Issue #43

AI helps the blind to see, the Olympics for Cyborgs, the race for AI dominance, robots, drones and more!


More Than A Human

The world’s first cyborg Olympics is coming

Cybathlon, or Olympics for Cyborgs, will take place in Switzerland in October this year. As event organizer said, “It’s less about force and speed, and more about control of the body and the device”. Can’t wait to see that.

The Singularity and the Neural Code

Some people want to see The Singularity to happen in their lifetime. Some of them want to upload their minds to the computer to live forever or to enhance their brains. Singularity enthusiasts believe it is close, but science disagrees. Bionic convergence and psychic uploading won’t be possible unless we crack the neural code, science’s hardest problem.

Artificial Intelligence

Watch Microsoft’s Seeing AI help a blind person navigate life

A blind engineer at Microsoft built himself an AI system that can see and tell what it sees. The video explains quite good how it works and what the system can do. Impressive.

Chinese Engineers Want to Pit Their AI Against AlphaGo

There might a duel of AI’s between Google’s AlphaGo and an AI developed by Chinese engineers.

The Race Is On to Control Artificial Intelligence, and Tech’s Future

Who do you think will become the winner in the race of becoming the go-to platform for AI? Google? Amazon? Facebook? IBM? Or maybe someone else?

Software That Reads Harry Potter Might Perform Some Wizardry

Maluuba is training deep-learning algorithms to answer questions about small amounts of text. The technology might eventually read user manuals so you don’t have to.

Why Microsoft’s ‘Tay’ AI bot went wrong

Last week we saw how Tay from an innocent chat bot become a racist troll. The experts say that it wasn’t something unexpected. She was designed to mimic the behaviour of the users that interact with her and she just learnt from them. The problem would be avoided if the Microsoft’s team would “tell” her what is good and what is wrong.

Robotics

The Second Amendment Isn’t Prepared for a 3D-Printed Drone Army

Zoltan Istvan imagines a situation where someone 3D prints an army of armed drones in his garage. It sounds bad, but, according to the US Constitution, it might not break the law. Zoltan’s story of a private drone army is just an introduction to talk about how technology outpaces (not only in the US) the law and what should we do with it.

Fear Not The Drone Apocalypse

And here’s a counter-article for Istvan’s article linked above. The author claims that the government is aware what’s happening and if something is too dangerous, it outlaws it quite quickly.

What Is a Robot?

An article from The Atlantic about robots, what are they and how do they look like today, the history of robotics and our love-hate-fear relationship with them. It is a long, but worthy, article.

The Golden Age of Walking Bots That Never Arrived

What Google’s sale of the rockstar robotics company Boston Dynamics tells us about the state of humanoid supermachines.

Sorry, Shoppers: Delivery Drones Might Not Fly for a While

The reasons are the law and the technology. The first one is a bit behind the recent developments, while the latter is not good enough for commercial and safe use.

Can we replace politicians with robots?

I bet someone of you would say “Yes, please”. This article checks what it would take to replace the politicians with robots and what problems would we have to solve to make this idea a reality.

Automated Anesthesiologist Suffers a Painful Defeat

A machine that makes anesthesiologists unnecessary for some medical procedures has failed amid poor sales and resistance from doctors and nurses.

The Roborace’s Self-Driving Race Car Is Every Kind of Absurd

The company behind Formula E, the electric version of Formula One, announced sometime ago that they will have a special series for the autonomous race cars. Recently, they showed how the shared hardware will look like. And it looks good.

Welcome To New Drone City

A nice cyberpunk-ish what-if story. Imagine year 2066. In New York, there are five drone towers, which act as nests for the drone hives and divide the city. All the transport is done by hundreds or thousands of drones. How would the city like that look like?

Sketchy MIT Drone Draws As It Flies

Interesting idea. You use a pen to draw something and the movement of the pen is being sent to a flying drone, which tries to draw the thing you want.

Biotechnology

Scientists Synthesize Bacteria with Smallest Genome Yet

Genomics entrepreneur Craig Venter has created a synthetic cell that contains the smallest genome of any known, independent organism. Functioning with 473 genes, the cell is a milestone in his team’s 20-year quest to reduce life to its bare essentials and, by extension, to design life from scratch.

If We Don’t Own Our Genes, What Protects Study Subjects in Genetic Research?

As the biotechnology and genetics advance, the more people will give their genetic information to companies for research or medical purposes. Most of them, if not all of them, would expect that they own their genes. Well, bad news – you don’t. Which raises serious questions about privacy and what the law has to offer to protect our genes.

Other Stuff

20 Crucial Terms Every 21st-Century Futurist Should Know

The title speaks for itself. How many of these terms are you familiar with?

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