Issue #313

This week - China's massive multi-modal AI; humans could live up to 150 years; the first case of an autonomous drone fighting humans; DNA as a data storage; and more!


More Than A Human

Humans Could Live up to 150 Years, New Research Suggests

By counting blood cells and footsteps in three large cohorts in the U.S., the U.K. and Russia, researchers have estimated that if everything goes well, humans can live up to 120-150 years.

Quest for prosthetic retinas progresses toward human trials, with a VR assist

This artificial retina does not require any cameras or extensive wiring to work. It uses an array of thousands of tiny photovoltaic dots that generate electric current when light shines on them. It sends the current into the retina like the powered electrodes did. Using VR, researchers were able to see what someone who has these retinas would see. They tweaked the design and are preparing now for human trials.

Artificial Intelligence

China's gigantic multi-modal AI is no one-trick pony

Researchers from the Beijing Academy of Artificial Intelligence (BAAI) announced their GPT-3 competitor, named Wu Dao. Comparing to GPT-3, Wu Dao is massive - it's been trained on 1.75 trillion parameters, 10x more than GPT-3. BAAI researchers demonstrated Wu Dao's abilities to perform natural language processing, text generation, image recognition, and image generation tasks. It can also power virtual idols and even predict 3D structures of proteins. “What we are building is a power plant for the future of AI, with mega data, mega computing power, and mega models, we can transform data to fuel the AI applications of the future”, said Dr. Zhang Hongjiang, chairman of BAAI.

This mathematical brain model may pave the way for more human-like AI

This article explains briefly a new model of how the brain works called "interacting recurrent nets". According to his model, proposed by Christos Papadimitriou, professor of computer science at the University of Columbia, the brain is divided into a finite number of areas, each of which contains several million neurons which then interact with each other and with themselves. Papadimitriou also proposed an assembly calculus to perform on these groups to process, store, and retrieve information, and shows how it can be used in natural language processing.

Robotics

The age of killer robots may have already begun

According to a report by the UN Panel of Experts on Libya, a Turkish-made STM Kargu-2 drone may have "hunted down and ... engaged" retreating soldiers fighting with Libyan Gen. Khalifa Haftar last year. If confirmed, it would likely represent the first-known case of a machine-learning-based autonomous weapon being used to kill, potentially heralding a dangerous new era in warfare.

This AI robot mimics human expressions to build trust with users

This blue-faced robot named Eva was built to analyze human facial gestures and mimic them. Eva is still deep in the Uncanny Valley but the researchers hope their robot will help move the field of robot-human interactions forward. Also, the project is open-source, so if you want to build your own creepy blue-faced robot mimic, here is the paper.

Researchers develop prototype of robotic device to pick, trim button mushrooms

What do you do when you see there is an industry facing labour shortages and rising labour costs? If you are an engineer, you build a robot to address that problem. Just like these engineers who built a robot that can pick and trim button mushrooms.

Self-Driving Truck Completes 950-Mile Trip 10 Hours Faster Than Human Driver

A self-driving long-haul truck, powered by TuSimple, has driven 950 miles (1,528 km) on its own and did it 10 hours faster than if a human was behind the wheel all the time.

Biotechnology

DNA: The Ultimate Data-Storage Solution

This article explains what's the deal with DNA storage and introduces ADS Codex - a piece of software to translate from binary code to DNA. It explains why DNA storage can be the future of long-term data storage and shares some challenges encountered when you try to translate zeroes and ones into A, C, G and T, like error correction and writing speeds.

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