This week — DeepMind teaches AI to walk; storing GIF in a living bacteria; neuroprosthetics’ security concerns; AI that generates cats; and more!

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More than a human

U.S. to Fund Advanced Brain-Computer Interfaces

DARPA has selected Paradromics Inc., small San Jose-based company, to lead one of six consortia it is backing with $65 million to develop technologies able to record from one million individual neurons inside a human brain simultaneously.

How Will We Stop Hackers From Invading Our Brains Once We’re Cyborgs?

The brain-enhancing neural interfaces aren’t here yet, but already some people are looking into the security problems of these devices and possible ways to abuse them. I hope people working on neuroprosthetics are thinking about these issues as well.

Artificial Intelligence

Google’s DeepMind AI just taught itself to walk

Google’s artificial intelligence company, DeepMind, has developed an AI that has managed to learn how to walk, run, jump, and climb without any prior guidance. Check the video — the results are interesting.

China may match or beat America in AI

China is embracing AI. 2/5 of AI scientists are from China and more are to come. The number of AI papers published by Chinese researchers is growing with every year. China has access to data and highly trained talent pool. All these factors could make China a global leader in AI in not so distant future.

Google is funding a new software project that will automate writing local news

Google is awarding the Press Association, a large British news agency, $805,000 to build software to automate the writing of 30,000 local stories a month. The project, named Radar, aims to automate local reporting with large public databases from government agencies or local law enforcement.

Meow Generator

Here are the results of experiments with generating faces of cats using Generative Adversarial Networks (GAN). Some of them look really good.

The Japanese Company Betting Billions To Prepare For The Singularity

$100 billion to be precise. Softbank has three robotics companies — Aldebaran (creators of Pepper and Nao robots) and recently they bought Boston Dynamics and Schaft from Google. They bought ARM which creates chips powering smartphones and tablets. They invested billions in NVidia and other companies. And all of that because Softbank’s CEO believes Singularity is 30 years from now and he wants to be ready.

Robotics

Autonomous Grocery Vans Are Making Deliveries in London

If you live in Greenwich in London, you might spot yet another self-driving robot delivering groceries.

Roomba Inventor Joe Jones on His New Weed-Killing Robot, and What’s So Hard About Consumer Robotics

Joe Jones, the creator of Roomba, showed his newest robot. Tertill is a solar-powered, weed-destroying, fully autonomous and completely self-contained robot designed for your garden. There is an interview with Joe Jones in the second half of article with some interesting insights on consumer robotics.

Biotechnology

Scientists Just Encoded a GIF into the DNA of Bacteria Using CRISPR

Storing data in DNA is not something new, but storing data in a DNA of a living bacteria — that’s something that hasn’t been done before. Researchers from Harvard University were able to store and retrieve five frames of a GIF in E.coli bacteria, despite the constant dynamism of live cells which change, divide, move, and die. The story would be even better if it was a cat GIF used in the experiment.

CRISPR Babies: Eugenics, Ethics, and Why Regulation Efforts Could Be Too Late

Jennifer Doudna, one of the discoverers of CRISPR, talks about the things that terrify people the most about CRISPR and genetic engineering — designer babies, eugenics and who gets the access to the technology. She does not give any specific answer but she points out one thing — regulating genetic engineering might be impossible.


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