[Popular STEM] Curating the Internet: Science and technology digest for May 13, 2020

in Popular STEM2 months ago (edited)

A Steem essay asks readers whether they'd allow a brain-computer-interface chip to be implanted in their brain?; Scientists create the most detailed 3D map of a mouse's brain; Driverless cars are behind predictions because the technology is late and the pandemic is slowing testing; An interview on the potential for an artificial intelligence system to become conscious; and A report on a new electronic war prototype under development by the US Army


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  1. Steem @chekohler:Would You Get An Optional Neuralink Implant? - In this post, the author introduces us to Elon Musk's "neuralink concept. This is the idea of implanting a chip into a person's brain to act as a brain-machine interface. According to the post,
    These Neuralink chips are programmable and able to target specific ailments such as blindness, improve motor functions and even restore range of motion, it could be used to reduce the impact of brain ageing with diseases such as Parkinson and Alzheimers and so much more.
    In a world where enhancements are popular, it seems that many people might be willing to try this, but it may also come with risks and unanticipated consequences, so the post asks whether the reader would be willing to try such a thing? The author adds that he probably would not. Personally, I might try it out, but only after lots of other people had proven the technology to be safe.

  2. Scientists mapped an entire mouse brain, and the results are mesmerizing - A new paper in Cell describes the work that went into creating the most detailed 3D map of the brain of a mouse. The new model makes use of labeling and coordinates in a framework known as the "Common Coordinate Framework". Because mice are used extensively in biological research, the map has great value to researchers. As the article says,
    It can help researchers better understand the effects of various experiments and trials on the mice in their care, and perhaps even make it easier to develop useful treatments for humans.
    Nick Steinmetz, a researcher who has made use of the tool, points out that the ability to record simultaneous data from hundreds of location gives researchers a broader perspective.

    Here is a video that shows cross-section slices of the map, in order from front to back:

  3. This Was Supposed to Be the Year Driverless Cars Went Mainstream - Subtitle: Perfecting the technology has taken longer than expected. The coronavirus pandemic has made it even more difficult. - Autonomous vehicle makers once promised that the vehicles would be ready for prime-time by the year 2020. Now that the year has arrived, however - a decade after Google's first prototype - the technology is still not ready for mainstream use. Complicating the problem, the manufacturers are prevented from most testing because they need two people in the vehicles - which violates social distancing guidelines. With no sustainable forms of revenue, this is taking a business toll on the industry, too. One manufacturer has gone bankrupt, four have laid off workers, and another is for sale. Bigger companies may survive the business climate, but they face delays of several months. -h/t Communications of the ACM: Artificial Intelligence

  4. Can AI Become Conscious? - According to Integrated Information Theory, "any physical system that has causal power onto itself is conscious.". In a theoretical sense, this makes room for consciousness to arise outside of the human species. In a practical sense, it has led to the development of a "consciousness meter", which can examine a brainscan and report on whether a patient in a vegetative state is conscious. The concept also leads to a distinction between intelligence and consciousness. Christof Koch says that because current artificial intelligence systems rely on the Von Neumann architecture, they don't have much "causal power", so no matter how smart they get, they should not be considered conscious. Koch argues that this is an important distinction because an intelligent, but not conscious machine would not be entitled to rights, but a conscious machine would. In principle, he adds that neuromorphic computers and quantum computers have more causal influence and therefore could become conscious.

    Here is a 2013 video from the Human Brain Project on the concept of a neuromorphic computer:

  5. New US Electronic Warfare Platform - Electronic warfare research in the US and other countries has been limited since the end of the Cold War, but it is recently emerging again as a research area among the US, Russia and China. The US Army has now developed a prototoype, Silent Crow pod which can be attached to trucks and drones. The technology is intended to detect, analyze, and disrupt radio and radar communications from hostile powers. The Army intends to move away from high-powered jamming towards a more targeted approach, and the technology makes use of machine learning algorithms to detect hostile communications, analyze them, and determine effective countermeasures. In addition to the mobile system, the AI can also be augmented by a more powerful ground-based artificial intelligence system.

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Thanks so much for picking my post, what a surprise! You're braver than me, I think I'll be boring and stay natural

 2 months ago 

I forgot to mention, I would only do it if it comes with an "off" setting of some sort. A wearable and removable device would probably be better.

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