Issue #60

In this issue – gene doping and how close are we to mind uploading and finding a cure for death. Amazon is going to test drone delivery in the UK, while in the US drone delivered donuts and other things. Other than that – on AI with emotions, DeepMind reduced Google’s energy bill, Farm Bot and more!

More Than A Human

Could Olympians Be Tweaking Their Genes?

“Gene doping” remains unlikely, but if scientists can safely boost athletic performance by manipulating genes, that should be cause for celebration.

How Close Are Humans to Immortality? By David Sinclair

David Sinclair shares his big idea – live longer that 30,000 days and explains how close we are to cure aging.

Are We All Cyborgs?

Whether it’s using animals to farm, the printing press or the modern computer, there’s no doubt technology has played a hugely important part in our lives for as long as we can remember. But today, there are more and more people mixing technology and biology in what is quickly emerging as a cyborg identity. But what counts as cyborgian? Pacemakers and bionic limbs, sure, but what about glasses? Fitness trackers? Yoga? Or even… birth control? Today Mike from PBS Idea Channel sits down with Rose Eveleth, host of the podcast Flash Forward to discuss what our modern day perception of a cyborg is, and why it might not be totally accurate.

Chinese Scientists Will Perform First CRISPR Human Gene Editing Trial In August

Chinese scientist will conducting the first ever CRISPR human trial in August of this year on patients who are suffering from lung cancer and have failed to respond to other treatments, like chemotherapy or radiation therapy.

Endless fun

Mind uploading and eternal life in a virtual world. A nerd fantasy or a feasible technology? And if we make it possible, what would be the consequences? In this essay, Michael Graziano explains how we can achieve the vision of eternal life in the virtual afterlife and how it will challenge our ideas on life, death and personality.

Is Uploading the Mind to a Computer Possible ? (Documentary 2016)

The gripping story of how one Russian internet millionaire is turning to cutting-edge science to try to unlock the secret of living forever. How? By uploading the mind into a computer.

These bionic knee braces are being released for sale in November 2016

And you can have a tiny exoskeleton.

The Eyeborg: This Man Has A Prosthetic Eye Camera

Meet Rob Spence. He is an eyeborg. He has a prosthetic eye that features an embedded camera with which he can stream what he sees.

The Augmented Human Being

A conversation with George Church about augmenting humans. He focuses mostly on safety and regulations when it comes to tinkering with our genome. You can either listen to it (49 minutes long) or read the transcript.

Artificial Intelligence

DeepMind AI reduces energy used for cooling Google data centers by 40%

Getting DeepMind paid off.

Containing a Superintelligent AI Is Theoretically Impossible

An easy to digest explanation of a recent paper proving that we will be unable to contain a superintelligent AI.

Artificial Intelligence Is Setting Up the Internet for a Huge Clash With Europe

The new law in the European Union can make the life of companies relying on machine learning a bit harder. The main problem is that EU wants to restrict “automated individual decision-making”, which basically is what machine learning algorithms do. Another problem might be the right to explain why a certain decision has been made – a question that even the designers of AI systems can’t explain due to the nature of these algorithms.

The AI Bots Are About To Get Emotional

Looks like soon the AI system will be able to mimic human emotions. At a cognitive architectures conference in New York last week, Alexei Samsonovich, a professor in the Cybernetics Department at the Moscow Engineering Physics Institute, proposed a multi-part test to check if a machine is emotionally adept.

What is Missing in AI from Google, Facebook, Amazon and Uber

Interesting analysis of strengths, weaknesses, and opportunities for AI in four big companies – Google, Facebook, Amazon and Uber.

A new equation for intelligence

Is there an equation for intelligence? Yes. It’s F = T ∇ Sτ. In a fascinating and informative talk, physicist and computer scientist Alex Wissner-Gross explains what in the world that means.

IBM and DARPA set the AI bar too low

This article briefly explains how we got to the speech-recognition algorithms we have now and why they aren’t accurate, and what can we do to fix them (use more science!).


Amazon Will ‘Immediately’ Begin Testing Delivery Drones In The UK

Amazon, who’s quite eager to use drones for everything, can’t test them properly in the US due to lack of proper laws. So they Amazon decided to test the drones in the UK instead.

Donuts in flight in first US-approved drone delivery

With a chicken sandwich, hot coffee, and donuts, aviation history was made Friday. These were among the items in the first drone delivery on US soil approved by aviation officials, made by convenience retailer 7-Eleven and the drone startup Flirtey. The delivery took place in Reno, Nevada, with the items loaded into a special box for hot and cold food and flown to a local family.

Farm Bot – Automated Gardening for the home

This robot can plant a seed and then take care of the plant on its own. Just tell what you need to grow and this farming CNC-like machine will take care of the rest.

Artificial Intelligence Swarms Silicon Valley on Wings and Wheels

The new era in Silicon Valley centers on artificial intelligence and robots, a transformation that many believe will have a payoff on the scale of the personal computing industry or the commercial internet, two previous generations that spread computing globally. Computers have begun to speak, listen and see, as well as sprout legs, wings and wheels to move unfettered in the world.

Only the privileged fear a robot revolution

Interesting point. The main idea is that the people who fear the robotic revolution are those who will lose the most – highly educated, specialized experts from the top, like doctors, teachers or lawyers. The AI will replace them and allow access to services they provided to more people that ever, the article says, leaving them unemployed or reducing their status.

Losing Control: The Dangers of Killer Robots

Another voice in the killer robots discussion. The main point is that machines would be highly effective, emotionless killers with no responsibility for their action, making battlefields not safer (for “your” troops), but more deadly.

The Future of Robotic Surgery: Snake-Like Bots That Glide Into Orifices

Its name is Flex and, as its name implies, it is a flexible tube-like thing. The surgeon guides it into the patient’s mouth and steers it with a joystick; a camera at the Flex’s tip lets the surgeon see and navigate the twists and turns of the patient’s airway. Since it can reach otherwise inaccessible spots, surgeons are using it for operations that would otherwise require them to crack the patient’s jaw or make an incision. Fun fact – in order to allow the usage of Flex in the US, its manufacturer had to prove the robot is “dumb” enough, i.e. it is fully dependent on the surgeon and does not have any autonomy.


Debate | DNA Manipulation

Here’s a debate at Oxford Union about gene editing. The motion was that the manipulation of human DNA is an ethical necessity. I think listening to the debate can help you create or improve your view on the topic.

Virtual Worlds

Into the Future, with Magic Leap’s Graeme Devine

Magic Leap’s Chief Game Wizard Graeme Devine shares the startup’s vision for mixed reality in the classroom and making virtual objects appear in real life.

3D Print All The Things!

3D Printing Organs in Space

Three companies think how to send a bioprinter to International Space Station to test the technology in a more bioprinter-friendly environment.

3D printed corsets

A surgeon specializing in physical medicine and rehabilitation, Leoncini has been working on a particularly innovative scoliosis treatment for the past couple years. That is, since 2014, Leoncini has been working on perfecting custom 3D printed corsets for scoliosis patients.

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