Issue #303

This week - methuselarity by 2035 and why will it be free; scientists made early human embryos from skin cells; why adversarial networks are a security threat to robots; and more!


More Than A Human

Aubrey de Grey: Methuselarity by 2035 – and it’ll be free

Here is an interview with Aubrey de Grey where he goes deeper into his claim that "there is a 50% chance that we will reach longevity escape velocity by 2036", discussing how the research on mice can translate to humans, how it could work and why not giving access to these kinds of therapies to everyone would be economically suicidal for any country not to make these things available.

► Nika uses Esper Hand (2:23)

In this video, Nika shows what her new prosthetic arm, built by the Ukrainian-based company Esper Bionics, can do.

A prosthetic hand restored my sense of touch

Jason Little lost his left arm in a car accident and now, seven years later and thanks to a new prosthetic arm, he was able to feel again he touched with his left arm. “It was like reaching back in time and making contact with my hand that I no longer had,” said Jason as he shared the experience.

DARPA Is Funding Nanoparticles That Permeate Brain to Read Neural Signals

DARPA is financing a research project looking into magnetoelectric nanoparticles (MENPs) that can travel through your bloodstream, permeate your brain, and read individual neurons’ signals in a way that can be picked up by a specialized helmet. If the project turns out to be successful, we could read brainwaves without poking the brain with tiny needles.

Artificial Intelligence

Adversarial training reduces safety of neural networks in robots: Research

Researchers have shown in a paper titled "Adversarial Training is Not Ready for Robot Learning" how adversarial training can easily confuse robots and dramatically affect their safety and performance. The machine's lack of causality is the main problem here and solving this problem a major challenge in artificial intelligence research right now.

Robotics

AI Could Enable 'Swarm Warfare' for Tomorrow's Fighter Jets

US Air Force is very interested in applying AI in its operations. AI has already been flying jet fighters and fought human pilots (both in simulations at the moment) and flew a U-2 spy plane and the Air Force is looking into seeing AI piloting real jet fighters and how will it change the air combat.

► Robotics Expert Kate Darling Breaks Down Robots From Film & TV (19:21)

MIT Media Lab Research Specialist Dr. Kate Darling looks at how robots are portrayed in popular film and TV shows, from classic robots from Star Wars and Terminator to soft Baymax from Big Hero Six to disembodied AI like HAL from 2001: A Space Oddysey and Samantha from Her.

Biotechnology

Scientists Created an Artificial Early Embryo From Human Skin Cells

Two independent teams coaxed ordinary skin cells into a living cluster that resembled a fertilized human egg—and the very first stages of a developing human embryo. To be clear, the teams did not engineer an artificial embryo that could develop into a viable baby. Rather, they replicated what happens during the first four days after an egg has been fertilized; it develops into a ball of cells called a blastocyst, the first station towards a full-formed baby.

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