Issue #298

This week - meet the MetaHumans; Hyundai introduces two new robots; how teaching robots dance can make them better; a skeptical look at hype in biology; and more!

More Than A Human

Meet the MetaHumans

People behind Unreal Engine released MetaHuman Creator - a new tool that can create realistic humans in just minutes instead of months of work. The main application of this tool will be in gaming but I see this being used in advertising, customer service, or to generate fake content because every tech is a double-edged sword.

Artificial Intelligence

A New Artificial Intelligence Makes Mistakes—on Purpose

Unlike DeepBlue or AlphaZero, which will crush you in chess by looking many moves forward, Maia tries to predict what your next move will be (error included), resulting in a more human-like style of playing. Researchers behind Maia hope that their AI will be useful in health care, where Maia could anticipate human errors and correct them before they cause harm.

Who Should Stop Unethical A.I.?

Many fields of research have put in place institutions or processes that require researchers to assess the impact of the research, both positive and negative, and give possible solutions to minimise negative impact. This article tells the story of how the AI community, after outcries and seeing how the technology can or is being applied, started to look beyond possible applications of the research and think how it can be misused or cause harm.

Machines Are Inventing New Math We've Never Seen

Ramanujan Machine is an automated conjecturing system whose purpose is to try “to replace the mathematical intuition of great mathematicians and providing leads to further mathematical research”, the researchers say.


Hyundai Motor Group Introduces Two New Robots

Hyundai (the new owners of Boston Dynamics) presented two new robots. The first one, DAL-e, is “designed to pioneer the future of automated customer services” and it seems to be a competitor for robots like Pepper. The second robot, named TIGER (Transforming Intelligent Ground Excursion Robot), which is a wheeled concept robot with legs and it looks very interesting, even crazy.

How Choreography Can Help Robots Come Alive

After seeing Boston Dynamics robots dance we can all agree choreography can be a viable way to make robots move natural and more human-like.


The Human Genome and the Making of a Skeptical Biologist

I love this sobering take on hype in biotech. C. Brandon Ogbunu shares a story about an interview he had two decades ago and how riding the hype train did not work for his interviewer. I also like the advice he gave for young scientists: "Who the hell knows where the next big discovery will come from? Just hustle and flow, enjoy learning, and ignore the fads and big announcements."


The Post-COVID Social Contract Trilemma (Saturday, February 27, 2021)

Bronwyn Williams, economist, futurist, and business trend analyst, will share how cryptocurrency, Modern Monetary Theory, Universal Basic Income and other ideas could influence post-COVID societies.

Towards an artificial consciousness? (Saturday, March 6, 2021)

Mark Solms will explore the interconnection between consciousness, neuroscience and artificial intelligence.

The Future of You (Saturday, March 20, 2021)

Tracey Follows will suggest how we can preserve our autonomy whilst embracing this new era of transformation.

Thinking about the end of the world (Saturday, April 17, 2021)

Existential risks researcher Phil Torres will be discussing how humans can cause the end of the world, and the various ways in which we can become extinct.

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