Issue #333

This week - who wants to live forever; will AI transform religion; four success stories in gene editing; a robot with artificial muscles; a real-life cyborg with 50+ implants; and more!

More Than A Human

This biohacker is the real-life 'Nebula': she has more than 50 chips in her body and identifies as a cyborg

Entrepreneur published an article about Lepht Anonym - a British biohacker with over 50 implants in her body. At the same time, the article explains the basic terms like transhumanism, biohacking and grinding to the wider audience reading Entrepreneur.

Who wants to live forever? Big Tech and the quest for eternal youth

Anti-ageing is not something existing at the fringes of science. It has become not only a quickly growing field of research but also a space for new companies, backed by the wealthiest people on Earth, including Jeff Bezos and Peter Thiel. The New Statesman shines a light on this relatively new field of research with biogerontologist Celine Halioua as a guide.

Artificial Intelligence

AI Is No Match for the Quirks of Human Intelligence

Herbert L. Roitblat argues that yes, artificial intelligence can in some tasks outperform humans but there is a class of problems that require creativity and outside-the-box thinking to solve that we don't even know how our brains solve them. "Analytic problem solving is directly applicable to systems that gain their capabilities through optimization of a set of parameters. On the other hand, if the problem requires divergent thinking, commonsense knowledge, or creativity, then computers will continue to lag behind humans for some time", he writes.

God and robots: Will AI transform religion?

Experts say major global faiths are discussing their relationship with AI, and some are starting to incorporate this technology into their worship. Robot priests can recite prayers, deliver sermons, and even comfort those experiencing a spiritual crisis. BBC Global Religion reporter Sofia Bettiza has taken a look at whether AI’s relationship with religion is just a gimmick, or whether it can truly transform how people experience faith.

The Turbulent Past and Uncertain Future of Artificial Intelligence

Artificial intelligence research has an interesting history, dating back to the famous 1956 Dartmouth conference. Its history is full of cycles of elevated hopes and harsh reality checks, each enabled by new ideas and new levels of computing power. This article from IEEE Spectrum does a good job of briefly explaining the turbulent history of AI and what does it mean for the future of the field.


► This Robot Walks, Flies, Skateboards, Slacklines (10:46)

Veritasium meets LEONARDO - a unique robot that combines a drone with a bipedal robot. This robot can walk and when the terrain is too hard for it to cross on legs (terrain like stairs), it just flies over it. It can also use its propellers to maintain balance, skateboard and slackline.

► Artificial Muscles Robotic Arm Full Range of Motion (1:51)

This guy built a robotic arm that uses artificial muscles and went viral on YouTube and Reddit with it. The arm, which uses hydraulic-based artificial muscles, looks very human-like both in appearance and in its movements.

Robot artist Ai-Da released by Egyptian border guards

A British-built robot that uses cameras and a robotic arm to create abstract art has been released after Egyptian authorities detained it at customs. Ai-Da, named for the mathematician Ada Lovelace, was seized by border agents last week who feared her robotics may have been hiding covert spy tools. Officials held the robot for 10 days, imperilling plans to show her work at the Great Pyramid of Giza on Thursday.

Stacking our way to more general robots

DeepMind Robotics Team introduces RGB-Stacking - a new benchmark for vision-based robotic manipulation. In this benchmark, a robot has to learn how to grasp different objects and balance them on top of one another. DeepMind researchers hope RGB-Stacking will help build robots that better understand the interactions of objects with diverse geometries.


Four Success Stories in Gene Therapy

From treating neuromuscular disorders to cancer to blindness, Scientific American lists four recent success stories that made gene therapy a viable method of treating diseases.

The Definition of Gene Therapy Has Changed

Here is a brief history of gene editing - from early successes and setbacks to a new wave of modern gene-editing tools - and how gene-editing techniques have changed, going from methods focused on the delivery of healthy genes to newer methods that aim to precisely repair the gene within the cell.

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