Issue #71

This week – an afterlife as an AI bot. Obama talks about AI, autonomous cars and the future of humanity. And – why we aren’t ready for Superintelligence, DeepMind created an AI with memory, Facebook’s ideas for VR and more!


More Than A Human

Cybathlon: Battle of the bionic athletes

Last weekend we saw Cybathlon, the world’s first “bionic Olympics”, where disabled athletes assisted with exoskeletons, prosthetic robotic hands or brain-computer interfaces competed in a series of challenges. This article from BBC describes the games and lists all the winners.

The ‘Maserati of Microprocessor Prosthetics’ Costs $120,000

Some amputees want to have a prosthetic limb that can do a bit more or just looks better.Waterproof, dustproof, customized to client’s skin color, matching to the owner’s tattoos. And there are companies that are ready to help them for an appropriate price.

Enhancing Humanity – What’s The Next Phase Of Human Evolution?

Nice article about human evolution. It asks the questions like “are humans a finished product now?” and shows that even now, without futuristic human enhancements, we are steering our own evolution by choosing our partners not by availability, but by other traits. And then it goes into cyborgs, genetic engineering and that kind of stuff.

Artificial Intelligence

When her best friend died, she rebuilt him using artificial intelligence

An afterlife as an AI. When Roman Mazurenko died, his best friend gathered his old text messages and fed them into a neural network, basically making a bot that responds in a similar way Roman would respond.

Barack Obama on Artificial Intelligence, Autonomous Cars, and the Future of Humanity

It is a long interview, but I highly recommend reading it.

Differentiable neural computers

DeepMind came up with another breakthrough in AI research. This time, they have created a memory-augmented neural network called a differentiable neural computer. It can learn to use its memory to answer questions about complex, structured data, including artificially generated stories, family trees, and even a map of the London Underground.

We’re Not Ready For Superintelligence

This article is a response to Sam Harris’ recent TED Talk. It then adds some points from Nick Bostrom and comes to a conclusion that we will not be able to understand Superintelligence as its motives might be beyond our comprehension, yet alone able to control it.

Partnership on AI vs OpenAI: Consolidation of Power vs Open Source

A comparison of recently formed Partnership on AI (by Google, Facebook, Microsoft, IBM and Amazon) and OpenAI. Both organizations share the same goal, but the way they are formed and how they work is different.

The Race For AI: Google, Twitter, Intel, Apple In A Rush To Grab Artificial Intelligence Startups

Here’s a business side of AI. The big players are in rush to buy as many promising AI startups as possible before other players do so.

Robotics

IED Drone Kills Kurdish Soldiers

This might be the first time a commercially available drone was made into a flying improvised bomb. The incident will probably speed up development of military anti-drone systems.

Disney builds a jolly, one-legged hopping robot

Researchers at Disney Research in Pittsburgh have built a single-legged hopping robot that can currently bounce around 19 times without falling over. It looks cute.

Can we make things that make themselves?

MIT researcher Skylar Tibbits works on self-assembly — the idea that instead of building something (a chair, a skyscraper), we can create materials that build themselves, much the way a strand of DNA zips itself together. It’s a big concept at early stages; Tibbits shows us three in-the-lab projects that hint at what a self-assembling future might look like.

How Robots Can Acquire New Skills from Their Shared Experience

In this blog post, engineers from Google Brain Team, DeepMind and Google X describe how they used reinforced learning and shared experiences between robots to teach them from scratch how to open a door.

Soft Robotic Hands Are Changing Marine Biology

This robot uses its soft hands to grab underwater plants without damaging them.

XoSoft: Intelligent trousers designed to assist people with limited mobility

XoSoft is a soft, modular, lower limb exoskeleton for the elderly and disabled will help increase mobility and thus greatly improve health and quality of life.

Thought Controlled LEGO Mindstorms

We live in the future if you can easily build mind-controlled LEGO robots.

Biotechnology

The Age of Vertical Farming Is Officially Upon Us

Vertical farming is turning out to be nearly 10 times more efficient than traditional agriculture and it is on a good way to change how we produce food.

Virtual Worlds

Facebook Unveils Gesture Generated ‘Virtual Reality Emojis’

Facebook believes VR is the future of human interactions. But VR is a completely new realm that requires a new language for interactions. Facebook proposes “VR emojis” that will use body language to show emotion in your virtual avatar.

Mark Zuckerberg’s VR Selfie Is a Bigger Deal Than You Realize

Wired briefly describes recent Oculus Connect conference where Mark Zuckerberg showed how the interactions in the VR might look like, further proving that social media giant is taking VR seriously.

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