This week — BodyHacking Con; cryonics myths; Boston Dynamics’ new robot; AI psychology; Intel’s drone show in South Korea; Disney’s robots; and more!
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More than a human
Here is a BBC report from BodyHacking Con, a body modification and biohacking conference held in Austin, Texas. Th shows all shades of biohacking community, from crazy body hacks to robotic prosthetics and genuine medical devices.
Alcor, the company that pioneered commercial cryonics, decided to debunk 9 myths about cryonics, ranging from fraud accusations to conflicts with religion to what experts say.
Meow-Ludo Disco Gamma Meow-Meow (that’s his real name) plans to launch legal action against the New South Wales government after it cancelled a travel card he had surgically implanted in his hand. He cut out the chip of the card normal people use, had it encased in biocompatible plastic, then had a piercing expert implant it just under the skin on his left hand. But Transport for NSW didn’t like it and had cancelled the card this week. TfNSW, in a statement released after Meow-Meow implanted the chip in April last year, said they would cancel cards which had been tampered with.
During a recent BodyHacking Con in Austin, Texas, Aaron Traywick injected an untested drug to cure herpes. He did it on stage as a stunt. This article follows him to the stage and shows how biohacking community reacts to his stunts.
At the World Government Summit in Dubai, futurist Ian Pearson asserted that humans and AI need to merge before the latter becomes “billions of times” smarter than the former. He adds to the growing list of experts, including Elon Musk and Sebastian Thrun, who believe a merger is the best way to ensure AI remains safe.
To understand artificial minds, DeepMind looked at how we try to understand our own minds with psychology. Their newest tool, Psychlab, presents AI a view similar to what a participant in a psychology study would see. The AI then takes the test and humans armed with 150 years of psychology studies try to understand how it thinks.
Artificial intelligence (AI) tools will create “superhuman workers” who will be able to accomplish more alongside the new technology, said Sebastian Thrun, co-founder of Google’s secret Google X laboratory. “AI is a tool and what AI can do really, really well is getting rid of repetitive work,” he said. “So, if you are a worker, say a medical doctor or a lawyer who spends day in and day out doing the same thing, then having AI look over your shoulder and learn those skills from you, will make you a superhuman, a more powerful person.”
Machines can now generate music that’s actually enjoyable and interesting paintings but can it be called an art? This article just barely touches the issue which can easily lead to serious thoughts about humanity and what makes us special.
Location: Boston Dynamics office. Spot Mini wanted to go explore the office but the doors were shut. Luckily for it, there was another Spot Mini with an extra arm perfect for opening the doors.
Engineers from Disney are using the latest techniques in robotics and AI to bring animatronic robots to the next level and make them more interactive and “alive”. The result are Vyloo — small autonomous alien creatures, each with their own personality and mood, and happy to interact with people.
Intel brought 1200 drones to South Korea to be a part of Olympic Opening Ceremony. Here’s behind the scenes video.
What is a robot, is the question this article tries to answer. A humanoid machine from sci-fi movies can be labelled as a robot but can a car be a robot? Or a plane? Rather than building robots that look like us so that they can be a direct replacement, you’ll start to see things being built to suit a problem. Why do you need a robot with complex hands to pick up a pair of scissors or a hammer, when it can be built into their arms? Why build a robot to climb over debris in an earthquake on two legs, when four or six legs — or a wheeled track — would be much more stable?
Right now we have Winter Olympics in South Korea, one of the most technologically advanced countries in the world. South Koreans decided to combine both together and the result was world’s first Ski Robot Challenge. Eight teams from universities, institutes and private companies were competing for a $10,000 prize.
It has taken decades of work, but scientists can now grow eggs to maturity outside of the ovary. The team behind the research say the technique could lead to new ways of preserving the fertility of children having cancer treatment and can help explain how human eggs develop.
US government is hoping that gene therapies for cancer and other diseases will reach a lot more patients. To make this vision possible, the government will dole out $190 million in research grants over the next six years to help move things along.
DNA code consists of four letters — A, C, G and T. Recently, scientists added two more letters — X and Y, into E.coli bacteria’s natural genetic alphabet and bacteria started to produce new proteins. The research opens a way towards creating artificial life tailored to our needs.
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Originally published at hplusweekly.com on February 16, 2018.