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Computers Learn to Create Photos of Bedrooms and Faces
A cool story about efforts to understand the way deep neural networks work. Systems previously trained to recognize faces or bedroom scenes were preprogrammed to create their own images, often revealing a twisted inner vision of the world.

Mannequins Step In for Human Billboards, but Some Are Losing Their Heads
The strange story of “robot sign-wavers,” the harassment they face, and conflicting claims to have invented the underlying sign-waving technology.

Amazon Offers New Glimpse of What Its Delivery Drone Could Look Like
The latest Amazon drone can fly like a helicopter or a plane, which is similar to the prototype unveiled some time ago by Google. Flying like a plane is far more efficient, which will be important if drones really are going to carry much more than tiny packages over any significant distance.

What It Was Like to Have a Robot Answer All of My E-mails for a Week
One journalist believes that Smart Reply, the automated e-mail response system built into Google Inbox, hints at the future of AI-mediated communication. Maybe so, but I’ve personally found its suggestions to be a bit poor so far.

Walk-Man Humanoid Robot Could Be the Future of Dangerous Work
The Italian researchers behind a humanoid robot called Walk-Man talk about their efforts to develop a machine that can take the place of a human in highly dangerous situations. This vision is some ways off, though. Earlier this year Walk-Man took part in the DARPA Robotics Challenge, and it struggled to perform even the most basic of tasks like opening doors or walking over uneven ground.

System Trains Machines to Look at Images the Way People Do
An interesting-sounding project at Microsoft Research involves fusing several different AI techniques to create something capable of parsing the contents of images in more complex and sophisticated ways.

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still from Embodied Intelligence video
still from Embodied Intelligence video

These weird virtual creatures evolve their bodies to solve problems

They show how intelligence and body plans are closely linked—and could unlock AI for robots.

pig kidney transplant surgery
pig kidney transplant surgery

Surgeons have successfully tested a pig’s kidney in a human patient

The test, in a brain-dead patient, was very short but represents a milestone in the long quest to use animal organs in human transplants.

panpsychism concept
panpsychism concept

Is everything in the world a little bit conscious?

The idea that consciousness is widespread is attractive to many for intellectual and, perhaps, also emotional
reasons. But can it be tested? Surprisingly, perhaps it can.

We reviewed three at-home covid tests. The results were mixed.

Over-the-counter coronavirus tests are finally available in the US. Some are more accurate and easier to use than others.

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Illustration by Rose WongIllustration by Rose Wong

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