12th February 2016

Issue #36

Bionic spinal cord, DeepMind conquers mazes and challenges world champion in Go, driveless cars are drivers, biggest Turing test in history, robot- cockroaches and more!


More Than A Human

Bionic ‘Spinal Cord’ Could Help Paralyzed Walk

Australian researchers have created a “bionic spinal cord” they said Tuesday could give paralyzed people hope of walking again through the power of thought, without resorting to open brain surgery. The system would use a device the size of a paperclip implanted in a blood vessel next to the brain. And it looks awesome by the way.

Artificial Intelligence

Microsoft may be running the biggest Turing test in history

“When Xiaoice [the Chinese version of Cortana] was released for a public test on WeChat… on May 29 of last year, she received 1.5 million chat group invitations in the first 72 hours. Many people said they didn’t realize she isn’t a human until 10 minutes into their conversation.”

Google’s AI will battle Go world champion live on YouTube

After beating the European champion in Go, DeepMind’s AlphaGo will take on South Korea’s Lee Sedol in March. And we’ll be able to watch the match live on YouTube.

Google’s AI is teaching itself how to solve a virtual maze — and it’s working

DeepMind’s AI is learning how to find the way out from the mazes in 3D.

Watson for President

Would you vote for an AI?

Can a computer write poetry?

If you read a poem and feel moved by it, but then find out it was actually written by a computer, would you feel differently about the experience? Would you think that the computer had expressed itself and been creative, or would you feel like you had fallen for a cheap trick? In this talk, writer Oscar Schwartz examines why we react so strongly to the idea of a computer writing poetry — and how this reaction helps us understand what it means to be human.

Impact of automation puts up to 85% of jobs in developing countries at risk

Last year there was a lot of articles and reports about the dangers of job automation and AI, and how it will impact the job market. But most of these reports were written from a Western culture perspective. A new report shows that in developing countries the impact of job automation would be even bigger.

Robotics

Cockroach Robot Squishes Flat to Get Through Cracks

Cockroaches. Hard to kill, tough little insects that can crawl in almost everywhere. An ideal inspiration for a rescue robot!

Self-Driving Car A.I. Considered the Driver

Here’s an example what’s happening when technology meets the law. The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration says that software powering autonomous cars fits the legal definition of a human driver.

Lego arm for disabled kids wins digital innovation prize

A prosthetic arm made of Lego that disabled children can customise to their own needs won the grand prize at the Netexplo forum for digital technology in Paris on Wednesday.

Robots in Health Care Could Lead to a Doctorless Hospital

On future hospitals, where your doctor might be a robot. Would you enter that kind of hospital?

Virtual Worlds

This Virtual Reality Suit Lets You Experience Touch

VR may be the next big thing, but the Teslasuit goes beyond headsets and headphones. So, what is it and how does it simulate human touch?

Biotechnology

Why Transhumanists Are Angry About the UK’s New Drug Law

British transhumanists are fretting that a new UK drug law, set to come into force in April, will outlaw nootropic drugs, many of which are currently legal to sell and possess.

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