transhumanism, humanity plus, and the future of biotechnology
/ curated by Gabriel Hudson

 

Softbank’s Pepper Robot Makes Emotional Debut in Japan
Japanese telecommunications giant Softbank Corp. on Thursday unveiled a new humanoid robot named Pepper, which the company claimed can identify human emotions and respond to them.
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Softbank’s Pepper Robot Makes Emotional Debut in Japan

Japanese telecommunications giant Softbank Corp. on Thursday unveiled a new humanoid robot named Pepper, which the company claimed can identify human emotions and respond to them.

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Eugene Goostman seems like a typical 13-year-old Ukrainian boy — at least, that’s what a third of judges at a Turing Test competition this Saturday thought. Goostman says that he likes hamburgers and candy and that his father is a gynecologist, but it’s all a lie. This boy is a program created by computer engineers led by Russian Vladimir Veselov and Ukrainian Eugene Demchenko. That a third of judges were convinced that Goostman was a human is significant — at least 30 percent of judges must be swayed for a computer to pass the famous Turing Test. The test, created by legendary computer scientist Alan Turing in 1950, was designed to answer the question “Can machines think?” and is a well-known staple of artificial intelligence studies.

Goostman passed the test at the Turing Test 2014 competition in London on Saturday, and the event’s organizers at the University of Reading say it’s the first computer to succeed. Professor Kevin Warwick, a visiting professor at the university, noted in a release that “some will claim that the Test has already been passed.” He added that “the words Turing Test have been applied to similar competitions around the world,” but “this event involved the most simultaneous comparison tests than ever before, was independently verified and, crucially, the conversations were unrestricted.”

The program nearly passed the test back in 2012, when 29 percent of judges at another competition decided that it was a human. Despite the achievement, the results are far from conclusive and they do not mean that the machines are taking over the world — no matter what you read on the internet. The program is scripted with a personality that likely assisted in convincing judges, and it is not the artificial intelligence you know from sci-fi movies. This is no HAL from 2001: A Space Odyssey. For instance, the Turing Test doesn’t hinge on whether the computer’s responses are correct or not — it only involves the “humanness” of its answers. The test is carried out over a text chat. Goostman’s “age” may have also helped it pass the test. As Veselov notes, “Our main idea was that he can claim that he knows anything, but his age also makes it perfectly reasonable that he doesn’t know everything.”

A Computer Program Has Passed the Turing Test For the First Time

This is big. A computer program has successfully managed to fool a bunch of researchers into thinking that it was a 13-year-old boy named Eugene Goostman. In doing so, it has become the first in the world to have successfully passed the Turing Test.

Venture Capital Firm Appoints Machine Intelligence As Board Member
- Hong Kong based venture capital firm Deep Knowledge Ventures (DKV) has appointed a machine learning program to its board. Called VITAL, it’s an “equal member” that will uncover trends “not immediately obvious to humans” in order to make investment recommendations. This is probably an attempt to attract media attention, but it could truly be the start of a larger trend; it’s the world’s first software program to be appointed as a board member. The move could also herald a new direction in the way venture capital is done. The tool was developed by Aging Analytics UK who’s licensing it out to DKV, a capital fund that focuses on companies developing therapies for age-related diseases and regenerative medicine. DKV will use VITAL (Validating Investment Tool for Advancing Life Sciences) to analyze financing trends in databases of life science companies in an effort to predict successful investments. It works by poring over massive data sets and applying machine learning to predict which life science companies will make successful investments. The company has already used VITAL to inform investment decisions in two start-up life science companies, Pathway Pharmaceuticals, Limited in Hong Kong and InSilico Medicine, Inc in Baltimore, USA. The long-term goal is to get the intelligence to the stage where it’ll be capable of autonomously allocating an investment portfolio. Eventually, the software is expected to get an equal vote on investment decisions. (via Venture Capital Firm Appoints Machine Intelligence As Board Member)

http://io9.com/venture-capital-firm-appoints-machine-intelligence-as-b-1576797618

Venture Capital Firm Appoints Machine Intelligence As Board Member

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Hong Kong based venture capital firm Deep Knowledge Ventures (DKV) has appointed a machine learning program to its board. Called VITAL, it’s an “equal member” that will uncover trends “not immediately obvious to humans” in order to make investment recommendations. This is probably an attempt to attract media attention, but it could truly be the start of a larger trend; it’s the world’s first software program to be appointed as a board member. The move could also herald a new direction in the way venture capital is done. The tool was developed by Aging Analytics UK who’s licensing it out to DKV, a capital fund that focuses on companies developing therapies for age-related diseases and regenerative medicine. DKV will use VITAL (Validating Investment Tool for Advancing Life Sciences) to analyze financing trends in databases of life science companies in an effort to predict successful investments. It works by poring over massive data sets and applying machine learning to predict which life science companies will make successful investments. The company has already used VITAL to inform investment decisions in two start-up life science companies, Pathway Pharmaceuticals, Limited in Hong Kong and InSilico Medicine, Inc in Baltimore, USA. The long-term goal is to get the intelligence to the stage where it’ll be capable of autonomously allocating an investment portfolio. Eventually, the software is expected to get an equal vote on investment decisions. (via Venture Capital Firm Appoints Machine Intelligence As Board Member)

http://io9.com/venture-capital-firm-appoints-machine-intelligence-as-b-1576797618

Now that Google is allowing anyone with a cool $1,500 lying around to score themselves a pair of Glass, you’ll probably start seeing a lot more tech geeks wearing headsets in public talking to themselves. Our hands-free, hyper-tethered future is well on its way! So if voice command interfacing is the wave of the future, what good is something seemingly as reductive as an input keyboard?

That was my question—and guessing I wasn’t alone—until I saw Minuum.

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A Bionic, Mind-Controlled Arm, From the Inventor of the Segway
The Segway was supposed to change everything … until it became the preferred transportation of walking tours and shopping mall security. But now its inventor, Dean Kamen, is back with a new creation that might be slightly more revolutionary.
Enter the DEKA limb, the first FDA-approved robotic arm that’s powered by the wearer’s mind. Electrodes attached to the arm near the prosthesis detect muscle contraction, and those signals are then interpreted into specific movements by a computer, the FDA announced on Friday.
"The device is modular so that it can be fitted to people who’ve suffered any degree of limb loss, from an entire arm to a hand," Bloomberg Businessweek reported. ”Six ‘grip patterns’ allow wearers to drink a cup of water, hold a cordless drill or pick up a credit card or a grape, among other functions.”
Read more. [Image: DARPA]

A Bionic, Mind-Controlled Arm, From the Inventor of the Segway

The Segway was supposed to change everything … until it became the preferred transportation of walking tours and shopping mall security. But now its inventor, Dean Kamen, is back with a new creation that might be slightly more revolutionary.

Enter the DEKA limb, the first FDA-approved robotic arm that’s powered by the wearer’s mind. Electrodes attached to the arm near the prosthesis detect muscle contraction, and those signals are then interpreted into specific movements by a computer, the FDA announced on Friday.

"The device is modular so that it can be fitted to people who’ve suffered any degree of limb loss, from an entire arm to a hand," Bloomberg Businessweek reported. ”Six ‘grip patterns’ allow wearers to drink a cup of water, hold a cordless drill or pick up a credit card or a grape, among other functions.”

Read more. [Image: DARPA]

Another awesome 

MorpHex MKII video

This Flickering Screen Is Powered by Plant-Eating Bacteria
In the future, the lines between technology and nature will continue to blur, as we create innovative approaches to renewable energy. It’s actually already happening, and there’s no better example than the Eventual.
Currently sitting on the shelf in the living room of the Home of the Future, the Eventual looks like someone stuck an illuminated sign into a terrarium, at first glance. But then you’ll have a hard time finding a plug, because the whole set up is actually powered by the plants and dirt inside.
More specifically, it’s a special kind of bacteria—Geobacter— that lives in the soil and feeds off the organic matter. This in turn produces electricity that powers electroluminescent ink that’s been silkscreened onto a surface. The more the bacteria eat, the brighter the image becomes.
Matt Neff and Orkan Telhan, the designers behind the project, say they were aiming for a sort of “digital noir” aesthetic. It’s somewhat eery to look at, especially as it flickers at different speeds while the bacteria gobbles up the plant matter and poops out electricity. The feeling of staring at the whole set up can only be described as other-worldly.

This Flickering Screen Is Powered by Plant-Eating Bacteria

In the future, the lines between technology and nature will continue to blur, as we create innovative approaches to renewable energy. It’s actually already happening, and there’s no better example than the Eventual.

Currently sitting on the shelf in the living room of the Home of the Future, the Eventual looks like someone stuck an illuminated sign into a terrarium, at first glance. But then you’ll have a hard time finding a plug, because the whole set up is actually powered by the plants and dirt inside.

More specifically, it’s a special kind of bacteria—Geobacter— that lives in the soil and feeds off the organic matter. This in turn produces electricity that powers electroluminescent ink that’s been silkscreened onto a surface. The more the bacteria eat, the brighter the image becomes.

Matt Neff and Orkan Telhan, the designers behind the project, say they were aiming for a sort of “digital noir” aesthetic. It’s somewhat eery to look at, especially as it flickers at different speeds while the bacteria gobbles up the plant matter and poops out electricity. The feeling of staring at the whole set up can only be described as other-worldly.

(Source: fleshcoatedtechnology)

MorpHex + Portal Turret Voice - This Portal robot is way too sentient and scary. Don’t let it around kids.