Issue #374

This week - whatever happened to the transhumanists; synthetic embryos; wandering robots; virtual influencers; and more!

More Than A Human

Forever young, beautiful and scandal-free: The rise of South Korea's virtual influencers

Rozy is a social media influencer from South Korea with over 140K followers on Instagram. She travels around the world, promotes brands and does other things an influencer does. But she is not real. Rozy is the first South Korean virtual influencer and could be one of many to follow suit.

Whatever Happened to the Transhumanists?

George Dvorsky looks back at his 20 years of being involved in the transhumanism movement and asks the question Whatever happened to the transhumanists? Short answer - transhumanism kinda is already here. “We are living in a partially transhuman world”, said Anders Sandberg quoted in this article. The long answer starts with the history of the movement, its impact in the late 90s and early 2000s on the technology we use every day and what is the future of transhumanism.

Artificial Intelligence

YOLOv7 Breakdown

YOLO (You Only Look Once) is one of the most popular object detection algorithms available. This article explains how the algorithm is built and how it works without diving into too technical details.

Irony machine: Why are AI researchers teaching computers to recognize irony?

Since Blake Lemoine announced that Google's AI is consciousness, the question of how to define and measure consciousness has been on many people's minds. One approach, this article argues, is to study irony and use it as a mark for measuring consciousness.


Drone Contraband Deliveries Are Rampant at US Prisons

Drones are not delivering our groceries yet but they have found a place in smuggling contraband to prisons. All it takes is a cheap off-the-shelf drone dropping cargo in the middle of the night, forcing prisons are investing in countermeasures like nets, jamming systems or their own fleet of drones.

Wandering Robots in the Wild

When you are building a robot, ideally you want your robot to know exactly where it is all the time and be able to figure out on its own where to go. Designers of Kuri, however, challenged these assumptions and explored what can happen if the robot just wanders around and if needed, asks a human for help.

Amazon is buying iRobot for $1.7B

Amazon announced plans to acquire iRobot - the creators of Roomba robot vacuum cleaners - for an all-cash deal valued at $1.7 billion.


Scientists create world’s first ‘synthetic embryos’

Researchers have created the world’s first “synthetic embryos” in a groundbreaking feat that bypassed the need for sperm, eggs and fertilisation. Scientists at the Weizmann Institute in Israel found that stem cells from mice could be made to self-assemble into early embryo-like structures with an intestinal tract, the beginnings of a brain, and a beating heart.

Protein-Designing AI Opens Door to Medicines Humans Couldn’t Dream Up

Researchers have trained AI to generate new proteins, some of them not seen in nature. Their work may find use in designing and speeding up the process of creating new drugs or vaccines.

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