25th March 2016

Issue #42

This week – Google wants to sell Boston Dynamics, Microsoft’s Twitter bot becomes racists, pizza delivery robot, mixing technology with the human heart, cyborgs, robots and more!


More Human Than A Human

Are We Ready For Designer Babies?

In April last year, the Chinese scientist announced they have successfully used CRISPR/Cas9 technology to change human embryo’s genome. It sparked a worldwide discussion on designer babies. A discussion, that is still going on.

DARPA’s ‘Targeted Neuroplasticity Training’ program aims to accelerate learning ‘beyond normal levels’

The crazy and ambitious guys at DARPA are thinking how to increase the neural plasticity of the brain to increase the rate of learning “beyond normal levels”, reducing the time it is needed to master foreign languages or other skills.

One-armed bodybuilder has a bionic arm

Nowadays, even not having one arm is not a good excuse to not hit the gym. Meet Mak Okun, a bionic bodybuilder, who was born without an arm.

How To Be A Cyborg

Have you ever wanted to be a cyborg, but you don’t know where to start? If the answer is yes, then here’s a how-to video on how to become a cyborg.

The birth of mechanical suit technology

Someone in Japan built an awesome exoskeleton. Just watch the video.

Artificial Intelligence

Microsoft’s New AI-Powered Chatbot Mimics A 19-Year-Old American Girl

That was a harsh lesson for Microsoft. The idea sounded innocent – let’s make a Twitter bot that mimics a 19-year old American girl. They made the bot and released into the wild world of the Internet. And then the things escalated very fast. In less than 24 hours, the bot became racists and started to quote Hilter. The situation went so bad, that Microsoft had to put the bot down.

Why AlphaGo Is Not AI

In this article, Jean-Christophe Baillie explains why AlphaGo is not an AI. I like the argument that AI to be a truly intelligent and self-aware needs a body or anything that would allow it to interact with the world. There’s also an argument about understanding the culture by the machine, which I also find interesting as an essential step for the AI to interact with the humans.

AlphaGo: beating humans is one thing but to really succeed AI must work with them

As Michael Cook writes, “Google DeepMind’s success is significant, but artificial intelligence practitioners must teach the public there’s more to AI than trying to replace them”.

South Korea Will Try to Save Itself From the Inevitable Robot Takeover by Investing $860 Million in AI

After Lee Sedol losing to AlphaGo, the South Korea’s government decided to invest heavily in AI research. There are rumors that the next game DeepMind is going to beat might be StarCraft, which is South Korea’s national sport. I think South Koreans don’t want to be defeated there too.

Are Twitter bots the future of experimental literature?

Twitter bots as a future of experimental literature? Sam from This Exists explores this topic.

A Japanese AI program just wrote a short novel, and it almost won a literary prize

Speaking about literature and AIs. Hitoshi Matsubara and his team at Future University Hakodate in Japan created a bot that wrote a novel and almost won a literary prize.

Robotics

Google Puts Boston Dynamics Up for Sale in Robotics Retreat

This was the biggest and quite surprising news in the last week. Alphabet, the Google’s parent company, decided to put Boston Dynamics on sale.

Google Hasn’t Given Up on Robots

Putting Boston Dynamics on sale might sound like Google is giving up on robotics. MIT Review Technology explains that it isn’t the case. Google just decided that, despite impressive technology created at Boston Dynamics, it would wiser to focus on more realistic approach to robotics.

What 17 Prominent Roboticists Think Google Should Do With Its Robots

Here’s what 17 experts in robotics would do if they were in charge of Google and what they would do with robots.

New Zealand could become first country to use Domino’s pizza delivery robot

Let’s add another job to the list of the jobs that can be replaced by robots – the pizza delivery guy #theytookourjobs

In a Past Life Domino’s Delivery Bot Was a Rolling Practice Target for the Military

Fun fact about the pizza delivery robot mentioned above. It was a military mobile practice target.

Flying Drone Billboards Are the Future We Deserve

Recently I was wondering when someone will use drones as flying billboards. It looks like the answer is “soon”. Also, is it just me or this big flying eye in the sky looks a bit creepy?

Sophia The Robot Says She Will Destroy Humankind

Some say it was a software glitch. Some say it wasn’t a glitch.

This Robot Will Wage Internet Arguments For You

There are times on the internet when you just have enough and all you want to bang your head against the keyboard. Well, someone built a robot just for that. Let him finish the annoying conversation while you try to rest from the Internet.

How robots will reshape the U.S. economy

Without a doubt, the robots will change our economy, for good or for bad. This article from TechCrunch checks how it will change the US economy. The conclusion is quite positive – contrary to what mainstream media say, the robotic revolution will increase competitiveness and bring back the jobs to the US.

Biotechnology

Scientists Grow Full-sized, Beating Human Hearts From Stem Cells

The scientists took a human heart, strip it from cells leaving only the scaffolding made from connective tissue and put stem cells on it. It worked previously in mice. This is the first time the same technique was applied to a human heart. The hope is that in the future human hearts would be grown in the labs reducing the probability of transplant rejections and saving thousands of lives every year.

Israeli Researchers Have Created a Cyborg Heart

Israeli researchers have built a “cyborg” heart, one that hews close to the definition of that word: it combines biological parts with technological “flesh” to keep the heart beating.

Virtual Worlds

Welcome to Hypnatia, The World’s First Fully Explorable Virtual Reality City

Hypnatia is a fully explorable virtual reality city in which you will be able to do almost everything you would do in a normal city. The team behind the city has high hopes, but I still believe that Minecraft will become the biggest VR world (if VR will take off, of course).

How Old is Virtual Reality?

Virtual Reality has been lingering in the gaming communities collective mind for decades, but due to limitations in technology, has never been able to reach a mainstream audience. Now, VR is making another run for the limelight, led by the likes of the Oculus Rift, Google Glass, and the proposed Playstation VR. The technology has advanced enough to create stunning virtual worlds, but will it finally be enough to catch on?

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