Issue #307

This week - post-human species; firefighters with exoskeletons; UK government intervenes in Nvidia-Arm deal; famous geneticist sells his DNA as NFT; and more!


More Than A Human

► Post-Human Species (24:14)

Issac Arthur examines what could happen when humanity moves into the future, travelling to other worlds and exploring genetics, AI,  transhumanism, and cybernetics, and begins to diverge into a thousand post-human species.

Chinese space firm delivers exoskeleton system to firefighters, enhances performance in fighting grassland, forestry fires

Chinese firefighters received an exoskeleton that aims to help them tackle fires in grasslands and forests. The system weighs 5 kilograms and can effectively save more than 50% of the energy expended in walking, climbing and carrying goods, according to its creators.

Could electric tattoos be the next step in body art?

Right now, tattoos with embedded circuits are being researched in a medical context, for example, to monitor people's vital signs. Some tattoo artists heard about that technology and cannot wait to use it in body art.

Robotic ankle restores abilities for people with prostheses

A new study has shown that it is possible to read electrical signals from a patient’s muscles and use them to control powered prosthetic ankles and help the patients to use them more naturally and intuitively.

Artificial Intelligence

EU’s proposed AI regulation has some major loopholes

The European Commission plans to ban the use of AI for social credit scoring, exploitation of the vulnerable, and subliminal manipulation, as part of new proposals for regulating artificial intelligence in the EU. But the rules have been criticized, both by those who think they go too far, and those who think they don’t go far enough. The first group points out that the “high risk” wasn't clearly defined. The second group says the proposed regulations will severely damage the AI ecosystem in the EU. In either case, it will take years for the regulations to become law and by then the AI landscape will be totally different, with new problems and concerns.

UK government intervenes in Nvidia takeover of chip designer Arm

Nvidia's acquisition of Arm has got the attention of the UK government which will examine the deal on national security grounds. Nvidia promises to keep the company in the UK and keep the brand intact to create "the premier computing company for the age of artificial intelligence" but the recent chip shortages and how vital to the economy computer industry is, the chip giant could face barriers not only from UK government but also from other regulators around the world.

Latest Neural Nets Solve World’s Hardest Equations Faster Than Ever Before

Two new approaches allow deep neural networks to solve entire families of partial differential equations, making it easier to model complicated systems and to do so orders of magnitude faster.

Study explores inner life of AI with robot that ‘thinks’ out loud

Ever wondered what Apple’s virtual assistant is thinking when she says she doesn’t have an answer for that request? Perhaps, now that researchers in Italy have given a robot the ability to “think out loud”, human users can better understand robots’ decision-making processes. The researchers programmed Pepper, a robot made by SoftBank Robotics, with the ability to vocalise its thought processes. This means the robot is no longer a “black box” and its underlying decision-making is more transparent to the user.

Robotics

Drones Light Up Shanghai’s Sky With a QR Code (That You Can Scan)

Welcome to the future, where even sky can be sold for advertising when you have 1500 drones flying in formation.

The ANYmal inspection robot gives Spot some four-legged competition

Boston Dynamics, though the most well-known, is not the only company working on commercial quadruped robots. Swiss robotics company ANYbotics announced recently they will be offering ANYmal - their four-legged robot - as an “end-to-end robotic inspection solution”, similar to Spot. I'd love to see a comparison between Spot, ANYmal and other this kind of robots.

Biotechnology

Scientist George Church Is Auctioning Off His Genome as an NFT

It's 2021 and George Church, the pioneer in genetics, is selling his genome as NFT. Why? “The NFT was not my idea, but hopefully it is a good idea. Both for the winner of the auction and as an event that increases conversations about the revolution happening in reading and writing DNA”, said Church.

DNA robots designed in minutes instead of days

Researchers from Ohio State University unveiled MagicDNA - software that helps researchers design ways to take tiny strands of DNA and combine them into complex structures with parts like rotors and hinges that can move and complete a variety of tasks, including drug delivery. MagicDNA cuts the design process that previously could take days to just minutes, allowing designers to focus on much more complex - and useful - nanodevices.

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