Issue #365

This week - is DALL-E using a secret language; how fruit-picking robots are already transforming agriculture; Minecraft AI assistant hints at the future of computers; turning thoughts into text; and more!


More Than A Human

► A Brain Implant That Turns Your Thoughts Into Text (12:41)

What if you could control digital devices using just the power of thought? That's the incredible promise behind the Stentrode - an implantable brain-computer interface that collects and wirelessly transmits information directly from the brain, without the need for open surgery. Neurotech entrepreneur Tom Oxley describes the intricacies of this breakthrough technology, which is currently enrolling participants in human trials, as well as how it could help restore dignity to those with disabilities - and transform the future of communication.

Artificial Intelligence

Google Has Banned the Training of Deepfakes in Colab

The new terms and conditions of Colab - Google's service that enables running machine learning code in the cloud - has a new line prohibiting the training of deepfakes.

AI Inventing Its Own Culture, Passing It On to Humans, Sociologists Find

A new study shows that humans can learn new things from artificial intelligence systems and pass them to other humans, in ways that could potentially influence wider human culture. The study suggests that while humans can learn from algorithms how to better solve certain problems, human biases prevented performance improvements from lasting as long as expected. Humans tended to prefer solutions from other humans over those proposed by algorithms, because they were more intuitive, or were less costly upfront—even if they paid off more, later.

Image-Generating AI Keeps Doing Weird Stuff We Don't Understand

Last week, one AI researcher tweeted that maybe DALL-E - OpenAI's image generating AI - has created a secret language to classify the images. Then others joined the discussion, giving arguments against this claim.

Minecraft’s Code-Writing AI Points to the Future of Computers

At the Microsoft Build conference, Microsoft engineers presented an AI-powered Minecraft bot that was controlled by plain English text commands. Under the hood, the bot translated the command into code and executed it. The non-player character within the game is powered by the same machine learning technology Microsoft has been testing for auto-generating software code. The feat hints at how recent advances in AI could change personal computing in years to come by replacing interfaces that you tap, type, and click to navigate into interfaces that you simply have a conversation with.

Robotics

Will this fruit-picking robot transform agriculture?

This article describes how trying to automate fruit picking is not only pushing the technology to its limit but also transforming the orchards (like forcing the trees to grow in a specific way), the apples and how it can impact human workers.

Biotechnology

Food Lasts 1 Week Longer with this Edible Silk Coating

Researchers have found a way to reuse one of the waste products of the silk industry - an edible protein called fibroin - as a coating that can protect food and make it on average a week longer. This eco-friendly process holds a promise to reduce the massive food waste and the amount of plastics used to protect the food.

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