Issue #284

This week - Pope prays for AI and robots; Hyundai in talks to buy Boston Dynamics; living concrete; real-life Venom Snake's bionic arm; and more!


More Than A Human

► Metal Gear Solid Bionic Arm (0:59)

Open Bionics partnered with KONAMI to release real-life Venom Snake's bionic arm from Metal Gear Solid. The arm is based on Open Bionics' Hero Arm and it is a working arm that brings back mobility for its users.

Artificial Intelligence

► Pope's Prayer Intention for AI and robotics (1:06)

"Artificial intelligence is at the heart of the epochal change we are experiencing. Robotics can make a better world possible if it is joined to the common good. Indeed, if technological progress increases inequalities, it is not true progress. Future advances should be oriented towards respecting the dignity of the person and of Creation. Let us pray that the progress of robotics and artificial intelligence may always serve humankind… we could say, may it “be human.”" - Pope Francis

AI pioneer Geoff Hinton: “Deep learning is going to be able to do everything”

Here is an interview with Geoffrey Hinton, the pioneer of deep learning, where he shares his belief that deep learning is the way to solve the problem of intelligence and what does cognitive science get wrong about human brain.

MIT Algorithm Detects COVID-19 in the Sound of Your Cough

A new MIT algorithm is capable of determining, with impressive accuracy, whether or not people have COVID-19 — just by listening to them cough. The algorithm, which the researchers trained using the sound of tens of thousands of coughs recorded over the course of the pandemic, has a 98.5 percent success rate among patients who were already diagnosed with COVID-19. It shouldn’t replace a proper lab test but it could serve as a point-of-contact test before meeting a group or attending an event.

AI Expert Roadmap

If you want to be an AI engineer and you don't know where to start, here are some helpful charts demonstrating the paths that you can take and the technologies that you would want to adopt in order to become a data scientist, machine learning or an AI expert.

Robotics

Autonomous delivery startup Nuro hits $5 billion valuation on fresh funding of $500 million

Nuro, the autonomous delivery startup founded by two former Google engineers, has raised $500 million, suggesting that investors still have an appetite for long-term pursuits such as robotics and automated vehicle technology. Nuro now has a post-money valuation of $5 billion.

Hyundai reportedly in talks to buy SoftBank-owned Boston Dynamics

Bloomberg reports that Korean industrial giant Hyundai is interested in buying Boston Dynamics from SoftBank. The Bloomberg report, which cites multiple unnamed sources, said the deal could be worth as much as $1 billion. The report also states “the terms have yet to be finalized, and the deal could fall apart.” This might be a good news for Boston Dynamics - Hyundai has also shown increasing interest in automated vehicle technology and robotics over the past year and is more aligned with robotics company vision.

► Biomimetic Mechatronic Hand - 3D Printed Interphalangeal Joint (8:53)

Will Cogley is an engineer who documents on YouTube the process of building an advanced bionic hand. At the moment, he has seven videos in the series from which you can learn how he designed the hand and what challenges awaits if you want to build a bionic hand.

UK general says a quarter of the army could be robots by the 2030s

Armed forces head General Sir Nick Carter told in an that he believed a quarter of the British Army could be robots by the 2030s. He was careful to stress that he wasn’t setting firm targets, but these automatons could serve at and near the front lines of a given conflict.

Biotechnology

The Builder Era of Biology

This article was written for incoming life sciences students wondering what they can do with their degree. And the answer is that we don't even know but it is an exciting and quickly developing field. It compares today's life science degrees to computer science degrees in the '70s and gives some high-level advice for those who want to be a part of builder era of biology.

Bricks Alive! Scientists Create Living Concrete

Researchers have created a living concrete. It is based on cyanobacteria dissolved in a solution of sand, nutrients and gelatin. Then the mixture is poured into molds and cooled in a refrigerator. The gelatin creates a structure in which cyanobacteria can produce calcium carbonate, gradually cementing the sand particles together. There is still work to be done for this technology to replace concrete. Researchers hope that when we venture into the stars, we will take living concrete with us to build habitats on other planets.

Tangents

The grim fate that could be ‘worse than extinction’

World in chains is an existential risk thought experiment in which a global totalitarian government uses a novel technology to lock a majority of the world into perpetual suffering. Though global totalitarianism is still a niche topic of study, researchers in the field of existential risk are increasingly turning their attention to its most likely cause: artificial intelligence.

Events

Neurotech 2020

Neurotech is a digital congress for neurotechnology innovation and growth that will take place from Monday 30th November to Friday 11th December 2020. The program covers topics from consumer neurotech to what's going on in the research and clinical fields to longevity and investments in the field. The congress is free to attend and all the panels and talks will be streamed online.

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