5th August 2016

Issue #61

We will start this issue with articles on enhancing athletes and enhancing people, and what other people think about augmented humans. After that – OpenAI listed its special projects. Google starts testing delivery drones, while Microsoft makes drones fighting Zika virus. Other than that – dissecting Magic Leap, more on robots, drones, AI and more!


More Than A Human

Get ready for the coming wave of technologically enhanced athletes

I like this quote from the article: “As our concept of what is ‘natural’ depends on what we are used to, and evolves with our society and culture, so does our concept of ‘purity’ of sport.”. Does it mean that soon the enhanced athletes like Oscar Pistorius or Markus Rehm will be the norm at the Olympics?

Study: Most Americans Are Scared of Bio-Enhancements

A recent study had shown that most Americans are scared when it comes to combining tech and biology. People are more concerned than excited with things like brain chip implants, gene editing, or anything that has to do with artificial aids. Interestingly, despite fears of biomedical technology, the majority of respondents said that these kinds of changes are inevitable in the future.

Welcome to the Cyborg Olympics

I can’t wait for October to see The Cybathlon. The Cybathlon aims to help disabled people navigate the most difficult course of all: the everyday world.

Is it wrong to enhance ourselves?

Designer babies and human enhancement were once confined to fiction. Now biotechnology allows designer genetics, and many already choose the sex of their children. Where will this technology lead the human race? Should we be nervous of the ability to enhance ourselves or embrace an exciting new future for humankind? Science fiction author Richard Morgan, first UK user of a bionic arm Nicky Ashwell and Oxford Fellow Anders Sandberg debate the future of humanity.

Open Bionics and Deus Ex Panel at San Diego ComicCon

Samantha Payne (COO, Open Bionics) and Laura Gallagher (Lead Character Artist, Deus Ex), joined by 10-year-old Tilly (volunteer), discuss their collaboration to create affordable, functional and fashionable 3D-printed prosthetic arms, inspired by the Deus Ex Universe. Tilly also shares her experience with prosthetic arms, working with Open Bionics and where she thinks the future of prosthetics is going.

Artificial Intelligence

OpenAI – Special Projects

OpenAI listed a list of “special projects” as they call them and looks for people willing to work on them. These projects are likely to be important both for advancing AI and for its long-run impact on society, like detecting if someone is using a covert breakthrough AI system in the world or if someone build an AI that is able to win online programming contests.

AI is always less impressive than is claimed

An interesting argument why AI is always less impressive than its creators claim, mostly due to subtle complexity of language, which requires the knowledge about the context to fully understand the intent of the speaker.

Achieving Autonomous AI Is Closer Than We Think

Sometime ago there was a news that an AI had beaten an experienced pilot in simulated air combat. In this article, you can dive deeper into the ALPHA algorithm, learn how it was made and how can it be used in the future on battlefields.

Should We Be Rethinking Unsupervised Learning?

An interview with Roland Memisevic, Assistant Professor at the University of Montreal, and Chief Scientist at Twenty Billion Neurons, who claims we think about unsupervised learning in a wrong way and then explains how this shift in perspective can make the unsupervised learning mystery may just disappear.

How Artificial Intelligence Is Bringing Us Smarter Medicine

Here are five ways that companies are using machine learning to transform health care.

Robotics

Google To Test Delivery Drones In The US

The Federal Aviation Administration has given Google the green light to test delivery drones within six approved test sites in the United States.

Microsoft Drones Are Searching For Zika-infected Mosquitoes Around Houston

Project Premonition, a Microsoft research project to find Zika-infected mosquitoes early and in the wild, is working with the local government to deploy drones and traps to Houston. The drones will try to spot the expected flow of Zika-carrying mosquitoes to the area, before people start getting infected.

Robots Are Getting A Sense Of Self-doubt

In a new paper, researchers at Carnegie Mellon are working on giving robots introspection, or a sense of self-doubt. By predicting the likelihood of their own failure through artificial intelligence, robots could become a lot more thoughtful, and safer as well.

This nightmare-inducing robot moves on its own via a neural network

Another creepy robot from Japan. Alter is a new humanoid that runs entirely off a neural network, with 42 pneumatic actuators that help it generate its own movement patterns

3D printed Robobirds are 21st century scarecrows

Even scarecrows are going to be replaced by robots.

Four Flying Robots Learn Together

A demonstration how four drones learning how to synchronize their motion using Distributed Iterative Learning Control (ILC).

Will You Ever Love a Robot?

“In a sense, we’re all meat robots.” Chief Scientist at Hanson Robotics blurs the lines between biological and engineered robotics in this short yet fascinating excerpt.

Meet Emma, the robot therapist that can treat sports injuries

Emma is a robotic therapist developed by a start-up in Singapore. With sophisticated sensors, it is able to track and massage acupoints precisely and has in-built safety features that will ensure the comfort and safety of its patients. The robot has been treating national athletes and many others in Singapore.

Biotechnology

Google is Developing ‘Bioelectronic Medicines’ to Try And Cure Chronic Illnesses

Verily (which belongs to Google) and GlaxoSmithKline have partnered to form Galvani Bioelectronics, a new company which will focus on the research, development, and commercialization of bioelectronics. One of the first projects will be to develop a precision device that can fix type 2 diabetes.

Biologic

A video showing a biohybrid material. Based on the natural phenomenon of hygromorphic transformation, the guys at MIT introduced a specific type of living cells as nanoactuators that react to body temperature and humidity change. In other words, they created a fabric that changes when you sweat.

China: The Genetic Engineering Superpower

The world’s largest genome-mapping facility is in an unlikely corner of China. Hidden away in a gritty neighbourhood in Shenzhen’s Yantian district, surrounded by truck-repair shops and scrap yards prowled by chickens, Beijing’s most ambitious biomedical project is housed in a former shoe factory.

Virtual Worlds

Demystifying Magic Leap: What Is It and How Does It Work?

Magic Leap. One of the most secret startup in the Silicon Valley. It would be either the most disruptive technology since mobile or an overhyped promise. Either the way, this article does a great job explaining how Magic Leap works based on available pieces of information.

Augmented Urban Reality

In their newly published book, “The City of Tomorrow,” Carlo Ratti and Matthew Claudel of M.I.T.’s Senseable City Lab envision a city which is a hybrid of the digital and the physical, a sort of augmented urban reality.

Apple CEO Tim Cook bullish on augmented reality, says company investing in AR tech

Apple doesn’t care much about VR like Google, Facebook or Samsung. Instead, Apple is betting on augmented reality. During Apple’s quarterly conference call for the third fiscal quarter of 2016, Apple CEO Tim Cook confirmed investments into augmented reality solutions, saying the nascent platform holds “huge” potential.

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