Issue #323

This week - OpenAI releases beta access to Codex; Xiaomi launches "open-source" CyberDog; Google plans to build superintelligent multipurpose AI; what bioengineering can do in space; and more!


More Than A Human

► A Specific Example of How AlphaFold 2 From DeepMind Could Help Us Achieve Immortality (4:01)

The new breed of AI-based protein folding solvers, like DeepMind's AlphaFold 2, open new possibilities in bioengineering and medicine. In this video, Han from WrySci HX shows how AlphaFold 2 can be used to tackle mitochondrial damage, one of the main causes of ageing.

Permanent Artificial Hearts: Long-Sought Replacements May Not Be Far Away

This article briefly explains human efforts to build a permanent artificial heart and shows some new developments that can make the idea of a permanent artificial heart a reality.

Artificial Intelligence

OpenAI Codex

OpenAI announced a private beta for Codex - an AI that can turn plain text into code. Based on GPT-3, Codex is the model that powers GitHub Copilot, which OpenAI built and launched in partnership with GitHub a month ago.

AI Wrote Better Phishing Emails Than Humans in a Recent Test

In a small study, researchers found that they could use the deep learning language model GPT-3 to significantly lower the barrier to entry for crafting spearphishing campaigns at a massive scale. Their test showed more people clicked the links in the AI-generated messages than the human-written ones—by a significant margin.

China overtakes US in AI research

China claims the title of a global leader in AI research as it overtakes the US in terms of the number of times an academic article on AI is cited by others, and it does not look like it going to slow down anytime soon.

Pathways: Google is developing a superintelligent multipurpose AI

Speaking at the TED conference, Jeff Dean, Google AI leader, revealed that Google is developing a nimble, multi-purpose AI that can perform millions of tasks. Called Pathways, Google’s solution seeks to centralize disparate AI into one powerful, all-knowing algorithm.

Nvidia Reveals Its CEO Was Computer Generated in Keynote Speech

Nvidia flexed its machine learning skills by sneaking a computer-generated version of its CEO, Jensen Huang, for 14 seconds out of one hour and 48-minutes long presentation Huang gave at GTC conference in April.

Robotics

Xiaomi Launches CyberDog – An Open Source Quadruped Robot Companion

Xiaomi showed their own robotic dog - CyberDog. Xiaomi also says it is an open-source project but I could not find any links to CyberDog's source code or project files. The message in the press release around that is a bit confusing. I hope Xiaomi clarifies what they mean by "open-source" soon because it would be a very interesting move in robotics if they indeed go full open-source with CyberDog.

The slow collapse of Amazon’s drone delivery dream

Amazon is quietly shutting down its Prime Air offices in the UK. Established in 2016, the Amazon Prime Air division located in Cambridge was tasked with developing delivery drones that were supposed to deliver packages "in just a few years". Wired describes in this article how years of mismanagement resulted in other companies overtaking Amazon in the drone delivery race and caused the UK Prime Air team to collapse.

Biomimetic chameleon soft robot with artificial crypsis and disruptive coloration skin

In this paper, researchers from South Korea describe how they have made an artificial skin for robots that can change its colour and pattern to hide in the background, just like a chameleon.

This new Tokyo café has robot waiters controlled remotely by disabled workers

Dawn Avatar Robot Café in Tokio is a cafe staffed by robots. But those robots are not autonomous. The robots are controlled remotely via the internet by people who can’t leave the house for long periods of time due to physical disabilities, childcare or for other reasons.

Biotechnology

The Future of Biomanufacturing in Space: A Unique Opportunity

Here is a list of perspective papers developed from the Biomanufacturing in Space Symposium which took place in 2020. The papers explored the possibility of utilising microgravity in biomanufacturing, tissue engineering and regenerative medicine. Maybe one day these experiments will move from research on board ISS to a network of low-Earth orbit commercial biofactories.

Future Space Travel Might Require Mushrooms

Mycologist Paul Stamets discusses with Scientific American the potential extraterrestrial uses of fungi, including terraforming planets, building human habitats—and providing psilocybin therapy to astronauts.

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