deploying shelters, or lightweight shape-changing machinery. The fabric includes actuation, sensing, and variable stiffness fibers while retaining all the qualities that make fabric so useful—flexibility, breathability, small storage footprint, and low weight.

Biotechnology

Biotech Company Plans to Manufacture Artificial Retinas in Space

NASA will launch a new science experiment to the International Space Station that will explore the possibility of manufacturing artificial retinas in microgravity. The research project, conducted by the biotech firm LambdaVision, is an important next step toward the company’s goal of bioprinting new retinas to restore vision to blind patients.

► Does Genetic Editing Have A Dark Side? (21:51)

Genetic editing has advanced by leaps and bounds in the last decade, but many are worried that it may lead to something terrible - a new kind of eugenics. Do the potential benefits outweigh the risk? Joe Scott takes a look.

Can a Genetically Modified Bug Combat a Global Farm Plague?

Biotech firm Oxitec and its multinational partner Bayer announced that they have developed a fall armyworm that has a self-limiting gene introduced into the male of the species. Once the male mates with a female, the resulting egg becomes overloaded with a key protein and quickly dies. Their aim is to stop a pest that is devastating corn and rice crops across the globe.

Gene editing plants and animals could help fight climate change

A recent report concludes that gene-editing technologies like CRISPR could lead to a 50% improvement in agricultural productivity by 2050 and reduce CO2 emissions by genetically modifying plants and animals.

Regenerative Dentistry Breakthrough: Biological Therapy for Damaged Teeth

Researchers have been deciphered the differentiation pathways that lead to the formation of teeth, paving the way towards regenerative dentistry - a biological therapy for replacing damaged or lost tissue.

Tangents

Jet suit paramedic tested in the Lake District 'could save lives'

Imagine calling for help while being in a remote area and a paramedic with a jetpack comes to rescue. Great North Air Ambulance Service in cooperation with Gravity Industries are testing this idea.

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