Issue #334

This week - AI creates new scientific hypotheses; robotaxis and autonomous boats; gene therapies to end ageing; Spot learns to move like Jagger; and more!


More Than A Human

Is Your Exoskeleton Ready for Primetime?

A recent study has looked into the impact of wearing an exoskeleton on brain functions and it has found that that exoskeletons can negate the potential bodily benefits by placing excess burden on the brain. “It’s almost like dancing with a really bad partner,” said the senior author of the paper. The company that made the exoskeleton used in the study replied that you need both the right exoskeleton for the job and the know-how to use the gadget in question properly, practising until the movements are perfected.

Taiwan builds ‘ironman’ suit to cut fatigue for troops on the ground in wartime

Taiwan is yet another country to unveil the first generation of a battery-powered exoskeleton suit that could enhance the physical endurance of soldiers and increase mobility in various military operations.

Gene Therapies to End Ageing w/ Liz Parrish (56:35)

In this podcast, Luke Robert Mason from FUTURES Podcast speaks with Liz Parrish - CEO of BioViva and a leader in antiageing research - about her insights into developing gene therapies to end ageing, the ethics of taking a proactionary approach to experimental treatments, and the growing importance of preventative healthcare.

Artificial Intelligence

AI Generates Hypotheses Human Scientists Have Not Thought Of

Creating hypotheses has long been a purely human domain. Now, though, scientists are beginning to ask machine learning to produce original insights. They are designing neural networks that suggest new hypotheses based on patterns the networks find in data instead of relying on human assumptions. Many fields may soon turn to the muse of machine learning in an attempt to speed up the scientific process and reduce human biases.

► Criminal AI (34:03)

How people can use AI for crime? How can AI become a criminal? Why both will be a major problem for society rather sooner than later? Issac Arthur explores the problem of criminal AI which also touches the problem of AI's personhood and other issues around the line between human and intelligent machines.

Why AI Lags Behind the Human Brain in Computational Power

In a recent analysis, a team of researchers found out just how powerful a deep neural net would need to be to replicate the behavior of a single neuron. The surprising result: a really, really powerful one.

Robotics

Autonomous Boats Seem More Solvable Than Autonomous Cars

If you are in Amsterdam, you have bigger chances to spot an autonomous boat than an autonomous car. MIT has been experimenting with robotic boats in Amsterdam since 2015. Now they are preparing to launch Roboat big enough for a human to comfortably sit in one to serve as cargo shuttles and taxis.

Self-driving Waymo cars clog up dead-end San Francisco street

Residents in a "dead-end" street in San Francisco say they are being plagued by an influx of self-driving vehicles. Autonomous-driving firm Waymo's cars have been going up and down the cul-de-sac at all hours "for weeks", according to local news station KPIX. Residents say vehicles sometimes have to queue before making multi-point turns to leave the way they came. Waymo says the vehicles are just "obeying road rules" designed to limit traffic in certain residential streets.

China’s Robotaxis Hit the Road

Here is a quick overview and analysis of Chinese robotaxi companies - who are the key players, their strengths and their approach to self-driving car services.

► “Spot Me Up” | The Rolling Stones & Boston Dynamics (1:24)

Boston Dynamics taught Spot to move like Jagger.

Biotechnology

We Need to Ground Truth Assumptions about Gene Therapy

There is a lot of hype and hope surrounding gene therapies. This article from Scientific American does not diminish the potential of gene therapies but calls to ground hope and expectations in reality to avoid misconceptions or overblown fears.

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