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Nov 27, 2016

What happens when bots start writing code instead of humans

Posted by in categories: internet, robotics/AI

Shift 2: Open-source code, Node, and frameworks

Once widely considered a toy language, Node has quickly taken over the web and fostered an incredible open-source community. For those who are unfamiliar, Node is a way for JavaScript to run on a server. What’s so incredible about Node is that the same developers who were only writing client-side code (front-end web development) can now write backend code without switching languages.

In addition, there is an incredible community that rallies around and thrives off of open-source contributions. The infrastructure and open-source packages are very powerful, allowing developers to not just solve their own problems, but also to build in a way that solves problems for the entire community. Building a software product with Node today is like playing with Lego blocks; you spend most of your time simply connecting them.

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Nov 27, 2016

Intel announces major AI push with upcoming Knights Mill Xeon Phi, custom silicon

Posted by in categories: innovation, robotics/AI

Intel is making a huge push into AI and deep learning, and intends to build custom variants of its Xeon Phi hardware to compete in these markets. Several months ago, the Santa Clara corporation bought Nervana, an AI startup, and this new announcement is seen as building on that momentum. AI and deep learning have become huge focuses of major companies in the past few years — Nvidia, Google, Microsoft, and a number of smaller firms are all jockeying for position, chasing breakthroughs, and building their own custom silicon solutions.

The upcoming Knights Mill is still pretty hazy, but Intel has stated that the chip will be up to 4x faster than existing Knights Landing hardware. Right now, the company is working on three separate forays into the AI / deep learning market. First up, there’s Lake Crest. This product is based on Nervana technology that existed prior to the Intel purchase. Nervana was working on an HBM-equipped chip with up to 32GB of memory, and that’s the product Intel is talking about rolling out to the wider market in the first half of 2017. Lake Crest will be followed by Knights Crest, a chip that takes Nervana’s technology and implements it side-by-side along with Intel Xeon processors.

“The technology innovations from Nervana will be optimized specifically for neural networks to deliver the highest performance for deep learning, as well as unprecedented compute density with high-bandwidth interconnect for seamless model parallelism,” Intel CEO Brian Krzanich wrote in a recent blog post. “We expect Nervana’s technologies to produce a breakthrough 100-fold increase in performance in the next three years to train complex neural networks, enabling data scientists to solve their biggest AI challenges faster.”

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Nov 27, 2016

Artist Turns DNA From Chewed Gum Into Sculptures

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, genetics

Plus, a perfume that can cover your genetic tracks.

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Nov 27, 2016

CERN introduces Large Hadron Collider’s robotic inspectors

Posted by in categories: particle physics, robotics/AI, transportation

Since the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) needs to be in tip-top shape to discover new particles, it has two inspectors making sure everything’s in working order. The two of them are called TIM, short not for Timothy, but for Train Inspection Monorail. These mini autonomous monorails that keep an eye on the world’s largest particle collider follow a pre-defined route and get around using tracks suspended from the ceiling. According to CERN’s post introducing the machines, the tracks are remnants from the time the tunnel housed the Large Electron Positron instead of the LHC. The LEP’s monorail was bigger, but not quite as high-tech: it was mainly used to transport materials and workers.

As for what the machines can do, the answer is “quite a few.” They can monitor the tunnel’s structure, oxygen percentage, temperature and communication bandwidth in real time. Both TIMs can also take visual and infrared images, as well as pull small wagons behind them if needed. You can watch them in action below — as you can see, they’re not much to look at with their boxy silver appearance. But without them, it’ll be tough monitoring a massive circular tunnel with a 17-mile circumference.

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Nov 27, 2016

5 Deviant Particles That Could Spark a Revolution in Physics

Posted by in category: particle physics

Forget the LHC – from squished electrons to self-destructing protons, careful scrutiny of everyday particles acting strangely may refresh our picture of reality.

By Lisa Grossman

FOR a few heady months last year, the door to an unknown world was nudged ajar. An anomaly in data from the Large Hadron Collider, based at CERN near Geneva, Switzerland, indicated the presence of a peculiar new particle, a visitor so unexpected that it promised to transform our picture of how nature works. Then, with more data, the anomaly disappeared. The door creaked shut again.

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Nov 27, 2016

The next frontier in reproductive tourism? Genetic modification

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, genetics, law

The birth of the first baby born using a technique called mitochondrial replacement, which uses DNA from three people to “correct” an inherited genetic mutation, was announced on Sept. 27.

Mitochondrial replacement or donation allows women who carry mitochondrial diseases to avoid passing them on to their child. These diseases can range from mild to life-threatening. No therapies exist and only a few drugs are available to treat them.

There are no international rules regulating this technique. Just one country, the United Kingdom, explicitly regulates the procedure. It’s a similar situation with other assisted reproductive techniques. Some countries permit these techniques and others don’t.

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Nov 27, 2016

Artificial Humans Could Be Even More Realistic With These New Nylon Muscles

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, robotics/AI

Scientists have developed a new type of artificial muscle fibre based on nylon, which could one day render our future robot companions more realistic than ever.

Unlike previous synthetic muscles, this technology is cheap and simple to produce, which makes it a better option if we want our droids to be able to flex, move, and repair themselves in much the same way as flesh-and-blood people.

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Nov 27, 2016

Artificial intelligence and robotics are revolutionising business

Posted by in categories: business, robotics/AI

And leading the way is the online grocery store Ocado.

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Nov 27, 2016

A Semi-Automated Benchtop System to Produce Genetically Modified Stem Cells: Interview with Professor Jennifer Adair

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, genetics, life extension, robotics/AI

New technology driving down the cost of research and therapies!

New technology arriving that will help drive down the costs of gene therapies.

“The researchers were able to use a closed, semi-automated benchtop system to produce genetically-modified HSCs in just one night and hope that such systems will increase the availability and affordability of cell therapies”.

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Nov 27, 2016

Tissue damage and senescence provide critical signals for cellular reprogramming in vivo

Posted by in category: biotech/medical

More developments in senescent cell signalling published this month.

Differentiated cells in a culture dish can assume a new identity when manipulated to express four transcription factors. This “reprogramming” process has sparked interest because conceivably it could be harnessed as a therapeutic strategy for tissue regeneration. Mosteiro et al. used a mouse model to study the signals that promote cell reprogramming in vivo. They found that the factors that trigger reprogramming in vitro do the same in vivo; however, they also inflict cell damage. The damaged cells enter a state of senescence and begin secreting certain factors that promote reprogramming, including an inflammatory cytokine called interleukin-6. Thus, in the physiological setting, cell senescence may create a tissue context that favors reprogramming of neighboring cells.

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