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Eagle-inspired robot flies by flapping its feather-covered wings

New Scientist

A robotic bird with flapping wings covered in real feathers has flown for the first time. It could be used to provide insight into how real birds fly, or create stealthy drones that appear to observers as normal wildlife. Researchers at Guangxi University in China and Chinese firm Bee-eater Technology built a carbon fibre skeleton linked with aluminium joints and some 3D-printed plastic parts. It was covered in a thin foam and then layered with real goose feathers in a pattern that mimicked the way they would lay on a real bird.


A submersible soft robot survived the pressure in the Mariana Trench

New Scientist

This silicone rubber robot can withstand the pressures in the ocean's deepest abyss A silicone robot has survived a journey to 10,900 metres below the ocean's surface in the Mariana trench, where the crushing pressure can implode all but the strongest enclosures. This device could lead to lighter and more nimble submersible designs. A team led by Guorui Li at Zhejiang University in China based the robot's design on snailfish, which have relatively delicate, soft bodies and are among the deepest living fish. They have been observed swimming at depths of more than 8000 metres. The submersible robot looks a bit a manta ray and is 22 centimetres long and 28 centimetres in wingspan.


Here's how Riot's offline 'League' and 'Valorant' competitions landed in Iceland

Washington Post - Technology News

For "League of Legends," the event is the beginning of a return to normalcy after the cancellation of last year's Mid-Season Invitational and the recalibration of Worlds in Shanghai in light of covid. The stakes are higher for "Valorant," which launched shortly after the beginning of the pandemic in the United States. The Iceland event will mark the first occasion of competition between teams from different regions; the strengths and weaknesses of respective regions has been a source of rampant speculation among professional players, coaches and analysts.


US lagging in critical artificial intelligence: panel

#artificialintelligence

The United States is dangerously behind in artificial intelligence critical to its future including national security, according to a commission that includes a former head of Google and the future chief of Amazon. A report released by the National Security Commission on Artificial Intelligence called for the country to invest $40 billion to win a strategic AI competition with China. "America is not prepared to defend or compete in the AI era," ex-Google chief Eric Schmidt and former US deputy secretary of defense Robert Work said in a letter included with the 756-page report. "This is the tough reality we must face," the chairs of the commission said in the report released late Monday. The commission formed by Congress in 2018 is made up of technologists, national security professionals, business executives, and academic leaders including Oracle chief executive Safra Katz, an Andrew Jassy, who will take over head of Amazon later this year.


Potential early diagnostic biomarkers of sepsis

#artificialintelligence

Objective: The goal of this article was to identify potential biomarkers for early diagnosis of sepsis in order to improve their survival. Methods: We analyzed differential gene expression between adult sepsis patients and controls in the GSE54514 dataset. Coexpression analysis was used to cluster coexpression modules, and enrichment analysis was performed on module genes. We also analyzed differential gene expression between neonatal sepsis patients and controls in the GSE25504 dataset, and we identified the subset of differentially expressed genes (DEGs) common to neonates and adults. All samples in the GSE54514 dataset were randomly divided into training and validation sets, and diagnostic signatures were constructed using least absolute shrink and selection operator (LASSO) regression.


Smile for the camera: dark side of China's emotion-recognition tech

The Guardian

"Ordinary people here in China aren't happy about this technology but they have no choice. If the police say there have to be cameras in a community, people will just have to live with it. So says Chen Wei at Taigusys, a company specialising in emotion recognition technology, the latest evolution in the broader world of surveillance systems that play a part in nearly every aspect of Chinese society. Emotion-recognition technologies – in which facial expressions of anger, sadness, happiness and boredom, as well as other biometric data are tracked – are supposedly able to infer a person's feelings based on traits such as facial muscle movements, vocal tone, body movements and other biometric signals. It goes beyond facial-recognition technologies, which simply compare faces to determine a match. But similar to facial recognition, it involves the mass collection of sensitive personal data to track, monitor and profile people and uses machine learning to analyse expressions and other clues. The industry is booming in China, where since at least 2012, figures including President Xi Jinping have emphasised the creation of "positive energy" as part of an ideological campaign to encourage certain kinds of expression and limit others. Critics say the technology is based on a pseudo-science of stereotypes, and an increasing number of researchers, lawyers and rights activists believe it has serious implications for human rights, privacy and freedom of expression. With the global industry forecast to be worth nearly $36bn by 2023, growing at nearly 30% a year, rights groups say action needs to be taken now. The main office of Taigusys is tucked behind a few low-rise office buildings in Shenzhen. Visitors are greeted at the doorway by a series of cameras capturing their images on a big screen that displays body temperature, along with age estimates, and other statistics. Chen, a general manager at the company, says the system in the doorway is the company's bestseller at the moment because of high demand during the coronavirus pandemic. Chen hails emotion recognition as a way to predict dangerous behaviour by prisoners, detect potential criminals at police checkpoints, problem pupils in schools and elderly people experiencing dementia in care homes. Taigusys systems are installed in about 300 prisons, detention centres and remand facilities around China, connecting 60,000 cameras. "Violence and suicide are very common in detention centres," says Chen. "Even if police nowadays don't beat prisoners, they often try to wear them down by not allowing them to fall asleep.


China eyes next-generation chip technology to take on global rivals

The Japan Times

In just two decades, China sent people into space, built its own aircraft carrier and developed a stealth fighter jet. Now the world's youngest superpower is setting out to prove its capabilities once more -- this time in semiconductors. At stake is nothing less than the future of the world's No. 2 economy. Beijing's blueprint for chip supremacy is enshrined in a five-year economic vision, set to be unveiled during a summit of top leaders in the capital this week. It's a multi-layered strategy both pragmatic and ambitious in scope, embracing aspirations to replace pivotal U.S. suppliers -- and fend off Washington -- while molding homegrown champions in emergent technologies.


China will dominate AI unless U.S. invests more, commission warns

#artificialintelligence

The U.S., which once had a dominant head start in artificial intelligence, now has just a few years' lead on China and risks being overtaken unless government steps in, according to a new report to Congress and the White House. Why it matters: Former Google CEO Eric Schmidt, who chaired the committee that issued the report, tells Axios that the U.S. risks dire consequences if it fails to both invest in key technologies and fully integrate AI into the military. Driving the news: The National Security Commission on Artificial Intelligence approved its 750-page report on Monday, following a 2-year effort. Schmidt chaired the 15-member commission, which also included Oracle's Safra Catz, Microsoft's Eric Horvitz and Amazon's Andy Jassy. "We don't have to go to war with China," Schmidt said.


Insect-like drones can take a beating and keep flying

Engadget

Insect-like drones have taken one large step closer to becoming a practical reality. Researchers at Harvard, MIT and the City University of Hong Kong have developed tiny insect-inspired drones that can not only maneuver in extremely tight spaces, but withstand bumps if things go wrong. The key is a switch to an actuation system that can flap the drones' wings while surviving its share of abuse. To date, drone makers wanting to go this small have had to ditch motors (which lose effectiveness at small sizes) in favor of piezoelectric ceramic-based rigid actuators. The new drones rely on soft actuators made from rubber cylinders coated with carbon nanotubes.


Who leads the world on AI? A decade from now, it might not be the US

ZDNet

The US National Security Commission on Artificial Intelligence (NSCAI) has released its final report on the current state of AI development in the US and the threats posed by China's rapidly developing AI capabilities. As the 750-page report notes, "China possesses the might, talent, and ambition to surpass the United States as the world's leader in AI in the next decade if current trends do not change." It argues that the AI race is about competing values. "China's domestic use of AI is a chilling precedent for anyone around the world who cherishes individual liberty. Its employment of AI as a tool of repression and surveillance – at home and, increasingly, abroad – is a powerful counterpoint to how we believe AI should be used," the report warns.