Issue #295

This week - AI resurrects a singer for a commercial; lab-grown wood; Spot is getting new accessories; GMOs might be permitted in the UK; and more!


Artificial Intelligence

AI resurrects legendary Spanish singer to hawk beer

Remember that patent Microsoft filled for chatbots that can "bring people from death"? Well, it is kinda a reality now. Spanish beer company used hours of audiovisual material and over 5000 photos and audio clips of Lola Flores, who died in 1995, to recreate her voice and deepfake her in their newest commercial. Apparently, Lola's family approved the project but there are people who are not happy with this "resurrection".

Scientists Trying to Build Medical AI That’s Less Racist Than Doctors

A new medical artificial intelligence system seems to actually be better than human doctors at diagnosing Black patients — because it takes doctors’ biases out of the equation. This new AI learns to spot issues based on patient complaints rather than doctor assessments, helping it spot problems that doctors often overlook.

MIT researchers develop a new ‘liquid’ neural network that’s better at adapting to new info

A new type of neural network that’s capable of adapting its underlying behaviour after the initial training phase could be the key to big improvements in situations where conditions can change quickly. This new kind of neural networks, named liquid networks, can adapt the parameters for ‘success’ over time in response to new information after the training phase, which means that if a neural net tasked with perception on a self-driving car goes from clear skies into heavy snow, for instance, it’s better able to deal with the shift in circumstances and maintain a high level of performance.

IBM Watson's Next Challenge: Modernize Legacy Code

In May, IBM launched a new AI initiative - IBM Watson AIOps. The goal is to get AI to “speak” code. Teaching AI code could streamline and automate many of the IT processes that currently require time-consuming manual oversight and troubleshooting, such as security, system management, and multiple cloud environments. In this interview, Ruchir Puri, Chief Scientist at IBM Research, shares how AI can improve productivity and help businesses keep their code modern.

Robotics

Launch Event: Meet Spot's Expanded Product Line

Boston Dynamics is going to livestream their launch event on 2nd February 4PM UK time (11AM EST) during which the company will most likely present accessories you can order and add to Spot robots. Looks like the star of the show will be Spot's arm. I will share next week what the event was all about.

Biotechnology

Gene editing of crops and livestock may soon be permitted in England

Gene editing of crops and livestock may soon be permitted in England for the first time under a consultation launched by the UK government. Ministers said changing the current strict rules, which originate from the EU and make gene editing for crops and livestock almost impossible, would bring widespread benefits to consumers and farmers, including healthier food, environmental improvements and better animal welfare. But some environmental and animal welfare groups raised concerns that loosening the rules could lead to lower animal welfare, for instance if the technology was used to promote faster growth over animal health, or to enable livestock to be kept in crowded conditions.

No Trees Harmed: MIT Aims to One Day Grow Your Kitchen Table in a Lab

Researchers from MIT are working on making wood and fibre without growing trees. The idea is similar to that of lab-grown meat - take the cells and make them grow in a lab. The research is still in early stages but who knows, maybe this endeavour will lead to us growing things instead of manufacturing them.

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