Issue #390

This week - brain-scanning devices in the workplace; Boston Dynamics is suing its competitor; the failure of Meta's new AI for scientists; a robot that builds Gundams; and more!


More Than A Human

Are You Ready for Workplace Brain Scanning?

There are companies out there trying to find a way to use brain-scanning devices in the workplace. They promise to improve workers' productivity, focus and happiness. But would you allow your employer to scan your brain during the work hours?

Artificial Intelligence

Why Meta’s latest large language model survived only three days online

The goal of Meta's new AI, Galactica, was to help scientists. Instead, it produced misinformation and biased answers. The AI was online for three days, during which scientists have proven that large language models can be impressive, but their lack of reasoning and recognising facts from falsehoods disqualifies them from being a useful scientific tool.

This Copyright Lawsuit Could Shape the Future of Generative AI

AI generators are the new hot thing in the AI space. They can generate images, text, and even code. But this lawsuit might put stop to their rapid growth. A class-action lawsuit filed in a federal court in California this month takes aim at GitHub Copilot. The coder behind the suit argues that GitHub is infringing copyright because it does not provide attribution when Copilot reproduces open-source code covered by a license requiring it. The lawsuit is in the early stages but legal experts say it may have a bearing on the broader trend of generative AI tools.

CICERO: An AI agent that negotiates, persuades, and cooperates with people

Researchers from Meta present CICERO - "the first AI to achieve human-level performance in the popular strategy game Diplomacy", as they write in this blog post. To do that, their AI mastered the language to cooperate and negotiate with people. Meta claims that CICERO "achieved more than double the average score of the human players and ranked in the top 10 percent of participants who played more than one game."

AI Reveals New Possibilities in Matrix Multiplication

DeepMind applied its game-playing AI to solve a problem completely unrelated to playing games - matrix multiplication, a core operation in machine learning and in computing in general. The result - this new AI, named AlphaTensor, has found a better way to multiply matrices.

Robotics

Boston Dynamics suing Ghost Robotics over quadruped design

Boston Dynamics is suing competitor Ghost Robotics for patent infringement, reports The Robot Report. Boston Dynamics claims Ghost Robotics infringed on seven patents related to its Spot quadruped robot.

‘Butterfly bot’ swims 4X faster than past robots

The biomechanics of the manta ray inspired researchers to develop an energy-efficient soft robot that can swim more than four times faster than previous swimming soft robots.

▶️ The future of machines that move like animals (7:31)

Imagine a boat that propels by moving its "tail" from side to side, just like a fish. That's the kind of machine that Robert Katzschmann's lab builds: soft-bodied robots that imitate natural movements with artificial, silent muscles. He lays out his vision for machines that take on mesmerizing new forms, made of softer and more lifelike materials.

▶️ A Robot that can build Gundam models at the Gundam Factory Yokohama (3:16)

And here we have a real robot building a toy robot.

Biotechnology

Bacteria sensors report when they find chemical invaders

Researchers have created a bacteria that can detect chemicals within minutes by releasing a detectable electrical current. Such “smart” devices could power themselves by scavenging energy in the environment as they monitor conditions in settings like rivers, farms, industry, and wastewater treatment plants and to ensure water security, according to the researchers.

Tangents

The Transistor of 2047: Expert Predictions

In 2047, the transistor will celebrate its 100th birthday. What will transistors be like then? Will they even be the critical computing element they are today? IEEE Spectrum asked experts from around the world for their predictions.

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