Who's Afraid of General AI?


Byron Reese believes technology has only truly reshaped humanity three times in history. The first came with the harnessing of fire. And the "third age" came with the invention of the wheel and writing. Reese, CEO and publisher of the technology research company, Gigaom, and host of the Voices in AI podcast, has spent the majority of his career exploring how technology and humanity intersect. He believes the emergence of artificial intelligence is pushing us into a "fourth age" in which AI and robotics will forever transform not only how we work and play, but also how we think about deeper philosophical topics, such as the nature of consciousness.

This mind-controlled robotic arm lets you do two things at once

New Scientist

Eight people have reliably used a mind-controlled robotic third arm to do two things at once. The technology could be used give a helping hand when lifting heavy objects or for tasks that require more than two arms. Participants in the experiment had to learn to control a robotic arm using a brain-machine interface. The robotic arm was placed next to the participants, and they wore two electrodes on the outside of their head to capture brain activity. The arm was then calibrated to pick up on the differences in brain patterns when participants imagined the arm grasping and releasing a bottle.

This Week In China Tech: AI Disrupting Insurance Claims, China Opens Airspace For Drones And More

Forbes Technology

Airplanes fly over Xiamen City, southeast China's Fujian Province, July 18, 2018. After a short holiday, we have a lot to catch up on. AI made huge leaps and has made insurance claims 176,000 times more efficient than humans, China has opened their low-altitude airspace for the booming drone industry, and classrooms are getting quantified using AI and brain research. Let's get you the news. Yes, you read that correctly.

Need a hand? Mind-controlled robotic arm lets you do two things at once

Daily Mail

If you've ever wished for an extra arm to carry out a complex task, researchers may have the answer. Researchers in Japan have taught volunteers to use a mind controlled robotic arm to help them out in doing two things at once. They say the system could revolutionise factory and construction work. Researchers in Japan have taught volunteers to use a mind controlled robotic arm to help them out in doing two things at once. Engineers from Kyoto's Advanced Telecommunications Research Institute showed some people can be taught to control a third robotic arm with their brains, even using the limb to multitask.

Animals Teach Robots to Find Their Way

Communications of the ACM

A demonstration video that veteran University College, London neuroscientist John O'Keefe often presents in lectures shows a rat moving around the inside of a box. Every time the rat heads for the top-left corner, loud pops play through a speaker; those sounds are the result of the firing of a specific neuron attached to an electrode. The neuron only fires when the rat moves to the same small area of the box. This connection of certain neurons to locations led O'Keefe and student Jonathon Dostrovsky to name those neurons "place cells" when they encountered the phenomenon in the early 1970s. Today, researchers such as Huajin Tang, director of the Neuromorphic Computing Research Center at Sichuan University, China, are using maps of computer memory to demonstrate how simulated neurons fire in much the same way inside one of their wheeled robots.

University of Cambridge researchers say machine learning is key to self-driving car


A Cambridge-based start-up believes machine learning software is the key to autonomous vehicles and Wayve is developing machine learning algorithms for autonomous vehicles. Wayve, which includes the chief scientist at Uber amongst its investors, believes the industry has been doing too much hand-engineering and too little machine learning. The firm is hiring for positions in its Cambridge-based headquarters. "The missing piece of the self-driving puzzle is intelligent algorithms, not more sensors, rules and maps. Humans have a fascinating ability to perform complex tasks in the real world, because our brains allow us to learn quickly and transfer knowledge across our many experiences.

Workers need not worry: Two skeptical views of artificial intelligence


I have been compiling evidence and argumentation that artificial intelligence (AI) will not (any time soon or probably ever) match or exceed our most important human abilities. Many current AI projects have much to offer -- in medical research, autonomous vehicles, and across science and the economy. Deep learning and other AI techniques can process and parse previously unimaginable volumes of data, make sense of complex systems, and even mimic some human senses, such as vision and hearing. As for the fashionable economic worry that AI is a widespread threat to employment, however, I'm skeptical. Among many new entries in the growing literature of AI reality, let's highlight two.

Audi's latest infotainment system is a smarter driving companion


"Does the glass move or is the haptic feedback tricking my brain?" Sometimes you have to ask dumb questions. I was 99 percent sure Audi's updated MMI infotainment system was creating the illusion that the display moved when I pressed it. But, you have to ask questions just in case. I was informed that the glass does not move.

How drones are being used in the fight against malaria

The Independent

The drone makes a conspicuous racket as it lifts off on a mission to capture images of the reservoir below. The sight and sound of this strange device stirs interest among locals as they make their way to and from the town of Kasungu in central Malawi. It takes a matter of minutes for a small crowd to form. A few yards away, Patrick Kalonde is wading through grass and mud. Patrick, an intern at Unicef working on humanitarian uses of drones, is carrying a plastic container and a ladle and is looking for mosquito larvae. The contrast between high-tech drones and low-tech "bucket-and-spade" science, metres apart, could not be starker – yet both are equally important to the success of our new project to map where mosquitoes breed. Kasungu, a small town at the base of the picturesque Kasungu Mountain, is the centre of Africa's first humanitarian drone testing corridor. Set up by Unicef in 2017 with support from the Malawi government, the corridor is an 80km-wide area for flying and testing drones to help the local people. Keen to dispel the reputation that drones are only useful for destruction, the Unicef corridor promotes "drones for good".

Article 1 Journal 5 Investec Asset Management


In the past, technology has destroyed jobs, but has created many other jobs and new industries along the way. This time may be different. Job destruction may outpace job creation, while we may also face a skills mismatch where many of the new jobs require specialist skills. Machines and algorithms are beginning to compete with brain power. Automation used to be about robots in factories or warehouses.