24th June 2016

Issue #55

This week – a lot about AI safety, Boston Dynamic’s new robot, a robot- receptionist in a hospital in Belgium, CRISPR gets approval for human testing, can you patent a human genome and more!


More Than A Human

The Immortality Hype

This rather long read article from Nautilus does a great job on showing the current landscape of a quite new type of medical research aimed at curing aging and eventually curing death. It feels like the technology is almost here. The big players are getting interested in the research as they get older. The hopes are big. The hype is getting real.

Augmented humans blend technology and biology with apps for the brain and embeddable devices

Augmented humans that combine technology and biology, including apps for the brain and hard drives wired straight into people’s veins are just around the corner, according to a business software company.

Artificial Intelligence

Concrete AI safety problems

The AI safety is a serious concern. Many people are painting a Terminator/Matrix like picture, but the reality might differ a lot. Instead of a T-800 chasing you, you might have a robot mutiny in your own house when your robotic vacuum cleaner goes rogue. Guys at OpenAI were thinking about this problem and recently they published their result. If you are curious you can read the entire paper on ArXiv.

Artificial intelligence: ‘We’re like children playing with a bomb’

The Guardian went to visit Nick Bostrom, the well-known philosopher famous for his anti-AI views.

Google AI learns how to play soccer with a virtual ant

Guys at DeepMind taught a virtual ant how to play football. Although it looks cute, it is a great example what DeepMind can do with reinforced learning and how it might be used to teach real robots new things.

Registration for AI XPrize is open now

The IBM Watson AI XPRIZE is a $5 million competition, challenging teams globally, to develop and demonstrate how humans can collaborate with powerful AI technologies to tackle the world’s grand challenges. If you want to join, then I have good news for you. The registration is open now.

“Artificial Synapses” Could Let Supercomputers Mimic the Human Brain

When it comes to finding an inspiration for a breakthrough in AI research, the human brain is the best place to start. Researchers are now trying to create artificial synapses in hope that it will solve the problem of the big difference in power consumption between human brain and current supercomputers, allowing to build smarter and smaller machines.

Robotics

Europe’s robots to become ‘electronic persons’ under draft plan

Europe’s growing army of robot workers could be classed as “electronic persons” and their owners liable to paying social security for them if the European Union adopts a draft plan to address the realities of a new industrial revolution.

Introducing SpotMini, Boston Dynamic’s new robot

Please welcome Boston Dynamic’s new robot – SpotMini. This all-electric robot weighs about 25kg and can run up to 90 minutes. It’s quieter than other robots from Boston Dynamic. Oh, and it has an arm, which looks more like a head for me.

FAA Announces Commercial Drone Rules

If you live in the US and you have a small drone weighing less than 25kg, then you should check this article. Federal Aviation Administration announced new safety regulations for that kind of aircraft.

Patients Greeted By Robot At Belgian Hospital

There is a hospital in Belgium which employed Pepper, a humanoid robot, as a receptionist. Pepper will introduce visitors to the hospital, provide information and guide visitors and patients to the correct floor and room.

The Great Underwater Wall Of Robots: Chinese Exhibit Shows Off Sea Drones

The Chinese Navy plans to use drones of various shape and design to form The Great Underwater Wall of robots listening to what is happening in the sea.

Robotic Motion Planning in Real-Time

A hard task of robotic motion planning may become much easier thanks to specially-designed computer processor that can plan up to 10,000 times faster than existing approaches while consuming a small fraction of the power. The new processor is fast enough to plan and operate in real time, and power- efficient enough to be used in large-scale manufacturing environments with thousands of robots.

Biotechnology

CRISPR Gets Federal Approval For Human Testing

CRISPR has received federal approval for its first human trials, though the editing will not be at the embryonic level. The initial study will seek to edit immune system genes to attack cancer cells and is not aimed at any embryonic functions. In other words: this isn’t approval for genetic editing of a yet-to-be-born person. If the study gets the final approvals, it will be funded by tech giant Sean Parker through his Parker Institute for Cancer Immunotherapy.

How scientists could patent the genetic blueprint for a human

Sounds outlandish, right? Could you patent the genetic blueprint for a human? It turns out that probably you could if you try to patent a synthetic human genome.

Genetically Enhanced Bacteria Could Transform Wastewater Into Electricity

A Vancouver high school student is working on an experiment to turn one billion litres of waste water into usable electricity in the Greater Vancouver Area. If proven effective, this method could possibly generate up to 600 gigawatts of energy from waste biomass.

This scientist makes ears out of apples

Andrew Pelling is a biohacker who grows ears out of… apple. He took an ordinary apple, removed apple cells and implanted human cells. The human cells liked the new place and started to grow. You can also do it yourself because Andrew published the plans for hardware and instructions for wetware as an open source project, which you can view here.

Outro

AI Research by xkcd

I bet someone will make this in real life. Just after we create an AI smart as an adult human.

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