H+ Weekly — Issue #44

This week — visiting biohackers, drone with chainsaw and drone dodging sword, augmented rats, computer paints like Rembrandt, the robot that looks like Scarlet Johansson, humans touching robots, augmented reality headsets review and more!

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More than a human

What will destroy us first: Superbabies or AI?

In the left corner — the super AI more powerful than humanity. In the right corner — genetically engineered superbabies more powerful than any of us. Danielle and Astro Teller discuss what will destroy humanity first.

Should we redesign humans?

Here’s a playlist of 11 TED talks about bioengineering, tissue engineering and improving human body.

‘Body Hacking’ Movement Rises Ahead Of Moral Answers

NPR went to a body hacking conference to see who are the people injecting everything from LEDs to microcomputers into their bodies and pushing the boundaries of implantable technology to improve the human body.

More than a rat

Rats learn to sense infrared in hours thanks to brain implants

Researchers connected an infrared sensor to rat’s brain. Within hours, the rats have learned to sense and react to infrared light, making use of their new “sense”. The rats show the brain’s ability to process unfamiliar data– an early step towards augmenting the human brain.

Artificial Intelligence

Nvidia DGX-1

Nvidia showed DGX-1 — world’s first purpose-built system for deep learning with fully integrated hardware and software. Or, as Nvidia writes, a world’s first deep learning supercomputer in a box. Price tag — $129 000.

When Computers Insist They’re Alive

Zoltan Istvan on consciousness and free will, and will it all apply to intelligent machines.

Computer paints ‘new Rembrandt’ after old works analysis

A computer analyzed Rembrandt’s works and then was asked to create a new painting in Rembrandt’s style. The new painting looks like it was indeed made by Rembrandt.

Facebook’s AI Is Now Automatically Writing Photo Captions

Facebook is now using artificial intelligence to automatically generate captions for photos in the News Feed of people who can’t see them.

Exploring the risks of artificial intelligence

Daniel Faggella asked many AI researchers what they think is the most likely risk of artificial intelligence in the next 20 years. Two risks bubbled to the top of the response pool — financial and economic harm that may be wrought, as well as mismanagement of AI by human beings.

Robotics

Building a humanoid Hollywood star

Some guy from Hong Kong built a humanoid robot that resembles a Hollywood star. Some people say the female robot looks like Scarlet Johansson.

Touching a robot can elicit physiological arousal in humans

That was a crazy experiment with some crazy results. The researchers asked a group of people to touch a humanoid robot NAO in different places — head, hands, and private places. What they discovered was that humans can elicit physiological arousal from touching a robot and that touching intimate places made humans a bit uncomfortable.

A fleet of self-driving trucks just spent a week cruising through Europe

Nearly a dozen trucks just completed a week of mostly-autonomous driving across Europe today. The trucks were all from major manufacturers like Volvo, Daimler and Volkswagen. The trucks departed from one of three bases in European countries and completed their respective journeys in Rotterdam. Some of them drove on their own more than 2000 kilometers.

A flying drone with a chainsaw

Some guys in Finland took a drone and attached to it a working chainsaw. Perfect for a zombie apocalypse.

A sword-dodging drone

Two students as a part of their PhD research created a drone that can see obstacles and avoid them. To test how good the drone is they decided to challenge it for a fencing duel.

German Robot Settles Catan

Catan is a fantasy island, uninhabited except for a few scattered settlements of humans. And now — robots. German robot maker Kuka recently partnered with the Regensburg University of Applied Sciences to make an AI-controlled robotic arm to play Settlers of Catan, a widely popular modern board game.

Biotechnology

Inside the garage labs of DIY gene hackers, whose hobby may terrify you

The stories of Sebastian Cocioba, David Ishee and Josiah Zayner — biohackers who are playing with DNA in their garage labs. I like this article because it doesn’t show biohackers as a reckless wannabe-scientists trying to destroy the world. Instead, it portraits them as a community of people with passion and high safety and ethics standards.

How To Extract Your Own DNA

If you liked the previous article and you want to start playing with DNA, then here’s a very simple experiment you can do in your home right to start your career as biohacker. Using basic kitchen supplies you will extract your own DNA. I believe it is a good and easy starting point.

Virtual Worlds

Review: Microsoft’s HoloLens offers glimpse of holographic future

Last week some lucky guys got their HoloLenses — the augmented reality headset from Microsoft. Here’s a review of the device from Phys.org.

Hands-on with the $949 mind-bending Meta 2 augmented reality headset

And here’s a review of another augmented reality headset — Meta 2.

Augmented Reality, Not VR, Will Be the Big Winner for Business

VR is on everyone’s mind right now. Everyone talks about it. But according to this article by Marc Prosser, augmented, not virtual, reality might be the big winner for businesses. He shows how AR can be used in manufacturing and in medicine. He also points about that more and more AR companies are coming out of the shadows, so we can expect to see something interesting there.

Other stuff

Ricky meets The Singularity

“Mommy! Look, The Singularity!”, said Ricky. “Don’t look at them”, said Mom. But it was too late…


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