Issue #386

I apologise for the delay. This was supposed to go out on Friday but life got in the way. The next issue will be going out as scheduled on Friday, November 4th.

This week - how scientists want to make you young again; AI threatens the music industry; mechanical neural network; and more!


More Than A Human

How scientists want to make you young again

The idea of reversing ageing is not science fiction anymore. Many labs and biotech companies are working on how to do that. One of the most prominent of them is Altos Labs which started at the beginning of the year with $3 billion in seed funding. They are pursuing the concept of cellular reprogramming - resetting old cells to their youthful state. This has been proven to work in lab mice but, as this article points out, there is still a lot of work to be done before any human can safely turn back the cellular time.

Artificial Intelligence

Record Labels Say AI Music Generators Threaten Music Industry

According to RIAA, AI-powered tools that can remove vocals or background from music tracks, generate a new track or improve an existing one infringe artists' copyrights. Their argument is that these tools are trained on existing tracks (which are copyrighted) and anything generated by the AI tools counts as an unauthorized copy or unauthorized derivative work, and therefore is illegal.

This Novel "Mechanical Neural Network" Architected Material Learns to Respond to Its Environment

Researchers from the University of California at Los Angeles and the University of Twente have built what they call the first "mechanical neural network". Built using voice coils, strain gauges, and flexures, this device can learn like a digital neural network we are all familiar with. The team hopes their research will lead to a new class of materials and structures that can adapt, like aircraft wings that morph the shape in response to wind patterns to boost efficiency.

The messy morality of letting AI make life-and-death decisions

There is a company from Switzerland that offer suicide booths. But before you can use them, they want every potential user to fill out a form to check their mental state. The response then will be analysed by an AI to decide if the person can enter the booth or not. “That’s the goal,” says Philip Nitschke, the founder of the company. “Having said all that, the project is proving very difficult.”

Robots and AI Could Optimize Lithium-Ion Batteries

In the new study, researchers sought to accelerate battery development by coupling robots with AI in order to find the best combination of battery components in an autonomous manner. In 42 experiments over two working days, the system autonomously identified six electrolytes that enable faster charging than a conventional electrolyte composition. This approach hit upon the new chemistry six times as fast as it would likely have taken to discover it via a random search. In the future, they suggest their system may prove 20 to 1,000 times as efficient as people doing this work.

Biotechnology

Which COVID Studies Pose a Biohazard?

When researchers published results from the inserting gene from the Omicron variant of SARS-CoV-2 into a strain of the virus from the beginning of the pandemic to better understand why Omicron causes mild disease, they did not expect to cause a discussion around biosafety and review the guidelines for studying potential pandemic pathogens.

Team uses live plant cells in 3D printing

To better understand how plant cells communicate, researchers have found a way to 3D print them. The process of 3D bioprinting plant cells is mechanically similar to printing ink or plastics, with a few necessary tweaks. The research showed that more than half of the 3D bioprinted cells were viable and divided over time to form microcalli, or small colonies of cells.

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