Issue #328

This week - a plan to resurrect woolly mammoths; a new armed robot from Israel; how human-machine teaming could look like; engineering living materials; and more!


Aubrey De Grey

SENS Foundation has published the Executive Summary of the investigation into allegations of inappropriate conduct against Dr Aubrey de Grey, the co-founder and the Chief Science Officer of the foundation. I have written a brief summary of those allegations in Issue #325.

The summary addressed four issues regarding Dr de Grey's conduct and found that three of them have indeed taken place. The full summary can be viewed here.

In response, Dr de Grey issued a statement on Facebook in which he apologised for his behaviour.

More Than A Human

The Kidney Project successfully tests a prototype bioartificial kidney

UCSF's Kidney Project, which goal is to build an implantable artificial kidney, has been successfully implanted for preclinical evaluation. The project is a part of KindeyX - a competition to accelerate artificial kidney development toward human clinical trials.

A Stroke Study Reveals the Future of Human Augmentation

An implant stimulating vagus nerve has been able to speed up the recovery of stroke patients, effectively compressing years of therapy into months. Some people asked the question, what if the same implant has been used for healthy people, like athletes, to help them master new skills faster. This could significantly enhance physical performance ins a shorter period of time.

Artificial Intelligence

These Super-Efficient, Artificial Neurons Do Not Use Electrons

Comparing to our brains, electronics use much more energy. A team of scientists from ENS Laboratoire de Physique, Paris, have proposed an idea to address this problem. Instead of electrons, let's try ions and turn to microfluidics for answers. The team has built a proof of concept using molecular dynamics simulations to create a prototype artificial neuron. The next step would be to build a physical artificial neuron or a small neural network and see how it compares to its electronic counterpart.

► Human-Machine Teaming (31:00)

Teaming up with the machines we’ve designed and created has boosted our production and let us attempt things we never could have before, but as AI emerges, what will Human-Machine Teaming come to look like? Isaac Artur explores how this cooperation could look like at different levels of artificial intelligence.

Robotics

Remote-controlled armed robot to patrol borders and battlefields unveiled by Israeli firm

An Israeli defence contractor unveiled REX MKII - a remote-controlled armed robot it says can patrol battle zones, track infiltrators and open fire. The Israeli military is currently using a smaller but similar vehicle called the Jaguar to patrol the border with the Gaza Strip. Proponents say such semi-autonomous machines enable armies to protect their soldiers, while critics fear this marks another dangerous step toward robots making life-or-death decisions.

Biotechnology

Entrepreneur plans to resurrect woolly mammoths

A new company has been launched with one big ambition: to restore the woolly mammoth to the Arctic tundra. Led by technology and software entrepreneur Ben Lamm and world-renowned geneticist Dr George Church, the new venture hopes to use genetic engineering to alter the genome of Asian elephants to turn them into modern day 'mammoths'. 

Engineering Living Materials

In this podcast, Professor Tom Ellis of Imperial College London talks about his group’s work creating a prototype of an engineered living material (ELM) that can be iterated on and programmed with a huge array of different functions. The conversation also covers how ELMs can disrupt established markets and their varied uses in industry, healthcare, fashion, consumer products, and even potentially in space travel.

Fish eyes grown in a petri dish from embryonic stem cells

A research team from the Centre for Organismal Studies of Heidelberg University has demonstrated that complex retinal tissue can be cultured in a Petri dish from embryonic stem cells of bony fish. Until now, stem cells from mammals, including humans, have been used in organoid research.

Events

TransVision - Madrid/online - October 8, 9, 10

TransVision is back and will take place on October 8, 9, 10 both physically in Madrid and online. The topics covered will be wide-ranging, from recent medical advances to artificial intelligence and robotics. The first keynote speakers will be the famous Ray Kurzweil and Aubrey de Grey. TransVision 2021 will also feature other keynote speakers, including pioneers of the futurist movement Max More, Natasha Vita-More and Ben Goertzel, members of Humanity+ and other leading institutions.

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